2014 – 2015
Office of Graduate Studies
McKelvie Hall, 102 W. Rosedale Avenue
West Chester University
West Chester, PA 19383
Revised August 2016
|Academic Integrity||Course Numbering||Policy on GPA's of Earned Master's Degree|
|ADA Policy Statement||Credit by Exam||Readmission|
|Active Status||Directory Information||Repeat Policy|
|Adding a Course||Disruptive Classroom Behavior||Registration|
|Advisory System||Dropping a Course||Removing "No Grade"|
|Applicable Catalog Year||Educator Preparation Programs||Research Requirements|
|Certificates, Professional||Enrollment Classification||Requirements Common to All Areas of Certification|
|Certification - Educational Specialist and Act 48||Examinations, Other||Second Master's Degree|
|Certification - Instructional I (Provisional)||FERPA||Thesis Binding|
|Certification - Level II||Frederick Douglass Inst.||Thesis Defense|
|Certification - Teacher Education, Formal Admission||Grade Appeals||Time to Complete the Program|
|Certification - Teacher Intern||Grade Changes||Transcripts, Obtaining|
|Change - Program||Grade Reports||Transferring Credit to WCU|
|Change - Status||Grading System||Undergraduate Courses|
|Change - Name, Address||Graduate Summer Sessions||Withdrawal - Summer|
|Changing to Auditor||Graduation Application||Withdrawal from WCU|
|Classification of Students||Leave of Absence||Withdrawal - Involuntary Medical|
All students are bound by the Graduate Catalog in the year they are admitted to the University under one of the matriculated student categories (see below under "Classification of Students"). Students are bound by the requirements in the Graduate Catalog at the time that they are admitted to the degree or certificate or teacher certification or professional growth program. If a student is admitted more than once, the year of the most recent admission is applicable. If any of the requirements for the program change while students are matriculating, they may, but do not have to, meet the changed requirements. In some instances, accrediting and/or certification standards necessitate the change in the degree or certificate or teacher certification program requirements. In such situations, the respective college will formally inform each student that he or she must meet the new requirements. Readmitted students are bound by the requirements in place at the time of readmission, except where permission for change in requirements or exception has been granted by the respective department and the associate provost and dean of graduate studies.
All requirements for the master's degree, including courses, comprehensive examinations, and thesis, must be completed within six years.
Students are classified as follows:
Full-time students must enroll in 9-15 course credit hours. Part-time students enroll for fewer than nine course credit hours. All students will be charged a per credit tuition rate.
For summer enrollment students generally take a maximum of 12 credits. Exceptions to this policy must be approved by the associate provost and dean of graduate studies.
Summer school includes two five-week terms plus a three-week post session, devoted primarily to workshops (see "Admission" to apply) and courses/programs offered in program-specific formats (see summer course schedule). Admission to summer sessions courses does not constitute admission to a degree program.
All active graduate students (those who have maintained continuous enrollment), nondegree students who have attended within the past year, and newly accepted students will have access to the scheduling booklet online. Course schedules for summer/fall are usually available in early February and for spring semester in October.
See policy on Continuous Enrollment.
To remain in good standing, graduate students must maintain continuous enrollment (i.e., one or more semester hours each fall and spring) from the semester of matriculation through the semester of graduation. The only exception is for students on a leave of absence. All graduate students who have been admitted into a graduate program must maintain continuous registration each semester (except summer sessions), or must apply for a formal leave of absence. Graduate students who do not wish to register for formal course work, but who desire to maintain continuous enrollment, must register for GSR799, a noncredit registration category used to record the fact of continuous enrollment. Graduate students are not required to maintain matriculation during the summer sessions unless they intend to complete their final degree requirements during this period.
With the approval of the graduate coordinator and the dean of graduate studies, a leave of absence may be granted. Leave of absence forms may be obtained at www.wcupa.edu/grad/. A leave of absence does not extend the six-year time limit for completion of all degree requirements.
Unless a graduate student is granted a leave of absence, he or she is ineligible to return until readmitted. A formal application for readmission must be completed and submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies. Forms are available online at www.wcupa.edu/grad/.
Readmission is not automatic and may be subject to additional conditions set by the department, school or college, or by the graduate dean.
All students will be assigned an adviser in the program of their chosen major. Students must comply with all program or department advising and scheduling procedures, and are expected to meet with their advisers at least once each semester during the course scheduling period.
