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Academic Policies and Procedures

Anna Maria Student Handbook

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Academic Policies and Procedures

In fulfilling our mission as a Catholic College, Anna Maria College offers a curriculum that integrates our Catholic character with our commitment to liberal and professional education. The General Education Curriculum at Anna Maria College was developed to provide all students with an educational experience that prepares them to be informed and active members of society. As a liberal arts college rooted in the Catholic tradition, AMC is committed to providing an education that fosters critical and integrated thinking, scholarly and personal exploration of religious faith and the meaning of human existence, and an appreciation for the diversity of human cultures and societies.

Academic Integrity Policy

The pursuit of knowledge can proceed only when scholars take responsibility and receive credit for their work. Recognition of individual contributions to knowledge and of the intellectual property of others builds trust within the College and encourages the sharing of ideas that is essential to scholarship. Similarly, the educational process requires that individuals present their ideas and insights for evaluation, critique, and eventual reformulation. Presentation of others' work as one's own is not only intellectual dishonesty, but it also undermines the educational process.

Standards

Academic integrity is violated by any dishonest act which is committed in an academic context. Types of violations are listed and defined below.

Definition of Academic Integrity Violations

  1. Plagiarism - Plagiarism is the representation of someone else’s words, ideas, or work as one’s own without attribution. Plagiarism may involve using someone else’s wording without using quotation marks—a distinctive name, a phrase, a sentence, or an entire passage or essay. Misrepresenting sources is another form of plagiarism. The issue of plagiarism applies to any work, including exams, papers, or other writing, computer programs, art, music, photography, video, and other media.
  2. Inappropriate Collaboration - Inappropriate collaboration occurs when work that the professor presumes is original to the student is, in fact, the product of collaboration so close that the originality is no longer individual to the student. Professors often expect students to study together, to brainstorm together, and to read and criticize each other’s work; group projects also require much collaboration. However, these forms of appropriate collaboration become inappropriate when the originality of the work is lost. Also, for many assignments, such as take-home examinations and some homework assignments, professors specifically limit or restrict collaboration, requiring that all of the work is entirely the student’s own. Before submitting work, students should clarify with their professors what forms of collaboration are appropriate for that assignment to include the sharing of technology.
  3. Dishonesty in Examinations (In Class or Take Home) - Dishonesty or cheating in examinations is the use of inappropriate or unauthorized materials, information, or study aids in a test. Unless the instructor directs otherwise, a test is assumed to be solely a student’s own work. No communication is allowed among students either through voice, written, electronic, or any other form of transmission, nor are students permitted to consult books, papers, study aids or notes without explicit permission. Dishonesty in examination includes but is not confined to copying from another’s paper, giving or receiving unauthorized assistance, obtaining unauthorized advance knowledge of questions on an exam, and using mechanical or marking devices or procedures to achieve false scores on machine-graded exams. Specific policies regarding exams may vary with individual professors.
  4. Dishonesty in Papers - Dishonesty in papers covers but is not limited to submitting material obtained from another person or company or purchased from either. All papers and materials submitted for a course must be the student’s original work unless the sources are properly cited.
  5. Work Done for One Course and Submitted to Another - This category of violation covers the presentation of the same work in more than one class at any time during a student’s academic career without prior consent from both instructors. When incorporating their past research into current projects, students must cite previous work. This requirement applies even when the work submitted had been originally for a project for another institution. When the former instructor cannot be consulted, current faculty may permit such a submission.
  6. Fabrication of Data - Fabrication is the falsification, distortion, or invention of any information or citation in academic work. Examples include, but are not limited to, inventing a source, deliberately misquoting, or falsifying numbers or other data.
  7. Interference with Other Students’ or Scholars’ Work - Interference with the work of others covers but is not limited to acts that deny others access to scholarly resources, or deliberately impede the progress of another student or scholar. Examples include sabotaging laboratory experiments or research, giving misleading information, knowingly deceiving other members of a project team or group, disrupting class work, making library material unavailable to others, or altering the computer files of another.
  8. Bribes, Favors, and Threats - Students may not bribe, offer favors to, or threaten anyone with the purpose of affecting a grade or the evaluation of academic performance.
  9. Other Academic Misconduct - No particular set of rules or definitions can embrace every act of academic misconduct. A student who employs any form of academic deceit has violated the intellectual enterprise of the college.
  10. Copyright Violations - Copyright laws must be observed. These rules govern practices such as making use of printed and electronic materials, duplicating computer software, photoduplication of copyrighted materials and reproducing audiovisual works. The Student Conduct Code prohibits theft and the unauthorized use of documents and requires adherence to local, state, and federal law. These provisions will be enforced through the Student Conduct Code.

