Faculty and Professional Staff Handbook 
    
    Jul 31, 2021  
Faculty and Professional Staff Handbook

Chapter V: Instructional and Academic Policies and Procedures


 

Faculty Responsibilities

As its Mission Statement indicates, the University of West Alabama seeks to employ a vibrant, talented, and diverse faculty. Excellence in teaching and advising is paramount to the faculty, but faculty members should also be committed to providing leadership and fostering positive growth throughout West Alabama through research and public service, with primary emphasis on that which meets the educational, social, cultural, and economic needs of the region. A faculty member’s principal responsibilities can be classified in the following areas:

Teaching

Planning and organizing assigned courses, conducting classroom instruction, providing individual assistance to students, evaluating students’ progress, and evaluating course instruction.

Scholarly Activities

Undertaking research and/or creative projects, participating in professional organizations, and maintaining current knowledge in one’s discipline.

Student Advising

Academic counseling.

Institutional Service

Committee work and other assigned and volunteer duties related to the development and well‑being of the University.

Public Service

Implementing workshops, public programs, and other appropriate activities in cooperation with schools, public agencies, and community organizations and providing consultation to public and private agencies, groups, and individuals.

The faculty member has a professional obligation to participate in the development of the academic program and, through the appropriate channels, to contribute to the betterment of the University community.

Faculty Workload Policy

The UWA Workload Policy is intended to ensure both equitable and reasonable assignment of faculty responsibilities and quality instruction that meets the needs of UWA students. Furthermore, the policy is designed to ensure that faculty are able to sustain an adequate level of effectiveness in service and scholarship.

Full-time faculty are limited to teaching 9-16 residential semester hours per semester, depending on the courses taught, undergraduate or graduate. Fulltime faculty at UWA or an employee of UWA with fulltime status in another position will be limited to two classes per online term. Additional limits may be imposed by individual colleges due to various accrediting agency requirements with the concurrence of the Provost.  Individual colleges may have additional restrictions regarding course load and capacity. Fulltime employees may teach with written permission of the supervisor and the Provost or appropriate Vice President, unless the employee’s letter of appointment specifies a different teaching load.

Adjunct faculty contracted full time to the UWA online program cannot be employed full time by another entity and will be limited to three courses per online session. Moreover, adjunct faculty who are employed full time by another entity are limited to one course per online session. Full-time online faculty are restricted to a teaching load of 9 graduate or 12 undergraduate semester hours per session. Exceptions may be made to load limitations under emergency circumstances, with the approval of the appropriate Dean and the Provost.

Additionally, the Dean of the College in which a faculty member resides may reduce a faculty member’s teaching load for research, service or special assignment. Exceptions can only be made by the Dean of the College in which the faculty member resides, with the concurrence of the Provost.

  (Revised July 20, 2010; April 18, 2011; August 1 2016)

Guidelines for Summer Term

Teaching workloads for summer term will be based on departmental needs and faculty goals with consideration given to available funds. In those instances in which a faculty member is teaching less than a normal full load, non-instructional loads will be reduced proportionately.

Faculty Office Hours

Each full‑time faculty member must have at least ten hours each week designated as office hours during which he/she is available in the office for consultation with students and for other purposes. In order to accommodate students’ varied schedules, the office hours should be set at various times of the day and scheduled on at least four days per week (although faculty are expected to be on campus five days per week).  Variations in office hours must be approved by the faculty member’s Chair and Dean.  In addition to these office hours, faculty members should make themselves available by appointment for students who cannot come during posted office hours.  Faculty teaching evening and weekend classes should be especially sensitive to the needs of students in these classes.  

Loads for Chairpersons and Deans

The load for Chairperson is based on the number of full-time faculty in the department (In the chart that follows, a “course” is defined as a three-semester-hour course):

Number of Faculty   Reduced Load Per Year
  1-6
7-12
12 +
 
 
  3 courses
4 courses
5 courses.

Chairpersons are expected to take at least a one-course reduction in their load each semester. In special circumstances, variations from this policy may occur and must be approved by the Dean and the Provost. If scheduling exigencies make it impossible for a Chair to take all of his or her assigned load reduction during an academic year, he or she may receive adjunct pay for the extra courses taught with prior approval of the Dean and Provost.

Deans will normally teach one three-semester-hour course each academic term. Any variations from this policy must be approved by the Provost.

Distribution of Class Assignments

It is sound pedagogical practice to distribute a faculty member’s teaching assignments to ensure that his/her energy and focus remain strong. The University of West Alabama thus requires that a faculty member’s teaching schedule include no more than three classes on either the Monday‑ Wednesday‑Friday or the Tuesday‑Thursday patterns (including night classes that may meet on only one night). Any variations from this policy must be approved by the Dean and the Provost.

  (October 27, 1999)

Faculty Meetings

Full‑time and part‑time faculty members on contract are expected to attend all University faculty meetings and all faculty meetings within their respective colleges and departments unless prior approval is given by the appropriate chairperson or dean. This requirement applies to all who hold full‑time or part‑time faculty status, including academic administrators, coaches, librarians, lecturers, etc. Adjunct faculty members and graduate assistants are welcome at faculty meetings but are not required to attend.

University faculty meetings and college meetings are held each fall and at other times when appropriate. Departmental meetings are scheduled throughout the academic year. For communication purposes, minutes of these meetings are sent to the President, Provost, all deans, and the department chairpersons within the respective college. They are available to others upon request to the dean or department chairperson. (Departmental minutes are often distributed to all faculty members within the department.)

In‑service meetings are scheduled each fall at the beginning of the academic year. Separate meetings are generally scheduled for the entire faculty and staff, for the teaching faculty as a whole, and for the faculty in each college. In addition to announcements, introductions, and other routine matters, these meetings include special presentations by campus personnel and/or visitors on topics related to the professional development of faculty and staff. Time is also usually allotted during the in‑service period for departmental meetings and committee meetings.

Commencement

A convocation for the granting of degrees is held at the end of the fall and spring semesters, and all full‑time faculty are expected to be present for the Commencement exercises. The University provides appropriate academic regalia (gown, hood, and mortarboard) for faculty members who do not have their own. Each faculty member, however, must complete a form at the University Bookstore to ensure that the correct items are ordered. Faculty members who have compelling reasons for missing the Commencement exercises should make written application and receive written permission from their respective deans to be excused.

Faculty members march in the academic procession according to seniority (based on date of full‑time employment with faculty status).

Faculty Research

Excellence in teaching and advising is paramount to the faculty, but the members are also committed to providing leadership and fostering positive growth throughout West Alabama through research and public service, with primary emphasis on that which meets the educational, social, cultural, and economic needs of the region as stated in the Promotion and Tenure Process.

Wherever possible, the University seeks to provide encouragement and assistance to faculty members engaged in research. Although limited funds restrict direct financial assistance, the University makes various campus facilities available to faculty members pursuing research projects, including the laboratories, the computer center, and the Library, and also makes possible the utilization of University office equipment and secretaries for such purposes, subject to the approval of the department chairperson and within the constraint that needs of the academic program must take priority. Each year the University also awards a limited number of research grants through the University Research Committee. (Additional information on research and related activities can be found below and in Chapter III )

Faculty Grant Programs

University Research Grants

The Program

The University has set up a fund to provide small grants in support of research. Individual grants may range from $500 to $1,500 and are awarded during the Fall Semester.

Each grant funded is for a period of one year or less, but with the possibility of continuation for an additional year if the grantee presents adequate justification for an extension grant. Renewal is not automatic however, but must be applied for, and an application for a second year’s funding must include an interim report on the first year.

The activities to be supported by this program include any type of research and/or creative activity, including, but not limited to, laboratory experiments, behavioral investigations, writing, painting, performing, developing a mathematical proof, etc.

The following types of expenses may be supported by the grant money: supplies, clerical assistance, computer time, travel (only when necessary to the project), publication expenses (when modest and appropriate), equipment (only when necessary to the project and not otherwise available on the campus or through inter-library loan services). Any equipment purchased becomes the property of the University and at the end of the project is assigned to the grantee’s department. Any books or library materials purchased become the property of the University and at the end of the project are placed in the Julia Tutwiler Library.

The following types of expenses will not be supported from these grants: tuition charges, expenses connected with a thesis or dissertation which is part of the requirement for a degree, dues in professional organizations, expenses of attendance at professional meetings unless the research specifically benefits from such attendance (as, for example, for distribution of a survey), a supplement to a grantee’s salary, any expenditures for which the use of State funds is prohibited.

Who May Apply

Any full time employee of the University of West Alabama who holds faculty or professional staff status is eligible to apply for a grant, but the grants are intended primarily to stimulate research among the faculty, especially the graduate faculty, and are made to professional staff members only rarely and in special circumstances, as, for example, when a project might provide exceptional benefit to the University.

Selection Process

The University Research Committee sets a timetable for applications, specifies the format and the specific content to be included in the formal written proposals for the research grant, and establishes procedures for impartial review of proposals and the allocation of research funds to qualified applicants.

Each grantee is required, at the end of the grant period, to present a report on the project to the Research Committee. If applying for a second fiscal year, the grantee is required to submit an interim report at the end of the first.

University Teaching Excellence Grants

The University of West Alabama seeks to encourage its faculty to enhance teaching effectiveness and improve faculty performance in the classroom.  To that end, the University has established a Teaching Excellence Grants program to help fund activities that promote excellence in teaching.

Guidelines

  1. Any full-time employee of the University of West Alabama who holds faculty status is eligible to apply for a grant.
  2. Individual grants may range up to $1,000.
  3. Each grant is funded for a period of one year or less.
  4. Grant applications are accepted throughout the year until the grant budget is exhausted.  A Teaching Excellence Grant Committee, chaired by the Provost, reviews and acts upon applications, generally within twelve working days.
  5. Types of expenses that may be supported by grant money include expenses connected with attending workshops or seminars specifically designed to promote teaching effectiveness, costs for outside professional trainers and/or UWA faculty members to present workshops on innovative teaching techniques, and other activities directly connected to enhancing teaching effectiveness.  Although funds may not be used for the general purchase of equipment such as computers or projectors, requests for specialized equipment, software, and other instructional materials that can be directly connected to enhanced teaching will be considered.  Any equipment or software purchased becomes the property of the University and is assigned to the grantee’s department.
  6. Types of expenses that will not be supported from these grants include expenses connected with requirement for a degree,  dues in professional organizations, a supplement to a grantee’s salary, or any expenditures for which the use of State funds is prohibited.
  7. Each grantee is required, at the end of the grant period, to present a report on the project to the Teaching Excellence Grants Committee.  The report should summarize the activity, evaluate the success, and include a record of expenditures.
     

