Higher Learning Commission
Chapter 3. Criterion 2. Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct
The institution acts with integrity; its conduct is ethical and responsible.
2.A. The institution operates with integrity in its financial, academic, personnel, and auxiliary functions; it establishes and follows fair and ethical practices and processes for its governing board, administration, faculty and staff.
The institution operates with integrity in its financial, academic, personnel, and auxiliary functions; it establishes and follows fair and ethical policies and processes for its governing board, administration, faculty and staff. The University of Central Missouri is committed to the enforcement of the highest standards of ethical conduct and integrity to provide the public it serves with the utmost confidence in the organization, educational services, administrative business processes, financial management, and the quality of reported information. Furthermore, UCM employees have a responsibility to the students, parents, donors, and other citizens of the state of Missouri to use University resources prudently, ethically, for the purposes which they are intended, and in full compliance with all laws and regulations. All members of the UCM community are expected to adhere to the set of UCM policies and procedures as approved by the UCM Board of Governors, president, or provost. The Academic Procedures and Regulations and a more exhaustive list of University Procedures and Guidelines may be easily accessed on UCM's website.
UCM's operations and programs are guided by policies and procedures easily accessible to students, faculty, staff, and external constituents. Central employs a Policy Officer to manage policy development and to disseminate the body of evolving policy. The Policy Officer is a direct report to the General Counsel. The UCM Board of Governors exercises authority independent of Boards for other colleges and universities in the State of Missouri (RSMo, Chapter 172 and 174). The Board of Governors' Policy Manual appears first on the University Policy Office web page which also includes those derivative sources of policy that further describe operations and programs that ensure the practice of institutional integrity. Examples include: UCM Procedures and Guidelines; Faculty Guide; Human Resource Procedure Manual; Title IX; and the Student Handbook. New faculty, staff, and students learn about the Board of Governors' Policy Manual through orientation sessions and references in written materials.
The UCM Board of Governors' Policy Manual provides guidance in relation to the financial, academic, personnel, and auxiliary functions of the University. Guidelines for the fiduciary functions are covered by six policies in the Board of Governors' manual, within Chapter 4, Finance and Administration. The Chief Financial Officer manages the fiscal policy. Academic guidelines are provided in Chapter 3, Academic Affairs. Specific academic policies that impact faculty are covered in Chapter 2, Section 2 of the Board of Governors' manual, in the faculty guide, and the various Academic Procedures and Regulations. Information about policies is easily accessible electronically and, for the most part, with minimum delay.
Polices and guidelines aimed at ensuring fair and ethical practices for the University's governing board are included in Chapter 1, Board Operations, of the BOG policy manual. Included therein are also policies related to UCM's ethics. Some policies are more difficult to locate or less consistent in providing readily accessible answers to likely questions, e.g., policies regarding student fees for a particular major, or listing of faculty credentials in a specific college. Those have been identified and noted in the sections below, along with recommended strategies for improving policy access.
The purpose of UCM's Ethics Policy is to clarify the University's standard of ethical conduct for all University of Central Missouri employees. This ethics policy is supported by an ethic procedure which may be found at http://www.ucmo.edu/upo/guide/policy.cfm?upoID=ethicproc. Policy and procedures are included in the following manuals (which may be available only in electronic form accessible online):
- Board of Governors' Policy Manual
- UCM Procedures and Guidelines
- Human Resources Procedure Manual
- Faculty Guide
- MOU UCM and MO Educations Workers Local No. 1/AFSCME, Local 577
- Purchasing & Property Control Manual
- Student Handbook
The above-referenced manuals and handbooks have been listed for the convenience of employees but should not be considered an inclusive list. Employees are encouraged to contact the Policy Office, the Office of the General Counsel or the relevant University office or division when questions arise regarding policy and procedures. Additional guidance is provided for reporting, fact finding, enforcement, and the appeal process.
This Human Resources Procedures Manual (formerly known as the Staff Handbook) is a compilation of Board of Governors' Policies, University Procedures, and Human Resources Operating Procedures. It has been developed to help employees be aware of what can be expected from the University and what the University expects of its employees. Information given here is not intended to create an employment contract, nor is it intended to constitute a contractual obligation by the employee or the University. Special notations are made for those Policies and Procedures which are under current review or revision. UCM sends ethics policies every year to all staff employees via a link to a web application.
University of Central Missouri is an "at will" employer which means that UCM reserves the ability to terminate the employment of any Central Missouri employee as permitted under Missouri law. Employees, likewise, have the ability to terminate employment unless contractually bound.
In addition, UCM has a whistle blower policy. This policy is designed to protect a person who witnesses or has evidence of personal appropriation of University resources or a violation while employed with the University. If the individual communicates, in good faith, or testifies to, the appropriation of University resources or violation, verbally or in writing, to one of the employee's superiors, to an agent of the University or to an appropriate authority, provided that the communication is made prior to any adverse action by the employer, the individual is protected.
Institutional memberships in the American Council on Education, Association of American Colleges and Universities, Association of Governing Boards of Universities, Center for Academic Integrity, and the Council on Undergraduate Research afford multiple opportunities for the University to keep current with emerging new policy developments.