Promoting Academic Integrity: Roles of Community Members

Student Roles in Maintaining Academic Integrity

Students have a responsibility to maintain high standards of academic integrity in their work, and thereby to preserve the integrity of their degree. It is their duty to be familiar with, and understand, the College policy on academic integrity.

Students who become aware of a violation of academic integrity by a fellow student should respond in one of the following ways:

  • Students may discuss their concerns with the student whom they suspect of a violation. Direct contact with another student may be the best means of resolving the problem. Repeated demonstration of student concern for academic integrity will, in the long run, build a peer-regulated community.
  • If the incident is a major violation or part of a repeated pattern of violations, students should bring their concerns to the attention of the instructor or the appropriate dean/director. Suspected violations by students reported to members of the faculty or a dean/director will be handled according to the procedures set forth below.

Students who have a grave concern that a faculty member is not living up to his or her responsibility to safeguard and promote academic integrity should speak with the faculty member directly or should bring their concern to the attention of the dean/director.

Faculty Roles in Fostering Academic Integrity

Faculty should provide students with a positive environment for learning and intellectual growth and, by their words and actions, promote conditions that foster academic integrity.

Faculty should be concerned about the impact of their behavior on students. Students are sensitive to messages communicated in informal discussions and casual faculty remarks about personal decisions and value judgments. Students are perhaps most sensitive to how responsibly faculty members fulfill their obligations to them in the careful preparation of classes, in the serious evaluation of student achievement, and in their genuine interest in and availability to students.

Faculty members/instructors should promote academic integrity in the following specific ways:

  • At the beginning of each course, instructors should discuss academic integrity to promote an ongoing dialogue about academic integrity and to set the tone and establish guidelines for academic integrity within the context of the course, e.g., the extent to which collaborative work is appropriate. Where relevant, instructors should discuss why, when, and how students must cite sources in their written work.
  • Instructors should provide students with a written syllabus that states course requirements and, when available, examination dates and times.
  • Instructors are encouraged to prepare new tests and assignments where appropriate each semester to ensure that no student obtains an unfair advantage over his or her classmates by reviewing exams or assignments from prior semesters. If previous examinations are available to some students, instructors should ensure that all students in the course have similar access. Course examinations should be designed to minimize the possibility of cheating, and course paper assignments should be designed to reduce the possibility of plagiarism.
  • Instructors are encouraged to assign papers that reduce plagiarism. For example, if students are asked to write about Freud there may not be much they could put in their own words but if we ask them to think of a current topic in the news and how it might relate to Freud's theory they then have to think about the topic.
  • Proctors should be present at all examinations, including the final examination, and should provide students with an environment that encourages honesty and prevents dishonesty.
  • Instructors should be careful to respect students' intellectual property and the confidentiality of student academic information.
  • Assignment of grades, which is the sole responsibility of the instructor, should be awarded in a manner fair and consistent for all students.

Academic Deans/Directors

Academic deans/directors have overall responsibility for academic integrity within their schools. In particular, deans' responsibilities include the following:

  • promoting an environment where academic integrity is a priority for both students and faculty,
  • ensuring that students who are honest are not placed at an unfair disadvantage, and
  • establishing procedures to adjudicate charges of academic dishonesty and to protect the rights of all parties.

