Academic Policies and Procedures
Degree Candidates–all undergraduates admitted to a degree program or to the undeclared major by the Office of Admissions or through approved internal transfer recorded in the Office of the Registrar.
Nondegree Students–students permitted to enroll part time (maximum nine credits per semester and seven credits for winter and summer terms) for course work toward professional development, personal growth, or certification. Recent high school graduates (within the previous three years) are required to meet the admission standards of the University. Transfer students may enroll nondegree if they have attempted less than 30 credits and have a 2.00 grade point average. High school students may attend on a nondegree basis with written permission of their high school principal or guidance counselor. Nondegree students may attempt a maximum of 18 credits. Upon reaching 18 credits, students must have a 2.00 GPA or the department’s required GPA to be eligible for admission to a degree program or to request permission to enroll with professional development status.
The student's standing is determined by the number of semester hours of credit earned as follows:
|Freshman||0-29.5 semester hours of credit (inclusive)|
|Sophomore||30-59.5 semester hours of credit (inclusive)|
|Junior||60-89.5 semester hours of credit (inclusive)|
|Senior||90 or more semester hours of credit|
A full-time class load ranges from 12 to 18 semester hours of credit. Credits attempted or earned through the process of Credit by Examination are not counted in the student class load.
An overload is enrollment in more than 18 credit hours in the fall or spring semester, or more than seven credit hours in an individual summer or winter session. The minimum cumulative GPA required to carry an overload is 2.75.
Permission will not be granted for more than 24 credit hours in a fall or spring semester or 10 credit hours in an individual summer or winter session.
In order to schedule an overload, students must complete an Add Overload form and submit it to the Office of the Registrar by the end of the add period. The application for an overload must be signed by the student’s academic adviser and the chairperson of the department in which the student is majoring.
Students who carry more than 18 credits in a fall or spring semester will be responsible for additional tuition charges at the standard rate per credit hour.
School Assignments for Field Experiences
Students are assigned early field and student teaching experiences at schools with which the University has a formal agreement. Students will not be assigned to schools that they attended or where members of their families are employed or attend.
Special requests for school assignments will be considered by the student's major department.
Effective fall 1999, before an undergraduate student may register for independent study or research, practicum, internship, externship, or any field placement, he or she must have an overal GPA of 2.00 or higher, and a GPA of 2.00 or higher in his or her major courses.
This policy does not supersede current departmental policies that have established higher standards. This policy does not prevent departments from setting higher GPA standards for undergraduate students within their major. Departments may also establish a minimum required GPA for all cognate courses for undergraduate students who wish to register for any of these courses.
Clearance Requirements for Field Experiences in the Professional Education UnitAll students participating in West Chester University academic courses that require participation in observation, practicum, field experience, or student teaching must provide up-to-date clearances prior to the fourth day of the semester in which they are enrolled in such courses. Students will provide clearances to the University in a manner stipulated by the dean of the College of Education in accordance with the WCU Professional Education Unit Policy Requiring Current Criminal Background Clearances for Enrollment in Field Experience Courses and Student Teaching. Students who fail to provide the proper clearances, as stipulated, will have their enrollment in the course revoked.
An individual may pursue a second degree at West Chester University after earning the first degree either at West Chester or some other institution. Such an individual must apply for admission through the Office of Admissions as a transfer student and earn at least 30 hours of West Chester University credit beyond the requirements of the initial baccalaureate program. In addition, a student must take at least 50% of the courses in his /her major or minor discipline (excluding cognate courses) at West Chester University. All requirements for the curriculum in which the second degree is earned must be satisfied. A given course required in both the degree programs is not repeated for the second degree.
A student who has successfully completed at least 30 credits of work at West Chester University may petition to pursue a second undergraduate degree concurrently with the first, such as a B.S. in computer science and a B.F.A. in art. If admitted to a second degree program, the student must, to receive both degrees at graduation, earn at least 30 credits beyond the requirements of the baccalaureate program with the fewest required credits for a minimum of 150 credits. When a student is enrolled in dual degree programs:
- The student may not be graduated until both the degrees are completed.
- All requirements for the curriculum of each degree must be satisfied.
- A course required in both degree programs does not have to be repeated for the second degree.
- All University requirements such as minimum GPA and number of credits taken at West Chester University in the major must be met for each degree separately.
A student may select two majors within the same degree. In this case, a student must meet all of the requirements for both majors. The student should consult regularly with advisers from both programs. Students wishing to pursue two types of baccalaureate degrees (B.A., B.F.A., B.M., B.S., B.S.Ed., B.S.N.) should see Dual Degrees section above.
