Graduate Catalog

2013 – 2014


2012-2013 Graduate Catalog Archive

Office of Graduate Studies and Extended Education
McKelvie Hall, 102 W. Rosedale Avenue
West Chester University
West Chester, PA 19383
Phone: 610-436-2943
Fax: 610-436-2763
gradstudy@wcupa.edu


Revised May 2013

Academic Information and Regulations

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
Comprehensive Examination Pass/Fail Workshops
Continuous Enrollment

Applicable Catalog Year [top]

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.

Time to Complete the Degree Program [top]

All requirements for the master's degree, including courses, comprehensive examinations, and thesis, must be completed within six years.

See also "Degree Candidacy" and "Degree Requirements".

Classification of Students [top]

Students are classified as follows:

  1. Matriculated Students
    1. Full matriculation, granted to a student who meets all admission requirements.
    2. Provisional matriculation, which may be granted to a student who
      1. has not taken the Graduate Record Examination, the Miller Analogies Test, or a specialized entrance examination required by the department concerned, or
      2. is unable to present all prerequisites required by the department.
        Students must fulfill the conditions stipulated in their provisional acceptance by the time that application to degree candidacy is made. Credit earned as a provisional degree student may be accepted toward the degree only on recommendation of the student's adviser.
        Note: Some programs do not grant provisional matriculation.
    3. Teacher certification, which applies to students taking course work to gain teacher certification.
    4. Certificate programs, which applies to students taking course work to earn advanced certificates in program concentrations.
    5. Professional growth, for students who take graduate course work but seek neither a degree nor certification.
  2. Nondegree Students
    Students often begin their graduate college careers by enrolling in courses in nondegree status for personal and professional growth. Students may enroll in graduate- level courses on a nondegree basis after having earned a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution. “Nondegree” is an academic term for “not formally accepted into a degree program.”

    Nondegree students may schedule up to nine credits of course work on a nonmatriculated basis and may be permitted to take a workshop or other noncredit bearing class. Nondegree students are permitted to enroll in any graduate course in which they possess the necessary prerequisite course work and/or can demonstrate, prior to enrollment, minimum performance competencies. Nondegree students may also be required to seek permission from the instructor. Students enrolling in courses under this policy are expected to meet the minimum GPA required for graduate work and are encouraged to seek the academic guidance of the graduate coordinator in their intended discipline. Completing courses on a nondegree basis does not guarantee admission, and credits earned may not necessarily be applied to a degree program at a later date. Nondegree students are not eligible to receive financial aid. Additional course work may be taken only after the student has applied and been accepted as a matriculated student into one of the categories described above. Students taking only special courses, such as workshops, are the exception to this rule. Students should begin the formal application process immediately after they have decided to pursue a graduate degree at West Chester University.

    For additional information, contact the Office of Graduate Studies and Extended Education at 610-436-2943 or via e-mail at gradstudy@wcupa.edu/.

Enrollment Classification [top]

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.

Graduate Summer Sessions [top]

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.

Registration [top]

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.

Active Status [top]

See policy on Continuous Enrollment.

Continuous Enrollment [top]

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 associate provost and dean of graduate studies, a leave of absence may be granted for a minimum of one calendar year. Leave of absence forms may be obtained online. 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 and Extended Education. Forms are available online.

Readmission [top]

Readmission is not automatic and may be subject to additional conditions set by the department, school or college, or by the graduate dean.

Advisory System [top]

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.

Graduate Level Course Numbering System [top]

500-series graduate level courses to which advanced undergraduates may be admitted

600-series graduate courses not normally open to undergraduates

Course numbering within a series is at the discretion of the department offering the courses.

Undergraduate Courses for Graduate Credit [top]

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).

Workshops [top]

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.

Course Credit by Examination [top]

Credit by examination may not be taken for graduate course work.

Pass/Fail Grades [top]

The pass/fail option is not available to graduate students for graduate or undergraduate courses.

Transferring Credit from Other Institutions [top]

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.

Change of Status [top]

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.

Changing to Auditor Status [top]

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.