500-series graduate-level courses to which advanced undergraduates may be admitted
600- amd 700-series graduate courses not normally open to undergraduates
Course numbering within a series is at the discretion of the department offering the courses.
Some departments have identified selected undergraduate courses that may be taken by graduate students (under departmental advisement) for graduate credit. No more than six credits of specifically designated 400-level courses may be applied to the awarding of the graduate degree. See departmental listings. All undergraduate credits, even those applied towards a graduate degree or certificate or certification program, will not be certified as graduate credit by the Office of Graduate Studies for any reason (e.g., notification to employer, or transfer of credits to another institution).
The number 598 following the departmental prefix indicates an "open" workshop that allows the departments to offer a variety of short-term seminars in specific subjects under this designation. Such workshops may or may not carry credit in a graduate degree program.
Credit by examination may not be taken for graduate course work.
The pass/fail option is not available to graduate students for graduate or undergraduate courses.
West Chester students who wish to take course work at other institutions for credit at West Chester University must obtain approval from their chairperson or graduate coordinator and the associate provost and dean of graduate studies prior to enrollment. Other restrictions and requirements are the same as those given in "Transfer of Credit," page 6.
A provisional degree student who has met the various conditions stipulated at the time of admission may petition for full graduate standing by completing the change of status form available online. Credit earned as a provisional degree student or as a nondegree student may be accepted in a degree program only on the recommendation of the student's adviser. Provisional degree students should consult their advisers well in advance in order to select work appropriate for transfer toward the degree.
Before the end of the add period, a student may apply to become an auditor by completing a change in class status form available online and by obtaining the necessary approval.
In order to change from one degree program to another, a student must submit an application to the Office of Graduate Studies. The student must meet all specific admission requirements of the program for which the change is requested and receive the approval of the program coordinator. No fee is charged.
Students may add a course by filing a Schedule Change Form in the Office of Graduate Studies only during the schedule change period and after obtaining approval from their program adviser or graduate coordinator, and the associate provost and dean of graduate studies.
If a student is only scheduled for one course, then withdrawal from the course at any time is considered a withdrawal from the University.
Students wishing to withdraw from summer sessions should follow the same procedure for withdrawal from a course. Withdrawal deadlines are adjusted appropriately in accordance with the summer calendar.
Students wishing to withdraw from the University must contact the Office of Graduate Studies and follow the prescribed procedures. If illness or some other emergency interrupts the student's work, he or she must notify the Office of the Graduate Studies immediately. Unless a student withdraws officially, F grades will be recorded for unfinished courses.
To foster an environment conducive to learning and assure the safety of the community, the University takes appropriate measures to address student conduct that is destructive to self or others or results in serious disruption of the learning environment. In extraordinary circumstances, the University may require a student to involuntarily withdraw from the University when it determines that the student poses a significant risk of harm and this measure is the only way to protect the student and/or others and/or to preserve the integrity of the learning environment.
Please refer to the following website for the entire West Chester University Involuntary Medical Withdrawal Policy:
Students in a degree program who will not be registering for course work during the fall or spring semesters should either schedule GSR 799 (Continuous Registration) or file a request for a leave of absence with the associate provost and dean of graduate studies. The request should be filed in advance of the semester in which course work is halted. Approved leaves of absence do not release the student from the six-year time limitation stipulated for the completion of degree requirements. Leave of absence request forms may be obtained online.
The following grading system applies to graduate students:
|A||4.00||Superior graduate attainment|
|B+||3.33||Satisfactory graduate attainment|
|C+||2.33||Attainment below graduate expectations|
West Chester University does not recognize a grade of D for graduate study. Therefore, any grade below a C- in a graduate course is considered a failure and carries zero quality points.
IP (In Progress) is given to indicate work in progress and will be used only for protected courses (theses, practicums, internships, recitals, and research reports).
NG (No Grade) is given when a student fails to complete course requirements by the end of a semester and a time extension is granted by the instructor; see "Removing 'No Grade' Designation" below.
W (Withdrawal) is given when a student withdraws from a course between the end of the first and the end of the ninth class week of the semester or the equivalent in summer sessions.
Y (Administrative Withdrawal) is given under appeal when there are nonacademic mitigating circumstances, and there is documentation that the student never, in fact, attended class.
Graduate students may repeat up to two courses, which are being applied to their degree. Courses may be repeated only once. Both grades earned for a course will remain on the student’s record; however, the most recent grade (whether it is higher or lower) will be used in the GPA calculation.