Procedures

  1. Faculty Jurisdiction

When convinced that a possible violation was an honest mistake rather than purposeful dishonesty, an instructor may use the occasion to educate the student about acceptable standards for academic work. In such cases, the instructor could, for example, require the student to rewrite or correct the original assignment or to submit a substitute assignment. An instructor may not, however, fail or level other grading penalties against the student for the assignment or the course before sending the case to the School Dean/Director. Referring the case to the dean’s office ensures that the student receives due process for potential disciplinary action and allows the college to check for repeat offenses.

  1. Administrative Jurisdiction

In all other circumstances, when the instructor believes that a case may be due to purposeful dishonesty, the following procedures will be observed:

  1. Instructors reporting an allegation of dishonesty to the School Dean/Director should do so within ten business days from the date of discovery of the alleged dishonesty, supported by appropriate documentation.
  2. Instructors may award failing grades for any work deemed to be in violation of the above policies.
  3. At their discretion, instructors may include in the report of the alleged misconduct to the School Dean/Director a recommendation for further sanctions.
  4. After consulting with the instructor, the School Dean/Director will promptly notify the student of the charge in writing and will arrange to discuss the charge with the student at a preliminary meeting.
  5. At the initial meeting, the student will be presented with the charge and the evidence, advised of the procedures, apprised of sanction options, and given the opportunity to respond. Either at the meeting or within five (5) business days, the student must submit a written statement that (i) accepts or denies responsibility for the charge, and (ii) explains what occurred and why it occurred. The student’s signed statement will become additional evidence in the case. If the student fails to attend this preliminary meeting, the School Dean/Director may proceed with the process as appropriate.
  6. Should the student wish to appeal the findings of the Dean/Director, they may do so by requesting a hearing with the Academic Integrity Committee.

Academic Integrity Committee

Members of the College community assigned to conduct a hearing when the Dean/Director have determined that a violation of the Student Code of Conduct may have occurred. Members of the Academic Integrity Committee shall act in a fair and impartial manner.

Academic Integrity Hearing

  1. A hearing with the Academic Integrity Committee shall be scheduled by the Dean/Director not later than fifteen (15) days following an Accused Student’s request for a hearing.
  2. A written Statement of Charges shall be presented to the Accused Student not less than five (5) days before the hearing.
  3. An Academic Integrity Committee hearing is an administrative hearing. The rules of evidence do not apply.
  4. In a matter involving more than one Accused Student, the Academic Integrity Committee may permit at its discretion individual hearings for each Accused Student.
  5. The Accused Student has the right to be accompanied by any advisor of his/her choosing and at his/her expense. The advisor may be another student, faculty member, administrator or an attorney. The advisor may not otherwise be involved in the proceedings. An advisor’s role is limited to advising the Accused Student directly and discretely. An advisor is not permitted to participate directly in the hearing.

Conduct of Hearing

  1. A hearing is normally conducted in private.
  2. There shall be a record created of all hearings that may include an audio recording. The record shall be the property of the College.
  3. All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the Academic Integrity Committee
  4. Admission of any person(s) to the hearing shall be at the discretion of the Academic Integrity Committee

A hearing shall proceed as follows:

  • The Chair of the Academic Integrity Committee presents the Statement of Charges on behalf of the College. The Chair may submit documents, materials, and witnesses in support of the Statement of Charges.
  • Accused Student responds to the Statement of Charges. The student may present documents, materials, and witnesses in response to the Statement of Charges.
  • Following the parties’ presentations, the Academic Integrity Committee may question each party, their witnesses and review all information presented. The Academic Integrity Committee has the discretion to request additional documents, materials or information from either party.
  • While direct cross-examination by the parties is not permitted, each party will be given the opportunity to question the other by presenting questions to the Academic Integrity Committee. If the Academic Integrity Committee determines a question is relevant, the other party will be asked to respond.
  • The Academic Integrity Committee shall have a final opportunity to question the parties.
  • After the hearing, the Academic Integrity Committee shall determine by majority vote whether the Statement of Charges has been proven.
  • The Academic Integrity Committee’s decision shall be based on a preponderance of evidence standard.
  • Within fifteen (15) days of the conclusion of a hearing, the Academic Integrity Committee shall issue a written decision outlining its findings and disciplinary action, if any, to the parties.
  • A student found in violation of the College’s Code of Conduct shall be subject to sanctions, including but not limited to:
  • Verbal or Written Reprimand
  • Restrictions/Loss of Privileges
  • Community Service
  • Educational Sanction
  • Restitution
  • Probation
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion

Notifications of Findings:

The Academic Integrity Committee will notify the student in writing of the results and penalties.