University Service Learning Grants

The University of West Alabama seeks to encourage its faculty to incorporate service learning into their curriculum.  To that end, the University has established a Service Learning Grants program to help fund activities that promote service learning.

Guidelines

  1. Any full-time faculty member of the University of West Alabama is eligible to apply for a grant, with the approval of his/her Chair and Dean.
  2. Individual grants may range up to $1,000.
  3. Each grant is funded for a period of one year or less, but with the possibility of continuation for an additional year if the grantee presents adequate justification for an extension grant.  Renewal is not automatic, however, but must be applied for, and an application for a second year’s funding must include an interim report on the first year.
  4. Types of expenses that may be supported by grant money include expenses associated with activities directly connected to service learning in the classroom.  These costs may include travel, supplies, instructional materials, and fees.  Requests for specialized equipment, software, and other instructional materials that can be directly connected to service learning will be considered.  Any equipment or software purchased becomes the property of the University and is assigned to the grantee’s department.
  5. Types of expenses that will not be supported from these grants include expenses connected with requirements for a degree, dues in professional organizations, a supplement to a grantee’s salary or any expenditures for which the use of State funds is prohibited.
  6. A Service Learning Grants Committee reviews and acts upon grant applications.
  7. Each grantee is required, at the end of the grant period, to present a report on the project to the Service Learning Grants Committee.  The report should summarize the activity, evaluate the success of the project, and include a record of expenditures.

 

Student Advising

Providing academic counseling for students is one of the most important functions of faculty members. Faculty members are assigned specific responsibilities in connection with the registration process and are expected to be present at their assigned stations for the entire registration period. Most faculty are designated to advise specific students in planning their schedules-some with undecided majors and some with declared majors and some with both. Specific advisors are assigned to work with students in particular majors, pre‑professional programs, or other special areas. The designated faculty advisor (or, of course, the student’s dean) is the only person authorized to approve a student’s registration schedule, except when special arrangements are made by the dean-for example, in the absence of the designated advisor.

The advising duties of a faculty member are extremely important. It is the advisor’s responsibility to see that his/her assigned students schedule the classes necessary to fulfill the general and specific degree requirements in their respective programs and that they enroll for the number, type, and level of classes commensurate with their ability and status. Good advising, however, transcends the mechanical fulfillment of these responsibilities. It reflects a genuine concern for the progress and welfare of students and provides an opportunity to treat them as individuals. On occasion, the advisor and the student may need to consult with other faculty members, department chairpersons, or the dean in order to ensure that the student is registered for a suitable schedule. Each advisor should be familiar with the statement in the current Catalogue on “Academic Counseling” and with the handbook in academic advising distributed by his/her college.

The guidelines below are intended to provide a general overview of the policies and procedures relating to academic advising and to answer the questions most frequently raised concerning student advisement. All faculty members should also become thoroughly familiar with the additional information in the Catalogue as cited below.

Pertinent Policies Concerning Registration

Freshman Studies Program

The Freshman Studies Program is designed to facilitate the entering freshman’s acclimation to the college experience. Entering freshmen participate in a counseling program prior to their enrollment in which students are evaluated in a variety of ways to determine what academic offerings and what various kinds of assistance will best meet their needs and interests as individuals. They are also introduced to the campus and to many of the faculty and administrative staff and are shown what the University of West Alabama offers them. Qualified personnel are available for vocational counseling, personal counseling, and other forms of guidance.

A second aspect of the Freshman Studies Program is the provision of special courses designed to help students develop their abilities from the level of competence which they have as they enter college. Students who lack the necessary proficiency in specific areas are assigned to developmental courses in order to provide them with the extra help which they need before enrolling in regular college courses in those areas. At present, developmental courses are offered in the basic skills of reading, writing, and mathematics.

Further information may be obtained from the Dean of Liberal Arts, Station 23, The University of West Alabama, Livingston, Alabama 35470.

Honors Program

The University of West Alabama Honors Program is administered through the College of Liberal Arts. The primary goals of the Honors Program are to provide the superior undergraduate student with a more stimulating and challenging curriculum, closer contacts with outstanding faculty, and enriched classes, as well as allow the individual to follow his or her own intellectual interests more independently. Honors students work with outstanding faculty members and peers in enriched courses and participate in extracurricular activities that not only provide cultural and social enrichment, but also develop their special talents and skills.

The program is open to freshmen with minimum ACT scores of 22 composite and 24 in biology, English, or history, or 23 in mathematics with appropriate math placement test scores. Transfer students who are interested should apply to the Director of the Honors Program for admission. Students with an ACT composite score of 28 or higher and individual scores of 28 or higher in English or history can earn six semester hours of credit in history and/or English composition by successfully completing a special five-hour course in the subject area. Students with an ACT mathematics score of 23 or higher may earn credit for Algebra and Pre-Calculus Mathematics through qualifying examinations. Students may also earn credit through the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) and the College Entrance Examination Board’s Advanced Placement Program (AP). Details are available from the Office of Admissions.

In the freshman year, students augment their academic preparation in the honors versions of the basic curriculum classes. Courses in English composition and literature, history, and biology are specifically designed for the honors students. The freshman-level Honors Forum combines classwork, cultural activities, and attendance at special events. The special University honors courses, offered in the sophomore, junior, and senior years, provide a stimulating range and depth of intellectual inquiry. An interdisciplinary course, Honors Special Topics, brings to class faculty from diverse disciplines to address a fundamental issue or theme or a historical period. Mentored Studies and the Honors Thesis allow for a creative learning atmosphere. Students select projects of specific interest and work individually or in small groups with a faculty member. Students pursue their own specific degree within the honors framework, usually taking one to two honors courses per year.

The Honors Program promotes a community where interaction with like-minded peers and a committed faculty is assured. Participation in honors courses is noted on official transcripts while successful completion of the Honors Program is recognized with the designation “Honors Scholar” on official transcripts and diplomas. These notations bring the achievements of the honors student to the attention of prospective employers and graduate and professional schools.

Additional information on the Honors Program is available in the current Catalogue statement on the “Honors Program” or through the Director of the University of West Alabama Honors Program.

Transfer Students

When advising a transfer student, either a freshman or an upperclassman, the advisor should find in the advising folder a copy of the student’s transcript and an evaluation form showing the transfer credits accepted by the University of West Alabama. If this material is not in the folder-as is sometimes the case because of late receipt of transcripts-the advisor may need to consult with the dean and/or the Admissions Office in order to obtain as much information as possible before planning a schedule for the student.

Additional information is available in the current Catalogue statements on “Transfer Students” and “Transfer Credit.”

Completion of the Basic Curriculum

The University of West Alabama programs are planned so that a student generally should complete the basic curriculum (the general education pattern) required for his/her degree program by the end of the sophomore year, but a student should definitely have completed these courses by the time he/she completes 90 semester hours.

Student Load

  1. Normal Load
    A normal load for a student is fifteen semester hours. Special permission from the dean of the college in which the student is enrolled is necessary for registration with loads of less than twelve or more than eighteen semester hours credit. A student with a quality-point ratio of 3.0 or more may take a heavier academic load with the approval of the dean. However, a student load of more than twenty-one hours will not normally be approved, except when the excess load will enable a student to complete all requirements for graduation that semester. A fee is charged for hours taken during one semester in excess of eighteen.

    Additional information is available in the current Catalogue statements on “Student Load” and “Basic Fees.”
  2. Students Who Receive Financial Assistance
  Undergraduate Students
  FULL TIME = 12 or more credit hours:
Student is eligible for full financial assistance.
  THREE‑QUARTERS TIME = 9‑11 credit hours:
Pell Grant is reduced to approximately 3/4 of the full‑time amount.
The student is no longer eligible to receive the Alabama State Student Incentive Grant.
  HALF‑TIME = 6‑8 credit hours:
Pell Grant is reduced to approximately 1/2 of the full‑time amount.
  LESS THAN HALF‑TIME = 5 or fewer credit hours:
The student is no longer eligible for any type of financial assistance.
  Graduate Students
  Graduate students must take a minimum of three semester hours of graduate work in order to be eligible for the following programs: Guaranteed Student Loan, National Direct Student Loan, College Work‑Study.

Additional Information concerning student financial aid is available in the Office of Financial Aid.

  1. Developmental Courses
    Developmental courses are designed to provide students with extra preparatory work in the basic skills in reading, writing, and mathematics needed for successful pursuit of a college education. Placement of students in these courses is based on ACT or SAT scores, or specific placement tests. Generally, if a student is taking developmental work, as well as other basic curriculum courses, his/her schedule should not exceed fifteen hours credit, although occasional exceptions beyond this number can be justified. Of course, any schedule for less than 12 credit hours must be approved by the appropriate dean.
  2. Student‑Athletes
    To maintain eligibility, a student‑athlete must enroll each semester of the academic year (August-May) for at least 12 semester hours credit which counts specifically toward his/her degree program and must earn at least 24 semester hours credit since the beginning of the previous fall semester. The student‑athlete may use up to six semester hours in the summer term to meet the academic requirements for eligibility for the next academic year and season of competition. Further, student‑athletes must show satisfactory progress and good academic standing as required by the University of West Alabama, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and the Gulf South Conference to maintain their eligibility. The student‑athlete is required by the NCAA to achieve a minimum grade‑point average (based on a 4.0 scale) as follows: 1.6 after the first season of competition, 1.8 after the second season of competition, and 2.0 after the completion of the third season of competition and subsequent seasons of competition. Finally, the student‑athlete must designate a program of study leading to a bachelor’s degree by the beginning of the third year of enrollment (fifth semester) and thereafter make satisfactory progress toward that specific degree.

    The deans will provide additional checks to ensure that student‑athletes are registered in compliance with University policy and the requirements of the relevant athletic organizations. In addition, the Director of Athletics, the Faculty Athletic Representative, the Registrar, the Director of Financial Aid, and the head coach in each sport also have specific responsibilities for the satisfactory progress of each student‑athlete and in some instances must certify their status to the relevant athletic organizations.