This policy also applies to courses taken at the undergraduate level and applied to the graduate degree or certificate or teacher certification program, or taken as a prerequisite for the program.
NG grades will be given when a student fails to complete course requirements by the end of a semester and a time extension is granted by the professor. Students must complete course requirements as stipulated by the professor and not later than the end of the 14th week of the subsequent semester or the NG grade will convert to an F.
A grade awarded other than NG and IP is final. Final grades can be changed only when there is a clerical or computational error. If the student thinks there is an error, the student must report the alleged error in writing to the professor as soon as possible, but no later than the end of the fifth week of the following semester. If a grade change is warranted, the professor must submit a change of grade request to the Office of the Registrar not later than the end of the ninth week of the semester. Final grades cannot be changed after the ninth week of the semester following the alleged error.
The GPA of an earned master's degree will not be calculated into the GPA of subsequent graduate courses/program. After a student earns a master's degree, the GPA of that degree is kept discrete and not used in the calculation of a second graduate program GPA.
Grade reports are available to graduate students soon after the end of a semester or summer session on myWCU. Students are reminded to check their reports against grade requirements and other regulations, as well as for accuracy, and to have their grade reports available when consulting with advisers. Students needing a paper grade report for reimbursement purposes can submit the request form found on the Registrar's website.
The Grade Appeals Policy applies only to questions of student evaluation. Since appeals involve questions of judgment, the Grade Appeals Board will not recommend that a grade be revised in the student's favor unless there is clear evidence that the original grade was based upon prejudiced or capricious judgment, or was inconsistent with official University policy. In the case where the grade was based on a charge of cheating, the Academic Integrity Policy applies (see below). Academic dishonesty includes but is not limited to
Any situation involving a violation of academic integrity is of major concern to the University. Faculty members preserve and transmit the values of the academic community through example in their own academic pursuits and through the learning environment that they create for their students. They are expected to instill in their students a respect for integrity and an understanding of the importance of honesty within their chosen profession. Faculty must also take measures to discourage student academic dishonesty.
Commitment to maintaining and encouraging high standards of academic integrity is demonstrated in many ways. One way is through the establishment of policies and procedures governing violation of the standards of academic integrity. The following policies, procedures, and definitions are intended to help faculty meet these responsibilities.
First, the instructor has both the right and responsibility to demand academic honesty if a student is to remain in good standing in the course and is to be evaluated fairly by the instructor. A grade certifies both knowledge and a standard of academic integrity. It is essential that the instructor retain the right to set the minimum academic penalty for academic dishonesty in a course, subject to the appeal rights of a student.
Second, cheating is not just a matter between an instructor and student in a specific course. While it is the right and duty of the instructor to set minimum penalties for dishonesty in a particular course, the University is responsible for the minimum standards of academic integrity and achievement on which degrees are based. It is the University that permits students to remain members of the academic community and finally certifies that students have attained sufficient academic credit and exhibited acceptable standards of conduct to entitle them to a degree.
Third, students accused of academic dishonesty have the right to have their case heard in a fair and impartial manner, with all the safeguards available within the bounds of due process.
Violations of the academic integrity standards of West Chester University fall into six broadly defined categories listed below:
Faculty are responsible for determining the grades earned in their courses, and they are the first step in determining if a violation of academic integrity has occurred. They are also the first individuals to determine what penalty should be levied. A faculty member responsible for assigning final grades in a course may acquire evidence, either directly or through information supplied by others that a student violation of academic integrity may have occurred. After collecting the evidence available, the faculty member will meet with the student to present the evidence of an alleged violation and request an explanation.
If the faculty member accepts the student’s explanation, no further action is taken. If the faculty member determines that a violation has occurred, the faculty member informs the student, within five class days of his/her decision, using the appropriate form, of the penalty that will be imposed. The faculty member will also inform the student of his/her rights to file an appeal within 10 class days of the faculty member’s decision.
Once a faculty member has charged a student with academic dishonesty, the student may not withdraw from the course to avoid a grade penalty or to prevent the filing of the Report of Violation of Academic Integrity. Any student who withdraws from a course before the charge is made may be reregistered for the course so that appropriate action can be taken.
The faculty member fills out and forwards a copy of the Report of Violation of Academic Integrity, together with any additional supporting documentation, to his/her department chairperson. In departments that have a departmental Academic Integrity Board, the faculty member will forward the information to the departmental board. The department chair (or chair of the departmental board) will forward the information to the associate provost and dean of graduate studies. If the faculty member is the department chair and there is no departmental board, the report will be sent directly to the associate provost and dean of graduate studies.