Changes in Program [top]

In order to change from one degree program to another, a student must submit an application to the Office of Graduate Studies and Extended Education. 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.

Adding a Course [top]

Students may add a course by filing a Schedule Change Form in the Office of Graduate Studies and Extended Education 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.

Dropping a Course [top]

  1. During the first week of a semester, or the equivalent time in summer sessions, a student may drop a course, thereby receiving no grade, by filing a Schedule Change Form in or the Office of Graduate Studies and Extended Education during the schedule change period.
  2. A grade of W will be entered on the academic record of any student who drops a course between the end of the first week and before the end of the ninth class week or the equivalent in summer sessions. Course withdrawal forms are available in the Office of Graduate Studies and Extended Education.

If a student is only scheduled for one course, then withdrawal from the course at any time is considered a withdrawal from the University.

Withdrawal from Courses in Summer Sessions [top]

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.

Withdrawal from the University [top]

Students wishing to withdraw from the University must contact the Office of Graduate Studies and Extended Education 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 and Extended Education immediately. Unless a student withdraws officially, F grades will be recorded for unfinished courses.

Involuntary Medical Withdrawal Policy [top]

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:
www.wcupa.edu/_services/stu.inf/geninfo/policies.asp#Involwithdrawal/.

Leave of Absence [top]

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. A leave of absence may be granted for a minimum of one calendar year. 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.

Grading System [top]

The following grading system applies to graduate students:

Grade Definitions:

Grade Quality Points Interpretation
A 4.00 Superior graduate attainment
A- 3.67  
B+ 3.33 Satisfactory graduate attainment
B 3.00  
B- 2.67  
C+ 2.33 Attainment below graduate expectations
C 2.00  
C- 1.67  
F 0 Failure
IP   In Progress
NG   No Grade
W   Withdrawal
Y   Administrative Withdrawal
AU   Audit

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.

Course Repeat Policy [top]

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.

Removing "No Grade" Designation [top]

IP grades indicate work in progress and will be used only for protected courses (theses, practicums, internships, recitals, and research reports).

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 9th week of the subsequent semester or the NG grade will convert to an F.

Grade Change Policy [top]

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.

Policy on GPA's of Earned Master's Degrees [top]

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 [top]

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.

Grade Appeals [top]

Scope of the Policy

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

  1. plagiarism, that is, copying another's work or portions thereof and/or using ideas and concepts of another and presenting them as one's own without giving proper credit to the source;
  2. submitting work that has been prepared by another person;
  3. using books or other materials without authorization while taking examinations;
  4. taking an examination for another person, or allowing another person to take an examination in one's place;
  5. copying from another's paper during an examination or allowing another person to copy from one's own; and/or
  6. unauthorized access to an examination prior to administration.

Grade Appeals Procedure

  1. (a) A student must initiate an appeal in writing within 20 class days from the date of the decision or action in question. In case of an appeal of a final grade, the appeal must be filed no later than the first 20 class days of the term following the one in which the grade was received. This written appeal should be sent to the instructor who awarded the grade in question. The appeal shall be reviewed by the student and the faculty members. They shall mutually attempt to resolve the appeal within five class days from the receipt.
  2. (b) If the appeal is based on an interpretation of departmental or University policy, the student's academic adviser may also be present during the review process. In such case, there shall be a limit of five class days in which to resolve the appeal.
  3. An appeal not resolved at Step 1 shall be referred in writing by the student within five class days after the completion of Step 1 to the chairperson of the department of which the course in question is a part. If there is a departmental appeals committee, the problem shall be referred directly to it. The department chairperson or the departmental appeals committee shall normally submit a written response to the student within 10 class days following receipt of the written statement of the problem. A copy of this response shall also be provided to the instructor.
  4. If no mutually satisfactory decision has been reached at Step 2, the student may submit a written appeal to the dean of the college or school in which the problem originated. Such an appeal shall be made within five class days following the receipt of the written response of the department chairperson or the departmental appeals committee. The dean shall investigate the problem as presented in the written documentation, review the recommendation and provide, in writing, a proposal for the solution of the problem within 10 class days following its referral.
  5. If the problem is not mutually resolved by Step 3, the student may file an appeal with the Grade Appeals Board within five class days of the receipt of the written proposal from the dean. The request for an appeal must be submitted to the associate provost or, if appropriate, to the dean of graduate studies who will convene the Grade Appeals Board as soon as possible, but no later than 15 class days after the receipt of the written request.