Central is committed to equity of treatment, nondiscrimination, and affirmative action as means to building a diverse educational community. This commitment is affirmed in Central's Core Values and The Central Community Creed. Two of Central's Core Values, diversity and community, promote an environment of inclusiveness, responsibility, and tolerance. The Central Community Creed, adopted in January 1998 and approved by the UCM Board of Governors in February 2003, outlines seven principles that provide a framework to guide individual behavior and create an equitable, civil, and responsible community.
The Search Box on the UCM home page provides directions to web pages that address all of the major issues related to ethical and responsible behavior within the University. The Academic Honesty Policy may be found in the UCM Student Planner/Handbook and is posted on the Student Experience & Engagement (formerly 'Student Affairs') website. The Conflict of Interest Policy and the Discrimination Policy are both listed on the University Policy Office website, in the subsection, Procedures and Guidelines. In addition, there is an official form to complete in cases of discrimination.
The University responds to formal grievances and complaints in a timely manner pursuant to the stated policies of the University. However, the University could benefit by more systematically analyzing the basis for grievances with the aim of addressing problems that may be the source of repeated or frequent grievances. Staffs from units such as the Office of Human Resources, Office of Accessibility Services, Office of Student Experience and Engagement, Provost Office, Office of Student Financial Services, and the Campus Advocate address the vast majority of student complaints and grievances.
The UCM Foundation maintains several policies with respect to the types of gifts accepted, how gifts are invested, how proceeds from investments are utilized, and how donor agreements are structured. The policies include the Gift Acceptance Policy, the Investment and Spending Policy: Funds Functioning as Endowments, the Investment and Spending Policy: Split-Interest Agreements, the Investment Policy: Expendable Funds, and the Conflicts of Interest Policy.
Additional information related to institutional integrity and ethical/responsible conduct is available from many sources, including the web pages for numerous units throughout the UCM website, University departmental literature, policy manuals, and catalogs. The University goes to great lengths to ensure that stakeholders gain policy awareness and to protect its ethical integrity.
In sum, UCM operates with integrity and acts responsibly with regard to its varied stakeholders and constituencies. It has many policies, procedures, and protocols to regulate and safeguard the behavior of its governing body, as well as its students, faculty, administrators, staff, and auxiliary parties. A multitude of materials, including hundreds of websites and documents provide evidence in support of this conclusion.
2.B. The institution presents itself clearly and completely to its students and to the public with regard to its programs, requirements, faculty and staff, costs to students, control, and accreditation relationships.
In 2004, the University Relations Office implemented a branding effort for the University's web presence that included a reformatting and reorganization of the webpages. The change was much more than cosmetic. The webpages were restructured specifically with students and parents in mind. The result was a web presence with a consistent look and easy access to critical information directly from UCM's homepage.
UCM's homepage presents itself clearly and completely to its students and to the public with regard to its programs, requirements, costs to students, faculty and staff, control, and accreditation relationships. Information is clearly listed, is redundant, and can be found on many different web pages with minimal effort.
Information about the University's academic programs can be easily retrieved from our homepage by clicking on the Academics button. This immediately takes the viewer to a page listing links to information about the University's Majors, General Education, International Center, Study Abroad Opportunities, and Summer Sessions. This page also provides ready access to information about Graduate School, courses at our site in Lee's Summit, Missouri, online offerings, as well as UCM's undergraduate and graduate catalogs. The catalogs are the main source of information for students and faculty alike regarding academic programs and policies.
A click on the Admissions tab on the homepage will bring the viewer to the Undergraduate Admissions page which contains links designed to allow the user to gain ready access to admissions, program, residency requirements, etc. based on student type. Since requirements vary by student type, the left column of the page is arranged so that transfer students can access information unique to their situation as can first time freshmen. A key addition to this page is information regarding cost, which appears in the lower left of the page. The University Relations staff deliberately structured UCM's web presence to make this information as transparent and accessible as possible. High School graduates can easily find information about admissions and curriculum requirements from this location and transfer students can obtain critical information about transfer policy, transfer guides, course equivalencies, and student financial aid. Similar information can be found for Graduate Students from the homepage, as well.
The online and print version of the Undergraduate and Graduate Academic Catalogs provide full descriptions of the requirements for programs, including all prerequisite courses, broken down by major/department.
Faculty and Staff
The Faculty and Staff tab takes the user to a page containing a variety of links dealing with information sources and campus services. There are links especially for faculty and staff that provide a variety of information related to campus life, services, programs, etc. The faculty links provide direct access to the Academic Affairs/Provost page which has ready access to information on such issues as Academic Procedures and Regulations, Professional Development, Compensation, and Program Review. Overall, faculty credential information is available but sometimes takes a degree of searching or a willingness to ask questions. Developing consistent practices for posting information about faculty would enhance transparency. There are examples of Faculty Directories, such as the one from the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences that are excellent but this information is not as available as it should be, for all colleges and departments. Faculty and staff information can be easily accessed through the Campus Directory, but this search requires pre-knowledge of the faculty or staff's name.