    Finally, each student‑athlete may be enrolled for a one‑semester‑hour course in his/her sport. These courses are designated “Varsity Athletics,” and they may be repeated for a maximum of four hours total credit in the area of Varsity Athletics. A student may not be enrolled in two Varsity Athletic courses concurrently.

    Rodeo athletes are members of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA). To maintain eligibility each Rodeo athlete must complete twelve hours in the previous semester and either have a 2.0 overall or a 2.0 from the previous semester. He/she must also complete 24 hours during the previous year to be eligible for the next year.


Prerequisites

Advisors should be especially careful about course prerequisites (listed in the Catalogue) and give particular attention to the appropriateness of a specific course for a particular student in relation to courses already completed, test scores, work and/or activity schedule, etc. Advisors should consult the Catalogue and the appropriate department chairperson or dean with any questions in this regard.

Catalogue Requirements

A student is expected to fulfill all credit and course requirements as outlined in the Catalogue effective at the time he/she last entered the undergraduate college from which he/she is to be graduated, except that if the student chooses, he/she may be graduated by the requirements of a later Catalogue. The student must meet all requirements as outlined in a single Catalogue.

A student who does not complete the requirements for a degree within six years of the date of admission to the University may be expected to meet the current requirements for the degree. In such an instance, the advisor and the student must consult with the dean.

Additional information is available in the current Catalogue statement on “Credit Requirements” and the sections on “Graduation Requirements” for the individual colleges.

Graduation Requirements for Transfer Students

A candidate for either an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree must complete 25% of his or her total hours at UWA. (The resulting total number of hours may vary from program to program.) Specifically, a candidate for an associate degree must complete a minimum of 15 semester hours at UWA (although individual programs may require additional hours), and a candidate for a bachelor’s degree must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours at the upper-division (300 and 400) levels at UWA. It is generally understood that in both instances the hours will be the final hours in a student’s program. However, a candidate for graduation lacking fewer than fifteen semester hours may, with prior approval of his or her Dean, earn these credits by extension courses, correspondence courses, and/or work at another approved senior institution, provided the student has acceptable quality-point averages as required for graduation. Enrollment in a correspondence course must be completed at least three months prior to the awarding of the degree. Grades for correspondence courses must be in the office of the University Registrar two weeks prior to commencement if they are to be used for meeting graduation requirements at that time.
Exceptions to the residence requirements are made in individual instances for service personnel pursuing degrees in the Service Members Opportunity College program.

Quality‑Point Requirements

The quality-point ratio for determining a student’s academic status and his or her eligibility for graduation is computed by dividing the quality points earned by the number of semester hours of credit attempted. All students must have a minimum quality-point ratio of 2.0 overall, in the basic curriculum, and in their major and minor(s) in order to complete a baccalaureate degree. In addition, each school or college may have additional quality-point requirements in specific curricula or programs. (Teaching degrees and/or certification programs in the College of Education, for example, require at least a 2.5 quality-point ratio in the general studies component, the professional education component, and the selected program of study of the program.)

Additional information is available in the current Catalogue section on “Course Requirements for the Degree …” under the appropriate college.

Assignment of Students to Special Classes

Students may be assigned to developmental courses in English, mathematics, reading, and academic skills. The developmental courses carry non‑degree credit only. Advisors should consult the Advisement Information Sheet, the ACT Profile Sheet, and the high school transcript in the student’s folder to determine assignment in these courses. Students also may be referred to a developmental English course based on the Written English Referral Program.

Special basic curriculum honors courses are offered in English composition, biology, literature, and history. Advisors should check to see if an Honors Program Referral Form is in the student’s folder and, if so, follow it for these assignments. Additional information is available in the current Catalogue statements on “Assignment to Special Classes” and “Honors Program.”

Course Substitutions

No advisor is authorized to make substitutions in a student’s program. All substitutions must be approved by the dean of the college in which the student resides after consultation with the chairperson(s) of the department(s) involved (including the department in which the courses are offered and the department in which the student is majoring). This also applies to graduate students.

Other Materials Available to Advisors:

Placement Scores for English, Reading, and Mathematics
Table of Basic Curriculum Requirements for the colleges and Division of Nursing
Change of Course Form

This form is used for changes in the schedule after the student has completed the check‑out procedure during registration. The advisor who originally approved the schedule must sign the Change of Course Form, except in special situations as indicated above

Request for Change of School, Major or Degree Form

This form is available in each dean’s office, and it should be completed each time a student desires to transfer from one college to another, to change or declare a major, or to change or declare a degree program. In each instance noted, the student makes these changes in his/her current dean’s office.

Courses by Special Arrangement

An advisor may not register any student for an independent study course or for a situation in which the student is to receive individual instruction in a course normally offered as a regular class, except with the written permission of the dean of the college in which the course is offered. The dean will consult with the professor involved and the appropriate department chairperson before approving. These courses are approved only as exceptional arrangements for students who have adequate background in the area and sufficient motivation to profit from an independent study experience. Generally, independent study courses are intended for the advanced student and not for freshmen and sophomores.

Additional information is available under “Classes by Special Arrangement” in this Handbook.

Late Registration

An advisor may register assigned students during the official period for adding courses for a specific semester as stated in the Academic Calendar on the UWA website. It is the responsibility of the student enrolling after class work begins to consult with instructors about missed work and to make up all requirements.

Requirements for Continuation in Residence

See the current Catalogue statement on “Requirements for Continuation in Residence” with regard to the following situations:

 

Academic Warning
Academic Probation
First Academic Suspension
Second Academic Suspension
Indefinite Academic Suspension

Syllabi

At the beginning of each course, a course syllabus should be distributed by the instructor to all students enrolled in the course. The department chairperson is responsible for seeing that a course syllabus is on file for each course taught within the department. This syllabus should contain all of the information specified in the Model Course Syllabus below. The professor teaching the course generally prepares the syllabus, but in the case of multiple sections or courses which are taught by different professors, the department chairperson designates a faculty member or a committee to prepare a syllabus that is acceptable to the instructors involved.

The department chairperson retains in the departmental office one copy of each syllabus and also forwards copies to the dean and to the Provost. The syllabus must be revised each time there are any significant changes in the course, whether the changes relate to objectives, content, requirements, evaluation measures, or textbooks. Copies of the revised syllabuses are also distributed as stated above.

MODEL COURSE SYLLABUS
 
Course Number and Title: (Catalogue listing)
Date: (semester and year to which syllabus applies)
Instructor: (name, office location and hours, telephone number)
Meeting Time: (days, hours)
Course Description: (Catalogue description)
Credit Hours: (Catalogue description)

Prerequisites and Course Standards: (prerequisites as listed in current Catalogue; also may include academic essential functions-the tasks, knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for the student to be able to understand and learn course material)

Department Student Learning Outcomes:  (SLOs established by department)

Course Objectives: (a listing of the competencies and knowledge the course is designed to effect in the student)

Course Requirements: (May be combined with Evaluation and/or Grading) (project, reports, collections, conferences that constitute minimum requirements for the course)

Course Materials: (all required materials by author, title, edition, and publisher; may include bibliographies, guides, and other optional materials)

Evaluation: (May be combined with Course Requirements and/or Grading) (all examinations, projects, reports, class participation, and any other methods of evaluation used to determine a student’s grade)

Grading: (May be combined with Evaluation and/or Course Requirements) (a breakdown of the grading structure for course that establishes the value of any evaluated material or student contribution used to determine the course grade)(Include the following statement: “Any student who is dissatisfied with his/her grades during this course is urged to discuss this with the instructor.”)

Attendance and Make-up Policies: (policies on excused and unexcused absences, tardiness, and make-up work; must conform to University policy)

Assessment Day: As a part of the University’s plan to assess institutional effectiveness, a day is set aside each semester for assessment activities. Although no day classes meet on this designated day, students are required to participate in assessment activities when they are called upon to do so (should be omitted for Summer Semester).

Accommodation: Include the following statement: “The University of West Alabama strives to make its programs accessible to qualified persons defined as disabled under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Students who have special needs that require accommodation are responsible for notifying instructors in each course in which they are enrolled and appropriate staff members, who in turn will refer the student to the ADA Compliance Coordinator. Following verification of the student’s status, the ADA Compliance Coordinator will work with the instructor or staff member in implementing an appropriate plan for accommodation of the student’s needs. Support documentation of special needs from a physician or other qualified professional will be required if deemed necessary. For additional information, students should contact the Student Success Center, Foust Hall, Room 7, (205) 652-3651 or the Office of Student Life, Webb Hall, Room 311, (205) 652-3581.”

Content/Schedule Change: (Include the following statement: “The instructional schedule reflects expected class progress in course subject matter and is considered tentative. The schedule is subject to change in content and scope at the instructor’s discretion.”)

Academic Integrity:  Students are expected to conduct themselves with honesty and integrity in all of their academic work - to rely only on their knowledge on tests and quizzes and to document outside sources accurately and in an accepted form.  The academic misconduct policies of the University of West Alabama stated in the student handbook, The Tiger Paw, will be followed in this course.  The University of West Alabama reserves the right to use electronic means to detect and help prevent plagiarism.  You may be required to submit your work electronically for examination through Turnitin.com, and electronic service used by the University to identify cases of plagiarism.

Turninit.com Policy Statement:  The University of West Alabama reserves the right to use electronic means to detect and help prevent plagiarism.  Students agree that be taking this course all course documents are subject to submission to Turnitin.com.  All materials submitted to Turnitin.com will become source documents in Turnitin.com’s restricted access database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism in such documents.  Students may be required by the instructor to individually submit course documents electronically to Turnitin.com.

Copyright Restrictions:  Because instructional materials on the course website may be copyrighted, students may not download materials on the site to their desktops, laptops, PDAs, or alter or distribute any materials on the course site, unless clearly directed to do so.

