Faculty Handbook

Academic Policies and Procedures

I. Course Responsibilities

A.  Department Responsibilities

    1. Approval of course outlines bearing their label and assurance that content identified is included in courses taught.
    2. Adoption where department deems appropriate of basic texts for multi-section courses.
    3. Determination of appropriate standards for grading of multi-section courses.
    4. Determination of standards for approval of student enrollment in Student Developed Study and Independent Study programs.
    5. Determination where department deems appropriate of departmental attendance policy (see federal Guidelines for Grading and Privacy of Grades).

B.  Instructor's Responsibilities

The core of the academic program is the student-teacher relationship in the individual classroom. The teacher is free to develop his/her assigned courses as he/she deems best, recognizing that he/she must include the content identified in the official course outline. The individual faculty member:

    1. Meets all assigned classes regularly and in the event of absence arranges coverage through the department chair.
    2. Follows the content of the official department outline.
    3. Selects the methodology and sequence most appropriate to the content.
    4. Selects the textbook for those courses not bound by a department decision.
    5. Has regular office hours (at least 5 hours weekly) to meet with students.
    6. Secures permission through the department chairperson for field trips in conjunction with courses. (Forms for this purpose are available in department offices or from the Deans’ offices).
    7. Establishes individual attendance requirements for courses when department has not established a binding policy for all members. Regardless of attendance requirements, accurate attendance records must be kept.
    8. Prepares and distributes to students at outset of course a written statement of standards and requirements (including due dates where appropriate).
    9. Gathers evaluative data systematically throughout the course on which to base midterm and final grades. These data must be recorded and kept for a reasonable length of time in the event of any challenge of grade assigned. (see C 4a. below).
    10. Files midterm and final grades according to the directions specified by the Registrar’s Office.

II. Examination And Grading Procedures And Policies

A.  FINAL EXAMINATIONS

    1. All final examinations may be given only during the final examination week. (Reaffirmed by the Senate, December 15, 1982, and April 26, 1989.)

      a.  The schedule for undergraduate day course examinations is set by the Registrar.

      b.  Final examinations should not be the total basis for a student’s grade.

    2. Responsibility of Faculty Member

      a.  Requests that final examinations be scheduled.

      b.  Prepares final examinations.

      c.  Proctors own examinations and, when assigned, other faculty members’ examinations.

      d.  Briefs proctor assigned to assist him/her

      e.  Arranges for students with conflicts in exam times.

      f.  Completes and records grades with Registrar within 3 calendar days from the date of the last scheduled final examinations (see CSU-AAUP contract).

    3. Graduate and Evening course examinations are given in the last scheduled meeting of the course. All other regulations noted above apply.

B.  GRADING SYSTEM – UNDERGRADUATE

    1. Regular Grades
        A Excellent: Q.P. (Quality Point) value 4
        A- Q.P. value 3.67
        B+ Q.P. value 3.33
        B Above Average: Q.P. value 3.00
        B- Q.P. value 2.67
        C+ Q.P. value 2.33
        C Q.P. Acceptable for college standards: Q.P. value 2.00
        C- Q.P. value 1.67
        D+ Q.P. value 1.33
        D Barely acceptable for degree credit: Q.P. value 1.00
        D- Q.P. value 0.67
        F Failure: Q.P. value 0.00
        I Incomplete – a purely quantitative measure with no quality point involvement for student. Should be applied only when a passing grade is possible for student when missing data are completed.
        X Audit
    2. Selective Grades
        Pass/Fail. A grade option carrying no quality points. Some courses are approved to use this grade for all students enrolled. In other courses, a student may secure permission to carry a course under this option. Faculty members are notified of any students exercising this option and grade them accordingly.
        P Passing grade in a pass/fail option course
        FP Failing grade in a pass/fail course
        RM or RP This grade is a qualitative grade available for use only in the following courses:


        CHE 100 MAT 098 CTA 160/161/162
        WRT 098 MAT 114 WORLD LANG. 161/162
        WRT 101 PHY 110/111 SPA 161/162
         
        This grade is used in courses “where the student must demonstrate a level of skill or competence in addition to the formal requirements of the course.”

    Assigning RM (Remediate) or RP (Repeat) grade

    a.  Rationale for a student who has been doing all the assigned course work but whose academic deficiencies would need more than the usual time to achieve competence, the RM or RP grade makes it possible for the student to continue improving competence without being penalized for prior weakness.

    b.  The instructor arranges with the student for:

    (1)  The type and extent of additional work required to meet the acceptable level of competence.