Costs to Students
Information pertaining to costs can be accessed directly from the homepage as well and contains a Net Price Calculator that allows prospective students to estimate their total cost for the first full year. The institution presents itself clearly and completely with respect to costs and financial aid.
With the exception of the ability to access a comprehensive faculty list, all of the remaining categories of information listed above can also be accessed by means of the search function that appears at the top right of every UCM webpage, making it easy for internal and external constituents who may lack familiarity with UCM or higher education in general to find the information they seek.
The Higher Learning Commission's Mark of Affiliation is shown at the bottom of each UCM webpage right below the University's icon clearly displaying the University's accreditation. In addition, a list of accreditations is provided in the Undergraduate Catalog and Graduate Catalogs.
2.C. The Governing Board of the institution is sufficiently autonomous to make decisions in the best interest of the institution and to assure its integrity.
2.C.1. The Governing board's deliberations reflect priorities to preserve and enhance the University.
The University of Central Missouri is governed by a board known as the Board of Governors. In 1995, action taken by the Coordinating Board of Higher Education under the authority of the State of Missouri General Assembly made the University of UCM Self-Study Report 40 Central Missouri eligible for a statewide mission. At that time, the Board of Regents was abolished and the Board of Governors created.
The Board of Governors is composed of eight members. Five voting members shall be selected from the counties comprising the institution's historic statutory service region prescribed in the Revised Statutes of Missouri Chapter 174, Section 10 (174.010, RSMo). No more than two members shall be appointed from any one county with a population of less than two hundred thousand inhabitants. Two voting members shall be selected from any of the counties in the state which are outside of the institution's historic service region. One nonvoting member who is a student shall be selected in the same manner as prescribed in 174.055, RSMo.
The Board is charged by Missouri statutes to hold property in trust for the State and oversee the University. The Board President and the University President also serve as legal representatives of the University when they sign legal contracts and agreements.
The primary purpose of the Board is to ensure that the University of Central Missouri maintains an appropriate and responsible mission statement; that it is properly funded; that the institution carries out its purpose through the selection and evaluation of the University's president; and that the institution's autonomy is not intruded upon by governmental controls or special interest demands. The role of the Board is to serve as an advisor and mentor to the University President by providing insights, outside expertise, and advice regarding the future of the institution and its policies. The Board represents the University in the external community and refers external requests or comments to the proper internal channels for follow-up. The Board assists the President in articulating the University's needs to the Legislature and the taxpayers as required. Only rarely does the Board serve in its role of court of last resort; this occurs only when dismissing tenured faculty.
It is the responsibility of the Board to assume responsibility for the institution. It is the Board, as a corporate body, that has statutory power as the governing body, not individual Governors. Board members have no authority as individuals.
The responsibility of the Board can be summarized as follows:
- Approving the Mission
- Hiring and dismissing the President
- Supporting the President
- Monitoring the President's Performance
- Assessing Board Performance
- Participating in the strategic planning process
- Reviewing and approving the long range strategic plan
- Reviewing Education and Public Service Programs
- Ensuring good management practices
- Relating campus to community and community to campus
- Enhancing the public image of the University
- Ensuring institutional integrity
The powers of the Board of Governors are described in 174.457, RSMo as the same powers, duties, authority, responsibilities, privileges, immunities, liabilities, and compensation as those prescribed by the Board of Curators of the University Missouri in Chapter 172. In addition, the Governors of the University of Central Missouri retain certain authority granted through Chapter 174, RSMo. The powers granted through those laws include, but are not limited to the ability to (174.040, RSMo):
- Sue and be sued
- Complain and defend in all courts
- Take, purchase, and hold real estate and sell and convey or otherwise dispose of the same
- Condemn and appropriate real estate or other property, or any interest therein, for any public purpose within the scope of its organization, in the same manner and with like effect as provided in chapter 523, RSMo, relating to the appropriation and valuation of lands taken for telegraph, telephone, gravel and plank or railroad purposes
- Make and use a common seal and to alter the same.
Other statutory powers of the Board of Governors include, but are not limited to the following:
- General control and management of the University including adoption of rules and regulations for guidance and supervision of students, to appoint and dismiss all officers and teachers, and ability to delegate the same (172.300, RSMo)
- Regulation of the admission of students (174.130, 172.360, RSMo)
- Regulation of the terms, compensation, retirement, and workers' compensation of employees (172.300, 172.330, 172.340, RSMo)
- Determination of causes for removal of the president or a teacher (172.300, RSMo)
- Authority to confer degrees (172.280, RSMo)
The Board has the authority to make and amend rules, regulations, policies and by-laws deemed appropriate for the governance of the University and to secure its accountability (174.110, RSMo).
The University of Central Missouri Board of Governors is composed of eight members. Each of the Governors is appointed by the Governor of Missouri and confirmed by the Senate; one of them is a non-voting student member.
The officers of the Board include President, Vice President, and Secretary elected from within the membership by majority vote of the Board of Governors, and Treasurer and Assistant Secretary elected from outside the Board membership by a majority vote of the Board of Governors (see 174.080, RSMo). According to Board action, the Board will reorganize annually during the June meeting.