Curriculum and Catalogue Changes

A curriculum change can be initiated by students, faculty, or administration. The first criterion when considering a curriculum change is its consistency with the University’s mission and goals and its relevance to the approved role and scope of the institution and the mission of the academic unit in which the change is proposed. Curriculum changes are considered within the overall strategic planning objectives and policies of the University as developed and implemented through the University’s strategic planning process. The various groups that must consider and act upon proposed changes in the curriculum are:

  1. The appropriate academic department
  2. The Academic Council of the college
  3. The Graduate Council (for graduate programs only)
  4. The University Council on Teacher Education (for teacher education programs only)
  5. The University Academic Council


A recommendation for a curriculum change is first submitted to the academic department. If the department approves the change, a copy is sent for information to the Provost, and the proposal is then reviewed by the Academic Council of the college. If approved there, the proposed change is presented to the Graduate Council and/or the Council on Teacher Education (if required) and, finally, to the University Academic Council. If this committee concurs, the recommendation is forwarded to the administration for official action and review. In general, proposals dealing with new degrees and/or new programs must be submitted to  the Alabama Commission on Higher Education for approval.  Substantive changes to curriculum and programs must also be ent to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools/Commission on Colleges (SACS/COC) for approval.  All non-substantive changes should be sent to SACS/COC as notification items.

The exact format of curriculum change proposals is dependent upon the extent to which the proposal represents a major change in the curriculum. Minor changes-such as routine modifications in major and minor requirements, changes in course descriptions, and the deletion or addition of courses-require only sufficient information to make clear the nature of the proposed change and the reasons for it. Any proposed change, however, which will require additional resources must include a detailed projection of costs. Specifically, any proposal for a new minor, a new major, or a new degree must be presented in the format required by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education for new programs (available through the Provost’s Office), which includes information on need and student availability, as well as items related to support of the program and its projected costs.

Textbooks

The individual faculty member is responsible for choosing the textbooks to be used in his/her classes, with the approval of the Department Chairperson, except that in courses with multiple sections the choice of textbooks is the joint responsibility of the Department Chairperson and the professors teaching the course. Textbooks must be ordered for sale through the University Bookstore, rather than sold to students by individual professors.

Each semester the Department Chairperson submits to the Bookstore, in accordance with an established schedule, an order form showing the textbooks required for the semester, with all necessary bibliographical information, including information regarding whether the textbook will be used in the subsequent semester, and an estimated enrollment for each course. The Department Chairperson sends the order form to the Dean for approval, and the Dean then forwards it to the Bookstore Manager. Any changes or additions to the original textbook order form must be submitted in a memorandum from the Department Chairperson to the Bookstore Manager with the approval of the Dean. However, once the Bookstore Manager has been notified that a book will be used during a subsequent semester, the textbook cannot be changed, unless a new edition becomes available.

The Bookstore Manager keeps the Department Chairperson informed of any problems relating to the textbook order, such as delayed shipping dates, out‑of‑print books, etc. As soon as the Bookstore is notified of such problems with textbook orders, or if textbooks have not arrived a week before classes are to begin, the Bookstore Manager will advise the Department Chairperson, through a form developed by the Bookstore, and they will consult to determine what further action should be taken.

If a faculty member has problems relating to textbooks, he/she should ask the Department Chairperson to discuss the problems with the Bookstore Manager.

Evaluation of Students

Classroom Records

Faculty members are expected to keep complete and accurate records of grades and attendance in all classes, to make information from such records available to University officials as necessary, to retain them for the entire period of service at the University, and to turn over all such records to the department chairperson upon leaving the University. These records are necessary not only to comply with University policies, but also to meet certain legal requirements and, on occasion, to provide data for decisions relating to individual students. University practices regarding student records are consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974.

Attendance Records

A faculty member must accurately check attendance in each class each time it meets. This may be done by calling the roll, by checking a seating chart, or by any other method which the faculty member prefers, but the record of attendance must be accurately maintained.

Tests and Other Graded Materials

A faculty member is expected to retain in the files, for a time, the final examination papers in each course. Dependent upon policy in the department, he/she may choose to let the students keep other tests, term papers, etc., but if not, these papers should be retained in the faculty member’s files. Examinations, as well as any other graded papers which are kept by the faculty member, should be retained for at least two semesters, after which time they may be destroyed by shredding, burning, or other suitable means. In no case should discarded student papers be merely placed in a trash can.

Examination Policies

The University of West Alabama policy, as stated below, provides general guidelines which faculty members are expected to follow in regard to tests and examinations, but it also allows leeway within the established parameters. Professors should clearly announce to their classes the specific policies relating to such matters as number of tests, term papers, make-up tests, etc.

Final Examinations

The University expects each faculty member to give a final examination at the end of each course unless the nature of a specific course precludes such a method of evaluation. In unusual circumstances, performance tests, term papers, research projects, and/or other forms of evaluation appropriate to the objectives of the course may be substituted for the final examination with the approval of the department chairperson, who reports this action to the dean.

All final examinations are given in accordance with the examination schedule set by the Provost, which is published in the printed schedule of classes for the quarter. A professor may not alter the final examination schedule, either for a whole class or for individual students, without the express approval of his/her dean. In some courses, however, where it is advisable to divide the examination into two or more parts, a professor may, with the approval of the chairperson and dean, give portions of the examination during the last week of classes.

Since students have the right to review their final examination papers, these should be kept on file for at least two semesters.

Other Tests

In addition to the final examination, the instructor gives other tests and assigns outside work as deemed appropriate for the course. Normally, sufficient work should have been assigned and evaluated by the middle of the quarter so that a student can clearly assess his progress in the course at that time.

Make-Up Tests and Examinations

If a student is unable to take an announced test because of illness or other legitimate emergency, it is his/her responsibility to request the professor to administer a make-up test. The faculty member may require written verification of illness or emergency. A professor is not required to give a make-up test to any student who does not have a legitimate excuse for his/her absence but may assign a grade of 0 in such an instance. A student who misses a final examination (normally receiving the grade of X) may not take a make-up examination except with the written approval of the dean in whose college the course is offered. All approved make-up tests and examinations should be arranged at a time convenient for both the professor and the student.

Student Grades

The University of West Alabama uses a letter grade system to record student achievement to facilitate the computing of grade averages. The University places a quality-point value on the passing grades (A, B, C, D). Professors should consult the University Catalogue for the specific meaning of each of the letter grades which may be recorded, but information on certain special grades is given here.

The instructor has the authority to grade student performance. However, the University may administratively change a grade in cases including, but not limited to, incompetence, bad faith, fraud, error, or similar infractions.

The Grades of I and X

The grade of I is assigned when a student has been unable to complete all course requirements because of personal illness or other circumstances judged by the instructor to warrant consideration. An I is not assigned for absence from examination, unless the absence has already been officially excused. The grade of X is assigned to a student who fails to take the final examination.  In order to remove the X grade, a student must receive permission from his/her Dean to schedule a make-up examination.  It is the student’s responsibility to complete the necessary work to remove a grade of I or X at least ten class days prior to the last class day of the following semester or online session.  Failure to remove the I or X grade during the specified time will result in the student’s receiving an F grade.

Grades for Withdrawn Students

The grades of WP (Withdrawn Passing) and WF (Withdrawn Failing) are assigned only when a professor has been notified by the Registrar’s Office that a student has officially withdrawn from the University (or dropped the course) after the last day for doing so without academic penalty. At the time of the withdrawal, the Registrar’s Office asks the professor which grade should be assigned, and the Registrar’s Office will  enter this grade. If the work which a student has submitted up to the time of his/her withdrawal averages to an F, the professor should assign the grade of WF. Otherwise-including situations when no evaluation of the student has been made-the grade of WP should be assigned.

The Grade of N

The grade of “N” is assigned in certain basic curriculum and compensatory courses when a student has not earned the grade necessary to meet the requirements for that course (usually a “C”). Students are not charged with hours attempted for courses in which they received an “N”; thus, there is no GPA penalty for “N” grades. However, a student may be assigned an “N” only one time for any given course. In those cases in which a course is a prerequisite for another course, students must repeat the course in which they receive an “N” until they earn a satisfactory grade.

Audit Students

A student who is registered to audit a course receives the grade of AU. For legal reasons, it is important that a professor not enter any other grade on the grade report or on any work which an audit student submits for evaluation. A professor may require an audit student to take tests and meet other requirements of the course and may mark such work to show errors and/or provide general evaluative comments, but the professor does not mark any work submitted by an audit student with a letter grade, a percentage grade, or any other marking which can be translated directly into an official grade. If a high school student has audited a course, the professor may, upon written request of the student or his/her parent, provide the parent or the high school principal with a general statement of whether or not the achievement of the student was considered satisfactory in terms of high school requirements, but, again, the professor must carefully avoid any statement that implies a specific letter grade.

Reporting of Grades

Grades for each class are reported online through WebAdvisor. The final grades for a course are due within 24 hours after the final examination in that course.

Grade Changes

Grades reported to the Registrar’s Office may be changed only by submitting a “Grade Change Authorization” form. The instructor must indicate the reason for the change of grade, and the form must be approved by both the department chairperson and the dean. Whenever changing a grade makes the difference between a student’s being placed on suspension or being registered for the next semester, the faculty member must submit with the “Grade Change Authorization” form a written statement explaining in detail the reason for the grade change. This statement and the form are included in the student’s official file in the Registrar’s Office.

Posting of Grades

At the end of the semester, an instructor may wish to post grades of students in his/her courses. This practice is not required or even encouraged by the University, and professors who do choose to post grades are to follow confidential requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act in order to ensure absolute anonymity for each student. If grades are posted, every precaution must be taken to ensure privacy, and grades should be posted only for those students who request that they be listed. If a professor desires to post grades, one reasonably safe way to do so is to list grades by student number (usually Social Security numbers) in numerical order, not in alphabetical order as on the class roll.

Academic Forgiveness Policy

University of West Alabama undergraduate students who have completed 90 hours of academic credit at UWA and have earned a minimal grade point average of 2.00 on work attempted at UWA and overall may apply for the Academic Forgiveness Policy. This policy allows a student to delete up to three course grades (maximum of twelve semester hours) from the computation of their cumulative grade-point average. Academic Forgiveness can be granted only one time.

Deletion of grades from the computation of the cumulative grade-point average is not available in certain courses, including professional courses in the Division of Nursing and other programs in which requirements are mandated by other agencies.

This policy cannot be used by a student who is currently on academic suspension from the University in order to remove his/her suspension. The student must be currently enrolled or eligible to return before the policy can be applied to his/her academic record. The policy also cannot be used to drop the grade of a course that was assigned due to academic misconduct, a course applied toward a previously awarded baccalaureate degree, or a course accepted as transfer credit.

If a deleted grade is a required course for graduation and the same must be retaken, the course must be repeated at UWA. Once a request for deletion of a grade has been granted and that grade has been removed from the calculation of the cumulative grade-point average, the grade and the credit cannot be restored.