Grade Appeals Board

  1. Membership
    1. The dean of graduate studies and extended education serves as nonvoting chairperson. If the associate provost is not available to serve, the administration will appoint a substitute mutually acceptable to the student and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF).
    2. A faculty dean not involved in the appeals process. A substitute may be appointed as given in "A" above.
    3. Two faculty members. At the beginning of each academic year, the Office of the Associate Provost shall randomly select two full-time faculty from each academic department in order to constitute the pool. Two faculty members from different departments will be randomly selected from this pool for each Appeals Board.
    4. Two graduate students appointed by the president of the Graduate Student Association (GSA).
  2. Attendance
    1. The faculty member involved may be assisted by an adviser, an APSCUF representative, or the chairperson of the department in which the problem originated.
    2. The student involved may be assisted by an adviser. The adviser may be another student, an administrator, or a faculty member.
    3. Such witnesses as are called on behalf of either the faculty member or the student.
    4. Resource persons or expert witnesses called at the request of the board. In the event that the decision making involves knowledge of the discipline, the board shall be required to utilize at least one resource person from the discipline, an expert adviser(s) to aid them in their decision making.
  3. Procedure
    1. Preparation for the Hearing - All parties must be informed of the complaint in writing by the chairperson of the Grade Appeals Board (hereafter referred to as "chairperson"), normally within five class days after the receipt of the complaint. Copies of documents and correspondence filed with respect to the complaint shall be provided to the interested parties through the chairperson. Thereafter, neither new evidence nor new charges shall be introduced before the board. The chairperson shall notify in writing the interested parties of the exact time and place of the hearing and shall provide existing University and/or Commonwealth policies relevant to the appeal at least five class days before the beginning of the proceedings. Throughout these proceedings, the burden of proof rests upon the person bringing the appeal.
    2. Hearing Procedure - During the hearing, both the faculty member and the student shall be accorded ample time for statements, testimony of witnesses, and presentation of documents.
    3. Decision of the Appeals Board
      1. The Grade Appeals Board shall deliberate in executive session and render a decision by majority vote within three days of the close of the hearing. The chairperson may participate in these deliberations but not vote.
      2. The chairperson shall notify, in writing, the student, the faculty member, and the department in which the course in question is located of the decision within three class days of the board's final action. The notification shall include the basis upon which the decision was reached.
  4. Other
    1. A written statement of the decision and relevant materials shall be placed in the student's academic file.
    2. A written statement of the decision and relevant materials shall be placed in the faculty member's file subject to the provisions of official Commonwealth policy governing personnel files.

Notes

  1. Both faculty member and student are entitled to the right of challenge for cause of any member of the department committee (if used) and the Grade Appeals Board except the chairperson. In the case of challenge at the Appeals Board level, the chairperson shall adjudicate the challenge. One challenge at each level is permitted.
  2. A "class day" is defined as any day when classes are officially in session at West Chester University.
  3. If the course in which the grade dispute occurred is offered under the auspices of a unit of the University other than an academic department, the program director/coordinator, head of that unit, and/or the department chairperson will function in Step 2 of the procedure. In Step 3, the appeal should then be made to the associate provost rather than the dean of the college/school.
  4. If the professor is not on contract or in residence on the campus, he or she shall have the right to defer the procedure until his or her return. Similarly, if the procedure would normally occur during the summer and the student is not enrolled in any summer session, the procedure may be deferred until the fall semester at the student's request.