Minor Fields of Study
Students who have enough flexibility in their major curriculum to fulfill the requirements of a minor must fill out and submit a minor selection application to the Office of the Registrar. To enroll in a minor field of study, students must have the permission of both their major and their proposed minor departments. Admission to the minor does not guarantee admission to the major. Students must complete 18 to 30 hours of courses selected in consultation with the minor program adviser. At least 50 percent of minor course work must be taken at West Chester. Also, beginning with students entering in the fall 1993 semester, students must earn a minimum GPA of 2.00 in the set of courses taken for a minor in order to receive transcript recognition of that minor. Certain minor programs may require a higher minimum GPA. Students should consult with the minor program adviser.
Minors available at West Chester University include the following:
Specific course requirements may be obtained from the minor program advisers.
A student wishing to transfer from one program of study at the University to another program must file a change of major form in the Office of the Registrar. The student must meet the standards for admission to the desired program and must obtain written permission from the department involved. Any courses that were initially accepted for transfer credit from another college are subject to re-evaluation by the department to which the student transfers internally.
Adding a Course
Students may add a course through the myWCU portal if the course has available seats and all prerequisites have been met. If the course is closed, the student needs to fill out an add closed course form and have it signed by the instructor or department chair. Students may not add courses to their schedule after the add period is over, which is the seventh calendar day of a typical semester (fall/spring). This could be a weekend day.
Dropping a Course
Students may drop any course from their schedule through the myWCU portal during the drop period. This drop period is during the first six calendar days of a typical semester (fall/spring). This could end on a weekend day. After drop/add, students must complete a withdrawal form and submit it to the Office of the Registrar before the end of the ninth week of classes. Courses dropped after the drop/add period are considered a withdrawal and will be noted on the transcript with a “W.”
Students may not schedule more than one section of the same course in any given semester.
Withdrawing from a Course
A grade of W (withdraw) will be entered on the academic record of any student who withdraws from a course after the drop/add period and before the end of the ninth class week or the equivalent in summer sessions. A student may not withdraw from a course to avoid an academic integrity violation.
After the ninth week of classes, students may not withdraw selectively from courses; they must contact the Office of the Registrar and withdraw from the University. The University will record a "W" for all courses in which the student is registered. However, if the effective date of official withdrawal is during the last week of classes, a letter grade or NG will be assigned for that course. A student may not receive a W during the last week of classes.
STUDENTS WHO FAIL TO WITHDRAW FROM OR DROP A COURSE OFFICIALLY CAN EXPECT TO RECEIVE A FAILING GRADE FOR THE COURSE AND ARE FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE TO PAY FOR IT.
Withdrawal from the University
Students wishing to withdraw from the University may go to the Office of the Registrar or submit their withdrawal to the office in writing. Written notification is required for all withdrawals. If illness or some other emergency interrupts the student's University work necessitating withdrawal, he or she must notify the Office of the Registrar at once.
Unless a student withdraws officially, F grades will be recorded for unfinished courses.
Involuntary Medical Withdrawal Policy
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: http://www.wcupa.edu/_services/stu.inf/documents/WCU-InvoluntaryMedicalWithdrawalPolicy.pdf.
Taking Courses Out of Sequence
Students may not enroll for credit in a more elementary course in a sequence after having satisfactorily passed a more advanced course in that sequence. For example, a student may not enroll for credit in French 101 after having satisfactorily passed French 201. Similarly, students who enroll in a course that requires less proficiency than placement or proficiency tests indicate they possess may be denied credit towards graduation.
The Repeat Policy is divided into two sections, i.e., a policy covering developmental courses (Q00-level) that do not count towards graduation, and a policy covering college-level courses.
- Policy Covering Developmental Courses
Students who enter the University beginning with the 1991 fall semester may have three attempts to pass each developmental course (Q00-level). The repeat privilege for developmental courses will not count within the five-repeat allotment for college-level courses. Credits for these courses do not count towards graduation but are computed in the cumulative grade point average. Students may repeat a single course twice, which results in eliminating the grades from the first and second attempts. The third attempt, however, will be the grade of record. Students must pass the developmental basic skills courses (English and mathematics) with a C- or better before enrolling in a more advanced course in the respective discipline. Students enrolled in the basic skills developmental course(s) who do not pass with a C- or better after three attempts will be permanently dismissed from the University regardless of overall grade point average. Students who fail developmental courses at West Chester University may not repeat those courses at another university or transfer in the college-level (100 or higher) course.
- Policy covering undergraduate college-level courses
Students may repeat undergraduate college-level courses to improve a grade of F, D, C, or B (not A).
- No student may use the repeat option more than five times TOTAL. For example, this means repeating five DIFFERENT courses once each, or repeating each of two different courses twice (four repeats) and one additional course once.
- A single course may not be repeated more than twice.
- The most recent grade, regardless of whether it is higher or lower, will be the grade used for the GPA calculation.