Honor societies or graduate/professional schools may or may not honor the Academic Forgiveness Policy. The GPA for recognizing honor students at graduation will be based on all coursework taken and will not take into consideration courses dropped by the Academic Forgiveness Policy.

Although the dropped course is not computed into the cumulative grade-point average, the dropped grade will remain on the transcript with the notation that it has been excluded from earned hours and the GPA.

  (December 13, 2006; Revised February 3, 2010)

Reports on Students

During the course of each semester, every faculty member is required to provide certain reports described below relating to student progress and proficiency. The Office of the Provost notifies faculty of the schedule for submitting these reports and ensures that each faculty member receives the necessary forms. Both reports must be submitted by the specified time and date as indicated below.

Freshman Deficiency Report

Around the middle of the semester, each faculty member who teaches freshmen receives a list of all freshman students enrolled in his/her classes. The faculty member then marks this list to indicate those students who are not making satisfactory progress and returns it to the chairperson. Only those students who The chairperson then submits these reports to the Registrar’s Office.

Written English Proficiency Report

Each semester all faculty members are provided with a “Written English Proficiency Report” for each undergraduate class. Faculty members should mark as not proficient all students in their classes who they believe have problems in written communication. Reports on the students recommended by faculty members and on those required to have additional work are provided to the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, who sends notifications to the students. The Dean does not tell students which faculty members have referred them for evaluation, but professors are encouraged to counsel with students that they feel have writing problems and to explain the referral program to them.

Students referred as “not proficient” are evaluated by a written essay, with the following limitations:

  1. All students who have completed their required English courses through EH 102 will be evaluated, unless the student has been conditionally cleared for graduation by his/her dean during the semester of referral. If the student fails to complete the requirements for graduation, he/she must report to the Director of the Writing Center during registration for the following semester to make arrangements to take the exam.
  2. Students who have previously been through this evaluation process can be required to be evaluated a second time, but not more than twice. Such students may include the following:

    A student who is referred as “not proficient” by a professor but judged “proficient” by the Committee, and is then again referred by a professor.

    A student who is assigned to the Proficiency Program after evaluation, completes it, and is then again referred by a professor.

    Each student who must be evaluated is sent a written notice to this effect. The notice states specifically when and where he/she must report for evaluation. The evaluation is conducted each semester before the beginning of final examinations. Any student who fails to report for evaluation as instructed is automatically placed into the English Proficiency Program. The student will not be allowed to complete registration until he/she has made arrangements with the Director of the Writing Center.


The evaluation is made and proficiency is determined by the Written English Proficiency Committee, which is appointed by the President upon recommendation of the Chair of the Committee with approval of the deans and is composed of ten members as follows:

At least two faculty members from each of the four colleges, one from nursing, and one member at large, including the chairperson, who may be from any of the four colleges.

The Committee has prepared specific criteria for judging proficiency in written English. These criteria are distributed for use by faculty members in determining proficiency, and they also form the basis for the Committee’s judgments on those students being evaluated. Copies of these criteria are available to interested students in the Office of the Dean of Liberal Arts.

For objectivity in making decisions, the Committee endeavors to preserve the student’s anonymity during the evaluation process by using numbers on papers instead of names. Decisions of the Committee are based on a majority of the total readers.

The Committee reports the results of its evaluation to the Dean of Liberal Arts each semester prior to final examinations. The Dean notifies each student in writing of the results of the evaluation. This notice is delivered to the student, if possible, before the conclusion of the final examination period, but no later than his/her next registration. The written notice to a student who has been judged “not proficient” by the Committee states specifically what the Committee has stipulated he/she must do in order to achieve proficiency. The student must sign and return one copy of this form, which is placed in his/her records folder.

A student judged “not proficient” must follow the recommendation of the Committee in order to acquire the necessary proficiency and must then present to the Committee evidence of his/her compliance with that recommendation. The student must begin following the Committee’s recommendation the semester immediately succeeding the one in which he/she was referred and must achieve the required proficiency within two consecutive semesters. A student who fails to achieve the required proficiency as specified will not be allowed to graduate.

Proficiency work in writing is counted as part of the student’s class load, and students in the Proficiency Program must not exceed normal load limits, including the proficiency work.

A student who fails to achieve the required proficiency in the stipulated two semesters is allowed to register for a maximum of twelve semester hours, including the specified proficiency course work and/or tutorial work recommended by the Committee. A student who fails to achieve the required proficiency in three semesters is not allowed to register again for more than six semester hours, including the specified proficiency course work and/or tutorial work recommended by the Committee. If the student fails to achieve proficiency during the fourth semester in the program, he/she will only be allowed to register for EH 099 at the University of West Alabama as an audit student until he/she achieves the required proficiency on an evaluation by the Written English Proficiency Committee.

The Written English Proficiency Committee regularly schedules two opportunities each semester for evaluation of students previously assigned to the program. Students in the program are evaluated during the fifth week of the semester. In addition, these may also be evaluated when new referrals are evaluated near the end of the semester. The Committee does not, however, evaluate a student unless he/she is at the time actively working in the Written Proficiency Program as stipulated by the Committee. To be “actively working,” a student must have attended at least two-thirds of the class and/or tutoring sessions between the first of the semester and the first test date or at least two-thirds of the sessions between the first test date and the second test date. Students who are referred through the alternative referral form that accompanies the Written English Proficiency Report are evaluated by the Committee during the first writing session of the semester that follows their referral. Those deemed “not proficient” will begin proficiency work immediately. However, this semester will not be counted against a student for the purposes of determining his/her tenure in the program.

Students who are deemed “not proficient” by referral by a professor and who fail to report for the writing examination are automatically in the Written English Proficiency Program. Each subsequent semester counts toward the maximum of four semesters whether or not the student fulfills his/her obligation. A copy of the notification letter to the student will be placed in the student’s advising folder. A student may appeal the implementation of these policies and/or procedures by submitting an appeal in writing to the Committee chairperson, who will direct the appeal to the Committee for consideration.

Academic Grievances

From time to time, students may raise questions concerning academic decisions made by instructors or academic policies established by the University. Questions regarding academic decisions may deal with grades, such as setting standards, evaluating student progress, and reporting grades accurately, but they may also concern other academic issues such as an instructor’s policies concerning absences, classroom behavior, and other matters specified in an instructor’s syllabus.

An instructor is expected to apply grading standards and other academic regulations equitably and to carefully guard against errors in all of these academic matters. If a student raises questions about a grade or another academic circumstance, the instructor should respond constructively, explaining the situation as carefully as possible and checking to be sure that no error has been made. Most questions concerning grades and other academic matters can be resolved in this manner, but when this is not possible, a student may appeal for further consideration by following, in detail, the process outlined below.

A student who believes that the grading standards have not been equitably applied or that the instructor may have made an error in calculating his/her grade or who has other questions regarding his/her grade or other academic policies or decisions has the right to full explanation and clarification of such questions. This policy has been adopted by the University to ensure the student’s right to appeal for reconsideration of such decisions. A student who wishes to appeal a grade or other academic decision must comply specifically with the following policies and procedures:

 

  1. Any appeal of a grade must be initiated no later than 30 days after the final grade has been assigned, and any appeal involving application of an academic policy must be initiated no later than 30 days after application of the policy at issue. An appeal to a higher level must be made within five class days following the student’s receipt of a response from the previous level.
  2. The student must first confer with the instructor in an attempt to resolve the question before appealing to any administrator. When a student raises such questions, the instructor should carefully explain the basis for the decision and should allow the student to examine relevant documents. This does not mean that the instructor must provide the student with copies of tests, and he/she, of course, must not allow the student to see documents relating specifically to other students. After the instructor has explained the basis for the decision, the student may request him/her to reconsider, in which case the instructor should reevaluate the situation.
  3. If unable to reach a resolution through conference with the instructor, the student may appeal to the instructor’s department chairperson. The chairperson may request the instructor to provide, for information purposes, a written statement regarding the basis of the grade or decision and the result of the conference with the student and may also request permission to examine relevant tests and other documents as necessary. The department chairperson may find no basis for further consideration or may request the instructor to review the situation in order to be sure the student has been treated fairly and equitably. The department chairperson should handle the appeal expeditiously and should inform the student of his/her conclusions within five class days after receiving the student’s request.
  4. If the matter is not resolved at the departmental level, the student may appeal to the dean of the college in which the class is offered (If the matter involves an online course and is a procedural rather than an academic matter, the academic dean will confer with the online dean). The student must present his/her grievance to the dean in writing, specifying in detail the basis of the appeal. The dean may require written statements from the instructor and/or department chairperson, as well as copies of tests and other relevant documents relating to the student in question and to other students in the class, which may assist in making a determination that the instructor has applied grading standards equitably. The dean may request the instructor to review the situation or may determine that no basis has been established for further consideration. The dean will inform the student of the decision, in writing, within 10 days after receipt of the written grievance statement, with copies to the instructor and the department chairperson.
  5. If the matter is not resolved by the dean’s action, the student may appeal in writing to the Provost. The dean will forward to the Provost copies of the student’s original grievance statement, the statement of the dean’s decision, and all other documents considered. The Provost may require the student, the instructor, the department chairperson, and/or the dean to provide additional information as necessary. The Provost may request the instructor to review the situation or may determine that no basis has been established for further consideration. The Provost will inform the student of the decision, in writing, within 15 class days after receipt of the student’s written appeal, with copies to the instructor, department chairperson, and dean.
  6. Final appeal for an academic grievance is to the President of the University, who will follow essentially the same process as the Provost after receiving the appeal in writing, requiring additional information as he/she deems necessary. Again, the President may request the instructor to review the situation or may dismiss the student’s complaint. The President will inform the student of the decision, in writing, within 15 class days after receipt of the student’s written appeal, with copies to the instructor, department chairperson, dean, and Provost.

 

In considering the student’s appeal, the President, Provost, dean, or department chairperson may find it appropriate to talk with other students in the class or pursue other lines of inquiry in order to have as much relevant information as possible. If so, such inquiries should be handled with discretion and with care to protect the privacy and the interests of both the student and the instructor.