The report includes
If the student is subsequently found not guilty of the charge, the student may either
If the student is found guilty of violating the student Academic Integrity Policy, the student may not withdraw from the course and will receive the sanction imposed by the instructor or other academic authority.
All acts of academic dishonesty violate standards essential to the existence of an academic community. Most offenses are properly handled and remedied by the faculty member teaching the course in which they occur. The penalties that may be assessed by the faculty member include the following:
A grade of "F" for the course triggers the graduate policy on automatic dismissal from the University. Students dismissed under these circumstances will not be considered for readmission to another academic program at West Chester University.
Whatever the penalty, the report describing the incident and recording the decision will be kept by the associate provost and dean of graduate studies until the student has graduated and the degree has been awarded. Individual departments may establish a "zero tolerance" policy for their majors. Students must be clearly informed of such a policy by those departments.
The purpose of this record keeping is to ensure that students who violate the University's student Academic Integrity Policy a second time are dealt with appropriately. A second violation will result in automatic expulsion from the University.
A student may appeal the instructor's unilateral imposition of a reduced or failing grade. A student who files an appeal within 10 class days of the faculty member's determination will suffer no worse penalty as a result of the appeal than he/she would have suffered if he/she had not appealed the instructor's unilateral action.
A student who files an appeal to the next level must do so within 10 class days. The request for appeal should contain any and all information that the student believes is relevant to his/her case. After the initial appeal to and decision by the department chair, the student will have five days to appeal the decision to the next level, if he/she so wishes.
The progression of the appeal is as follows:
If the faculty member who has brought the charges is also the chair of the department, the appeal moves directly to the graduate dean.
Information on the composition and functioning of the Academic Integrity Board and sanctions is located on the University's website at www.wcupa.edu.
The Academic Integrity Board may be requested by an accused student as part of the appeal process.
The chair will provide notice to all parties which shall include a summary of the matter for disposition, as well as the time and place of the hearing. The student charged will also be advised as to the identities of Academic Integrity Board members and witnesses that will be presented by the charging party. Hearings shall proceed to the extent possible according to the following form:
The board chair shall have authority and be responsible for maintaining an orderly procedure throughout the hearing. All hearings are closed proceedings; witnesses may be excluded from the room until the appropriate time for their testimony. The burden of proof rests on the individual bringing charges. All matters upon which the decision will be based must be introduced into evidence at the hearing.
Both parties shall have the right to be assisted by advisers, who may be attorneys, and who may be present at hearings. The board chair must be notified in advance of the hearing as to whom the advisers will be. The advisers may only consult and interact privately with their advisees, and may not address the board. Advisers who are disruptive to the process will be asked to leave the proceedings, and the matter will go forward absent their involvement.
All hearings will be tape recorded. The audiotape record of the hearing will be archived in the Office of the Provost or the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies, or his/her designee for five years. A written transcript of the hearing will be provided at the expense of the University pursuant to a validly issued subpoena.
A written recommendation based on a preponderance of evidence, arrived at by majority vote, in which the facts and reasons for the recommendation are set forth shall be issued within 15 calendar days after the close of the board proceedings. That report shall be sent to the provost and vice president for academic affairs, with copies to all parties, including the associate provost and dean of graduate studies and the appropriate department chair. The copy to the accused will be sent certified mail, return receipt requested, and first-class mail. Within 15 calendar days the provost shall implement the recommendation of the board, or shall provide a written response containing his/her decision, and explaining to all parties his/her reasons for declining to implement the board's recommendation. In the event that the provost finds inadequacies in the record, the matter can be remanded back to the board for additional testimony.
Any party who fails without appropriate reason to appear at the hearing consents to the hearing being conducted in his or her absence and to a final decision to be made based on the facts presented.
The board retains the right to continue a hearing whenever necessary and appropriate.
Either party may express its reaction in writing regarding the recommendation of the board to the provost or his/her designee within seven calendar days of receipt of the recommendation. If the seventh day falls on a weekend or holiday, the seventh day will be the first day that the University is open for business. Written submissions should be submitted to the provost. Any stay of sanction shall be granted only upon application to and at the sole discretion of the provost or his/her designee. The decision of the provost shall be final. If the penalty being levied is an "F" in the course, the provost will direct the registrar to enter the grade of "F" in the student's record. A grade of "F" for the course will automatically result in the student's expulsion from the University.