Undergraduate students who take and complete a course at West Chester may not repeat the course at another institution and have the credits or grade count towards a West Chester degree.
Undergraduates who take a course for graduate credit are subject to the graduate repeat policy. See the Graduate Catalog for information.
Because all students must take and pass WRT 120 to graduate, a student who fails this course after three attempts will be dismissed immediately following the third failure, regardless of GPA.
Repeat Course Procedure
The first time a student completes a course for a grade it is considered the first attempt. The second time a student completes a course for a grade it is considered the second attempt and the first repeat. The third time a student completes a course for a grade it is considered the third attempt and is the second repeat. The most recent grade (regardless of whether it is higher or lower) and credit will be used for the GPA calculation. Students who complete a course with a fourth attempt or more are in violation of the Repeat Policy and will not earn credit.
- All degree students who are sophomores, juniors, or seniors with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00 are eligible to take courses pass/fail.
- The pass/fail privilege is limited to one course per semester; only free electives may be taken on a pass/fail basis. Free electives may not be used to satisfy major, core, cognate, or general education (including distributive) requirements. Interdisciplinary, diverse communities, and writing emphasis courses taken to satisfy these requirements may not be taken pass/fail.
- A grade of pass carries credit value but does not affect the cumulative grade point average.
- A grade of fail is computed into the cumulative grade point average.
- After contracting for pass/fail, the student may not request or accept any grade other than a P or an F.
- This process must be completed by the end of the ninth week of the semester or the equivalent in summer school or winter session. Forms are available in the Office of the Registrar.
Anyone may attend the University for the sole purpose of auditing courses by first scheduling for the course, paying the regular fee, and then completing an audit application form available from the Office of the Registrar. An undergraduate student may declare "audit" status in a course through the end of the ninth week of class but may only audit one course per semester. Faculty may refuse to grant auditor status. Full-time students have the privilege of auditing, provided they obtain approval from the course instructor and the course does not create an overload situation. If an overload results, students are assessed the per-credit rate for each credit in excess of 18. Part-time students may audit, provided they obtain the instructor's approval, enroll in the course through the Office of the Registrar, and pay the regular course fees.
Credit is never given to auditors. The auditor status may not be changed after it has been declared. The grade of audit (AU) is recorded on the student's transcript. An audited course will not fulfill any requirement toward graduation including interdisciplinary, diverse communities, and writing emphasis attributes.
Credit by Examination
Forms to register for credit by examination are available from the Office of the Registrar. Credit by Exam fees will be equivalent to the College-Level Examination Program fee. Contact the Office of the Registrar for current information.
Credit by examination is a privilege subject to the following conditions:
- Application occurs during the Drop/Add Period. If the student has already scheduled into the course, the course will be dropped from the schedule for that term. Grade notification for credit by exam will occur at the end of the semester. Therefore, if the student fails, the course will have to be taken in a later term.
- The student has a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00.
- The student demonstrates evidence of satisfactory academic background for the course.
- The student has not already completed a more advanced course that presupposes knowledge gained in the course. For example, credit by examination cannot be given for FRE 101 after the student passed FRE 102.
- Credits taken as credit by examination will be counted in the course load and will carry "0" billing credits. Therefore, courses will not count toward financial aid, athletics, dorms, insurance, etc.
- A course cannot be repeated by using credit by examination.
- A course that fulfills the interdisciplinary, diverse communities, or writing emphasis area may not be taken as credit by examination.
NOTE: Students who have taken a course but have not achieved a satisfactory grade may not apply for credit by examination for the same course.
Many departments offer an independent study course for students with demonstrated ability and special interests. This course is appropriate when a student has a specialized and compelling academic interest that cannot be pursued within the framework of a regular course. Students must obtain departmental permission for independent study courses. An overall GPA of 2.00 or higher and a minimum GPA of 2.00 in a student's major courses are required. The independent study form is available in the Office of the Registrar.
Individualized instruction is the teaching of a regular, listed catalog course to a single student. Individualized instruction is offered only when the University has canceled or failed to offer a course according to schedule. Students must obtain departmental permission for individual instruction. The individualized instruction form is available in the Office of the Registrar.
A senior (90 credits or more) pursuing a bachelor's degree who has an overall grade point average of 3.00 may, with the permission of the major adviser, course professor, department chair of the course, the dean of graduate studies and extended education, and the associate provost, enroll in up to six credits of graduate-level course work. The student must be at the senior level with the designated grade point average at the time the course begins.
If the course is dual numbered, the undergraduate must take the undergraduate-level course and apply it towards the bachelor's degree. If the course is not dual numbered, but at the 500 level or above, the course may count either as undergraduate credit towards the bachelor's degree or as graduate credit.
