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Statement on importance of oral and written communication skills

The Graduate School and the graduate faculty of the Department of Economics and Finance consider student proficiency in oral and written communication to be a skill essential to professional success. The Graduate School states this objective as follows:

"Graduate students should possess the ability to write and speak about the current issues of the discipline to peers, practitioners, and the public. They should be able to articulate and demonstrate knowledge of the discipline and write and present scholarship to professionals."

The graduate faculty of the Department of Economics and Finance endeavors to make oral and written communication an integral part of the graduate curriculum.

  • The faculty encourages students to seek assistance from the university's Writing Center and Speech Center in preparing assignments.
  • The faculty expects students to be familiar with the School of Business fatal error policy and the university's policy regarding plagiarism. Those policies are summarized in the sections below.

Plagiarism

In past years, there have been several instances of plagiarism by students in our graduate programs. Plagiarism cuts at the foundations of the academic experience; it cannot and will not be tolerated by the graduate faculty.

The on-line SIUE Graduate Catalog (July, 2003) defines plagiarism as "including, without limitations, the act of representing the work of another as one's own. It may consist of copying, paraphrasing, or otherwise using the written, electronic, or oral work of another without proper acknowledgment or consent of the source or presenting oral, electronic, or written material prepared by another as one's own. Plagiarism also includes using information from electronic resources, including the Internet, without the use of citations." For example, if you use the words or ideas of another person in a paper, they must be in direct quotes or otherwise referenced as appropriate.

It is your responsibility to understand what does and does not constitute plagiarism. In addition, you should know the proper methods of quoting and referencing the works of others. Appropriate guides are available in the Economics and Finance Department for your reference (ask the secretary), or you may wish to acquire a guide of your own.

The penalties for plagiarism are severe. The Student Academic Code (Section K. Sanctions Imposed by Instructor) states the following:

Instructors may impose the following sanctions for academic misconduct without filing a formal charge pursuant to this Code. The sanctions are:

1. Failing grade on an individual assignment which is part of a course. Instructors who impose this sanction shall immediately notify, in writing, the student. A student who contends this sanction to be inappropriate may grieve imposition of the sanction in accordance with the Student Grievance Code.

2. Failing grade for a course. Instructors who impose this sanction shall immediately notify, in writing, the student of the sanction, their Chair or coordinator, as appropriate; the Dean of the school/college or director or Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, as appropriate. Instructors shall also notify the Service Center immediately, in writing, of the action and specify that the student may not re-enroll in any other section of the course for that term nor drop the course or change the registration to an audit. A student who contends this sanction to be inappropriate may grieve imposition of the sanction under The Student Grievance Code.

If you have any questions about these policies or need advice regarding this issue, please see any of the graduate advisers or members of the graduate faculty. We will be glad to work with you to make certain that you understand your responsibilities in this area and avoid any unintentional instances of plagiarism.

School of Business Fatal Errors Policy

The faculty of the Department of Economics and Finance also adheres to the School of Business's "Fatal Error" policy. This policy is stated below:

Business students must practice professional standards in writing. To this end, all written assignments must meet minimal presentation standards to be acceptable. These standards address spelling, punctuation, format and basic grammar. The term Fatal Errors refers to technical English errors of form. Specifically they include the following:

1. Each different word misspelled,

2. Each sentence fragment,

3. Each run-on sentence or comma splice,

4. Each mistake in capitalization,

5. Each serious error in punctuation that obscures meaning,

6. Each error in verb tense or subject/verb agreement,

7. Lack of conformity with assignment format,

8. Each improper citation, or lack of citation, where one is needed.

Papers with more than three fatal errors marked by an instructor on any one page, or more than a number specified by the instructor for the entire document will be returned to the student and subject to a grading penalty as prescribed by the instructor. Instructors will determine the number of resubmissions allowed and the penalty attached to each resubmission. Penalties for final course papers (where there is no time for a resubmission) will be determined by the instructor and will be based on the relative importance of the assignment to the determination of the final course grade. This policy applies to all 200-level and above business courses.

Since the nature of written assignments will vary from course to course, please discuss writing expectations and other details on the application of this policy with each of your instructors.

The Faculty of the Department takes writing and learning how to write better very seriously, as evidenced by the plagiarism and fatal errors policy. If you are unsure of how these policies are used, or where to seek additional help, please consult with any of the department faculty.

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