The Board President annually makes appointments from the Board of Governors membership to include service on the Academic Affairs, Student and Alumni Affairs, and Administration and Finance Committees. A liaison representative from within the Board membership is also appointed by the President of the Governors to the University of Central Missouri Foundation and any other groups or organizations deemed appropriate.
Board members may act as a Committee of the whole when necessary. However, working committees have been established by the Board of Governors to make reports and recommendations to the entire Board. The Board President makes committee appointments annually and announces the Chairs and committee members at the first meeting following the instatement of new officers. When new Board members are qualified later than the annual appointment of committees, the Board president will appoint them to committee memberships at the meeting following taking office. Members of the President's Strategic Leadership Team may serve as liaison representatives for the Committees as determined and assigned by the University President. The following committees have been established to ensure the efficient function of the Board of Governors and University constituents:
Board of Governors' Executive Committee
The Board President serves as the Chair of the Board of Governors' Executive Committee, which includes as members, the Vice President of the Board of Governors, the University President, and the Assistant Secretary to the Board. The Assistant Secretary to the Board serves as a non-voting member of the Board of Governors' Executive Committee. Executive Committee meetings are open meetings unless circumstances dictate they be closed as permitted by law.
Board Committee on Academic Affairs
The Academic Affairs Committee is the principal arm of the Board to advise the Board concerning the nature and extent of educational needs and wants of targeted populations, periodically reviewing the educational programs of the University and identifying the gaps between what is needed and what is currently being provided; identifying educational program goals; and formulating courses of action to coordinate the fulfillment of unmet needs.
Board Committee on Student Engagement and Advancement
The Student Engagement and Advancement committee is critical in the assessment of the University's effectiveness with regard to the student experience. It oversees the establishment and operation of a program evaluation process assuring that such process is integrated with the program and budget planning process of the University, studies the nature and extent of educational needs and desires of students, and makes sure the quality of life for students is the best possible.
Board Committee on Administration and Finance
The Board Committee on Finance and Administration ensures the University's accounting system operates in the most effective and practical manner possible; that it meets all of its legal requirements; that proper records are kept, reports issued, audits are periodically performed; and that audit findings are compiled expeditiously. It monitors and reports to the Board on monthly financial reports. This committee also assists in the budget planning and review process. The Board of Governors meets as a committee of the whole each year to review the annual budget prior to its presentation for approval at the Plenary Session.
Other Board Committees
Other special committees and subcommittees (including advisory, ad hoc, etc.) may be established, but are temporary and expire at the end of the charge, or at the end of the calendar year in which they were created, unless renewed by appointment of the incoming presiding officer or a majority vote of the Board present and voting at a regular meeting. This committee structure has served the Board well and has resulted in many strategic initiatives that have addressed governance, resource, and positioning enhancements for UCM.
The Board regularly receives reports and updates regarding the University's strategic positioning, Strategic Governance for Student Success, and University priorities, such as enrollment and the development of the Institutional Dashboard and Metrics. More recently, the Board has received regular updates about the Learning to a Greater Degree Contract and Missouri Innovation Campus. These updates are reflected in meeting minutes.
2.C.2. The Governing Board reviews and considers the reasonable and relevant interests of the institution's internal and external constituencies during its decision- making deliberations.
UCM Board members are expected to:
- Establish expectations for the organization
- Create a process to evaluate the functions of the Board
- Create and support strategies for setting goals and developing strategies for carrying out the mission of the University
- Accept, follow, and abide by the legal and financial responsibilities of the Board as specified in Board policies and bylaws, state statutes and regulations
- Carefully prepare for, regularly attend, and actively participate in Board meetings and committee assignments
- Suggest agenda items periodically for Board and committee meetings to ensure that significant policy-related matters are addressed
- Devote time to learn how the institution functions - its uniqueness, strengths, and needs - its place in post-secondary education
- Vote according to one's individual convictions, to challenge the judgment of others when necessary; yet be willing to support the decision of the Board and work with fellow Board members in a spirit of cooperation once decisions are made
- Recognize that the Board President alone speaks for the Board when board decisions are made, and that other Board members maintain the confidential nature of Board deliberations by not acting as a spokesperson for the entire Board unless specifically authorized to do so
- Understand the role of the Board as a policy-making body and avoid participation in administration of policy
- Comply with conflict of interest and disclosure policies governing the Board
- Refrain from actions and involvement that might prove embarrassing to the institution and to resign if such actions or involvement develop
- Make judgments always on the basis of what is best for the institution as a whole and for the advancement of higher education rather than to serve a special interest
- Avoid prejudiced judgments on the basis of information received from individuals on and off campus, and urge those with real or perceived grievances to follow established policies and procedures through their supervisors (all matters of potential significance should be called to the attention of the University President and Board President)
- Avoid placing or seeming to place pressure of any kind on individual students, faculty, staff, or administrators
UCM Board members do review and consider the reasonable and relevant interests of the institution's internal and external constituencies during its deliberations. Three recent examples provide a clear demonstration of the Board's willingness to review and consider the interests of University stakeholders within its decision-making deliberations. The first example is from 2012 when the University was considering a new campus Tobacco Policy. Board members were briefed on campus research and discussions. In addition, Board members were able to ask questions and seek feedback from the staff and faculty that were part of the Tobacco Policy Committee. The second example is from 2013 as the University was considering a two-year residency requirement for incoming freshman students. The Board heard testimony from rental property owners about the economic impact of this policy during its deliberations. The third example is from 2013 when the University was considering modifications to its Health Insurance Benefit Plan. Faculty and staff had an opportunity to express concerns about a proposal to require employee participation in the annual Health Risk Assessment program.
