Academic Standing, Probation, Dismissal, Review Procedures, and Policy on Academic Misconduct

Probation and Dismissal

Students in the M.S. program shall be placed on academic probation if, after completing nine semester hours of graduate work, their cumulative GPA on graduate work done at The University of Iowa falls below 3.00. The corresponding minimum requirements on cumulative course work taken in the Ph.D. program are 3.00 after the first 12 hours and 3.25 after 24 hours have been completed. Students who have not been removed from probation after one semester may be denied permission to reregister. Students in either the M.S. or Ph.D. program who have not completed their program requirements within five years after admission to the program may also be denied re-registration. Each year the advisor shall certify that each student is making satisfactory progress towards degree objectives. If progress is deemed unsatisfactory the student shall be notified in writing by the department. The notification shall specify in what way(s) the student is failing to make satisfactory progress towards degree objectives. The student shall be provided a reasonable amount of time to resolve the unsatisfactory performance before departmental dismissal. If conditions such as conditional admission or probation are imposed, the department shall give, at the time of its imposition, a written explanation of this status and its time limits. A student who is denied re-registration shall be notified of this fact in writing with reasons for the action provided.

Students may also be denied re-registration or be dismissed from the program for less than fully professional conduct. Students are also subject to the more general provisions of the University's current "Policies and Regulations Affecting Students" document, a copy of which is provided to students at registration. Should a dismissed student feel that the dismissal process was unfair, the student may seek department faculty review of the dismissal.

Review Procedures of Academic Dismissal

This policy pertains to the review procedures, which are to be followed in the event that a student dismissed from a graduate program for academic reasons other than academic misconduct requests a formal review of her/his dismissal. The procedure outlined below is in accordance with Section IV.D of the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College.

The procedure for academic dismissal review in all circumstances other than those resulting from academic misconduct is as follows:

  1. Prior to the formal initiation of the academic dismissal review process a student should discuss her/his grievances with the Department Chair in an attempt to resolve such grievances informally.
  2. If the student continues to feel her/his dismissal is unwarranted and cannot be resolved through the discussion provided for in 1 above, the student shall forward a written request for review of her/his dismissal to the Department Chair. The letter should outline the grievances in reasonable detail. In addition, the student should choose two graduate faculty members1 and one graduate student (from those eligible to serve on such committees; see item 3 below), to form a review committee.
  3. Any faculty member in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and is affiliated with the Mechanical Engineering Program, or any Mechanical Engineering graduate student with at least 15 semester hours graduate credit earned at The University of Iowa may be requested to serve as a member of an academic dismissal review committee.
  4. The Department Chair shall designate a chair of the review committee from those committee members identified by the student.
  5. The review committee chair shall convene the committee as soon as possible. Normally it is expected that the review process will be completed within two weeks of its formal initiation by the student.
  6. The student requesting the review shall have the opportunity to discuss the grievances directly with the committee and provide any supporting material relevant to the review.
  7. The review committee shall then determine what additional information or consultation is necessary to complete their review.
  8. Upon review of relevant information, the review committee shall communicate their findings and recommendations in writing to the student and the Department Chair. The committee's report should include the major considerations leading to the decision.
  9. Final decision will be made by the Department Chair, after giving due consideration to the Committee's report.
  10. If the student is dissatisfied with the decision by the Department Chair, he or she may elect to pursue further action through the Graduate College in accordance with the procedures of the Graduate College.

Policy on graduate student academic misconduct

The Department of Mechanical Engineering endorses the rights of all students as published in the "Policies and Regulations Affecting Students" at The University of Iowa. Under Section I of the "Code of Student Life" which appears in that document, academic misconduct is defined as:

"Academic dishonesty, including the acquisition of honors, awards, certification or professional endorsement, degrees, academic credits, or grades by means of cheating, plagiarism, or falsification with respect to any examination, paper, project, application, recommendation, transcript, or test, or by any other dishonest means whatsoever, or aiding or abetting another student to do so."

Mechanical Engineering graduate students routinely incur a wide range of academic responsibilities during their normal classroom, library, office and research laboratory activities, and failure to discharge these responsibilities in an ethical and professional manner may lead to charges of academic misconduct. Such charges may include, but are not limited to, allegations of fraud, plagiarism, cheating and abuses of confidentiality.