Appeal of the Academic Integrity Committee:

A student can appeal the findings of the Academic Integrity Committee to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The decision of the Vice President of Academic Affairs is final. Only those decisions resulting in academic dismissal may be appealed to the President of the College.

Request for Clemency After Petition

After the exhaustion of appeal, a student who has been expelled or dismissed from the College may apply for a reduction in sanction based on presidential clemency. The student must put the request and the basis

for the request in writing to the President of the College within three working days of the conclusion of the petition. The President may choose to hear or dismiss the application for clemency. The President’s decision is final and cannot be appealed. The student will be notified of the President’s decision in writing.

Suspension or Dismissal

The decision as to whether suspension or dismissal is appropriate depends on the circumstances of each case.

  1. The suspension is effective for not less than the session in which action is taken or for not more than one calendar year. The length of a suspension will be specified at the time the action is taken. A suspended student is ordinarily entitled to resume studies in the same College at the end of the suspension provided the student has satisfied all requirements that were imposed by the School Dean/Director.
  2. Dismissal is reserved for serious violations of rules and regulations, and when circumstances indicate that a student's association with the college should be terminated in the interests of maintaining the standards of behavior and conduct normally expected in a college community. A student who has been dismissed but who has not been denied the privilege of returning to the college may apply for readmission after one calendar year. The calendar year begins on the final day of the session during which the dismissal was implemented. Readmission applications are evaluated based on the total record of the student and consistent with the admission practices in effect at the time of application. A readmitted student is governed by the academic requirements in effect at the time of readmission.

Footnote:

Elements of these policies were derived from the Policies of Boston College and American University.

http://www.american.edu/academics/integrity/code.cfm 

http://www.bc.edu/offices/stserv/academic/integrity.html 

Academic Grievances/Appeals

Students who believe that they have been unfairly graded in a course or that they deserve an adjustment in their academic status may appeal to persons in authority, providing they follow proper procedure. This appeal must occur within four (4) weeks upon issuance of the grade. The student’s first step in such an appeal must always be to confer with the instructor. If further steps are necessary, the student should see the person next in authority (Program Chair or School Dean), in which the course is taken. If a third step is needed, the student should contact the appropriate Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs based on the course in question. If no resolution is reached, the student can appeal to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The decision of the Vice President of Academic Affairs is final. Only those decisions resulting in academic dismissal may be appealed to the President of the College.

Academic Warning and Probation

If a student’s semester or cumulative GPA falls below 2.0, the student may be placed on academic warning or probation. At the end of each semester, the Vice President of Academic Affairs reviews all

students with a CGPA below 2.0 and places them on academic warning or probation. Any student whose academic record reflects persistent academic deficiencies is also eligible for probation, suspension or dismissal.

Please refer to the academic catalog for the official policies on student academic standing.

Credits Attempted    GQPA   Decision
1-18 Between 1.51 - 2.00 Academic Warning*
1-18 Between 1.00 - 1.50 Academic Probation
1-18 At or Below 1.00 Academic Suspension
19-59 Between 1.75 - 2.00 Academic Probation
19-59 Below 1.75 Academic Suspension
60 and over Between 1.85 - 2.00 Academic Probation
60 and over Below 1.85 Academic Suspension

*A student may be placed on academic warning for only one semester.

Academic Dismissal: Forced Withdrawal

The College reserves the right to exclude at any time any student whose academic conduct or standing is seriously deficient. A student may be forced to withdraw from the College for academic reasons when:

  1. The student has been on probation for more than two semesters;
  2. The student’s semester or cumulative GPA is substantially below the 2.0 minimum requirement;
  3. The student has been found in violation of the College’s Standards of Academic Conduct in the Student Code of Conduct.