The Board of Governors regularly receives and considers reports from the University governance boards to include the Student Government Association, Faculty Senate, Professional Staff Council, and Support Staff Council. The Board also receives updates from state legislators as needed.
The governing board reviews and considers the reasonable and relevant interests of the institution's internal and external constituencies during its decision-making deliberations.
2.C.3. The Governing Board Preserves its Independence from Undue Influence on the Part of Donors, Elected Officials, Ownership Interests, or other External Parties When Such Influence Would Not Be in the Best Interest on the Institution.
Missouri Revised State Statutes (Chapters 172 and 174) set forth various conflict, recusal, confidentiality, and open records policies that govern the work of the UCM Board. All Board members are subject to various state requirements by virtue of their service upon the Board of Governors.
All Board members are subject to the Missouri Ethics Law. This law requires that all Board members file a financial disclosure statement with the Missouri Ethics Commission within 30 days of appointment and by May 1st every year. Board members who fail to do so are subject to state fines. The statement is kept confidential unless the Commission determines there may be a conflict of interest between the member's duties as a Board member and his or her other interests. If this determination is made, the Commission will notify the person filing the statement and make the portions of the disclosure statement that indicates a potential conflict of interest subject to public inspection.
The Board is also subject to the Missouri Sunshine Law. This law requires any meeting of the Board of Governors at which a quorum is present to be open to the public and properly advertised. The law also prescribes specific reasons for which a Closed Session may be held. Discussion in Closed Session must not range beyond the statutory topics eligible for closure.
Since the Governors are fiduciaries that must exercise special care and loyalty in overseeing University affairs, the duties of care and loyalty prohibit Governors from being influenced by or from influencing the University's affairs. A Governor or his/her immediate family may not benefit personally at the expense of the University. Conflicts may exist even though the Governor involved cannot possibly receive any direct or indirect financial benefit. Therefore, the Board adheres to its conflict of interest policy (Board of Governors' Policy 1.1.040), which applies to the University as well (174.220, 105.452, and 105.454, RSMo).
It is imperative that Governors, as those entrusted with the fiduciary responsibility of the public trust, never have or appear to have, dealings that would conflict with the best interest of the University or which would accrue to their personal interest.
Although such potential conflicts are and will be deemed inconsequential, everyone has the responsibility to ensure that the Board is made aware of situations that involve personal, familial, or business relationships that could be troublesome for the University.
As outlined in Board of Governors Policy 1.1.040, conflict of interest is defined as any situation in which a Board member's judgment or conduct in the performance of his or her official duties for the University would be influenced, could be influenced, or would give the appearance of being influenced by the Board member's familial, personal, or business relationship with a third party, or any situation that would be deemed a conflict of interest under the laws of the United State or the laws of the State of Missouri. A familial relationship that is not within the fourth degree of consanguinity or where affinity on the basis of consanguinity or affinity will not be considered a conflict of interest.
Members of the Board of Governors who have declared or been found to have a conflict of interest shall excuse themselves from participation in or consideration of proposed transactions, unless for special reasons the Board requests the member of the Board to provide information or interpretation on the transaction. Members of the Board with conflicts shall not vote nor participate in discussion of the proposed transaction prior to the vote of the Board.
Board members discuss these policies during the New Board Member Orientation Process (see Orientation Manual) and routinely review these policies as specific issues arise.
2.C.4. The Governing Board Delegates Day-to-Day Management of the Institution to the Administration and Expects the Faculty to Oversee Academic Matters.
The UCM Board delegates the administration of the University, in all of its aspects, to the president of UCM. Board of Governors' Policy 1.2.040 describes this delegation, including the specific role and responsibilities of the UCM president. A recent example regarding the delegation of authority involves the development of the Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC). The Board has been briefed on the vision and concept since the initial discussions took place. The Board has taken action to provide its support for this important strategic initiative, however, the implementation of the strategy has rested with the president and the implementation of the academic programs that are part of the MIC, has rested with the Provost and her office.
The UCM Board also has approved policies and procedures that govern the contract and financial decision-making authority for University employees. Board of Governors' Policy 4.1.010 describes the delegation and retention of authority by the Board regarding these issues.
2.D. The institution is committed to freedom of expression and the pursuit of truth in teaching and learning.
The University of Central Missouri maintains an environment of academic freedom for all faculty, staff and students. Institutional policies and practices reflect a commitment to both freedom of expression and the pursuit of truth in teaching and learning. As UCM's Core Values document states: Responsibility: The University of Central Missouri places a high value on being ethical in all practices, and faculty members strive to impress this value upon their students. Central Missouri strives to employ the most efficient and appropriate use of fiscal and human resources in order to provide students with a quality, affordable higher education experience. Faculty and staff members value fact-based decision making through collegial deliberation.