If the student wishes to have the credits count towards the bachelor's degree, the student must submit a completed "application for an undergraduate student to take a graduate course for undergraduate credit.'' The form is available in the Office of the Registrar. If, on the other hand, the student wishes to have the credits count towards a graduate degree, he or she must submit a completed "application for an undergraduate student to take a graduate course for graduate credit.'' The form is available in the Graduate Office. To receive graduate-level credit, the student also must submit a properly completed and approved graduate school admissions form to the Office of Graduate Studies before completing the appropriate form.
Individual departments have the right to implement more stringent academic standards for courses within their departments. Any student not meeting University or departmental standards when the appropriate semester begins will not be permitted to enroll.
If a course is taken for undergraduate credit, no additional fees will be required. If a course is taken for graduate credit, the student must pay graduate tuition and applicable fees for that course. A student not carrying 12 hours of undergraduate credits will be charged at the appropriate hourly tuition rates for both the undergraduate and graduate credits. All other fees will be charged at the undergraduate level.
No more than six credits taken under this policy may be applied to the master's degree. Students may not elect to change between undergraduate and graduate credit after the term or semester has begun.
Undergraduate students approved to take a graduate course for undergraduate credit are bound by the undergraduate catalog policy on repeats and withdrawals. Undergraduate students approved to take a graduate course for graduate credit are bound by the graduate catalog policy on repeats and withdrawals.
Undergraduate Student Attendance Policy
Each professor will determine a class attendance policy and publish it in his or her syllabus at the beginning of each semester. When a student fails to comply with the policy, the professor has the right to assign a grade consistent with his or her policy as stated in the syllabus. Absences cannot be used as the sole criterion for assigning a final grade in a course. Excused absences, in accordance with the Excused Absences Policy for University-Sanctioned Events, will not result in a penalty, provided the student follows this policy. University departments or programs may establish attendance policies to govern their sections as long as those policies fall within these guidelines.
Excused Absences Policy for University-Sanctioned Events
Undergraduate students participating in University-sanctioned events such as, but not limited to, the Marching Band, musical ensembles, theatre group, athletic events, forensics competition, etc., will be granted an excused absence(s) by the respective faculty members for class periods missed. Students will be granted the privilege of taking, at an alternative time to be determined by the professor, scheduled examinations or quizzes that will be missed. The professor will designate such times prior to the event. Professors can provide a fair alternative to taking the examination or quiz that will be missed. Students must submit original documentation on University letterhead signed by the activity director, coach, or adviser detailing the specifics of the event in advance. Specific requirements include the following:
- Responsibility for meeting academic requirements rests with the student.
- Students are expected to notify their professors as soon as they know they will be missing class due to a University-sanctioned event.
- Students are expected to complete the work requirement for each class and turn in assignments due on days of the event prior to their due dates unless other arrangements are made with the professor.
- If a scheduled event is postponed or canceled, the student is expected to go to class.
- Students are not excused from classes for practice on nonevent days.
The following are specifics for the student athlete:
- The student athlete is expected, where possible, to schedule classes on days and at hours that do not conflict with athletic schedules.
- Athletes are not excused from classes for practice or training-room treatment on nongame days.
Exemption from Final Examinations
Students who have attained an A or B prior to the finals, have completed all other course requirements, and have the instructors' permission may waive final examinations. This privilege is subject to several reservations.
- Any unit examinations given during the final examination period are not subject to this policy.
- Academic departments, as well as individual faculty, may adopt a policy excluding the final examination exemption for certain courses.
- Mutual agreement between the instructor and the student to waive the final examination should be determined during the week prior to the beginning of the examination period.
The course grade will be the A or B earned exclusive of a final examination grade.
Final Exam Policy
- Individual faculty members may not change published final examination times.
- No final examination may be given outside of the scheduled final examination time.
- Any course not having a final examination will meet as directed by the instructor during the scheduled examination time, for a continuation of the regular class work.
- Any student who has three or more final exams scheduled for the same day may, no later than one week prior to the final exam time, work with the individual instructors to arrange alternative exam times.
|Grade||Quality Points||Percentage Equivalents||Interpretation|
|A||4.000||93 - 100||Excellent|
|A-||3.670||90 - 92|
|B+||3.330||87 - 89||Superior|
|B||3.000||83 - 86|
|B-||2.670||80 - 82|
|C+||2.330||77 - 79||Average|
|C||2.000||73 - 76|
|C-||1.670||70 - 72|
|D+||1.330||67 - 69||Below Average|
|D||1.000||63 - 66|
|D-||0.670||60 - 62|
|F||0.000||59 or lower||Failure|
|Z||0.000||59 or lower||Failure|
IP (In Progress): Given to indicate work in progress and will be used only for courses involving work that is expected to extend beyond the end of the term, such as practica, internships, recitals, and research reports. A grade of IP is changed to an F automatically if the requirements have not been completed by the end of the 9th week of the equivalent semester in the following year. No student may graduate with an IP on the transcript.