Academic Integrity Policy [top]

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 Academic Integrity

Violations of the academic integrity standards of West Chester University fall into six broadly defined categories listed below:

  1. Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the inclusion of someone else's words, ideas, or data as one's own work.
  2. Fabrication: Fabrication is the use of invented information or the falsification of research, information, citations, or other findings.
  3. Cheating: Cheating is an act or an attempted act of deception by which a student seeks to misrepresent his/her mastery of the information or skills being assessed. It includes, but is not limited to, using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study aids in any academic exercise.
  4. Academic Misconduct: Academic misconduct includes, but is not limited to, other academically dishonest acts such as tampering with grades; or taking part in obtaining or distributing any part of a test that has not yet been administered; or disrupting or interfering with the ability of others to complete academic assignments. It also includes violations of the Student Code of Conduct, as they relate to the academic environment.
  5. Facilitating Academic Dishonesty: Facilitating academic dishonesty includes helping or attempting to help another to commit an act of academic dishonesty.
  6. Breach of Standards of Professional Ethics: In certain degree programs, students will be instructed on and provided with that particular profession's code of ethics (e.g., the American Nurses Association Code for Nurses). Under some circumstances, if a student is found to have violated that professional code, that violation may be considered a breach of the Academic Integrity Policy.

Procedures for Handling Cases

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

  • the nature of the charge/evidence against the student,
  • a brief summary of the meeting with the student,
  • the faculty member's decision, and
  • the right of appeal to the department chair (or departmental board).

If the student is subsequently found not guilty of the charge, the student may either

  • remain in the course without penalty, or
  • withdraw from the course regardless of any published deadlines.

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.

Penalties

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:

  • completion of alternative work, with or without a grade reduction;
  • a reduced grade (including "F" or zero) for the assignment;
  • a reduced grade (including "F") for the entire course.

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.

Appeal Procedures

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 graduate dean, if he/she so wishes.

The progression of the appeal is as follows:

  1. Chair of the department in which the course is housed (or departmental board) - appeal must be filed within 10 class days of faculty decision;
  2. College dean - appeal must be filed within five class days of the department’s decision;
  3. Graduate dean - appeal must be filed within five class days of the college dean’s decision;
  4. West Chester University Academic Integrity Board - appeal must be filed within five class days of the graduate dean’s decision.

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.

Academic Integrity Board

The Academic Integrity Board may be requested by an accused student as part of the appeal process.

Membership of the Academic Integrity Board

  1. The provost (or provost's designee) shall appoint faculty and administration members of the Academic Integrity Board. The associate provost and dean of graduate studies serves as nonvoting chairperson. If the associate provost and dean of graduate studies is not available to serve, the administration will appoint a substitute.
  2. A faculty dean not involved in the charging process. A substitute may be appointed as given in paragraph 1.
  3. Two faculty members. At the beginning of each academic year, the Office of the Provost (or provost's designee) shall randomly select two full-time faculty from each academic department in order to constitute the pool. Two faculty members from different departments will be randomly selected from this pool to serve on the Academic Integrity Board. In the case of charges brought against graduate students, the faculty members must be involved in teaching graduate-only courses (double-numbered courses do not count) or in directing graduate research projects.
  4. Two graduate students. Such students will be appropriately trained in procedures relating to this policy and the need for confidentiality pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Hearing Procedures for Academic Integrity Board

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:

  1. The chair shall open the proceedings by reading the statement of charges.
  2. The charging party shall then present the case against the accused party, including the presentation of witnesses. This shall be done by the submission of written, physical, and testimonial evidence. The accused party and the board shall have the right to conduct reasonable questioning of the charging party and the charging party's witnesses; hearsay evidence is not acceptable since it denies the opposing party the opportunity to cross-examine unless such is a business record of the University.
  3. At the conclusion of the charging party's presentation, the accused party may present a defense, including the presentation of witnesses, or may plead to the charges. This shall be done by the submission of written, physical, and testimonial evidence. The charging party shall have the right to conduct reasonable questioning of the accused party and the accused party's witnesses; hearsay evidence is not acceptable since it denies the opposing party the opportunity to cross-examine unless such is a business record of the University.
  4. After both cases have been presented, the board shall allow rebuttal evidence.
  5. At the close of the hearing, the board shall allow closing arguments by the parties.

