Many traditions. One Spirit.

Policy on Academic Integrity

The seminary maintains high standards for integrity in academic work and in community relationships. Given these standards, ETS cannot overlook failures of personal integrity in members of the seminary community and will deal with them on an individual basis.


The faculty at ETS expects that the academic work students submit will be their own.  Without this presumption, the work of our community loses vision, meaning and purpose. A cardinal principle of the academic community is that people must present work that, unless otherwise identified as belonging to someone else, is their own when they write or present assignments as a part of their degree program. While students are expected to consult the works of others in the formulation of their own submitted work, it is vitally important to document such sources in a manner consistent with the principles of academic honesty expected of all members of a scholarly community. This assumption of honesty is central to academic freedom and responsibility. All work, which is used in the development of papers, presentations, assignments, dissertations, and theses, must be properly cited when it derives from an external source.


ETS Academic Misconduct Policy


Academic misconduct involves presenting the ideas and/or work of others as one’s own, without giving proper credit to the original source.


I. Examples of academic misconduct:

A. Cheating

Cheating is committing fraud or deception on a record, report, paper, examination, or other course requirement. Examples of cheating include:


·         Obtaining work from another source, or allowing another person to do one’s work, and submitting it under one’s own name.

·         Submitting work or a paper for two or more courses without the specific approval of both professors.

·         Fabricating data either by violating the research design and data collection methods agreed upon for a project or failing to include a substantially accurate account of the method by which the data were collected.


B. Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the use of another person’s spoken or written words, ideas, concepts, programs, opinions, models, theories, results, graphs, charts, art work, drawings, photographs, video, or any other intellectual property, whether by quoting, summarizing, or paraphrasing without giving proper credit to the author of the material being used.  Plagiarism may be avoided by citing references according to the style manual, MLA 7th edition (DMin, APA 6th edition).


Examples of plagiarism are:

  • Copying word for word or taking phrases or a special and unique term from a source without proper attribution.

  • Paraphrasing another person's written words or ideas in one's own words without attribution and presenting them as if they were one's own.

  • Borrowing facts, statistics, or other material without proper reference unless the information is common knowledge and/or in common public use.

  • Use of Internet sources without proper citation.


C. Falsification of data records and official documents


It is a violation of the principles of proper academic conduct to alter any academic or official institutional record used in the admission or academic records process.

D. Aiding and abetting dishonesty


Providing information or materials with the knowledge that it will be used in academic misconduct is prohibited.


It is the policy at ETS that any documented case of academic dishonesty may be cause for a conference with one’s instructor, faculty advisor and the Vice President for Academic Affairs and could lead to failure of the course or dismissal from the Seminary.


II. Procedures for handling alleged academic misconduct

A. Complaint procedure

·         Initial Discovery. Faculty members who believe academic misconduct has occurred should first confront the student with the information that supports a finding of academic misconduct.

o   If the matter is resolved, a record of the incident should be placed into the student’s file in the event another incident occurs.

o   If the matter is not resolved, a formal written record of the allegation will be filed with the VPAA. 

·         The VPAA will review the case to determine if there is sufficient evidence for the claim that a violation of the policy may have occurred.


   "If the VPAA decides that there is sufficient evidence, she/he will forward the case to the Academic Council of the Faculty for investigation and recommended course of action. The Academic Council will schedule an administrative hearing with the student, Program Director and Faculty member. The hearing will take place at the next regularly scheduled monthly Academic Council meeting, "The student, after being fully informed of the allegation, may present evidence to the Academic Council.  Legal representation is not allowed.

·         After review of the evidence and consultation with appropriate personnel, the Academic Council will communicate its recommendation for action in writing to the VPAA. The recommendation will include clarification of the status of the student during this process:


o   Will the student be allowed to attend class?

o   Will the student be allowed to register for future classes?

o   Will other Faculty members be informed of the student’s status?


·         If there is a difference of opinion or a need for interpretation of the Council's intent, the VPAA may consult with the Academic Council for clarification.   

·         If the student is found guilty of a violation, an appropriate sanction will be applied, including expulsion from the seminary for a first-time violation when warranted.

·         The sanction will be communicated in writing by the VPAA to the student and the appropriate Faculty member. 

o   A copy will be placed in the student’s file. This written record will be destroyed at the time of the student’s graduation.

o   A second instance of documented academic dishonesty will be cause for automatic expulsion from the seminary.  In the case of expulsion, all records will be retained.

B. Sanctions

Sanctions may include, but are not limited to, the following and may be used in combination:

  • A letter of reprimand

  • Probation for the remainder of the degree program, with the understanding that a repeat offense will be dealt with severely

  • Failure in the class in which the violation occurred

  • Suspension for a specific period of time

  • Notation on the student’s official transcript

  • Expulsion from the Seminary


C. Appeals

Students or Faculty wishing to appeal the decision of the VPAA must do so in writing citing specific reasons for the appeal (e.g., severity of the sanction, appeal about a specific interpretation of the facts, etc.). Appeals of the VPAA’s decision will be conducted by the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees. Appeals must be filed within two weeks of the time of the VPAA's notification to the student of the decision and action. Under normal circumstances appeals will be resolved within 30 days. The decision of the Academic Affairs Committee is final.