Responsibilities and Integrity

Minimal Undergraduate Student Responsibilities

By accepting responsibility for their education, students enhance the development of their academic, social, and career goals. It is expected that students accept responsibility for their academic choices as part of their educational experience at Stony Brook. Services are available to assist students with academic advising, long-range goals, and career exploration. Students are responsible for reviewing, understanding, and abiding by the University’s regulations, procedures, requirements, and deadlines as described in official publications, including, by way of example only, this Undergraduate Bulletin, the University Conduct Code, the Student Handbook, and class schedules.

Responsibilities in the Classroom

Students are expected to attend class regularly unless other arrangements are made; arrive for class on time and leave the classroom only at the end of class; engage in class discussions and activities when appropriate; exhibit classroom behavior that is not disruptive of the learning environment; secure and turn off all electronic communications and entertainment devices during class time unless other­wise directed by the course instructor. Any use of a cell phone or other unauthorized electronic device during an examination may lead to an accusation of academic dishonesty.

Course Responsibilities

Students are expected to observe the requirements for the course and consult with the instructor if prerequisites are lacking; obtain and understand the course syllabus; keep up with the coursework and take all scheduled examinations; address any conflicts in syllabus and exam scheduling with the instructor as soon as possible; review all graded material and seek help if necessary; notify the instructor as soon as possible of any disabilities that might interfere with completion of coursework; complete the course evaluation form fairly and thoughtfully.

Academic Progress

Students are expected to take an active part in assessing their academic progress each semester, and to monitor their progress towards completion of graduation requirements. They are expected to review academic policies and procedures described in the current Undergraduate Bulletin and its Supplements; know basic University, college, and departmental graduation requirements in their chosen majors and minors so they may plan completion of these requirements; maintain personal copies of a tentative degree plan, progress reports, general educational material, and transfer credit evaluations until after graduation; see that any academic records from other universities are transferred and received by all the appropriate offices (Admissions and Undergraduate Transfer Office) for evaluation.

Interactions with Faculty, Instructors, and other Students

Students are expected to understand the concept of academic honesty and adhere to its principles; be respectful and polite to all instructors and other students; be familiar with and abide by the University’s sexual harassment policies as well as University policies regarding consensual relationships between instructors and students; consult the Student Conduct Code about other aspects of student conduct in and out of the classroom.

Minimal Instructional Responsibilities

Instructors at Stony Brook have teaching responsibilities that involve a broad range of methods. The following list of responsibilities does not define good teaching; it defines only a minimal set of conditions and practices that faculty members and teaching assistants are expected to observe in performing their teaching functions.

Classroom and Conference Responsibilities

• Instructors must meet their classes regularly and promptly, at times and places scheduled.

• Classes should be canceled only for the most serious reasons, and students should be given advance notice, if at all possible, of instructors’ absences.

• Instructors must schedule and maintain regular office hours to meet their students’ needs, minimally three hours per week in the instructor’s office or another officially designated space on campus at times convenient to the schedules of as many students as possible. The instructor may choose to augment these hours with electronically based communication.

• Office hours should be announced in class and posted outside instructors’ offices and in department offices.

• Instructors should be available for appointments with students who are unable to meet with them during regularly scheduled office hours.

• Instructors are responsible for careful supervision and classroom preparation of teaching assistants assigned to their courses.

• The policy on electronic devices, described in the section Minimal Student Responsibilities, shall be announced before each course examination.

Course Definition and Requirements

• Instructors must adhere to the course descriptions in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

• Prerequisites that are not stated in the Bulletin or the Supplement or the Class Schedule may not be imposed.

• A written syllabus that clearly defines the content, goals, and requirements of each course must be distributed at the beginning of the course, made readily available throughout the Add/Drop period, and kept on file in the department office. The syllabus should include the Provost’s Americans with Disabilities Act statement and information about examination dates and times, the policy on make-up exams, office hours, and the basis for the final grade.

• Instructors are required to assign grades on the basis of the body of work for which all students are responsible, as described in the syllabus.

• Instructors must conduct any teaching and course evaluation survey that has been approved by their departments, or by the College or University Senates. The results of class evaluations should be used in periodic reviews and revision, when appropriate, of the course.