NOTE: A written statement of the decision and relevant materials shall be placed in the student's academic file and sent to the student's academic adviser. In the absence of a student appeal, the recommended sanctions from the department and dean's level should be forwarded from the Office of the Associate Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies to the provost for action.
At the conclusion of the appeals process, a student may be exonerated or subject to any combination of the following range of penalties. If the student is found in violation of the Academic Integrity Policy, the board will not impose a penalty that is more severe than the one recommended by the faculty member for that infraction. The board shall have no knowledge of any record of previous acts of academic dishonesty when making its initial adjudication of the case. Any actions taken by the provost will be sent to the director of the Office of Student Conduct. A disciplinary file will be established as a permanent record of these actions.
Transcripts of work taken at West Chester University may be obtained from the Office of the Registrar. To access online ordering, log on to myWCU and click the link order official transcript. For updated information on how to otain a transcript, visit www.wcupa.edu/registrar/.
Students should immediately notify the Office of Graduate Studies, and their department of any change of address or change in name.
A comprehensive examination covers the student's major field and is constructed, administered, and evaluated by the faculty of the student's major department or program. Candidates are responsible to know the deadlines and conditions for the examination and must apply to the program graduate coordinator or chair. Generally, students are not eligible to take the examination prior to the semester in which all courses in the major discipline are completed.
Students who write a master's thesis must first have the "Request for Approval of Master's Thesis Examining Committee" form completed and signed before the student begins work on the thesis. (This form is available online.) The completed thesis must be successfully defended before a faculty examining committee. The requirement of the University is that a student passing the thesis defense will receive no more than one negative vote from the examining committee. However, in a number of departments, a unanimous positive vote of the examining committee is required for a successful defense. Thesis students should check departmental requirements with the graduate coordinator.
Other examinations may be required of degree students. All requirements given under the heading of the particular program should be carefully noted.
Students should consult specific programs to determine whether independent study directed toward either the thesis or a research report is required, offered optionally, or omitted.
Each candidate for a master’s degree must apply to graduate on myWCU. An automatic fee of $82 will be added to their account. The following are deadline dates for applying to graduate: May graduation-February 1; August graduation – June 1; December graduation – October 1.
After approval by the examining committee, theses must be typed in accordance with specifications contained in the "Guide to the Preparation of the Master's Thesis," a copy of which may be obtained from departmental offices or online. After the associate provost and dean of graduate studies has approved the thesis, the student is responsible for transmitting all required copies to the library for binding.
Students wishing to obtain a second master’s degree from West Chester University (where the baccalaureate degree may have been earned at West Chester University or another institution) must meet all academic requirements set by the Office of Graduate Studies and the department concerned. Candidates for a second master's degree must earn a minimum of 24 credits beyond the hours applied toward the first master’s degree. All new credits and additional departmental academic requirements must have been completed within a six-year period preceding the awarding of the second degree.
The primary mission of the educator preparation programs at West Chester University is the initial preparation and continuing development of teachers and other education professionals (hereafter, “educator preparation”). Preparation for these roles within the University’s conceptual framework, Learning and Teaching in Context, ensures strong academic achievement for PK-12 students in the public schools and other educational settings of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The University is committed to excellence in education by preparing candidates to exhibit five unit outcomes exemplified in the following roles: knowledge and pedagogical specialist, assessment and instructional designer, diversity advocate and classroom community builder, school and community professional, and self-directed practitioner.
The University is committed to preparing exemplary professionals to assume their roles and responsibilities as educators in a multicultural, global society; to pursue personal and professional development opportunities; to support the continuing improvement of schools; to assume leadership; and to participate in the education community.
Upon entrance to the University, graduate students enrolled in educator preparation programs (“candidates”) leading to Pennsylvania certification must meet with their academic adviser(s) to complete an “Approved Program of Study” (APS) form. This form outlines all of the candidates’ certification requirements and is signed by the University certifying officer attesting to their unique course of study at WCU. The original APS is submitted to the Office of Teacher Certification during their first semester. Once their APS is processed, graduate students work to secure formal admission to teacher education (FATE). At present, to be eligible for FATE and qualify for designated advanced courses, one must have a minimum 3.0 GPA (most programs have higher GPA requirements). Candidates must have a 3.0 GPA in their graduate studies to maintain FATE and good standing at WCU.