This is reflected in the UCM Community Creed:
As a member of the Central Missouri community, I will join in building...
- A learning community, by striving for academic and personal excellence and by promoting the value of education and lifelong learning.
- An open community, by creating and maintaining effective channels of communication and by accepting and respecting individuals whose values, ideas, beliefs, and life experiences may be different from my own. UCM Self-Study Report 50
- A caring community, by seeking opportunities to serve and by supporting and affirming the well-being of others.
- A just community, by behaving in ways which are ethical, honest, equitable, trustworthy, civil, and respectful.
- A disciplined community, by seeking to understand and fulfill personal responsibilities, by upholding University guidelines and by working toward self and community betterment.
- A celebrative community, by observing and honoring existing traditions and by seeking and creating opportunities to enrich and define Central.
- A purposeful community, by helping to shape and achieve the common goals of the University of Central Missouri.
Every member of the University of Central Missouri community is governed by the Board of Governors' Non-Discrimination/Equal Opportunity Policy 1.2.150 (passed February 2001). According to this policy:
The University of Central Missouri actively follows a policy of nondiscrimination in regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, Vietnam Era veterans and persons with handicaps and disabilities. This policy applies to the awarding of student financial aid, and the recruitment, admission, housing, placement and retention of students, faculty and staff. The University complies with the regulations implementing Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 regarding race, color, national origin, religion and sex discrimination; Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 regarding sex discrimination; the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 regarding discrimination based on disabilities and handicaps; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; and other state and federal laws and regulations.
Persons having inquiries concerning the University's compliance with the regulations implementing any of the above are directed to contact the director of human resources, Office of Human Resources, Administration 101, 660-543-4255, University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, Missouri 64093. Toll free numbers for Relay Missouri are 711 or 800-735- 2966 for TTY, and 866-735-2460 for voice callers. For further information on notice of non- discrimination, visit ED.gov at http://wdcrobcolp01.ed.gov/CFAPPS/OCR/contactus.cfm for the address and phone number of the office that serves your area, or call 1-800-421-3481.
For faculty, guidelines for academic freedom are posted in the Faculty Guide. Board of Governors' Academic Freedom and Tenure Policy 2.2.030 (passed July 2005) provides clear guidelines for faculty regarding freedom of expression, freedom in pedagogy, and the rights of faculty members as citizens. In addition, the Academic Freedom and Tenure policy clearly outlines the rights and obligations of faculty in the tenure track as it applies to academic freedom. Faculty grievances, including those arising from potential freedom of expression conflicts, are governed by the Grievance and Arbitration Policy in the Faculty Guide, subsection III. Faculty freedom of expression as it pertains to intellectual property is controlled by Board of Governors' Intellectual Property Rights Policy 3.1.020 (passed April 2007), which provides guidelines for matters of intellectual property, trademark, copyright, and the development of online materials. Policies governing classroom requirements (i.e., syllabi, grading, attendance, classroom control) are listed in Faculty Guide, subsection II on Academic Policies and Procedures.
For staff and faculty, the Human Resources Procedure Manual section on Workplace and Employee Relations provides policies for workplace concerns including (but not limited to) employees with disabilities, personal conduct and grievance procedures, conflict of interest concerns and employee rights.
For students, academic rights and responsibilities are explained in the Student Handbook. The Student Handbook provides students with guidelines for personal responsibilities, academic honesty and freedom, discrimination and harassment, and FERPA regulations. Students receive a physical copy of the handbook each academic year bound with their official academic calendar/ planner. Students can receive additional hard copies, free of charge, at any time throughout the semester. New first-year and international students are provided further information about academic policies in New Student Orientation. Transfer students receive further information about academic policies from the assigned academic advisor. The Student Handbook is also UCM Self-Study Report 52 posted online for student use. Of the policies in the Student Handbook, the Academic Honesty policy reflects the student grievance procedure as outlined in the Faculty Guide. In addition, the institutional Discrimination and Harassment policy provides clear guidelines for students who feel their freedom of expression was curbed by discriminatory behavior. UCM's Student Handbook includes the student Guide to Good Decision Making is a single document provided to all students (hard copy and online) delineating the rights and responsibilities of all UCM students. Policies listed include (but are not limited to): Student Rights & Responsibilities, The Right to Pursue an Education, the Right to Privacy and Free Expression, the Right to Develop and Pursue a Personal Academic and Career Plan, the Right to Non-Discrimination, Equal Access, and Fair Treatment, the Right to a Reasonably Safe Learning Environment, and the Right to a Fair Process.
2.E. The institution ensures that faculty, students, and staff acquire, discover, and apply knowledge responsibly.
2.E.1. The institution provides effective oversight and support services to ensure the integrity of research and scholarly practice conducted by its faculty, staff, and students.