Assessment of Student Performance

• Homework assignments, examinations, and term papers should be evaluated and returned promptly. Written comments, explaining the instructor’s criteria for evaluation and giving suggestions for improvement, should be provided.

• Instructors are responsible for providing students with appropriate and timely notification about their academic performance in a course. An examination or other assessment measure should be administered, graded, and returned to students before the end of the ninth week of classes.

• Examinations and term papers submitted at the end of the term should be graded and either returned to students or retained for one semester.

• Any change to the course grading policy during the semester must be announced and made available to all students enrolled in the course. Assigning additional work to individual students who wish to improve their grades, during or after the semester, is prohibited.

• Instructors must observe the Final Examination Schedule available at Instructors of courses taught on the semester schedule may only give a unit exam in class during the last week of the semester if a final examination is also given during the Final Examination Period.

• Instructors must observe state laws, federal laws, and University policies regarding accommodations as noted in the Bulletin (e.g., student participation in University-sponsored activities or equivalent opportunity/religious absences). Accommodations such as make-up exams, assignments, or other coursework that fall outside of the purview of these laws and policies are at the discretion of the instructor.

Professional Conduct and Interaction with Students

• Instructors must report all suspected occurrences of academic dishonesty to the Academic Judiciary Committee (for classes in the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, and School of Journalism) or the Committee on Academic Standing and Appeals (for classes in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences).

• Instructors should always be aware that in teaching and advising they represent the University. They are bound by the University’s sexual harassment policies. Instructors are also bound by University policies that prohibit any consensual relationships with students that might compromise the objectivity and integrity of the teacher-student relationship. Examples include romantic, sexual, or financial relationships.

• Instructors should strive to maintain the privacy and confidentiality of students’ examinations, homework, and final grades.

• In dealing with students, instructors should be polite, helpful, and fair. They should take into account the wide range of cultural factors and physical challenges that can affect learning, and should attempt to help students overcome any disadvantages.

Committees on Academic Standing and Appeals (CASA)

Undergraduate students whose declared major is in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS) should make requests in matters outlined below to the Committee on Academic Standing and Appeals of CEAS. Declared CEAS majors include applied mathematics and statistics, biomedical engineering, chemical and molecular engineering, computer engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, engineering science, information systems, mechanical engineering, and technological systems management. See also the entry Petitioning for Exceptions below.

All other students, including those who have not declared a major (indicated by GEN on the student’s record), and those who have declared an area of interest (e.g., pre-business GBS, pre-computer science GCS, pre-nursing GNS) should make requests in matters outlined below to the Committee on Academic Standing and Appeals of the College of Arts and Sciences. See also the entry Petitioning for Exceptions below.

Both committees operate under faculty legislation and consider exceptions to regulations pertaining to such matters as registration changes, course loads, and academic standing. The CEAS committee also deals with academic dishonesty and academic grievances. Note: Not all exceptions to regulations or deadlines are petitionable. Changing to or from the P/NC option after the deadline published in the academic calendar is not petitionable.

In exceptional circumstances, students may petition the appropriate Committee on Academic Standing and Appeals for permission to withdraw from a course after normal deadlines. Students who obtain permission to add or drop courses after the normal deadlines will be charged $20 for each program change form processed by the Registrar. Students who, because of extraordinary situations beyond their control, are granted permission to withdraw from all courses and who will not be in attendance during the semester are not charged a fee.

The Committee on Academic Standing and Appeals of the appropriate college considers all petitions for reinstatement in cases of academic suspension. (See the section Academic Standing, Support, and Retention) Students who are granted reinstatement will be assessed a $50 processing fee.

Petitioning for Exceptions

Students are responsible for reviewing, understanding, and abiding by the University’s regulations, procedures, requirements, and deadlines as described in official publications including this Undergraduate Bulletin, the Student Handbook, and online class schedules.

Occasionally extraordinary circumstances necessitate that a student request an exception to an academic regulation or deadline. These may include exceptions to registration processing dates and exceptions to regulations on academic standing. Students must file a petition with the appropriate Committee on Academic Standing and Appeals. See the entry Committees on Academic Standing and Appeals (CASA) above. Note that changing to or from the P/NC option after the deadline published in the academic calendar is not petitionable.

