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Dear Students,



We hope you and your family are all safe and doing well in this challenging and uncertain time.  Thank you for your tremendous effort, understanding, and flexibility as we moved to remote instruction.  During this time and beyond, we want to not only keep the lines of communication open between the department and students, but strengthen them.  Hence, if you have any concerns, issues, comments and/or suggestions regarding the program, courses, the department, etc. please email us at [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>.  This email account was specifically set up for this purpose.



One particular matter that we do want to address is the increasing incidents of cheating.  As stated in the George’s Mason Honor Code cheating “encompasses the unauthorized use of, access to, or provision of academic work in an attempt to misrepresent a student’s actual efforts” (https://oai.gmu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/George-Mason-University-Honor-Code-2019-2020-final.pdf).  This includes soliciting solutions to assignments from online forums and unauthorized collaborations between peers.  Note that class materials might be subject to copyright under University policy and should not be shared outside of the University in any website or public forum unless authorized by the creator of those materials https://universitypolicy.gmu.edu/policies/copyright-in-university-works/.



Our faculty are taking steps to address these issues in order to protect the value of your degree.  Any suspicion of cheating will be referred to the Mason’s Honor Committee, the consequences of which could significantly affect your career.  Depending on the level of severity and the number of recorded incidents this could result in academic suspension or even permanent dismissal (https://oai.gmu.edu/mason-honor-code/full-honor-code-document/).  Furthermore, we have been discussing different approaches to mitigate these issues including oral exams (or oral components of an exam), randomizing questions and answers, purposely submitting a question with an incorrect solution to popular online forums, and individualized exams.  Faculty will be implementing one or more of these strategies based on what would be practical, feasible, and appropriate in each class. Here is also a link to resources for students: https://oai.gmu.edu/resources-and-programming/



Again, if you have any concerns or issues you want to report or any comments/suggestions, please reach out to us at [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>.



Thank you,

Bioengineering Department.