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 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.

Sanctions

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 for Judicial Affairs and Student Assistance. A disciplinary file will be established as a permanent record of these actions.

  1. The board may agree with the instructor and apply a penalty to the student's grade, including failure in the course. Further, the board may agree with the faculty member's recommendation that the student receive a more severe penalty than failure in the course and apply one of the sanctions listed below:
    1. Expulsion: The student is informed in writing that he or she is being expelled from the University. This action is one of involuntary separation from the University. The relationship between the student and this University is permanently terminated. The student is not permitted on University property. There will be no refunding of fees. The assignment of grades shall be in accordance with University policy. The fact of the expulsion and the reason for it will be entered upon the student's official transcript and upon all copies thereof. A student who has been expelled for academic dishonesty will not be awarded a degree from West Chester University.
    2. Restitution: Restitution may be imposed on students whose violation of these standards has involved monetary loss or damage. Restitution as imposed by the board will be regarded by the University as a financial obligation to the University.
  2. Hold on records: The University may withhold transcripts, grades, degrees, diplomas, or other official records pending the disposition of cases.

Notes

  1. If the complainant is not on contract or in residence on the campus, he or she shall have the right to defer the procedure until his or her return. Similarly, if the procedure would normally occur during the summer and the student is not enrolled in any summer session, the procedure may be deferred until the fall semester at the student's request.
  2. Each department must submit to the college dean and the associate provost and dean of graduate studies its written process for hearing appeals. Likewise, the academic dean and graduate dean must submit to the provost and vice president for academic affairs his or her written process for hearing appeals. These processes must, as a minimum, provide notice to all involved parties and must provide an opportunity for all parties to be heard by a neutral fact finder or body who will render a decision and permit the accused to have an adviser. Such policies and procedures should be readily available to all students of the department.
  3. 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 for action.

Policy on Disruptive Classroom Behavior[top]

  1. Definition of disruptive classroom behavior
    1. Disruptive behavior is defined as an act that is disorderly, that might include but is not limited to that which disrespects, disrupts, harasses, coerces, or abuses, and/or might threaten or harm property or person, so that it interferes with an orderly classroom, teaching process, or learning function.
    2. Such behavior originates in a classroom, faculty member's office, or other site so long as it is related to the academic classroom or classroom function.
  2. Limitation of Policy
    This policy addresses only student classroom behavior as defined here. Nonacademic student behavior is addressed in the Student Code of Conduct and the Judicial Board process as outlined in the Ram's Eye View.
  3. Classroom Management
    This policy acknowledges the need for protection of academic freedom in the classroom, for faculty authority in classroom management, and for faculty and student safety in the classroom.

  4. Due Process
    This policy respects faculty and student rights to due process in any event emanating from disruptive student behavior in the classroom.

Process

  1. The first instance of disruptive behavior shall result in an immediate verbal warning by the faculty member. The faculty member shall advise the student of the existence of the Disruptive Classroom Behavior Policy and where it is published.

    Exception: A first instance in which disruptive behavior appears to compromise the safety of or is threatening to a faculty member or student(s) shall result in immediate removal of the student from the classroom by the faculty member. In the event of imminent danger to person or property, Public Safety will be called and immediate removal shall result. Extreme or severe behavior can result in removal from the course and not merely from the immediate class.
  2. A second instance of disruptive behavior shall result in the removal of the student from class for the remainder of the class period. The faculty member should log the behavior and the steps taken in writing.

  3. A third instance of disruptive behavior shall result in permanent removal of the student from the class.

Temporary Removal

  1. A student who has been asked to leave the classroom must meet with the faculty member prior to returning to the next class.
  2. A student may, as the result of removal from the classroom and having met or tried to meet with the faculty member without success, request a third party agreeable to both the faculty member and him/herself to assist in resolving his/her difference with the faculty member. He/she can do so by applying to the chairperson of the department in which the course in which the event occurred is housed.