Periodic regulatory changes from the Pennsylvania Department of Education may alter these requirements for candidates seeking post-baccalaureate certification. Candidates are urged to remain aware of updates to FATE requirements through regular communication with their advisers and in electronic updates to this catalog.
Candidates with FATE whose programs culminate in a student teaching semester must apply to student teach during the first month of classes (September or January) one academic year prior to the intended student teaching semester.
The Instructional I certification is issued for entry into a teaching position in the public schools of Pennsylvania and is valid for six years of service in Pennsylvania (not calendar years). To receive an Instructional I teaching certification, a person must meet all of the requirements for the certification and must be recommended to the PDE by the institution of higher education at which the person completed the requirements.
West Chester University does not offer the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) teacher intern certification.
The Instructional II certification is issued to a person who holds level I certification and has completed three years of satisfactory teaching in a Pennsylvania public school as certified by the superintendent of the school district in which the person’s most recent service was performed or, in the case of an intermediate unit, the executive director or, in the case of an approved nonpublic school, the chief school administrator.
In addition, the person must have completed 24 semester hours of collegiate credit at an approved baccalaureate or advanced-degree-granting institution subsequent to the conferring of the baccalaureate degree. The credits may be satisfied, in whole or in part, through in-service programs approved by the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education. Last, the person must successfully complete an induction program offered by a public school district and approved by the PDE.
Commonwealth regulations also provide for certification as an educational specialist to those persons who successfully complete an approved program of study and have the recommendation of the preparing institution. The Educational Specialist Certification is issued on two levels.
The Educational Specialist I Certification is issued for entry into a professional position in the public schools of the Commonwealth. The applicant must have completed an approved program of study, possess a baccalaureate degree, and been recommended for certification by the preparing institution.
The Educational Specialist II Certification is a credential issued to an applicant who has completed three years of satisfactory service on an Educational Specialist I Certification, and who has completed 24 semester hours of postbaccalaureate or graduate study at a regionally approved institution. In addition, the applicant must have received the recommendation of the superintendent of the school district in which his or her most recent service was performed, or in the case of an intermediate unit, the executive director, or in the case of an approved nonpublic school, the chief school administrator.
On June 1, 1987, the Pennsylvania State Board of Education implemented revisions to the Pennsylvania Code. These revisions require all undergraduate candidates who apply for Pennsylvania teaching certifications to pass state competency tests in basic skills, as well as general, professional, and specific knowledge of the subjects in which they seek teacher certification. Post-baccalaureate candidates are exempt from the basic skills tests.
As changes are made in requirements for all certification programs, it is the candidate’s responsibility to satisfy the new requirements.
All educators holding Pennsylvania public school certification including Intern, Instructional I and II, Educational Specialist I and II, Administrative, Supervisory, Letters of Eligibility, and all vocational certifications are affected by the requirements of Act 48. Educators must maintain their certifications as active by earning six collegiate credits or six PDE-approved, in-service credits or 180 continuing education hours or any combination of the above every five calendar years. Note: Each collegiate or in-service credit is equal to 30 continuing education hours.
Pennsylvania Act 24 of 2011 provided for a two-year suspension of most Act 48 continuing professional education requirements for school educators and leaders. The Act 48 suspension began August 29, 2011. During this moratorium period educators may continue to accrue Act 48 credits, which will be credited to the compliance period in effect as of August 29, 2011. Educators with continuing education periods ending on or after August 29, 2011 will have their expiration date extended by two years. Additional information about the moratorium can be found at the Pennsylvania Department of Education website, www.education.state.pa.us/.
Several departments and programs, in addition to offering degrees, offer professional certificates on completion of a prescribed course of study. These certificates are different from teaching certification and do not lead to teaching credentials from PDE. Consult the individual department or program listings regarding offerings.
The Frederick Douglass Institute at West Chester University is an academic program for advancing multicultural studies across the curriculum and for deepening the intellectual heritage of Frederick Douglass, the former slave, distinguished orator, journalist, author, and statesman. Douglass, who was a frequent visitor to the West Chester area, gave his last public lecture on West Chester's campus on February 1, 1895. Thirty years earlier, at the inauguration of a Baltimore, Maryland, institute named for him in October 1865, Douglass said that the mission was "to be a dispenser of knowledge, a radiator of light. In a word, we dedicate this institution to virtue, temperance, truth, liberty, and justice."
