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Annual report — University of Copenhagen student ambassador Bo Gad Køhlert says that disciplinary cases should be processed faster. And guidelines on what is permitted, and what is not, for exams should be improved.
Students are having to wait too long in a state of uncertainty if they are accused of cheating at exams or violating other disciplinary regulations at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH).
This is the conclusion of
One of a total of five recommendations for the UCPH administration in the annual report states that “attention should be focused on processing times in disciplinary proceedings, so that students should not have to have their situation unresolved for months”.
According to Bo Gad Køhlert
If there is a suspicion of cheating in exams, we hear from most of the students who make inquiries, that they have had to wait a long time to be called in for a conversation with the head of the study programme, a long time to receive written minutes from the meeting, and a long time to get the faculty or rector’s decision.
Bo Gad Køhlert, student ambassador
“This is therefore also an area that I will focus my attention on up to the Student Ambassador’s annual report of 2017. It is my impression that the processing of, say, a plagiarism case should be as fast as possible, because a case like this has a large effect on both the student’s study programme and personal situation. Especially when the faculty or university drops the charges,” he says, adding:
“If there is a suspicion of cheating in exams, we hear from most of the students who make inquiries, that they have had to wait a long time to be called in for a conversation with the head of the study programme, a long time to receive written minutes from the meeting, and a long time to get the faculty or rector’s decision.”
When the students themselves opt to complain about their exam, it is also a slow process, explains Bo Gad Køhlert.
“The ministerial regulations mean that the first hearing will usually take about 6-8 weeks. And if the student chooses to appeal the faculty’s decision, and because in this process a so-called board of appeal has to be set up, it may take a few extra months. In total, almost most of a semester,” he says.
The student ambassador also recommends that the University of Copenhagen improves guidance on what is permitted at exams.
He has not been on the job long enough to know what the educational arguments are for having such a multiplicity of test formats at the University of Copenhagen, and whether the number of formats can be reduced.
“But there are many rules to be observed on exams, and this makes it hard for many students to find their way. And my experience is that there is often time pressure around exam periods for both students, examiners and administration, and that this also contributes to things going wrong,” he says.
The Rector’s Office and the UCPH Education Services of the Central Administration write in a follow-up to the annual report, that they will focus on student guidance on exam rules and that they will continue to reduce processing time in disciplinary cases.
The administration also mentions a number of specific actions that are already underway. They include the appointment of a lawyer in the Rector’s Office, whose main area of work will be disciplinary proceedings.
The student ambassador expects a lot from a new project called “From Education Pages to Study Programme Information”, which the faculties and the central administration are to start up.
The aim is to further develop the information that each student gets presented on their personal education site on KUnet, including rights and obligations in connection with exams.
“I still need to observe specific parts of the organization to be able to say whether the faculty initiatives will have a sufficient effect. But at most places in the faculties and central administration, I have noticed that the duration of processes is being followed week by week by both managers and employees, and that work is being done in various areas to improve information and to write clearer decisions,” he says.