Permanent Removal

  1. In the event of permanent removal from the class, the faculty member shall notify the chairperson of the department in which the course is housed, who shall then notify the dean of his/her college, the dean of students, and the chairperson of the student's major department.

  2. A student who has been permanently removed from the classroom shall be assigned a grade consistent with course requirements depending upon the point in the course at which the removal took place. A written statement of the reason for permanent removal shall be provided to the student by a review panel, in the event of an appeal by the student, or by the faculty member, in the event there has been no appeal. The review panel shall be the only venue for a hearing on permanent removal from the classroom.

Appeal Process

  1. The student may, within five University calendar days of removal, appeal permanent removal. That appeal shall be made to the review panel which shall be constituted and charged by the dean of the college, or his/her designee, in which the event occurred. The panel shall include an academic manager, a faculty member, and a student. It shall, within five University calendar days, conduct fact finding and make a written recommendation to the dean who shall provide copies to the faculty member and the student. Extension based on compelling circumstances may be granted by the dean or his/her designee.
  2. A student who appeals removal shall be given an opportunity to keep up with classroom assignments during the time it takes the review panel to reach its decision.

  3. In the event that the student's behavior was perceived as sufficiently threatening or severe, either party may invoke the right to a separate interview or may submit written testimony to allow for fact finding by the panel.

Obtaining Transcripts [top]

Transcripts of work taken at West Chester University may be obtained from the Office of the Registrar. A check or money order, payable to West Chester University, must accompany a written request that should include the period of attendance at the University, degree status, the curriculum pursued, Social Security number, and any change of name during enrollment. For a description of the transcript fee, see "Fees and Expenses."

Changes in Name or Address [top]

Students should immediately notify the Office of Graduate Studies and Extended Education, and their department of any change of address or change in name.

The Comprehensive (Area of Specialization) Examination [top]

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.

Defense of Master's Thesis [top]

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 [top]

Other examinations may be required of degree students. All requirements given under the heading of the particular program should be carefully noted.

Research Requirements [top]

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.

Application for Graduation [top]

Each candidate for a master's degree must submit their: (1) Intent to Graduate form on myWCU; (2) a check for $56 made payable to the Commencement Fund; (3) a Commencement Fund invoice form; and (4) a cap and gown order form. All of these forms are available online. The following are deadline dates for applying to graduate: May graduation-February 1; August graduation- June 1; December graduation-October 1.

Submitting the Thesis for Binding [top]

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.

Second Master's Degree [top]

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.

Educator Preparation Programs [top]

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.

Formal Admission to Teacher Education for Certification [top]

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.

Instructional I (Provisional) [top]

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.

The Pennsylvania Teacher Intern Certification Program [top]

Designed for individuals who possess a baccalaureate degree, the intern certification is valid for a period of three years. The certification is issued only for instructional areas; it is not applicable for professionals seeking certification as educational specialists, administrators, or supervisors. Before being admitted to the program, candidates for the teacher intern certification are expected to attain all of the professional competencies established for candidates pursuing a degree program with certification in a specific field, with the exception of student teaching. Candidates are expected to obtain a firm offer for a teaching position that will be held during the internship period. Contact the Office of Field Placement and Student Teaching in Room 251, Francis Harvey Green Library.

Graduates Seeking Level II Certification [top]

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.

Educational Specialist Certification [top]

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.

Educational Specialist I (Provisional)

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.

Educational Specialist II

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.

Requirements Common to All Areas of Certification[top]

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.

ACT 48 [top]

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/.

Professional Certificates [top]

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 [top]

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.

Poetry Center [top]

The West Chester University Poetry Center hosts the annual West Chester University Poetry Conference (the largest annual poetry gathering in America), sponsors the University's Poet-in-Residence program, presents poetry readings thoughout 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 (FERPA) [top]

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

  1. the student gives his or her parents written consent if the student is independent; or
  2. the parents provide a certified copy of their most recent Federal Income Tax Form reflecting dependency status of the son/daughter which must be on file in the Office of the Registrar.

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.

Directory Information-Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 [top]

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.

ADA Policy Statement [top]

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.