At West Chester University, the Douglass Institute is primarily involved in four academic areas: 1) promoting research and teaching in multiculturalism and on Frederick Douglass; 2) sponsoring distinguished lectures, exhibits, and student presentations; 3) organizing the Frederick Douglass Teaching Scholars Program to prepare advanced graduate students from historically underrepresented and underserved populations to become teachers in higher education; 4) and collaborating with historical societies and other educational and cultural agencies.
The activities of the institute take place on and off campus. With undergraduate and graduate students, and West Chester faculty, the institute sponsors seminars and forums on selected topics. The Anna Murray Douglass Circle is the name for a lecture series offering a platform for today's leading intellectuals. The institute also coordinates a monthly Lunch (En)counter lecture series.
Annually in April, the institute organizes the Dr. Patricia Grasty Gaines Multicultural Leadership Award and Lecture in collaboration with the College of Education.
West Chester's institute is the convener for the Frederick Douglass Institute of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, a collaborative created in 1999 with other campuses.
For further information, call Dr. Timothy Golden, director, Frederick Douglass Institute at 610-436-2766.
The West Chester University Poetry Center hosts the annual West Chester University Poetry Conference (the largest annual all-poetry writing conference in America), sponsors the University’s Poet-in-Residence program, presents poetry readings throughout the year, and collaborates on poetry and music concerts with the College of Visual and Performing Arts. The center also oversees national poetry awards under the auspices of the Iris N. Spencer Poetry Awards. The center is located in the WCU Poetry House, and Dr. Kim Bridgford, Department of English, is the director.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, is a federal law which states (a) that a written institutional policy must be established and (b) that a statement of adopted procedures covering the privacy rights of students be made available. The law provides that the institution will maintain the confidentiality of student education records.
West Chester University accords all rights under the law to students who are in attendance at the University, and in certain instances to the parents of dependent students, as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954. Basically, a dependent student is a student whose parent(s) provides more than half of his/her support. Generally, the University does not provide information to parents because of this act. However, exceptions are made if
No one outside the institution shall have access to, nor will the institution disclose, any information from students' education records without the students' written consent except to personnel within the institution who have an educational need, to officials of other institutions in which students seek to enroll, to persons or organizations providing students financial aid, to accrediting agencies carrying out their accreditation function, to persons in compliance with a judicial order, a valid subpoena, and to persons in an emergency in order to protect the health or safety of students or other persons. All these exceptions are permitted under the act. Within the West Chester University community, only those members, individually or collectively, acting on the student 's educational interest are allowed access to student education records. These members include, without limitation, personnel in the offices of the Registrar, Bursar, Financial Aid, Admissions, and academic personnel within the limitations of their need to know.
At its discretion the institution may provide directory information (see Directory Information) in accordance with the provisions of the act to include a student's name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, date and place of birth, major field of study, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, scholarship information, weight and height of members of athletic teams, and all other information defined as directory information by West Chester University. Students may withhold directory information by submitting a "Request to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information" form to the Office of the Registrar within 15 calendar days after the beginning of each fall semester. If a student places this hold on his or her account, it will remain in effect until otherwise notified.
The law provides students with the right to inspect and review information contained in their education records, to challenge the contents of their education records, to have a hearing if the outcome of the challenge is unsatisfactory, and to submit explanatory statements for inclusion in their files if the decisions of the hearing panels are unacceptable. The University Registrar at West Chester University has been designated by the institution to coordinate the inspection and review procedures for student education records, which include admissions, personal, and academic. Students wishing to review their education records must make written requests to the Office of the Registrar listing the item or items of interest. Only records covered by the act will be made available within 45 days of the request. Students may have copies made of their records with certain exceptions, or a copy of the academic record for which a financial hold exists. These copies will be made at the students' expense. Education records do not include records of instructional, administrative, and educational personnel which are the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible or revealed to any individual except a temporary substitute, records of the law enforcement unit, employment records, or alumni records. Health records, however, may be reviewed by physicians of the students' choosing.
Students may not inspect and review the following as outlined by the act: financial information submitted by their parents, confidential letters and recommendations associated with admissions, employment or job placement, or honors to which they have waived their rights of inspection and review; or education records containing information about more than one student, in which case the institution will permit access only to that part of the record which pertains to the inquiring student. The institution is not required to permit students to inspect and review confidential letters and recommendations placed in their files prior to January 1, 1975, provided those letters were collected under established policies of confidentiality and were used only for the purposes for which they were collected.