Course Load

Normal Course Load
The normal course load for a student is five courses or 15 to 16 credits per semester. Each of these five courses must have a minimum value of three credits. One semester hour is the equivalent of one period of at least 50 minutes during each week of the semester. One semester hour is equivalent to one credit.

Sixth Course
With the approval of the academic advisor and authorization from the Vice President of Academic Affairs, a student may enroll in a sixth course. A CGPA of 3.0 or above is expected of students seeking this approval.

Registration

Students are expected to register on the appointed day at the start of each semester. Returning students will have preregistered during the previous semester. The academic advisors will assist students in completing their individual course schedule. For more information on registration please see Academic Catalog, page 32.

Course Changes

After Pre-Registration

If the course has been canceled or if the time has been changed and the course now conflicts with another, students may replace it with a new course when they register. However, if a student decides to change from a course that is still being offered at the same time, the student’s academic advisor must approve the change. Once the student receives approval from his/her academic advisor, s/he will make the change to the schedule through the on-line student services. The student will need his/her advisor PIN to make any changes.

Drop/Add Period

Once classes have begun, students may drop or add a course during the first five class days which is considered the drop/add period. The student’s academic advisor must approve the change. Once the student receives approval from his/her academic advisor, s/he will make the change to the schedule through the on-line student services. The student will need his/her advisor PIN to make any changes.

Withdrawal from a Course

Students wishing to withdraw from a course after the drop/add deadline published in the Academic Calendar must meet with their academic advisor to discuss withdrawing from the class. If the student and the advisor agree that it is in the student’s best interest to withdraw from the class, the advisor will submit a Course Withdrawal Form to the Registrar’s Office. Once the withdrawal is processed, the student, instructor, and advisor will receive a confirmation email. The student is not considered officially withdrawn from the course unless s/he receives the confirmation email. Students should consult the academic calendar for the withdrawal deadline. Ceasing to attend classes or just notifying the Instructor does not constitute an official withdrawal. A student who fails to properly withdraw from a course will receive a grade of “F” for the course.

Transfer Between Departments

Students who, after matriculation, wish to transfer from one major to another within the College must meet all the requirements of the major to which they wish to transfer. A student wishing to change majors must meet with an advisor from the program which s/he intends to transfer into. If the student and the advisor agree that it would be in the best interest of the student to change majors, the new advisor will submit a Change of Major form to the Registrar’s Office. Once the change is processed, the student, the new advisor, and the previous advisor will receive a confirmation email. The change of major request is not official until the student receives this confirmation email. Students will not be allowed to pre-register or register for classes until the paperwork affecting the transfer between majors has been completed.

Grades and Quality Points

Grading System

Anna Maria College operates on a 4-point grading system (A = 4.0). Academic standing is determined by the grades received and the corresponding quality points earned in each course. Grades are converted to quality points according to the following schedule:

Excellent 4.0
A- 3.7
B+ 3.3
B Superior Achievement 3.0
B- 2.7
C+ 2.3
C Average Achievement 2.0
C- 1.7
D+       1.3  
D       1.0  
D-       0.7  
F   Failing, no quality points      
P   Pass, not computed in quality points      
W   Withdrawn, not computed in quality points      
I   Incomplete      

Final Grades

At the end of each semester, the final grade report will list the courses the student has taken, along with the grades received and the quality points earned in each course. The report will also list the student’s grade point average for the semester (SGPA) and the student’s cumulative grade point average (CGPA). Grades are available on-line through Online Student Services. The final grade report will only be mailed at the student’s request.

Incomplete Grades

If some serious and unavoidable circumstance prevents a student from completing a course on time, the instructor may petition the Vice President for Academic Affairs for approval to assign a grade of “I” (incomplete). A grade of incomplete is given only if the student’s coursework is substantially complete at the time s/he encounters an unavoidable circumstance. Students with more than six (6) hours of unexcused absences will not be considered for incomplete grades. The “unavoidable circumstance” must be of an emergency nature (e.g., illness) rather than a case of mere inconvenience or poor time management by the student. No student can receive a grade of “I” without prior approval from the Vice President for Academic Affairs. It is the student’s responsibility to request that the instructor submits the Petition for Incomplete to the Vice President for Academic Affairs for approval. If the Vice President for Academic Affairs approves the Incomplete, the student and instructor will receive a confirmation email from the Registrar’s Office. The Petition for Incomplete is not considered officially processed until the student receives a confirmation email. Unless otherwise noted on the petition form, the “I” will automatically convert to an “F” if the deficiency is not removed by the fourth week of the semester following the semester in which the incomplete grade is given. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the instructor to make arrangements for completing the course work and having the “I” changed to another grade.