The setting of grading standards for a specific class is the responsibility and prerogative of the instructor in that class. The administration’s concern is limited primarily to assuring that student progress is carefully evaluated, grades are accurately reported, and established grading standards are applied fairly and equitably to all students in the class. However, if at any stage of the appeal process the instructor is asked to reconsider a grade or other academic decision, he/she should do so carefully and thoughtfully to ensure that the student is treated fairly and equitably in all respects. The instructor has the authority to change a grade with the approval of the appropriate academic administrator. The University reserves the right to administratively change a grade in cases including, but not limited to, incompetence, bad faith, fraud, error, or similar infractions.

Students should also be aware that although the University is concerned to ensure that students are treated fairly and equitably in academic matters, it will not condone frivolous or irresponsible allegations against faculty members.

Academic policies are established to provide guiding principles for fair decision making and, in some instances, to comply with regulations from accrediting bodies. A student who believes that an academic policy has not been equitably applied or who has other questions regarding the policy has the right to full explanation and clarification of such questions. A student who wishes to appeal reasonable application of the policy (Only the application of the policy and not the policy itself may be appealed) must comply with the following:

  1. Any appeal involving application of an academic policy must be made no later than 30 days after application of the policy at issue. An appeal to a higher level must be made within five class days following the student’s receipt of a response from the previous level.
  2. If the matter is not resolved through the explanation of the policy by an instructor or chairperson, the student must present his/her grievance to the dean in writing, specifying in detail the basis of the appeal. The dean will inform the student of the decision, in writing, within 10 days after receipt of the written grievance statement.
  3. If the matter is not resolved by the dean’s actions, the student may appeal in writing to the Provost. The dean will forward to the Provost copies of the student’s original grievance statement, the statement of the dean’s decision, and all other documents considered. The Provost will inform the student of the decision, in writing, within 15 class days after receipt of the student’s written appeal with a copy to the dean.
  4. Final appeal for an academic policy grievance is to the President of the University, who will follow essentially the same process as the Provost after receiving the appeal in writing, requiring additional information as he/she deems necessary. Again, the President may request the dean to review the situation or may dismiss the student’s complaint. The President will inform the student of the decision, in writing, within 15 class days after receipt of the student’s written appeal, with copies to the dean and Provost.
     

September 1983; Rev. March 1990; September 1, 1999; September 11, 2007; February 6, 2008; May 21, 2012; August 13, 2013
 

Administrative Grievances

From time to time, students may have questions concerning administrative policies or operations. These questions may involve areas such as financial aid, housing, health services, or student life. Generally there are logical explanations for situations, and usually most questions can be resolved in an informal manner through discussion with the individual or office involved. In instances where a student raises a question about a non-academic policy or decision (Academic matters fall under the Academic Grievance policy), the affected staff member should respond constructively, explaining the situation as carefully as possible and checking to be sure that no error has been made. If it is not possible to resolve a matter through discussion, a student may appeal for further consideration by voicing the concern to the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA). Again, in most instances concerns can be resolved through discussion, interaction and possibly intervention on behalf of the VPSA as student ombudsman, but when this is not possible, the student can formalize his appeal in writing to the VPSA and ask for consideration by the Student Life Committee and/or the President to resolve the matter officially. This policy is intended to ensure that the student is given fair and equitable consideration in any matter that may arise.

Rev.  May 21, 2012

Class Management

Class Schedules

The deans of the colleges are responsible for all matters relating to the instructional program, including class scheduling. Under their supervision, departmental chairpersons prepare semester class schedules, assign faculty to classes, and submit schedules to the deans. The deans, in turn, review the scheduling of classes, instructors, rooms, and resources within the college and submit class schedules to the Office of the Provost, which prepares the published schedule of courses.

With the exception of some laboratory classes or special classes taught in atypical patterns, University classes are expected to meet for a period of fifty minutes per week for each semester hour of credit offered. The first day of classes is a regular class period and the full time should be used productively. For example, many professors utilize it to give an overview of the course. This overview should include the course objectives, the special requirements for the course (term papers, projects, oral reports, field trips, etc.), the grading procedures, the required or recommended textbooks, and the attendance policy. Professors should not dismiss classes before the specified period has ended and should not hold classes after the period has concluded. They should be on time for all classes. It is customary in universities to have a class wait ten minutes for a professor. If the professor has not arrived by that time or has not sent a messenger with specific instructions, the class may leave.

A professor should notify the department chairperson or secretary at the earliest possible time if he/she must miss class because of illness or personal emergency. No faculty member should be absent from class except for professional leave, illness, or emergency. When it is reasonably possible, absences should be based on prior approval of the department chairperson and dean. In case of an unanticipated absence because of illness or a personal emergency, both the department chairperson and the dean should be notified as soon as possible. In any absence, the department chairperson will make arrangements for the classes involved, if feasible. (See “Sick Leave .”)

Size of Classes

The University reserves the privilege of withdrawing any course in which an insufficient number of students have enrolled (generally, fewer than ten for lower-division courses and eight for upper-division and graduate courses). Large classes are closed or divided into sections whenever the interests of the students are better served by so doing. Decisions involving course enrollments are made by the Dean, with the approval of the Provost.

  (January 10, 2012)

Classroom Maintenance

While the physical maintenance of a classroom is the responsibility of the Director of the Physical Plant, it is important, nonetheless, that the users of classrooms set a good example of classroom management. Professors should remind all classes that smoking or the use of tobacco in any form is prohibited in classrooms, laboratories, and other specified areas. Professors are also encouraged to prohibit food and soft drinks in the classrooms. When leaving, all users of classrooms should be careful that the furniture is properly arranged, that all trash or debris is placed in wastebaskets, that lights are turned off, and that written materials are not left on the chalkboard.

If any part of the classroom facilities, such as windows or chairs, needs attention, any professor who uses the classroom should report this fact to the department chairperson so that the Physical Plant can be notified.

Most laboratories and some classrooms containing special equipment are kept locked when not in use. Professors using such facilities should see that they are secured before leaving unless instructed otherwise by the department chairperson.

Classes by Special Arrangement

Any arrangement for a student to receive credit for a course through individual instruction for one or a very few students, rather than through a regularly scheduled class, must have the prior approval of the dean in whose college the particular course is offered. This includes both Independent Study courses and the kind of arrangements which are sometimes made under special circumstances for a student to enroll for individual instruction in a course which is normally offered as a regular class.

Before approving such arrangements, the dean will confer not only with the student and his/her advisor, but also with the professor involved and with the department chairperson in whose department the course is to be offered. He/she should make sure (1) that the additional assignment will not create an unduly heavy load for the professor, (2) that the student appears to have the background and ability to profit from such an arrangement, and (3) that the necessary credit cannot readily be acquired as well by more conventional means. Recognizing the additional effort required in independent study situations, deans and department chairpersons are expected to exercise restraint in the approval of such arrangements.

Whenever arrangements are approved for a professor to teach one or a few students individually in a course which is normally conducted through regular class meetings, the instructor and department chairperson involved must prepare a report for the dean containing information on the student(s) involved, the reasons for the special arrangements, and the proposed methods of instruction and evaluation. This report must verify that the registration is in compliance with the official “Statement of Policy on Registration for Credit to be Earned Other Than in Regularly Scheduled Classes” and the “Guidelines for Registration of Students in Courses Offered by Special Arrangements,” which follow, and should be submitted on the accompanying form. The report must be submitted to the dean within the first few class days of the semester so that the dean can send copies of all reports about classes by special arrangement to the Provost no later than the seventh class day. In addition, at the end of the semester, the instructor must send to the department chairperson a complete file on each student which thoroughly documents the work done in the course and the evaluation of the student’s performance. This file will be retained in the department office for two years after the student graduates or leaves the University. The Report and the special file are not necessary for students in Independent Study courses so listed in the Catalogue.

Statement of Policy on Registration for Credit to be Earned Other Than In Regularly Scheduled Classes

  1. This policy applies to the registration of a student for academic credit to be earned through any method other than meeting a regularly scheduled class for a specific number of hours per week.
  2. Registration for credit through an Independent Study course listed as such in the Catalogue or for any other course which consists primarily of individual experiences rather than a normal classroom situation (student teaching, practicums, clinical work, etc.) requires prior written approval of the dean in whose college the course is offered, except in those cases where the dean has specifically designated another person or a committee to approve such registration (as in student teaching, for example). The dean will determine that the arrangements meet with the approval of the department chairperson and the professor involved. Since Independent Study courses and other forms of individualized experiences are not intended as merely an alternative way of earning needed hours, but are designed only for students who meet specific prerequisites and are otherwise deemed capable of profiting from such experiences, the dean will not approve registration of a student for these courses unless the student has adequate background to profit from such study. The dean will also ensure that arrangements are made for regular and frequent contact between the student and the designated professor-generally through on-campus meetings and conferences-and for thorough evaluation of the student’s experience in order to protect the integrity of the assigned grade.
  3. In certain unusual circumstances a student may be allowed to register for a course that is normally conducted through regular class meetings but which it is necessary for him/her to complete in some other manner. Such a situation may occur, for example, when a scheduled course is canceled because of insufficient enrollment and will not be offered again in time for a student to complete it prior to the planned graduation date, when there is a time conflict between two required courses, or in other special situations. It is the responsibility of academic advisors to avoid the necessity of such arrangements insofar as possible by being aware of when required courses are offered and by being sure that students take their courses at the appropriate time. When circumstances require, however, the dean in whose college the course is normally offered may make special arrangements for the enrollment of one or a few students, with the concurrence of the department chairperson and the professor involved, and with specific stipulations regarding the manner in which the learning experience is to be conducted and the students are to be evaluated. In no case will a student be registered for academic credit on the basis of such special arrangements without the prior written approval of the dean. Any such enrollment by special arrangement will be considered part of the student’s regular class load and will be completed during the period designated for registration.
  4. For any course to be conducted by such special arrangements, the dean will provide the Provost with a written report no later than the seventh class day of the semester. This report should contain the following information:
    • The number and title of the course and the professor responsible.
    • The name(s) of the student(s), their class level(s), and any pertinent details regarding academic status (quality-point average, probationary status, etc.).
    • The name(s) of the academic advisor(s) of each student (current and previous).
    • A specific explanation of the reasons necessitating the special arrangements.
    • The specific procedures by which the professor will ensure at least the same level of instruction as provided for students regularly enrolled in the course. (Although a professor need not have as many hours’ contact with one or two students as he would with a class in the same course, it is expected that the professor will arrange for regular and frequent meetings on campus. Any variation from this is permissible only in very exceptional instances.)
    • The specific plans for evaluation of the student(s) to ensure that grading is comparable to that for students in the regular class.
  5. For each student for whom such special arrangements are made, the professor will also maintain a file which thoroughly documents the work required for the course and the evaluation of the student’s performance. This file will be retained in the departmental office for two years after a student graduates or otherwise leaves the University.
  (September 1977; Revised, March 1990)

