For Faculty

Tips for Faculty

  • Clearly state your expectations and reference the Honor Code on your syllabi.
  • Define on your syllabi your idea of acceptable collaboration.
  • Clearly state which citation style you prefer.
  • Spot-check citations, and when there are mistakes--including stylistics--point them out to reaffirm the importance of proper citation to students.


Common Faculty Questions

If a student admits to her academic dishonesty, must I still go through the hearing process?

Oftentimes, no.  With the Faculty-Student Resolution Process, cases with students facing their first Honor Code violation charge don't have to go through the hearing process, if the student takes responsibility for her actions and agrees to sanctions decided on by the faculty member bringing the charge.  The faculty member may decide on appropriate sanctions within guidelines (below) developed from Honor Code Council's extensive precedent.

  Violation Range Sanction Range
Category I

Repeated or willful failure to correctly or appropriately  identify sources:

  • Failure to acknowledge sources in an accepted citation format (i.e. through footnotes, parenthetical author-page references, etc.)
  • Basic attempts (i.e. in-text references, quotation marks, etc.) have been made to distinguish outside sources from the student's work.
  • Requiring the student to redo the assignment and correct her mistakes
  • Lowered grade on the assignment
Category II

Plagiarism of secondary components of the assignment:

  • Plagiarized content supports the primary purpose or theme of the assignment
  • Considered without this content, assignment would be weakened, but primary requirements would still be fulfilled.
  • Lowered grade on the assignment
  • Failure on the assignment
Category III

Plagiarism of primary components of the assignment:

  • Plagiarized content constitutes the primary purpose or theme of the assignment.
  • Considered without this content, submitted work would not satisfy basic requirements of the assignment.
  • Failure on the assignment
  • Mandatory cap on the final grade in the course


The only requirement is that the faculty bringing the charge and the charged student agree on the resolution report, which is then subject to review by an Honor Code Council panel.

Usually, if a case is within normal guidelines (elucidated in the procedures), if the student accepts responsibility, and if it is the student's first charge, the process is quick and straightforward.  Participation in this process is obligatory for faculty (see below).  By engaging in this process, members of the Wellesley College community are contributing to a stronger atmosphere of honor as well as holding our students to a higher standard.  Students are more often held accountable for their actions, and repeat offenders will not slip through the cracks, thus making the entire Honor System stronger.

Are professors obligated to utilize Honor Code Council for all suspected cases of academic dishonesty?

Yes, the Honor Code Council guidelines state that no penalty may be enacted that was not determined by the appropriate judiciary body.  There are at least two reasons for this guideline:  first, it protects students suspected of an academic violation by giving them a hearing; second, repeat offenders can only be apprehended if they are brought before Honor Code Council for each offense.  "No penalty is to be invoked for any offense justifiable under College regulations unless the case has been brought before, and the sentence determined by, the appropriate judicial body.  The College shall initiate the judicial proceedings when academic honesty or College regulations have been violated, or when the offense is such as to impair the educational function or social and moral conventions of the institution." (General Judiciary Guidelines and Procedures, Section IV B.)

If I see plagiarism, cheating, etc., should I handle it on my own?

No.  Academic cases should always be brought up at Honor Code Council, where they can be handled in an open manner.

Why should I go through with a hearing if the result is what I would have given the student?

Although a hearing can be uncomfortable, time-consuming, and scary for both the person bringing the case and the person it is brought against, Honor Code Council exists as an integral part of the Honor Code and as the proper pathway for academic cases.  Honor Code Council has much experience with sanctions with Honor Code violations.  Some professors have commented that it was good to have the decision taken out of their hands, and sanctioned by a larger group.  With the Faculty-Student Resolution Process, many academic cases no longer go through a hearing to be resolved.

Do Honor Code Council hearing boards usually favor the student?

Professors sit on Honor Code Council hearing boards, with an equal number of students to professors.  Many professors who have gone through the Honor Code Council process have felt that the sanctions were fair and what they might have expected.

Who should I contact if I want to bring a case against someone?

Contact the Chief Justice and Don Leach, Honor Code Administrative Coordinator.