Mid-Term Grades

Midterm grades will be available to students through Online Student Services after the eighth week of classes. Students should check their midterm grades to assess their progress in each of their classes. Students who are not succeeding in any of their classes should schedule a time to meet with their advisor prior to the last day to withdraw from a class with a “W” to determine if it is in the student’s best interest to withdraw from a class.

Pass/Fail Grade

As a full-time junior or senior, students are allowed to take one elective (non-required) course each semester on a pass/fail basis. After registering for the course, students have eight weeks from the first day of class to complete the pass/fail request form at the Registrar’s office. Although the instructor will submit a regular grade to the Registrar, if students have registered “pass/fail,” the grade will be converted to either “P” or “F.” The grade “P” is not converted into quality points so it will not affect students’ quality point average. The grade “F” will affect students’ quality point average.

Grade Point Averages

The semester grade point average (SGPA) is found by dividing the total number of quality points earned by the total number of credits attempted. The cumulative grade point average (CGPA) is found by dividing the total quality points earned by the total number of credits attempted. In computing quality point averages, the policy of the College is to consider only the credits earned at Anna Maria College.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

To remain eligible for federal, state, and institutional loans, grants, and work-study at Anna Maria College, a student must maintain satisfactory academic progress. All students are evaluated for academic progress on an annual basis in June for financial aid purposes. The Federal Government requires that students be evaluated both quantitatively and qualitatively. Undergraduate students, please visit Undergraduate Financial Aid Policies. Graduate students go to Graduate Student Financial Aid Policies for complete information.

Voluntary Withdrawal (Permanent or with Intent to Return)

Full-time and part-time students, who wish to withdraw (permanently or with intent to return) from the College are required to complete official documentation and meet with the Vice President for Student Affairs. Students participating in College or federally funded loan programs must schedule an exit interview with the Director of Financial Aid.

Students withdrawing from the College during any semester or before the final examinations or evaluations will receive no credit.

Non-attendance does not relieve a student of his/her financial obligations nor entitle the student to a refund. The charges on a student’s bill remain his/her obligation unless the student formally withdraws with the Office of Student Affairs. The student will be held responsible for the academically related charges in accordance with a schedule that is posted in the Business Office.

For the purpose of determining an official date of withdrawal from the College that will be used to complete the academic record including the determination of grades of W or F; determine any applicable refunds or charges, determine eligibility for full or partial disbursement of financial aid and all other academic and college business purposes, the following guidelines will apply:

  1. The Official Date of Withdrawal will be considered the first date that the student has notified either the Office of the Registrar or the Vice President for Student Affairs of the student’s intent to withdraw from the College permanently or with intent to return.
    1. If after notifying the appropriate office the student has participated in an academically related activity that can be verified, including but not limited to attending a class, taking an exam or submitting a paper, then the latest date of participation in the academically related activity will be considered the official date of withdrawal.
  2. The completion of the withdrawal form provided by the Vice President for Student Affairs will complete the withdrawal process and will note the effective date as defined above. The student signature on the form will indicate agreement with the determined date.
  3. In the case of a student leaving the College without providing documentation, the Registrar and/or Vice President for Student Affairs will determine the last date of participation in an academically related activity and that date will be considered the official date of withdrawal.
    1. If the last date of participation in an academically related activity cannot be determined, the College may use the midpoint of the semester as the official withdrawal date.

For information regarding the AMC withdrawal and refund policy, go to Anna Maria College website under “Student Accounts”, “Tuition and Fees”. Undergraduate students may go to Undergraduate Withdrawal Policies. Graduate students may visit Graduate Student Withdrawal Policies.