Guidelines for Registration of Students in Courses Offered by Special Arrangement

  1. No students can be registered for an Independent Study class or for a situation in which the student is to receive individual instruction in a course normally offered as a regular class except with the written permission of the dean of the college in which the course is offered. The dean may provide such permission on the recommendation of the student’s advisor, but does not do so without first conferring with the professor involved and the appropriate department chairperson. It should be noted that these courses are intended, generally, only for advanced students, not for freshmen and sophomores, and that a student in such a situation must have adequate background in the specific discipline and must meet any prerequisites set by the professor.
  2. Advisors and others should note that Selected Topics courses are not Independent Study courses. Selected Topics courses are taught as classes, ordinarily in a regular classroom situation, and are usually announced on the printed schedule. These courses provide opportunity for a professor to teach a group of interested students in an area which is not covered by courses listed in the Catalogue.
  3. A student should never be signed up for an Independent Study course when a professor is giving individual instruction to the student in a specific course which is printed in the Catalogue and which is part of the regular academic offerings (often referred to as teaching a student “on the side”). Instead, the student must be enrolled with the regular course number as shown in the Catalogue. This is sometimes very important, especially if a student is by this means meeting a specific requirement-either a graduation requirement of the University or a requirement of an outside agency-but the principle should be followed in all cases.
  4. When a student is registered for an Independent Study course, a brief title must be provided to indicate the specific area of investigation or study. The name of the discipline-for example, Biology or Early Childhood Education-is not a sufficient title. In each case, the title as it will appear in the student’s computer registration and elsewhere, including his/her official record, will consist of a brief standard designation for the particular type of course, followed by a brief title indicating the specific area of study-for example, IND STUD/plus 11 spaces. This brief title contributes to the clarity and integrity of a student’s transcript by showing specifically what he/she has studied, and it is sometime crucial, as in certain certification questions or other special instances. Although the Independent Study course may provide more advanced study in an area included in a regular course, the brief title for an Independent Study course should not duplicate a title of a regular course but should clearly indicate the distinction between the two. The dean should not approve an Independent Study registration without a specific brief title.
  5. When arrangements are made for a professor to give individual instruction to a student in a regular academic course, the instructor and department chairperson must prepare a “Report on Class Offered by Special Arrangement” and forward it to the dean, and the dean will then send this report to the Provost by the seventh class day of the quarter. This report is not required for an Independent Study course, although the dean or the department chairperson may require similar information from the instructor.
  (January 1989)

Attendance Policy

Students are expected to display responsible judgment in regard to class attendance and to know and follow the attendance policies for each of their classes. It is also the students’ responsibility to keep a record of absences.

Faculty members are expected to keep an accurate record of attendance in all classes, recording all absences, including those due to late registration or change of course. A written attendance policy should be distributed to students in each class, and it is a faculty member’s prerogative to consider attendance records in determining grades.

Absences may be excused by a faculty member and the student allowed to make up work if the faculty member deems an absence legitimate. A faculty member is not expected to provide make-up evaluation for a student who is absent without a legitimate excuse. In the event that the student and instructor do not agree on the acceptability of the excuse presented, the matter will be determined by the dean of the college in which the course is offered. The instructor or the dean may require the student to present appropriate documentation for an absence.

A student who is absent from a final examination must present evidence to his/her dean to justify a make-up examination. If a make-up is approved, the instructor will set a time for the examination which is reasonable in terms of both the student’s and instructor’s schedules.

In the case of absences resulting from a student’s involvement in official University functions, information is provided through the Online Excuse System located in the MyUWA portal under Resources.

Student Withdrawal from a Class and from the University

 

A student who must resign from the University at any time other than at the close of a semester is required to confer with the Director of Counseling and file with his/her Dean a request for permission to resign. If withdrawal occurs within the first three weeks of classes, a student is allowed to resign without grade penalty. If withdrawal occurs after the fifteenth class day, the student receives a grade of “WP” or “WF” in each course, depending on whether he/she is passing or failing at the time of resignation. No student, however, is allowed to withdraw within the last ten class days of the semester except in an extreme medical emergency or similar situation, as determined by the Director of Counseling (A class day is defined as a weekday for both online and on campus students.) A student who leaves school during a semester without following the specified procedures for resignation receives a grade of “F” in each course for which he/she is registered.

The University reserves the right to discontinue the enrollment of any student at any time when University officials judge that such action will serve the best interest of the institution.

 

Student Conduct

The University of West Alabama’s “Code of Conduct” for students lists various types of misconduct for which students are subject to disciplinary action (see below). Some of these are of particular interest to faculty, since they may relate directly to faculty-student relations-for example, various forms of cheating, falsification of University documents, failure to comply with instructions of authorized University personnel, and disruptive behavior. The “Code of Conduct” is made available to all students, and they are expected to abide by it.

Faculty members can deal with some types of misconduct through counseling with students or through appropriate academic sanctions, but occasionally they may wish to enlist the advice or assistance of the dean or of the staff in the Student Counseling and Development Center. Persistent problems relating to student conduct which cannot be resolved between the faculty member and the student-and any misconduct of a serious nature-should be reported to the Chairman of the Student Life Committee for appropriate action.

Code of Conduct and Non-Academic Misconduct Disciplinary Procedures

The University of West Alabama expects all students and organizations to be knowledgeable of the Code of Conduct, and they should be aware that they are expected to conform to that order.

The Code of Student Conduct governs the conduct of students in all behavioral matters. Questions regarding the Code may be directed to the Vice President for Student Affairs or the Director of Student Life and Housing.

By enrollment at the University, a student or organization neither relinquishes rights nor escapes responsibility for compliance with local, State, and/or federal laws and regulations. Additionally, the University has a responsibility to maintain a campus environment conducive to its educational mission while protecting the safety, health, and well-being of all students and other persons on campus. Students and organizations are thus obligated to abide by the rules and policies promulgated by the University.

Interference, injury, or the intentional attempt to injure or interfere with the personal or property rights of any person, whether a student, another member of the University community, a visitor, or the University itself, is strictly prohibited by the Code of Student Conduct.

Article I
Application

The Code of Student Conduct applies to individual students as well as to formal and informal groups of students and describes the duties of University officials and outlines the procedures to be followed in the disciplining of students and organizations. The Code is applicable to behavior of students and organizations on and off the University campus which is determined to be incompatible with the educational environment and mission of the University. The right to proceed in accordance with this Code shall in no way be affected by the filing of criminal or civil charges in any court by any person or governmental entity against the accused student or organization.

Article II
Misconduct

Each student and organization is expected to conduct his/her/its activities in accordance with standards of common decency and decorum and with recognition and respect for the personal and property rights of others and the educational violation of the Code of Student Conduct and may be disciplined for the following:

  1. Academic dishonesty, cheating, plagiarism, theft of examinations, or knowingly furnishing false information to the University.
  2. Forging, altering or misusing any University documents, records, or identification. A meal ticket may only be used by the student to whom it was issued.
  3. Public intoxication or public display of alcoholic beverages and the use or display of such in public areas of the residence halls and all other public areas of the campus.
  4. Use, possession, sale, distribution, or in the presence of narcotic or hallucinogenic drugs except as prescribed by a licensed physician.
  5. Destruction, theft, or possession of University property or property of any member of, or visitor to, the University community. In addition to disciplinary action a student will be held financially responsible for property damaged or stolen.
  6. Participation in any form of gambling.
  7. Substantial disruption of classes or other campus activities, or the inciting of such disruption by others.
  8. Use or possession of fireworks, firearms, air rifles or pistols of any type on campus.
  9. Threatening and/or committing physical violence against another person or inciting violence.
  10. Intentional misuse of any University fire alarms, fire fighting equipment, or other safety devices, including entering false fire alarms.
  11. Obstruction or disruption of teaching, research, administration, service, disciplinary procedures, other University activities, or other activities on University premises by either University or non-University persons or groups.
  12. Conduct in violation of federal or state statutes or local ordinances that threatens the health and/or safety of the University community or that adversely affects the educational environment of the University, regardless of whether such conduct has resulted in a conviction under such statute or ordinance.
  13. Conviction of any misdemeanor or felony that adversely affects the educational environment of the University.
  14. Repetitious issuance of worthless checks made payable to The University of West Alabama or its agents.
  15. Behaving in a manner that a reasonable person would find alarming or intimidating, including, but not limited to, slander, libel, bullying and stalking.
  16. Lewd, obscene, licentious or indecent conduct or the verbal or written threat of such action against another person.
  17. Any violation of policies, rules, or regulations of University Housing.
  18. Unauthorized duplication of University Residence Hall keys or keys to other University property. Also, unauthorized entry into University buildings at any time.
  19. Hazing, i.e., any mental or physical requirement or obligation, or threat of such obligation, placed upon one or more organization members or toward prospective members that causes or could cause mental or physical discomfort, humiliation, pain, or injury, or that violates any legal statute or University rule, regulation or policy.
  20. Violation of any University policies or regulations that may be specified in other University publications.
  21. Any other activity or conduct not specifically stated herein that impairs or endangers any person, property, or the educational environment of the University.
  22. Students are responsible for notifying the Office of Student Affairs if they contract a communicable and/or contagious disease which presents a significant degree of health risk to other members of the University community.
  23. Students who alter their class registration without the approval of their advisor or Dean may be subject to disciplinary action. (refer to #2)
  24. The University reserves the right to discipline its students for felonies/misdemeanors and other violations that may occur off campus. Such behavior often has the potential to be brought onto the campus thus disrupting the educational atmosphere and mission of the University; thus, it has to be addressed.
  25. Depositing or discarding trash or litter on campus in other than appropriate trash and waste containers. No person shall throw or discard, except in appropriate trash and waste containers, paper, bottles, cans, or any substance deemed as litter inside buildings or on campus property including all streets, walks, lawns, etc.
  26. Causing any type of false alarm, disaster, fire, threat of bomb, or deliberate misuse of fire equipment; for the protection and welfare of the students of UWA, any student who shall give, or cause to be given, any type of false alarm of fire, and/or threat of bomb, or who shall deliberately misuse firefighting equipment, shall, upon being found guilty, be subject to action by the University resulting in possible suspension. Any non-student involved in the above offense will be referred to the civil authorities.
  27. Failure to comply with the written or oral direction of the faculty, staff or University Police and other authorized personnel. (A student is expected upon request to surrender his/her proper identification).
  28. Blocking the entrances or exits of any campus buildings.
  29. Failure to ensure the proper accepted conduct of guests. (A guest is defined as any person who is present at the invitation of a student or any person who is received by a student or any invited or uninvited non-student who is accompanied by a student).
  30. Failure to observe University-wide quiet hours. Because of the large number of student, faculty and staff residences on the campus, students and visitors are to observe University-wide quiet hours on the campus and on the streets bordering the campus from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 1:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday. This includes loud talking, shouting, loud radios, fireworks, explosive noises, loud engines, noise group activities, etc.
  31. Student organizations are also governed by the procedures and rules outlined in the Social Fraternities and Sororities Handbook and/or the Student Organizations Handbook. Organizational leaders are required to be aware of these policies.
  32. Conduct unbecoming a student of The University of West Alabama.
  33. Violation of the Facilities Conduct Policy or the Loitering Policy.
  34. Violation of the Policy on the Use of Computer Software, the Chat Room Policy and/or other misuse of information technology such as the Internet.
     