Fraud usually involves the fabrication or falsification of data. Plagiarism is the use of another person's words, ideas, or data without proper attribution. Cheating may involve the dishonest use of another person's words, ideas or data in violation of established rules of conduct, or participating in such activities. Abuses of confidentiality may occur, for example, when confidential information (e.g., unpublished data, manuscripts or grants proposals) is disclosed or used without proper authorization.

The following procedure applies to all cases where Mechanical Engineering graduate students are alleged to have committed an act of academic misconduct at The University of Iowa.
  1. Allegation of Academic Misconduct
    An allegation of graduate student academic misconduct may apply to any academic situation, and may be made by any person with knowledge of such misconduct. The person making the allegation shall submit a timely written report to the Mechanical Engineering (ME) Chair that summarizes all pertinent information and includes any supporting evidence.
  2. Initial Review and Response
    The ME Chair shall review the written allegation and any supporting evidence, and subsequently discuss the case with both the person making the allegation and with the accused graduate student. Based on the results of this preliminary fact-finding investigation, the ME Chair shall make a judgment as to the existence of a reasonable basis to believe that the alleged academic misconduct occurred. If the ME Chair decides that there is no such reasonable basis, the allegation is dismissed and the matter is closed. If the ME Chair decides that there is such a reasonable basis, the allegation shall be forwarded, with supporting evidence, to the ME Graduate Committee for formal review and judgment.
  3. Formal Review and Judgment
    The Chair of the ME Graduate Committee, upon receipt of the written allegation and any supporting evidence together with notification that a formal review and judgment are required, During their consideration of the case, the augmented ME Graduate Committee shall review the written allegation and any supporting evidence, interview the accused graduate student, and confer with any other persons they deem it appropriate to consult.
    Following their investigation, the augmented ME Graduate Committee shall prepare a timely written report that summarizes its findings, renders its judgment as to what administrative action is appropriate, and notifies the accused graduate student of the right to appeal that action. This report shall be submitted to the ME Chair, with copies sent to the accused graduate student and to the Dean of the Graduate College.
    Due to the serious nature of academic misconduct, appropriate action may include, but is not limited to, such sanctions as a grade of F on an assignment or in a course, termination of a teaching assistant or research assistant appointment, dismissal from the ME graduate program, dismissal from the Graduate College of The University of Iowa, or some combination thereof.
  4. Appeal and Final Decision
    The accused student may appeal the findings and/or judgment of the augmented ME Graduate Committee. Such an appeal must be timely, and must include a written statement submitted to the Dean of the Graduate College, upon receipt of this formal written appeal, shall notify the ME Chair that a formal appeal has been made and describe the nature of that appeal. In consultation with appropriate constituencies (e.g., an ad hoc appeals committee), the Dean of the Graduate College shall consider and act on the appeal in a fair and timely manner, and notify both the accused student and the ME Chair of the final disposition of the case.
    If the judgment of the augmented ME Graduate Committee is not appealed, that judgment shall constitute the official administrative response to the allegation of academic misconduct. If the judgment of the augmented ME Graduate Committee is appealed, the decision made by the Dean of the Graduate College shall constitute the official administrative response to the allegation of academic misconduct.
    Every effort should be made to resolve allegations of graduate student academic misconduct expeditiously, fairly, and with due regard for confidentiality. Full consideration of any given case, from the time of submission of the initial written report by the person making the allegation, to the time when the matter is finally resolve, normally should be completed within six weeks. If the allegation of academic misconduct is substantiated, a copy of all written documentation and associated evidence shall be kept in the graduate student's personal file in the ME Department Office where access is protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (Buckley Amendment). If a substantiated allegation of academic misconduct requires subsequent notification of persons or agencies other than those directly involved in the case, such notification shall be the responsibility of the graduate student. If adequate and timely notification is not provided by the graduate student, such notification will be provided by the Dean of the Graduate College in consultation with the ME Chair.
    If the allegation of graduate student academic misconduct is not substantiated, every effort should be made to restore fully the reputation of the graduate student. In addition, appropriate action should be taken against any person whose involvement in an unsubstantiated allegation of academic misconduct was demonstrated to have been malicious or intentionally dishonest.