Bath Spa University

Academic Policies

Academic Policy

We have created document templates and handbooks for the below sections. To download a copy of these handbooks, please visit the Academic Policy Handbooks section of the staff intranet (login required).

To request a copy of any of these materials, please contact academicpolicy@bathspa.ac.uk.

The purpose of the collaborative provision handbook is to provide information and guidance on the processes that are in place for

  • Establishing new partnerships
  • The means by which partners are approved to deliver programmes in collaboration with the University
  • Ongoing quality management and operational support of all partners.

All forms relevant to the process are included as part of the handbook.

Our guidance on External Examiners and their role and processes within the University can be found in the External examiner handbook.

It contains guidance on how to nominate and appoint an external examiner (including nomination forms), information about their role, the annual reporting process and the role of the School.

The modifications process enables staff to make amendments to their programmes or to existing modules, to add new modules or delete obsolete ones. Modifications can only be made at specific times during the academic year.

For details of the process please refer to the Modifications handbook.

The design of new programmes is undertaken by a programme design team. The process makes provision for consultation with key internal stakeholders who can advise on planning for delivery and detailed programme design. For details of the process please refer to the Programme design handbook.

The University recognises that, occasionally, it may be necessary and/or appropriate to cease offering a named award (including a pathway or mode of delivery). This may take the form of a suspension of recruitment, which is for a maximum of one year, or discontinuation of the named award.

For details of this process please refer to the Suspension of recruitment and discontinuation of a named award handbook.

The Quality and Standards checks are the University’s approach to monitoring. As a bi-annual process, it is a fundamental part of the academic year cycle and provides opportunity for enhancement and the sharing of good practice.

For further details of this process, please refer to the Quality and standards checks handbook.


Student Engagement and Attendance Policy

The purpose of this policy is to offer guidance on the Attendance Monitoring system, and outline the expectations and responsibilities of both students and staff in regards to attendance and engagement.

Introduction
Bath Spa University recognises that regular attendance and active engagement with teaching and learning is an essential component of successful student retention, progression, achievement and employability. The Student Attendance Monitoring system has been developed as a useful tool for identifying problems at an early stage so that students can be offered appropriate support. This system supports the University’s commitment to provide a high quality student experience and to create a supportive learning environment which enables all students to complete their studies and achieve their full potential.

The University expects all students to engage fully with their studies and to attend all timetabled sessions associated with the course on which they are enrolled. Full and active participation provides students with opportunities to develop the skills and knowledge needed to successfully complete their course. To this end, students are expected to:

  • organise their personal, social, work, residential and other arrangements to facilitate attendance and engagement, as required by their specific program of study;
  • attend all timetabled sessions, which may include lectures, tutorials, workshops, labs, placements, site visits, and in the case of research students, scheduled meetings with supervisors;
  • arrive on time for sessions and remain for the duration of the session;
  • participate fully in group work and group meetings, as required by their course of study;
  • notify their module tutors in advance if they expect to be absent from any module event.

It is not normally expected that students pursuing Undergraduate and Graduate programmes will be absent during term-time. Any leave or holiday must always be taken outside of term time – please refer to published academic calendar.

Students who have an unavoidable absence from their studies for any period of time must inform the University immediately. While absence notifications may be taken into account when considering a student’s overall attendance profile, as the University expects all enrolled students to be fit to study, it does not guarantee that no further action will be taken.

If students are experiencing serious personal, financial or medical difficulties that are disrupting their attendance, they will normally be advised to intercalate (that is, take a break from their studies).

For periods of absence between one and four weeks:

  • Students should refer to the University’s Mitigating Circumstances policy
  • Students should speak with members of academic and/or support staff to negotiate an appropriate study plan
  • For absences longer than 7 days, a student must also submit to the Head of Admissions a medical certificate or other third part evidence in support of their absence

 

For period of absence longer than four weeks:

  • It may be deemed in the best interest of the student to intercalate their studies and return at a specified time in the future, normally in the following academic year, that will enable the student to resume the programme appropriately
  • Academic staff may seek advice and guidance from Heads of Academics and Head of Admissions, including:
    • advice on personal matters if the student has given consent to discuss
    • advice on referrals to University services
  • Advice may also be sought from the Student

If it is considered that a student is not engaging with their studies or not undertaking the requisite assessments, they will enter an escalation process. The student will receive the following notifications from the Admissions Department:

  • Engagement Notification 1: Normally sent via email to their BSU and personal accounts, this communication will notify the student of concerns regarding engagement with studies and will signpost support facilities that may be of use and information about mitigating circumstance and intercalation processes.
  • Engagement Notification 2: If a student’s engagement does not improve following Engagement Notification 1, they may receive a second communication from the University, normally via email to their BSU and personal email accounts, outlining the next steps in the process. This communication will again include details of support available but will also inform the student that a continued lack of participation may result in consideration of a range of options, including intercalation, withdrawal, suspension or even exclusion. Students will be asked to reply to this email within a set timeframe.
  • Participation Meeting: If the pattern of engagement does not show significant improvement after Engagement Notification has been received, students may be required to attend a meeting to discuss their situation with appropriate members of staff. At this meeting an action plan to re-engage them with their studies may be agreed.