    (2)  The time limits within which the work is to be completed.

    c.  Remediate or Repeat

      (1)  RM: Remediate. Requirement may include self-directed practice, review, or supplementary assignments administered by the same instructor or another instructor.

       

      (2)  RP: Repeat. Requirement is repeating the course with the same or different instructor. This is no limit to the number of times a student may repeat the same course when assigned RP.

       

      (3)  When level of competence has been achieved:

      (a)  RM: Remediate. Instructor submits a “Change of Grade Request Form” to change the RM to a C or better.

      (b)  RP: Repeat. Original RP remains on record (same as W and grade is submitted by instructor of the repeated course for credit.)

    3.  Administrative Grades
    W – Withdrawal without penalty. The student may withdraw without penalty through the deadline set by the Registrar. After that deadline, the instructor may give the student written permission to withdraw without penalty.

    WF – withdrawal with penalty. This grade is normally given to the student who withdraws after the withdrawal deadline or fails to withdraw officially.

C.  IMPLEMENTATION OF GRADING SYSTEM

  1. Standard
    The department and/or instructor is responsible for determining and explaining at the beginning of the semester the standard to be met to receive a given letter grade. He/she is also responsible for being sure that students understand these standards and course expectations.
  2. Incomplete Grades
    In order to receive a grade of incomplete, the student must complete and present to the instructor the three-part form provided for that purpose. This form is available from academic departments, the Registrar’s Office, and can be downloaded from Western’s website under Faculty and Staff, Administrative Departments. One part of the form is to be kept by the student, one by the department, and the third copy should be sent to the Registrar’s Office. Incomplete grades must be made up within 6 weeks of the start of the next semester in which the student is in attendance, or within one year if the student does not return. An incomplete grade, if not replaced by a grade by the instructor, automatically becomes an F, or the lower grade indicated on the form, after the time allowed expires.
  3. Reporting Grades

    a.  Finals – All students receive grades on the official grade form provided online. These are completed according to the directions provided by the Registrar. A student who has never attended should be given a “W” as a final grade. A student who has stopped attending should be given either a “W” or “WF” and the last date of attendance should be entered.

    b.  Midterms – All first-year students and all others receiving D’s, I’s, or F’s in any course must receive midterm grades. Because of the large number of transfer students, faculty are encouraged to record midterm grades for all enrolled in their classes. Students may check their grades in Banner. They should regard any grade of D or F at midterm as an academic warning, affecting their GPA for possible probation.

     

4.  Change of Grade

    a.  Faculty are advised to retain at least two (and preferably three or four) items of evidence (e.g., tests, term papers) of each student’s course work, in the event the student requests a change of grade. It is also advisable to notify students in writing--and well in advance--if the grading system in any course will deviate from the general norm for grading.

     

    b.  If a faculty member wishes to request a change of grade after the grade has been recorded, such request is sent to the appropriate Academic Dean with an explanation as to why a change of grade is requested. (An official form is available from each Dean’s office for this purpose.) Changes of grade from incomplete may be sent directly to the Registrar’s Office for processing.

        Senate approval: Oct. 16, 1991 (R91-10-4)
        Admin. Approval: Revised Feb. 20, 1992

    c.  The Dean may:

      (1)  Approve the change and forward it to the Registrar for implementation.

       

      (2)  Disapprove the change and return it to the concerned faculty member.

       

      (3)  Refer the request to the appropriate School’s standing committee for recommended action on the request.

    d.  If the Dean disapproved, the faculty member may refer the matter to the appropriate standing committee.

       

    e.  The School Dean will establish or designate an existing committee to serve in the case of need to act on grade change requests. Such committee will report its decision to the Dean and faulty member concerned.

    f.  In the event the faculty member involved is unavailable (when grade change is requested and found to be proper, the appropriate Academic Dean and Department Chairperson may jointly resolve a needed change of grade.) Both signatures are required before the Registrar may honor the change of grade request, including a change form incomplete to a letter grade.

D.  ELIGIBILITY FOR DEAN’S LIST

An appropriate academic standard for eligibility for Dean’s List should be a minimum of 12 graded (standard option) credits satisfactorily completed with an average of 3.5. The only exception is for those students whose minimum of 12 credits includes course work required in his/her program of student that must be taken on a pass/fail basis, excluding course credits that do not count toward graduation and whose semester average and cumulative are both at least 3.5.

 
Senate Approval: May 26, 1989
Admin. Approval: June 18, 1989

E.  ELIGIBILITY FOR DEAN’S LIST FOR PART-TIME UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

The academic standard for the Dean’s List for part-time undergraduate students is a minimum of 12 semester hour credits satisfactorily completed within one academic year (fall and spring semesters) with a grade point average of at least 3.5. The only exception is for students whose minimum of 12 credits includes course work (a) that is required in a program of study, taken on a pass/fail basis, and (b) that does not count toward graduation. For such students, both the academic year average and the cumulative GPA must both be at least 3.5.