NG (No Grade): Given when a student fails to complete course requirements by the end of a semester for a valid reason. See "Grade Changes."
W (Withdrawal): 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): Given under appeal when there is documentation that the student never, in fact, attended class. Other extenuating circumstances regarding administrative withdrawal may be reviewed by the associate provost. No refunds are associated with this grade.
Z Grade: A grade received when a student stops attending a course and fails to officially withdraw from it. The grade is counted the same way that an F would count toward the cumulative average.
The grade assigned to the student must reflect the percentage equivalent of the plus, minus, and straight grades earned in a course.
Cumulative Grade Point Average
The cumulative grade point average (GPA), sometimes called the cumulative index, is determined by dividing the total quality points earned for courses by the total credit hours attempted. The following example is based on a single semester:
| Credit Hours
|Grade|| Quality Points
| Quality Points
Earned for Course
|1st subject||4||A||4||4 x 4 =||16|
|2nd subject||3||B||3||3 x 3 =||9|
|3rd subject||3||C||2||2 x 3 =||6|
|4th subject||3||D||1||1 x 3 =||3|
|5th subject||2||F||0||0 x 2 =||0|
34 divided by 15 equals a GPA of 2.27.
All grades received during a student's enrollment (except the grades of P and NG, and except when a second attempt produces a higher course grade and a grade replacement takes place) are included in the cumulative GPA. Grades from other colleges are excluded.
A student’s grades and GPA cannot change once he or she has graduated. The University will “seal” the GPA at the time of baccalaureate graduation, and if a student returns for post-baccalaureate or for second-degree work, then a new GPA will be started.
Any grade awarded other than NG is final. Final grades can be changed only when there is a clerical or computational error. A newly disclosed diagnosis of a disability may not be used as reason for requesting a grade change or removal. 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.
If a student did not complete course requirements because of a valid reason, such as a serious illness or death in the family, a grade of NG may be assigned at the discretion of the professor. The professor will also determine the manner in which the course is to be completed and the deadline for completion. In no case may the period of completion extend beyond nine weeks into the next semester. No student may graduate with an NG on the transcript.
A GRADE OF NG IS CHANGED TO AN F AUTOMATICALLY IF THE REQUIREMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN COMPLETED BY THE END OF THE NINTH WEEK OF THE FOLLOWING SEMESTER. (The instructor must file a change of an NG grade in the Office of the Registrar by the middle of the tenth week of the semester.)
A graduating senior has only 30 calendar days after the end of the term in which he or she intends to graduate to complete all degree requirements, including the removal of NG's.
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 on prejudiced or capricious judgment, or was inconsistent with official University policy. Please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy for cases where the grade appeal involves a grade given for academic dishonesty.
- (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 member. They shall mutually attempt to resolve the appeal within five class days from the receipt.
(b) If the appeal is based on an interpretation of departmental or University policy, the student's academic adviser also may be present during the review process. In such case, there shall also be a limit of five class days in which to resolve the appeal.
- 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 also shall be provided to the instructor.
- 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.
- 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
- The associate provost and dean of graduate studies 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).
- A faculty dean not involved in the appeals process. A substitute may be appointed as given in "A" above.
- 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 selected randomly from this pool for each Appeals Board.
- Two undergraduate students or, if appropriate, two graduate students appointed by the president of the Student Government Association (SGA).
- The faculty member involved may be assisted by an adviser, an APSCUF representative, or the chairperson of the department in which the problem originated.
- 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 who 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.
- Such witnesses as are called on behalf of either the faculty member or the student.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Decision of the Appeals Board
- 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.
- The chairperson of the Appeals Board 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.
- The chairperson of the Appeals Board shall also transmit the decision, in writing, to the provost or his/her designee. If the board has upheld the student's appeal, the provost will direct the registrar to change the existing grade to the grade recommended by the board.
- Both the faculty member and student are entitled to the “right of challenge for cause” of any member of the Appeals Board or student adviser with the sole exception being the chairperson of the Appeals Board. In the case of a challenge at the Appeals Board level, the chairperson of the board will adjudicate the challenge. One challenge at each level is permitted.
- A "class day" is defined as any day when classes are officially in session at West Chester University.
- 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.
- 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.
Undergraduate Student Academic Integrity Policy
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. Incidents of academic dishonesty, especially when they recur and become patterns of dishonest behavior, require that the University be in position to use more severe disciplinary measures than those available to the professor, including expulsion of the student from the University. It is therefore imperative that individual instances of academic dishonesty, accompanied by details concerning penalties, become a part of the student's academic record.
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.
