The Computer Sciences Department Rules to Live By

November 2, 2008

The Computer Sciences Department is a community of scholars and students. Each of us thrives if the community thrives. Each of us thus has an individual responsibility to strive, not just for our own goals, but for the goals of the larger community. In this document, a group of the faculty have laid out a set of ground rules designed to make our department the kind of community in which we all want to live. If a professor in one of your classes has pointed you here, you should view this document as part of the syllabus for that class.

As a Student, What You Can Expect from Your Department

I. The CS Curriculum

II. Each Class that You Take

III. Responsiveness from the Instructional Staff

IV. Grades

As a Student, What the Department Can Expect from You

I. Academic Honesty

The University and the Department are committed to preserving the reputation of your degree. It means a lot to you. In order to guarantee that every degree means what it says it means, we must enforce a strict policy that guarantees that the work that you turn in is your own and that the grades you receive measure your personal achievements in your classes:

Every piece of work that you turn in with your name on it must be yours and yours alone unless explicitly allowed by an instructor in a particular class. Specifically, unless otherwise authorized by an instructor:


You are responsible for complying with this policy in two ways:

1.      You must not turn in work that is not yours, except as expressly permitted by the instructor of each course.

2.      You must take all reasonable precautions to prevent your work from being stolen.It is important that you do nothing that would enable someone else to turn in work that is not theirs.Do not share your work with anyone else.Make sure that you adequately protect all your files.Even after you have finished a class, do not share your work or published answers with the students who come after you.They need to do their work on their own.

IMPORTANT: The penalty for academic dishonesty will be a course grade of F and a referral of the case to the Dean of Students Office. Further penalties, including suspension or expulsion from the University may be imposed by that office.

One final word: This policy is not intended to discourage students from learning from each other, nor is it unmindful of the fact that most significant work in computer science and in the computing industry is done by teams of people working together. But, because of our need to assign individual grades, we are forced to impose an otherwise artificial requirement for individual work. In some classes, it is possible to allow and even encourage collaboration in ways that do not interfere with the instructor's ability to assign grades. In these cases, your instructor will make clear to you exactly what kinds of collaboration are allowed for that class.

II. Attendance at Classes and Exams

III. Classroom Behavior

IV. Academic Work outside the Classroom

V. Faculty and Staff Interaction

Your instructor, plus any TAs and/or proctors assigned to your class will work as a team to help you learn. But you need to interact with them in a reasonable way. Specifically:

Excuses such as, "My email box was full", "I don't use that email address any more", "I was too busy to check my email", "I was on an interview trip and couldn't check my email", or "My computer crashed and all of my email was destroyed" aren't acceptable.

VI. Grades