If a student does not attend or rearrange the Participation Meeting, or if an action plan is put in place but not adhered to, the student’s case may be referred to the Heads of Academics and the Admission for consideration of further action.

If the University has concerns for the wellbeing of a student, every effort will be made by Head of Admissions along with the relevant Head of Academics to put in place appropriate support mechanisms.

Note: Students who are repeating the year have been granted the opportunity to do so on the basis that they are ‘fit to study’ and engage fully with their course. If repeat year students are not engaging as expected, they may more quickly progress to the Participation Meeting stage.


Academic misconduct (unfair practice)

Bath Spa University emphasises the need for academic integrity at all times. This means that students are expected to be honest in their studies, acknowledging the work of others where appropriate and giving credit where they have legitimately used other people’s ideas as part of presenting their own work
Bath Spa University is clear that all students will be judged on their own ability and that all assessment work submitted must be original. Academic Misconduct is defined as any activity used by a student which provides them with an unfair academic advantage over others. Academic Misconduct is sometimes called ‘unfair practice’ or ‘cheating’. The University regulations pertaining to Academic Misconduct can be reviewed in Section 11 of the University’s Academic Regulations. Academic Misconduct is different from Poor Academic Practice, which the University defines as a minor breach of standard academic conventions, such as poorly attributed or incorrect referencing, or limited over-reliance on reference material, usually resulting from a misunderstanding or lack of confidence in conventions and where there is clearly no intention to deceive. Poor academic practice will be dealt with as part of the marking and feedback process, as it represents a failure to follow assessment and marking criteria. You’re expected to present your own words, your own analysis and your own arguments in your work. It is acceptable to use the work of others to support arguments and analysis, and tutors will be able to inform you as to what constitutes good practice and give help with conventions such as referencing and the provision of footnotes. If you’re in any doubt about what constitutes good practice and what constitutes plagiarism, you’re advised to consult your tutors for advice. It’s also recommended that you seek advice from the Writing and Learning Centre regarding academic writing and referencing. Where cases of Academic Misconduct are suspected, the University will follow the Academic Misconduct Policy outlined below. Students should be in no doubt that Academic Misconduct is regarded as a very serious offence in higher education. Pleas that a student was not aware of the offence or its consequences, or didn’t understand what constitutes Academic Misconduct, won’t be accepted under any circumstances. Academic Misconduct will result in a penalty even when it’s unintended or unwitting. Students should be aware that an Academic Misconduct case can be opened at any time, even if the student has graduated and is no longer a current student.
Bath Spa University is a member of the Turnitin UK Service and uses this service to aid Academic Misconduct detection. All student work is fed through the online Turnitin system, which compares the document against a database of billions of internet pages, previous student papers and journals (amongst others). Turnitin provides an originality report for each document uploaded to it, which shows the level of similarity with other sources. Plagiarism detection is not limited to the use of Turnitin. Tutors will also look to evidence of the following:
  • Plagiarism from published texts (not necessarily available online)
  • Similarities with the work of other students which may suggest collusion
  • Content that appears to be clearly beyond the known capabilities of a student
  • Work that’s expressed in a style which does not match the known writing or language abilities of a student.
Academic Misconduct may take a variety of forms, and the following explains some of the most common types of Academic Misconduct. This list is not definitive; any activity which meets the University’s definition of Academic Misconduct may be considered under this policy.

Penalties for Academic misconduct

Where an accusation of unfair practice has been substantiated to the satisfaction of the Academic Misconduct Panel, the accusation is said to be established. In determining the appropriate penalty, the Academic Misconduct Panel will usually consider the following:

  • The degree of deception involved
  • Whether the student has been subject to a previous accusation of Academic Misconduct
  • The level of study
  • The extent of the Academic Misconduct
  • Any admission and/or explanation by the student of the Academic Misconduct.

It’s possible that additional factors may be considered when determining the appropriate penalty, if these are deemed relevant by the Academic Misconduct Panel.

Students should be aware that an established accusation of Academic Misconduct may lead to severe consequences for the career prospects for a student on a course which has a particular focus on honesty, integrity and ethical behaviour.

The University has published a table of categories, which dictates the penalties available to the Academic Misconduct Panel. As many variables are taken into consideration by the Panel when determining an appropriate penalty, it’s not possible to provide a definitive list of offences and the penalty these will incur. The following table is therefore intended to provide an indicative estimation only.