As responsible members of the academic community, students are obligated to comply with the basic standards of integrity. They are also expected to take an active role in encouraging other members to respect those standards. Should a student have reason to believe that a violation of academic integrity has occurred, he/she is encouraged to make the suspicion known to a member of the faculty or University administration. Students should familiarize themselves with the University's policies, procedures, and definitions of types of violations, as provided in the Undergraduate Catalog.
Violations of Academic Integrity
Violations of the academic integrity standards of West Chester University fall into six broadly defined categories listed below.
Plagiarism is the inclusion of someone else's words, ideas, or data as one's own work. When a student submits work for credit that includes the words, ideas, or data of others, the source of that information must be acknowledged through complete, accurate, and specific references and, if verbatim statements are included, through quotation marks as well. By placing his/her name on work submitted for credit, the student certifies the originality of all work not otherwise identified by appropriate acknowledgments. Plagiarism covers unpublished as well as published sources.
Fabrication is the use of invented information or the falsification of research, information, citations, or other findings.
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.
- 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.
- Facilitating Academic Dishonesty
Facilitating academic dishonesty includes helping or attempting to help another to commit an act of academic dishonesty.
- 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 days of his/her decision, in writing, of the penalty that will be imposed. The faculty member will also inform the student of his/her right to file an appeal within 10 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 college dean. If the faculty member is the department chair and there is no departmental board, the report will be sent directly to the dean. The dean will then forward the information to the associate provost or his/her designee. 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;
- the right of appeal to the department chair (or departmental board).
If the faculty member who accuses the student and files the report is the department chair, and there is no departmental board, the college dean is the first step in the appeal process.
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.
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.
The faculty member may also request that his/her department chairperson contact the appropriate dean and request that an Academic Integrity Board be convened, for the purpose of imposing further sanctions. See below for a list of possible sanctions.
Whatever the penalty, the report describing the incident and recording the decision will be kept by the associate provost's designee until the student has graduated and the degree has been awarded. In addition, the associate provost will forward a copy of the report to the student's major department chairperson. 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 purpose is to deter students from repeating offenses. A record of the first-offense is kept in the student's academic file in the Office of the Associate Provost as an internal record and is not available to faculty who may be bringing charges against a student. Information as to whether or not such a file exists is available to individuals or committees who are writing letters of reference for students, when the form asks if the student has ever been sanctioned for academic dishonesty. The file is destroyed once the student's degree is awarded.
A second violation of the Academic Integrity Policy may result in formal charges being brought against the student. In addition to the sanctions listed above, sanctions for a second or subsequent violation may include
- suspension from the University for a designated period of time;
- expulsion from the University;
- any sanctions listed in the Student Code of Conduct.
In the determination of penalties, the following factors may be considered:
- the nature and seriousness of the offense;
- the injury or damage resulting from the misconduct;
- the student's prior academic file.
A student may appeal the instructor's unilateral imposition of a reduced or failing grade. A student who files an appeal within 10 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 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 appropriate dean, if he/she so wishes.
The progression of the appeal involves the following:
- Chair of the department in which the course is housed (or departmental board). The appeal must be filed within five days of the faculty decision. The chair will submit a written response to the student within five class days after receipt of the student's appeal.
- Dean of the department in which the course is housed. The appeal must be filed within five days of the department's decision. The dean will submit a written response to the student within five class days after receipt of the student's appeal.
- WCU Academic Integrity Board. The appeal must be filed within five days after the dean's decision. The provost (or provost's designee) will convene the Academic Integrity Board as soon as possible, but no later than 15 class days after the receipt of the written request.
If the faculty member who has brought the charges is also the chair of the department, the appeal moves directly to the college dean.
Academic Integrity Board
The Academic Integrity Board may be convened under any of three sets of circumstances.
- It may be requested by an accused student as part of the appeal process.
- It may be requested by the faculty member who believes that a penalty that is more severe than an F in the course is warranted.
- It will be convened automatically by the associate provost or his/her designee if a student has a second or subsequent Report of Violation of Academic Integrity placed on file.
Membership of the Academic Integrity Board
- The provost (or provost's designee) shall appoint faculty and administration members of the Academic Integrity Board. The associate provost serves as nonvoting chairperson. If the associate provost is not available to serve, the administration will appoint a substitute.
- A faculty dean not involved in the charging process. A substitute may be appointed as given in paragraph 1.
- 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 to serve on the Academic Integrity Board.
- Two undergraduate students. The undergraduate students will be selected from a list of names provided by the Office of Student Conduct. Such students will be appropriately trained in procedures relating to this policy and the need for confidentiality pursuant to the Family Education 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 identity of those sitting on as part of the Academic Integrity Board and witnesses that will be presented by the charging party. Hearings shall proceed to the extent possible according to the following form:
- The chair shall open the proceedings by reading the statement of charges;
- 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.