Most of UCM's policy-making decisions relating to research integrity are spurred by directives from the Federal government. When a change in policy is proposed at the Federal level, advance notification of potential changes is made in the Federal Register, and comment periods are open for stakeholders to contribute feedback before a final rule is put in place. There is then normally a sufficient amount of time allowed for institutions to comply with the new rules.
The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) is the academic service support unit dedicated to serving Central's faculty, professional staff, and students in obtaining extramural funding and administering awards that are received. The OSP establishes, administers, and coordinates programs that guide UCM in its research, scholarly activity, and creative endeavors. In particular, OSP maintains access to GrantLink, a web-based database of funding opportunities from private and government sources, works with faculty and staff to develop and review grant proposals and approve draft budgets, coordinates and sponsors informational workshops, and conducts training workshops.
The Ethics in Research document (Faculty Guide, Section IV-N) guides all scholarly and creative activities conducted by faculty, staff, and students. This document addresses the integrity of research conducted at the University. As a community of scholars, in which truthfulness and integrity are fundamental, the University established procedures for the investigation of allegations of scholarly or scientific misconduct. The purpose of these procedures (1) protects the public from the results of misconduct, (2) protects innocent scientists and scholars from retribution or harassment or interference with their academic freedom, and (3) protects from retribution the individual who unmaliciously presents evidence of misconduct.
The Faculty Senate Ethics in Research Committee is responsible for the mediator, inquiry, and investigation tasks mandated by the Ethics in Research document and applicable federal requirements. This committee also provides processing of complaints regarding scientific or scholarly misconduct, and processing of conflict of interest complaints (Sponsored Projects Administration Manual).
The Internal Grant Program (IGP) serves to encourage faculty, staff, and graduate students to pursue research and scholarship by funding preliminary or pilot projects. The Willard North Research Award for Graduate Students is intended to promote and encourage the highest levels of graduate research and scholarship. The University Research Council, in conjunction with the OSP, administers UCM's IGP.
Thesis and Responsible Conduct of Research
Training Research compliance regulations continue to increase. UCM is moving toward a full Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) program which includes Human Subjects, IACUC, conflict of interest, data management, collaborative research, and technology transfer. Work continues on cataloging and tracking requirements, assessing program needs and risks, and developing training materials. UCM Self-Study Report 54 implemented in August of 2011, a responsible conduct of research training requirement applies to ALL new proposals submitted for human subjects review. This training requirement is free through the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative Web-based Training Program (CITI Program).
UCM offers several programs including social and behavioral, physical science, or the humanities. The research may select the program most appropriate for their research. These programs have modules which typically take between 2-4 hours to complete, are flexible and allow one to log in and out at any time saving previous work. Researchers may make a copy of the completion report for their records. CITI automatically sends a copy to UCM human subjects. Two hundred seventeen certifications in Human Subjects were completed during the first year.
In 2011, the Human Subjects Committee approved 242 protocols for the reporting period entailing 27 full reviews, 57 exemptions, and 115 expedited reviews. Four human subjects training sessions were provided on campus, and three presentations on Human Subjects' protections were made. Thirty-one research projects and theses submitted to the Graduate School were reviewed for human subjects compliance in 2012.
Animal Care and Use
In 2011, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) reviewed and approved six new protocols and renewed seven protocols. The training manual, PowerPoint training presentation, and training quiz were ratified during the fall 2010 meeting and all members of the committee are in the process of completing the module. All people who will be entering the animal research facilities will be required to read the training manual, sign a form indicating that they read the manual and viewed the PowerPoint presentation, as well as pass the quiz at 90% correct responses. This includes principal investigators, graduate students, and undergraduate students involved in research.
2.E.2. Students are offered guidance in the ethical use of information resources.
The University's commitment to offering students guidance in the ethical use of information resources begins with the Academic Honesty policy, which defines academic dishonesty including plagiarism, cheating, and breach of standards of professional ethics, the procedure for reporting violations, and the appeal process (Faculty Guide and UCM Planner Handbook 2012-2013, pages 154-157, and on-line version of the Academic Honesty Policy).
Copyright affects faculty, staff, and students in ever changing ways. Members of the University community are expected to comply with the provisions of the United States Copyright Law and accept individual responsibility for copyright compliance. The Board of Governors' intellectual property rights policy and procedure provide the framework for creative activity and discovery within the bounds of academic freedom while at the same time protecting the interests of the University. Regular workshops and training sessions ensure that faculty and staff have information on new laws, regulations, and good practices regarding the appropriate use of information. The University employs a full-time copyright professional charged with educating and assisting faculty and staff with copyright and intellectual property use questions and concerns. Faculty, staff, and students are expected to comply with copyright law; there is no tolerance for misuse.