Senate Approved R-07-09-03
Administrative Approval 10/26/07

F.    POLICY ON COURSE OVERRIDES

Any student may fill out a course override request form which will be available from the Registrar’s Office during the registration period. All requests will be brought to the appropriate department chairperson. The chair will review the requests and, within 8 days, will forward those that they recommend for approval back to the Registrar’s Office. Only the approved requests will be processed and only these students will be notified.

Students should be made aware that if they do not receive notification of approval of these override requests within approximately two weeks after filing, that their requests could not be accommodated. (Approved by Academic Council: March 1989, effective as of the May 1989 registration period.)

 

G.  POLICY ON RETENTION OF COURSE MATERIALS

Examination materials are any materials used by an instructor to evaluate a student’s knowledge and mastery of course topics for the purpose of assigning grades. Examination materials may include term papers, homework, computer assignments, quizzes, tests, lab write-ups, and any other tangible items deemed appropriate by the instructor for use in assigning grades. Intangible grading items such as recitals, juries, and physical skills tests are beyond the scope of this policy. All examination materials are confidential and are protected by applicable State and Federal law.

All examination materials are the personal property of the instructor. As used throughout this policy statement, the term “personal property” is meant in a physical sense only. It is like buying a magazine at a newsstand. The buyer owns the physical ink, paper, and other tangible materials out of which the magazine is made, but not the original expressions of others presented within (see 17 U.S. C. Par. 302, 303). Faculty are advised to retain at least two items of evidence (e.g., tests, term papers) of each student’s course work, in the event the student requests a change of grade. The instructor should retain them until the end of the semester in which the grade appeals deadline expires (see Faculty Handbook section on Palpable Injustice). In keeping with the primary purpose of retaining these items, reasonable student access to them shall not be denied. In the unusual case of perishable materials, the instructor should properly dispose of the materials and need not retain them.

A grade book is the record kept by an instructor detailing the examination scores or other performance measures used to assign student grades. The grade book may be in any form the instructor wishes to use (e.g., steno pad, notebook, computer spreadsheet). Grade books are confidential and are protected by applicable State and Federal law.

Grade books are the personal property of the instructor. They will be retained by the instructor until the end of the semester in which the grade appeals deadline expires. This responsibility may not be avoided by giving the grade book to the student.

The Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs shall retain copies of course outlines.

Senate Approval: Mar. 17, 1993 (R-92-11-1)
Admin. Approval: Mar. 24, 1993

H.  FEDERAL GUIDELINES FOR GRADING AND PRIVACY OF GRADES

1.  Faculty must comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 to ensure that information on grades, class standing or the like of any student may in no way be shared by the faculty member with any other student. This means that the following practices will not be utilized.

     

    a.  Posting course, exam, or term paper grades even if names are omitted and codes are used.

     

    b.  Giving the paper or test of one student to another for delivery unless there is a signed request to do so.

     

    c.  Putting papers, tests, etc., in a common place for student pick up.

2.  Recent confidentiality laws prohibit anyone from divulging the grades of any student to the student’s parents or any other individual.

     

3.  Attendance requirements as related to grades awarded--Supreme Court rulings indicate that grades may be lowered for nonattendance only when a direct relationship between academic progress and attendance can be demonstrated. The arbitrary lowering of an earned grade for given numbers of class absences did not meet the Court’s legal tests.

I.  PALPABLE INJUSTICE IN GRADING (STUDENT APPEAL PROCEDURE)

Academic grading reflects careful and deliberate judgment of the course instructor. Academic evaluation of student performance requires expert consideration of cumulative information and is to some extent subjective.

The University recognizes that in rare instances there may be “palpable injustice(s)” in the determination of a final grade. Students may use the appeals process when they believe there is evidence to show that a) a final grade was determined by methods and criteria different from those used for determining final grades for others in the same class or 2) the evaluation was made as the result of bias or caprice. The student shall first confer with the instructor who awarded the grade no later than the end of the fourth week of the next regular semester. In the case of half semester courses, students shall have the right to begin the appeal process at the conclusion of the course.

If no amicable settlement is reach, the student shall present the instructor with a WRITTEN copy of his/her grievance along with any supporting documentation which shall be considered confidential. The instructor shall respond in writing to the student within five (5) working days. (It is suggested that students prepare a packet of information for the instructor, the chairperson and the Dean).