- 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.
- After both cases have been presented, the board shall allow rebuttal evidence;
- 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 who 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 recorded. The audio recording 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 deans 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 conduction of the hearing in his or her absence and for 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.
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 and department chair. In the absence of a student appeal, the recommended sanctions from the department and dean's level should be forwarded from the dean's office to the provost for action. 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.
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.
- 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. If any of the following sanctions are imposed by the provost, they will be sent to the director of the Office of Judical Affairs and Student Assistance. A disciplinary file will be established as a permanent record of these actions.
- Disciplinary probation: The student is informed in writing that he or she is being placed on disciplinary probation for a specific period of time. This action is a period of official censure. A probation action may specify any conditions with which the individual must comply or any privileges which may be withheld. Probation may include, but not be limited to, the loss of privilege to represent the University in official capacity including but not limited to varsity and nonvarsity intercollegiate events, plays, and holding office in campus government or related organizations. If at any time during his or her probationary period the student violates University regulations, he or she may be subject to further disciplinary action from the University up to and including expulsion from the University.
- Suspension: The student is informed in writing that he or she is being involuntarily suspended from the University for a designated period of time. A student shall lose student status and may not attend classes, take exams, receive grades, or be on University property except for authorized University business during the suspension period. Authorized University business must be approved in advance by the provost and vice president for academic affairs or designee. After the designated period of time, the student must seek approval from the provost and vice president for academic affairs or designee to reapply to return through the Office of Admissions. The board may establish additional requirements which must be fulfilled to the satisfaction of the provost and vice president for academic affairs or designee prior to reinstatement. There will be no refunding of fees. The assignment of grades shall be in accordance with University policy.
- Expulsion: The student is informed in writing that he or she is being expelled from the University. The 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.
- 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.
3. If the student has a record of past violations of the Student Academic Integrity Policy, that student is subject to additional sanctions based upon the fact that he/she has a prior record of dishonesty. After the board recommends the penalty for the case in question, the board will be provided with the student's past record, if any exists. The board shall review that record and consider imposing a more stringent penalty, to include any of the penalties listed above.
- 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.
- Each department must submit to the academic dean its written process for hearing appeals. Likewise, each academic 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.
- 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 and department chair. In the absence of a student appeal, the recommended sanctions from the department and dean's level should be forwarded from the dean's office to the provost for action.
Policy on Disruptive Classroom Behavior
- Definition of disruptive classroom behavior
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Due Process
This policy respects faculty and student rights to due process in any event emanating from disruptive student behavior in the classroom.
- 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.
- 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.
- A third instance of disruptive behavior shall result in permanent removal of the student from the class.
- A student who has been asked to leave the classroom must meet with the faculty member prior to returning to the next class.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
The names of degree-seeking students who complete 12 or more graded hours in an academic semester and achieve a semester GPA of 3.670 or better are placed on the dean's list. Nondegree students who complete a minimum of nine credits, have a GPA of 3.670, and no grade below a B in the semester also will be recognized on that semester's dean's list.
Maintenance of Academic Standards: Probation and Dismissal
A student's scholastic standing at the University is indicated by his or her cumulative grade point average (GPA). Three categories of academic standing have been established: good academic standing, probation, and dismissal. A student remains in good academic standing as long as he or she maintains a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00 for all work taken at the University. Probation and dismissal are actions taken by the University when a student's GPA falls below an acceptable level at the end of the fall or spring term.
Conditions of Probation and Dismissal
Probation is defined as a trial period during which a student whose cumulative average has fallen below acceptable standards must bring his or her average up to those standards or be dismissed from the University.
An academic review is conducted at the end of each fall and spring semester, and at the end of the second summer session. Students are placed on probation or returned to good academic standing, depending upon their cumulative GPA. Students may be dismissed from the University only at the end of the fall or spring semester. The University will notify, in writing, each student who goes on academic probation or who is dismissed for academic reasons.
- Students earning a 0.00 cumulative grade point average (CGPA) at the end of their first semester of full-time enrollment will be dismissed from the University.
- Any other student falling below the 2.00 CGPA standard will be placed on probation for one full-time semester (12 credits). A notice of probation shall be printed on the student's transcript, and the University will notify the student, in writing, that he/she is in danger of dismissal. The student who is placed on probation must see his/her adviser and develop an Academic Recovery Plan (ARP). It is the student's responsibility to contact the adviser and schedule an appointment to complete an ARP (see below).
- Any student still below the 2.00 CGPA standard after one full-time semester of probation is subject to dismissal. A student may petition to receive extended probation. The special assistant for acadmic policy may grant one semester of extended probation to a student who (1) has made progress toward academic good standing while following his/her Academic Recovery Plan, and (2) has a reasonable mathematical chance of reaching a CGPA of 2.00 after one additional semester on probation.