Most petitions for exceptions must be accompanied by documentation demonstrating why the student was unable to comply with the regulation or deadline for which the student is requesting an exception. Ignorance of deadlines or regulations is insufficient cause to grant an exception.

Students with majors in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences may obtain written information about academic regulations, guidelines, and procedures from the Engineering and Applied Sciences Undergraduate Student Office, where petitions are filed. All other students should consult the Academic and Pre-Professional Advising Center or, for EOP/AIM students, the Office of Special Programs, and file petitions with the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

Academic Integrity

Each student must pursue his or her academic goals honestly and be personally accountable for all submitted work. Representing another person’s work as your own is always wrong. Academic dishonesty can range from simple breach of class or University guidelines, such as using a cell phone in an exam, to very serious cases which may result in expulsion. The Academic Judiciary Committee for the College of Arts and Sciences (which also includes classes taught by the College of Business, the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, and the School of Journalism) and the Committee on Academic Standing and Appeals of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences are responsible for enforcing the guidelines for academic integrity in each college, and for the consideration of individual cases. Any suspected instance of academic dishonesty will be reported to the appropriate committee. The judiciary committee of each college has jurisdiction over all courses offered in that college. Either committee may inform pre-professional committees about any findings of academic dishonesty which, in its judgment, are of sufficient seriousness. It is the responsibility of all students to make themselves familiar with the University’s policies and procedures regarding academic integrity as well as any additional guidelines issued by instructors for specific classes. For more comprehensive information on academic integrity, including categories of academic dishonesty, please refer to the academic judiciary Web site at judiciary/index.shtml

All students found guilty of academic dishonesty are required to take the University’s course on academic integrity (the “Q Course”) and additional penalties including suspension or expulsion may also be levied. Information about the procedures for hearings and other functions of these committees dealing with academic integrity is available on the Web site referenced above, as well as in the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs and in the Engineering and Applied Sciences Undergraduate Student Office.

Students who have been found guilty of academic dishonesty and, as a consequence, have been assigned a Q grade may not graduate with University honors. Requests for exceptions to this policy for students with majors in the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business, School of Journalism, the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, and Stony Brook Southampton are reviewed by the University’s Academic Integrity Officer. No exceptions will be made for students graduating with majors in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Scholarly and Scientific Misconduct

While most cases of academic dishonesty fall under the jurisdiction of the judiciary committees, students involved in allegations of scholarly or scientific misconduct as defined below are subject to the campus policy and procedure for investigating such allegations as filed in compliance with the requirements of the Public Health Service’s Office of Research Integrity.

Scholarly and scientific misconduct are defined as: fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, or other serious deviation from accepted practices in proposing, carrying out, or reporting results of scholarly activities; and retaliation of any kind against a person who reported or provided information about suspected or alleged misconduct and who has not acted in bad faith. This definition is not meant to include actions involving honest error or honest differences in interpretations or judgments of data.

Academic Grievances

The Academic Judiciary Committee for the College of Arts and Sciences and the Committee on Academic Standing and Appeals in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences consider students’ complaints of arbitrary, capricious, malicious, or otherwise improper actions related to grading and other evaluations, assignments, examinations, other requirements for credit, and any other academic matters. While such grievances are most often brought by students against instructors, the committees consider grievances involving any member of the academic community on the West Campus. The committees, however, cannot intervene in matters covered by the procedures set forth in the Policies of the Board of Trustees, the Rules for the Maintenance of Public Order, or the collective bargaining agreements between New York State and United University Professions (the faculty-staff union) or GSEU (the Graduate Student Employees Union).

The committees consider only charges of clearly improper academic practices; they will not intervene in disagreements about an instructor’s intellectual judgment (e.g., grading). Grievances should be brought to a committee only after students or others have unsuccessfully pursued other avenues of redress, such as discussion with the instructor and department chairperson. Grievances should be put in writing, including all pertinent details, and should be submitted to the appropriate committee within one month of the alleged impropriety. Further information about academic grievance procedures may be obtained from the Academic Judiciary Web site at as well as from the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs or the Engineering and Applied Sciences Undergraduate Student Office.

For more information on responsibilities and integrity, see the section Office of University Community Standards.