Students, if they wish, shall have the right to choose a mentor/advisor for the purpose of guiding them through the appeal process. Students shall have the right to present their case at each stage of the appeal process. At the student’s request, the mentor/advisor may accompany the student to meetings related to the appeals process as an observer.

If the student is not satisfied, the student, within five (5) working days of receipt of the instructor’s response, may present the case in writing to the appropriate department chairperson who may effect a mutually agreed upon settlement with the instructor. The department chairperson shall respond in writing to the student within five (5) working days with a copy sent to the instructor.

If the student is not satisfied, the student may, within five (5) working days of receipt of the department chairperson’s response, present the case in writing to the appropriate Academic Dean who may effect a mutually agreed upon settlement with the instructor and department chairperson. The Academic Dean shall respond in writing to the student within ten (10) working days with copies of the decision sent to the instructor and the department chairperson.

If the student is not satisfied, the student may ask, within five (5) working days of receiving the Dean’s decision, that the dean contact the President of the University Senate to convene the ad hoc Committee on Grade Appeals. The Dean shall forward the request to the Senate President within five (5) working days of receipt. The Dean shall also notify the Provost/Academic Vice President, in writing, that the Senate is being asked to convene an ad hoc Committee.

The ad hoc Committee on Grade Appeals shall be composed of three members of the instructional faculty in the ranks of tenured professors or tenured associate professors presently serving on the senate, selected in alphabetical order each time the committee is appointed.

The Senate President shall appoint the ad hoc Committee within five (5) working days and shall notify the student and the instructor of that fact. The Senate President shall not discuss the details of the case with the ad hoc Committee. The ad hoc Committee will convene within five (5) working days. It is the responsibility of the student to present three copies of all material, including any additional material submitted later in the process and relevant to the case to the chair of the ad hoc Committee.

The instructor shall submit such materials as requested by the Committee and shall have the right to present their case at any stage of the appeal process. The Committee shall consider the case and reach a decision within fifteen (15) working days of its convening by the Senate President. Following its deliberations, the Committee may deny the appeal in which case the matter shall be closed. If the Committee finds that the grading constituted a palpable injustice, as defined above, the case shall be remanded to the instructor for reconsideration. If the instructor disagrees with the finding of the Committee, the instructor shall inform the Committee and the student within five (5) working days of that fact.

The instructor shall submit such materials as requested by the Committee and shall have the right to present their case at any stage of the appeal process. The Committee shall consider the case and reach a decision within fifteen (15) working days of its convening by the Senate President. Following its deliberations, the Committee may deny the appeal in which case the matter shall be closed. If the Committee finds that the grading constituted a palpable injustice, as defined above, the case shall be remanded to the instructor for reconsideration. If the instructor disagrees with the finding of the Committee, the instructor shall inform the Committee and the student within five (5) working days of that fact.

If either the student or the instructor has disagreed, the Committee shall then forward its recommendation for a grade to the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs who will implement the recommendation of the Committee within five (5) working days. The action of the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs shall be final and binding upon all parties and shall be communicated by the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs to the student and the instructor.

Revised Senate Approval: R97-5-1, 5/21/97
Revised Senate Approval: April 18, 2001
Administrative Approval: May 1, 2001

J.  GRADING SYSTEM – GRADUATE

1.  Grades available for use are:

      A Q.P. value 4.0
      A- Q.P. value 3.67
      B+ Q.P. value 3.33
      B Q.P. value 3.00
      B- Q.P. value 2.67
      C+ Q.P. value 2.33
      C Q.P. value 2.0
      C- Q.P. value 1.67
      D+ No credit awarded – Q.P. value 1.33
      D No credit awarded – Q.P. value 1.00
      F No credit awarded – Q.P. value 0.00
      I Incomplete
      W WIthdrawn
      X Audit

2.  Generally, all procedures outlined above for undergraduate grading apply to graduate grades except that:

    a.  All referrals are to the Graduate Director.

     

    b.  Incomplete grades must be made up within a semester of the time the incomplete mark was recorded. If not completed within that time, the grade becomes an “F” unless the instructor concerned has recommended an extension of time for justifiable cause. An extension of time for justifiable cause may not exceed one additional semester (Fall, Spring, Summer semesters). The only exception to this policy will be for those students making satisfactory progress while involved in a thesis or research project. Such students are limited only by the time allowed to complete the degree.

     

    c.  No mid-semester grades are issued.

     

    d.  For the purpose of improvement of instruction, an evaluative instrument is used in each graduate course to obtain student reaction to instructors, course content, course procedures, and to general policies and procedures.

See also the Graduate Catalog.


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