All UCM students are required to take two composition courses (English 1020, 1030, 1080) unless the requirement was met by advanced placement, ACT score, etc. These courses were designed to teach research methods and meet the general education outcome of communicating: "Conceive of writing as a recursive process that involves many strategies, including generating material, evaluating sources when used, drafting, revising, and editing." These courses are also designed to address the general education outcome of managing information: "Present information clearly and concisely, using traditional and contemporary technologies, while avoiding plagiarism," and "Evaluate information for its currency, usefulness, truthfulness, and accuracy." Every English UCM Self-Study Report 56 1020, 1030, and 1080 syllabus includes these general education outcomes. As Central transitions to a new general education philosophy, faculty were forced to remove the managing information outcome from these English courses taken by all students so more emphasis could be placed on writing. All English courses will meet the new general education outcome, ". . . students will learn to think critically about what they read and use evidence and documentation to bolster their own conclusions. In particular, students will employ formal documentation in order to cite correctly other people's ideas to avoid plagiarism. Students will write essays whose in-text citations and list of sources adhere to conventional formatting guidelines."
The Library 1600 course uses Jenkins, S. (2012). Information literacy for undergraduates (4th ed. eBook). Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt-Great River Technology and classroom discussion, in-class worksheets, and homework to meet the course objective, "Distinguish between legal/ethical and illegal/unethical uses of information." Students learn about the plagiarism, copyright, and fair use, about the ethics of copying and pasting material from the Internet into one's own work, and about in-text citations and references. In the revised General Education program scheduled to launch in the fall of 2014, a third General Education course in the managing information category, LIB 1010 (Truth, Lies and Information) will be offered.
The Writing Center offers special presentations on plagiarism throughout the year and provides handouts on the same subject.
Information about academic integrity and plagiarism is also provided in other courses, including those taken at an advanced level, such as capstones, research courses, directed studies, and independent studies. An examination of a sample of capstone course syllabi showed that most syllabi contained a reference to academic integrity or academic honesty, while others made no mention of it. An examination of the section of the Faculty Guide dealing with syllabi revealed no requirement on the part of faculty to include a direct statement regarding integrity, plagiarism, or ethical use of information.
These findings suggest that, although UCM does provide guidance in the ethical use of information resources through composition courses and through many capstone courses, there is variation in articulated expectations. When concerns do arise about students' ethical use of information resources at the University, responsibility for addressing them is shared by academic units and student services units.
2.E.3. The institution has enforcement policies on academic honesty and integrity.
The academic honesty and integrity policy may be found in the Faculty Guide and Student Handbook. Honesty in all endeavors is essential to the functioning of society. Honesty in the classroom among students and between students and faculty is a matter that should concern everyone in the University community. Indeed, academic honesty is one of the most important qualities influencing the character and image of an educational institution. As higher education is challenged to improve the quality of its programs, there is great value in emphasizing academic standards and integrity. A violation against academic honesty committed by a student is any act, which would deceive, cheat, or defraud so as to promote or enhance one's academic standing. Academic dishonesty also includes knowingly or actively assisting any person in the commission of an offense of academic dishonesty. Examples of offenses against academic honesty include, but are not limited to, the following: plagiarism, cheating and/ or breach of standard of professional ethics.
In the event the faculty member determines a violation of the Academic Honesty Policy has occurred, he/she shall notify the student, within five class days, in writing, of this finding. The written notification shall contain a statement of finding and shall specify the provision of the policy violated and, consistent with the severity of the violation, shall indicate which of the following action(s) he/she shall take:
- Give the student an opportunity to resubmit the assignment or be retested to make up the work or test where the violation occurred
- Assign a grade of "F" to the assignment or examination affected by the violation
- Assign a grade of "F" for the course UCM Self-Study Report 58
- Recommend to the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Experience and Engagement, and the Dean of Graduate and Extended Studies if the student is enrolled for graduate credit, that the student be dis-enrolled from class; Faculty Guide Section II - 3
- Recommend to the Department Chair and the Vice Provost for Student Experience and Engagement, and the Dean of Graduate and Extended Studies if the student is enrolled for graduate credit, that the student be removed from the degree program
- Recommend to the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Experience and Engagement that the student be suspended from the University
In the event a student charged with a violation of this policy disagrees with the faculty member's decision and wishes to appeal, the student is responsible for notifying the appropriate parties where he/she may be reached for purposes of appeal and must follow a three level process described in the policy.
In sum, the University of Central Missouri seeks to consistently act with integrity, and actively takes steps to ensure its conduct is ethical and responsible. It has sought to make information about its policies and processes more readily available to all its constituencies by publishing many on-line, and actively worked to improve the accessibility of information provided there. Moreover information is commonly provided in a variety of ways. The depth of the information available on the University's website, however, does present an area for improvement - some information, such as faculty credentials, is difficult to locate and may require extensive searching. Also, although, the University's academic dishonesty policy is easily accessed through multiple mediums, there is no policy ensuring consistent communication to students via course syllabi.
Areas of Growth and Success
- The University of Central Missouri seeks to consistently act with integrity, and actively takes steps to ensure its conduct is ethical and responsible.
- The University has sought to make information about its policies and processes more readily available to all its constituencies by publishing many on-line, and actively worked to improve the accessibility of information provided there. Moreover, information is commonly provided in a variety of ways.
Areas for Improvement
- The depth of the information available on the university's website, however, does present an area for improvement. Some information, such as faculty credentials, is difficult to locate and may require extensive searching.
- Although the University's academic dishonesty policy is easily accessed through multiple mediums, there is no policy ensuring consistent communication to students via course syllabi.