Disciplinary Procedures for Non-Academic Misconduct

Serious or persistent cases of student misconduct are referred to the Student Life Committee (consisting of faculty members, staff members, and students), which makes decisions regarding disciplinary action to be taken against individual students. In all cases, students are assured of a fair and reasonable hearing governed by the basic guidelines of procedural due process. In cases of suspension or expulsion a recommendation is made to the President of the University, who is the only one who can authorize suspension or expulsion of a student for disciplinary reasons. The student has the right to appeal to the President before the action is implemented.

Procedural standards, listed below, will be followed in all hearings by the Student Life Committee unless the committee feels it necessary to make changes in the procedure to protect the safety of the individual or the University:

  1. A student shall be notified in writing of the specific nature of the charges against him/her.
  2. In all cases the student is assured a fair and reasonable hearing governed by the fundamental guidelines of procedural due process.
  3. A student shall be informed of the time and place of the hearing in advance to ensure an opportunity to prepare for the hearing. The notice shall be in writing unless the urgency of the situation demands quicker action.
  4. Once a student has been duly notified, failure to appear before the committee will not preclude the hearing being held.
  5. Pending action on charges against a student, his/her status as student shall not be altered and his/her right to be present on campus for the purpose of attending classes shall not be suspended unless the safety of the student, his/her fellow students, the faculty, or the institution is jeopardized.
  6. A student appearing before the Committee on Student Life has the right to be assisted in his/her defense by a representative/counsel of his/her choice. Counsel may act in an advisory capacity only. Counsel may not cross-examine witnesses nor present oral arguments.
  7. A student shall be given the right to present evidence and witnesses in his/her behalf.
  8. A written statement of the hearing will be kept on file with the Office of Student Life.
  9. The Committee on Student Conduct shall select from the following sanctions after hearing a case:
    Reprimand – A written or oral notice to the student that certain behavior violates the Code of Conduct and continuation or repetition of specific conduct may be cause for further disciplinary action.
    Restitution – Compensation for damage to a property right limited to the actual cost of repair or replacement.
    Work Reparation – The option of working off part of the sanction by doing work for the University without pay.
    Voluntary Withdrawal – A student may be given the option of voluntarily withdrawing from the University, in which case the Committee on Student Conduct may specify a period of time before the student may apply for readmission. To qualify for readmission, the student must receive approval from the Vice President for Student Affairs and meet the academic standards for readmission.
    Removal from Housing – A student who is deemed to be a disruptive or dangerous presence to other residents in the University housing system may be suspended indefinitely from University housing.
    Probation – This sanction may include the exclusion from participation in privileges, such as extracurricular activities, or the suspension of the student’s activity card for a period of time during which subsequent violation will incur suspension or expulsion. The provisions of the probationary period shall be determined and expressed by the committee.
    Suspension – Separation from the University for a definite period of time. A student may be suspended for a specific period of time not to exceed two years. To qualify for readmission after suspension, a student must receive the approval of the Vice President for Student Affairs and meet the academic standards for readmission.
    Expulsion – An indefinite termination of student status from the University for a period of not less than two years. To qualify for readmission after expulsion, a student must receive the approval of the Vice President for Student Affairs and meet the academic standards for readmission.
    Other – Other penalties or conclusions as appropriate.
  10. The Vice President for Student Affairs will carry out decisions made by the Committee on Student Conduct.
  11. Decisions rendered by the Committee on Student Conduct may be appealed to the President of the University when the accused feels circumstances warrant such action. Such appeal must be filed within three working days following official notification of the decision of the Committee on Student Conduct. Decisions relating to suspension or expulsion will automatically be reviewed by the President. Once a decision is appealed, the President may accept, reject, alter, or otherwise dispense with the appeal as he may deem advisable. Right to counsel or representation will also be available in the appeal process.

Academic Integrity and Disciplinary Procedure for Academic Misconduct

Academic integrity is one of the highest values held by the University of West Alabama. Academic integrity compels everyone in the University community-faculty, staff, and students alike-to conduct his or her work with honesty, transparency, and honor. In all academic courses, a commitment to academic integrity entails working within the established codes and respecting intellectual property and its proper use. The enforcement of the academic integrity policy, then, is intended to protect the integrity of the University as well as the honor and standing of its students.

Academic dishonesty is defined as any attempt made by a student that potentially could have given them an ill-gained advantage in any academic pursuit that would not have been available if left solely to the student’s own abilities and performance. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating, assisting in cheating, plagiarism, theft or possession of examinations or other unauthorized class materials, submitting the same assignment in more than one course without the instructors’ consent, knowingly furnishing false academic information (such as falsified transcripts or excused absences, especially medical documents) to the University, altering or attempting to alter a grade or information on any University record, misrepresenting oneself to submit work for another student, or enlisting someone else to submit work falsely for oneself.

Plagiarism is defined as the failure to document properly all materials from sources, published or otherwise, that are included in an essay, research paper, examination, or other assignment. This includes items such as definitions of particular terms taken from a research source. Incidents of plagiarism include quoting or paraphrasing without properly crediting the author, using the syntax of a source document in a paraphrase without significant modifications, or incorporating the ideas of another without attribution by standard documentation. The actual words of a published or online source must be cited properly and enclosed in quotation marks according to the documentation style of the appropriate academic discipline. Failure to do so is plagiarism. Paraphrased material must also be documented accurately and appropriately and must represent the student’s own words and own unique sentence structure. Failure to do so, again, is plagiarism. Finally, material which is carelessly or incompletely paraphrased is also regarded as an incident of plagiarism. It is the responsibility of the student to learn these academic conventions and abide by them. Further information about using sources and citations may be found via the Julia Tutwiler Library Home Page (http://library.uwa.edu/). This same page provides information on avoiding plagiarism in any of the style manuals given in the links.

The University of West Alabama reserves the right to use electronic means to detect and help prevent plagiarism. By enrolling at UWA, students agree to have course documents submitted to www.Turnitin.com or other means of electronic verification. All materials submitted to Turnitin.com will become source documents in Turnitin.com’s restricted access database, solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism in such documents. Students may be required by instructors to submit individually course documents electronically to Turnitin.com.

In instances where a faculty or staff member believes a student has committed or assisted in an act of academic dishonesty, the student is consulted to determine if the matter can be resolved. Following consultation with the student, if the faculty member believes an act of academic dishonesty has been committed and that punitive action is warranted, the matter is referred to the Academic Integrity Committee in writing in the form of an Academic Dishonesty Incident Report, which is available in the Handbook for Faculty and Professional Staff. The faculty member may also include a recommendation for possible disciplinary action consistent with those listed in accordance with the University Student Code of Conduct.

In a case of determination of academic dishonesty related to a specific class assignment, such as an act of plagiarism or cheating on an exam, the faculty member must notify the student and explain the nature of the charge and the nature of the punishment to be imposed. The faculty member is authorized to choose from the following options for such an offense:

  • Having the student rewrite the assignment, with or without a grade penalty
  • Giving the student an “F” or a zero for the assignment or a portion of the assignment
  • Giving the student an “F” for the course, if justified by the seriousness of the offense

Should the professor feel the incident needs further action, he or she may refer the student to the Academic Integrity Committee by filing an Academic Dishonesty Incident Report Form detailing the infraction with the Chairperson of the committee.

A student accused of academic dishonesty is afforded due process and has the right to request a hearing, in writing, to the Dean of their College, who will in turn refer the matter to the Academic Integrity Committee. All students charged have the right to have legal counsel present during that hearing. In adjudicating the case, if the Academic Integrity Committee finds the student guilty, it may impose the following action(s):

  • No further action
  • Written reprimand
  • Disciplinary suspension for one or more semesters
  • Expulsion
  • Other penalties as appropriate

A decision rendered in a hearing by the Academic Integrity Committee will be conveyed in writing to the student, the accusing professor, and the Provost. The student may appeal the decision in writing to the Provost no later than five working days after being notified of the committee’s decision. Assistance of legal counsel is also a right of the student during the appeals process.

Cases of academic dishonesty will be pursued under this policy regardless of when they are discovered, and grades and diplomas may be rescinded as a result.

October 14, 2008; Rev. April 24, 2009; November 13, 2012; January 8, 2016; January 17, 2017

 

 

Policy on Posthumous Degrees

A student who has reached the last semester in an associate program or senior status in a baccalaureate program or who is within nine hours of completion of a master’s degree may be considered for the awarding of a posthumous degree. To be considered, a student must also have been in good standing with the University and not involved in any illegal activity.

The student’s Dean, upon conferring with the student’s Chairperson, initiates the process by making a recommendation to the Provost, who then sends the Dean’s recommendation along with his/her recommendation to the President, who makes the final decision.

The Provost will have the diploma printed and will mail it, along with a letter of condolence, to the student’s parents or spouse.

If the student’s name is to be announced at commencement, it will be indicated that the degree is being awarded posthumously, but no mention of the posthumous status will be made on the diploma itself.

Exceptions of the policy may be made at the discretion of the President.

 

  (Approved by the Deans’ Council July 9, 2002; Revised September 14, 2012)