Students who believe that their education records contain information that is inaccurate or misleading, or is otherwise in violation of their privacy or other rights, may discuss their problems informally with the Office of the Registrar. If the decisions are in agreement with the students' requests, the appropriate records will be amended. If not, the students will be notified within a reasonable amount of time that the records will not be amended, and they will be informed by the Office of the Registrar of their right to a formal hearing. Student requests for a formal hearing must be made in writing to the associate vice president for academic affairs who, within a reasonable period of time after receiving such request, will inform students of the date, place, and time of the hearing. Students may present evidence relevant to the issues raised and may be assisted or represented at the hearings by one or more persons of their choice, including attorneys, at the students' expense. The hearing panels which will adjudicate such challenges will be the individuals designated by the University.
Decisions of the hearing panels will be final, will be based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing, and will consist of written statements summarizing the evidence and stating the reasons for the decisions, and will be delivered to all parties concerned. Their education records will be corrected or amended in accordance with the decisions of the hearing panels, if the decisions are in favor of the student. If the decisions are unsatisfactory to the student, the student may place within the education record statements commenting on the information in the records, or statements setting forth any reasons for disagreeing with the decisions of the hearing panels. The statements will be placed in the education records, maintained as part of the students' records, and released whenever the records in question are disclosed.
Students who believe adjudications of their challenges were unfair or not in keeping with the provisions of the act may request, in writing, assistance from the president of the institution to aid them in filing complaints with Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20202-4605.
Revisions and clarifications will be published as experience with the law and the institution's policy warrants. This policy has been adopted in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. 1232(g), and the regulations promulgated thereunder at 34 C.F.R. 99.1 et seq. , and that reference should be made to that statute and regulations for additional information. Contact the Office of the Registrar with any questions.
West Chester University from time to time makes public certain kinds of information about students, such as the names of those who receive scholarships, who hold offices, or who are members of athletic teams. Various kinds of campus directories are published throughout the year to help members of the University community locate and communicate with each other. The commencement programs publish the names of those who have applied for graduation.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 defines the term "directory information" to include the following categories of information: the student's name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, and the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student. The University will limit information that is made public to categories such as these but will not necessarily publish all such information in every listing.
Undergraduate and graduate students who do not wish to have any or all of such directory information published without their prior consent must submit a "Request to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information" form to the Office of the Registrar within 15 calendar days after the beginning of each fall semester. If a student places this hold on his or her account, it will remain in effect until otherwise notified.
West Chester University is committed to equality of opportunity and freedom from discrimination for all students, employees, applicants for admission or employment, and all participants in public University-sponsored activities. In keeping with this commitment, and in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the University will make every effort to provide equality of opportunity and freedom from discrimination for all members of the University community and visitors to the University, regardless of any disability an individual may have. Accordingly, the University has taken positive steps to make University facilities accessible to individuals with disabilities and has established procedures to provide reasonable accommodations to allow individuals with disabilities to participate in University programs.
The director of the Office of Social Equity has been designated as the ADA coordinator for the University. In this capacity, the director of social equity works with the University ADA Committee to advance University policies and procedures that will provide equal educational and employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. The Office of Social Equity has an established process to investigate and address any complaints of discrimination on the basis of a disability. Any individual who has a suggestion, question, or complaint regarding ADA issues is encouraged to contact the director of social equity, 13/15 University Avenue, 610-436-2433.
West Chester University has also established the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities, which operates as a centralized service for addressing the needs of students with disabilities and as a resource center for students, faculty, and staff. A student who wants to request an accommodation and/or receive specialized services should contact the director of the OSSD. The policies and procedures used by the OSSD are contained in the West Chester University Handbook on Disabilities, which is available in the OSSD, 223 Lawrence Center, V/TDD 610-436-3217.
Various housing facilities and services are available for resident students with disabilities. For this and other information about on-campus housing and food service, please contact the Office of Residence Life and Housing, 202 Lawrence Center, 610-436-3307.
The Office of Human Resources has been designated as the contact for employees and applicants seeking to request an accommodation. The office is located at 201 Carter Drive, 610-436-2800.
West Chester University is involved in the ongoing process of renovating campus buildings to ensure accessibility for all individuals. Many of our buildings are currently accessible, but some are awaiting renovation. To find out whether a particular location is accessible or how to access a location, please contact the space manager at 610-436-3348. To make arrangements for changes to a particular facility to ensure accessibility, please contact the manager of campus projects at 610-436-3599.