Indicative level of offenceExampleIndicative penalty category
Minor
  • Poor referencing
  • Very minor plagiarism
0-1
Moderate
  • Repeated minor misconduct
  • Sustantial portions of directly copied / unreferenced text
2-5
Severe*
  • Stealing an exam paper
  • Purchasing essays
  • Falsifying research data
6-7

Students should note that, at Penalty Category 4 and above, the consequences will include a permanent record on the student’s transcript, and the requirement that any capped mark (which may be zero) must count for classification purposes (above Level 4).

Students should be aware that, if the module to which an Academic Misconduct penalty has been applied is subsequently failed, the penalty will be carried over and will apply to whatever module is added to a student’s record as a result of the failed module.

Students should be aware that instances of very severe Academic Misconduct may additionally lead to disciplinary action.

The full list of Academic Misconduct penalty categories can be found in the Academic Misconduct Penalties (.pdf).

Where Academic Misconduct is suspected, the tutor(s) should complete a copy of the form below, summarising the nature of the offence and providing appropriate evidence (e.g. colour Turnitin Report showing similarity scores). This should be emailed to Student and Registry Services (mystudents@bathspa.ac.uk).

Student and Registry Services will contact the student by email, attaching the report and a copy of the Academic Misconduct policy, and requiring a written response by a specified date. Students are given ten working days to respond to the accusation. The tutor(s) will be asked to comment on the student’s response.

The Academic Misconduct Panel will consider all aspects of the case, including the report from the tutor(s), any response from the student and any subsequent comments from the tutor(s).

Where Academic Misconduct is suspected, it is important for the tutor(s) to submit a report and evidence to Student and Registry Services within a suitable timeframe to enable the Academic Misconduct Panel to receive sufficient evidence to fully consider the case and to advise the next University Assessment Board of the Panel’s decision.

When students receive a copy of the Academic Misconduct accusation, they’re advised that they may request a meeting with their tutor(s) to discuss the matter. It’s recommended that at least two members of staff should be present at the meeting and a written record taken.

If tutors have any additional questions about the procedures for dealing with accusations of Academic Misconduct, the’re encouraged to contact Student and Registry Services via email: mystudents@bathspa.ac.uk or telephone +44 (0)1225 876115.

Stage Two: Review

If you wish to request a review of the decision of the Academic Misconduct Panel, please submit this request by email to university.secretary@bathspa.ac.uk within ten working days from the date of written notification of the Panel outcome. Further details are available on the University’s Appeal Policy and Procedure.


Students Policy

The student agreement is an important document that will guide you through what the University expects from you as a student, and what you can come to expect from us as a University. If you have any questions regarding this document, you can contact your current student representative through the link below.

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is submitting the work or ideas of someone else as your own, without appropriate referencing. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Copying sections from one or more books / articles / other published sources without acknowledgement of the source(s). It’s still plagiarism if you reproduce sections from several sources rather than one.
  • Excessive dependence upon one or a limited number of sources is plagiarism if the sources are inadequately referenced, even if the original text has been paraphrased.
  • Copying from other members while working in a group.
  • Submitting your own previous work (in whole or in part) from another course / module, even if this is from a different institution. This is sometimes known as ‘self-plagiarism’ or ‘double-counting’.
  • Submitting the work of any third party, including students and former students.

Impersonation is submitting work prepared by another person for assessment purposes. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Purchasing essays
  • Writing an assessment for another student.

Collusion is the failure to work independently, where this is required, and passing the work off as your own individual effort.

Students should note that collusion is different to collaboration and some assignments may specify that students should work together and submit joint work. Students should never submit joint work unless it is clearly stated as a requirement in the module’s written documentation, and, in such cases, students should always seek clarification from their tutors as to the level of collaboration that is acceptable.

All students implicated in a case of collusion will be considered as having breached Academic Practice, even when one student is believed to have copied from another. This is because the act of not adequately securing your work or sharing / showing someone else your work can make you culpable for collusion. Only where students can provide clear proof that their work has been stolen or otherwise acquired without their consent may they be exonerated from the accusation of collusion.

Exam misconduct means breaching exam regulations to gain an unfair advantage. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Use of unauthorised technology during the exam
  • Use of unauthorised notes / other aids
  • Refusing to hand in your paper at the allocated time
  • Impersonation in exams.

Falsification means submitting data, observations or other research in assessed work which has been either fabricated or falsified.


Policy Themes

*The Contract Management Policy will not apply to Bath Spa University precedent contracts (such as contracts of employment) that: (i) have been approved as an exception by the University Secretary pursuant to the Financial Regulations; and (ii) have not been substantially varied.