- Any student who is still below the 2.00 CGPA standard after one full-time semester of extended probation (two consecutive full-time semesters on probation) will be dismissed. If the student went from full-time to part-time status as part of his/her Academic Recovery Plan, a third semester of probation may be permitted, provided that the student has had a semester GPA higher than 2.00 each semester since being placed on academic probation.
- Any student who regains good academic standing, but again falls below the 2.00 CGPA standard, will be placed on probation and given a maximum of 12 credits to return to good academic standing. A student may be placed on probation no more than twice; placement on probation for a third time will result in immediate dismissal from the University.
Dismissal from the University
- A student may appeal his/her dismissal in writing to the special assistant for academic policy.
- Nothing in this policy shall be taken to preclude the dismissal of students for violations of other University policies, in accordance with the provisions of those policies.
Readmission of Dismissed Students
- A student dismissed from the University may not take course work at the University until he or she applies and is readmitted to the University. No student will be considered for readmission earlier than one full calendar year after the time of dismissal.
- Students readmitted to the University will have a maximum of two full-time semesters (24 credits) to reach a CGPA of 2.00. During that time, the student must maintain a GPA of at least 2.30 for each semester of work following readmission. Failure to maintain a GPA of 2.30 for each semester until the CGPA reaches 2.00 or higher will result in a second dismissal. Any student who is dismissed from the University for poor academic performance a second time is not eligible for future readmission.
If a student is approved to be readmitted to the University under the Academic Renewal Policy and the student was, prior to separation from the University, a candidate in a program leading to initial teacher certification (B.S.Ed., B.M. in music education, or B.S. in health and physical education - teacher certification), he or she may not be readmitted to the original major. The academic renewal student must re-enter in a nonteacher certification degree program or as an undeclared student.
If a student readmitted under academic renewal subsequently qualifies for formal admission to teacher education based upon the provisions of the Academic Renewal Policy, that student may seek a change of major to a teacher certification program under the prevailing internal transfer policy of the specific program.
Academic Recovery Plan
It is the responsibility of the student to schedule an appointment with his/her academic adviser as soon as possible after learning that he/she is on probation. The meeting should take place no later than the third day of the first semester on probation to allow time to adjust that semester's schedule, if necessary. The student will develop an Academic Recovery Plan (ARP) at that meeting, with the adviser's assistance.
The ARP is intended to identify the problems that contributed to a student going on academic probation and list steps that he/she will take to correct the problems. Students must commit to the changes in behavior necessary to achieve academic success. Steps to be taken might include regular class attendance, repeating failed courses, decreasing the number of credits attempted in a semester, taking reading/study skills courses, decreasing the amount of time spent working or in extracurricular activities, or taking a semester off to deal with personal or financial problems. The completed ARP electronic form is copied to the student, the adviser, and the office of the special academic assistant.
Academic Renewal Policy
The Office of the Associate Provost through the special assistant for student policy, at its discretion, offers academic renewal to students at the time they apply for readmission.
A. The Academic Renewal Policy permits West Chester University undergraduates whose GPA and total credits earned make it impossible for them to graduate from West Chester University under any form of readmission, even if they were granted five more repeats. Students can be readmitted only once under the Academic Renewal Policy, and it is not retroactive if a student has previously been readmitted. Students who were previously enrolled in an education degree program, see paragraph B below.
- A student must have had a minimum of a five-year absence from West Chester University.
- All grades for courses previously taken will remain on the WCU academic database; academic renewal will be noted on a new transcript. General education courses previously taken and passed with a grade of C or better will be maintained on the student's record as T's. Departments may require their majors and minors to repeat any or all major, minor, cognate, and supporting courses, even if the student had earned a grade of C (2.00) or better in them, and even if the department accepts less than a C in the course for its majors/minors.
- Beginning with readmission, students will be treated as first-time, first-year admits; i.e., granted all privileges of that group (permitted to use the repeat policy, eligible for graduation with honors, etc.). Because these students are considered to be first-time admits, they have the option to enter a different major than the one in which they were originally enrolled. The selected department will be notified that this is an academic renewal student, and that department has the right to refuse admission to its programs.
- Academic renewal students will be treated as readmits in terms of catalog academic rulings. General education, major, minor, and cognate areas are based on the catalog in the year they were granted academic renewal. Students pursuing an education degree need to refer to the paragraph below concerning this.
B. If a student is approved for readmission to the University under the academic renewal policy and the student was, prior to separation from the University, a candidate in a program leading to initial teacher certification (B.S.Ed., B.M. in music education, or B.S. in health and physical education - teacher certification), he or she may not be readmitted to the original major. The academic renewal student must re-enter either in a program that does not lead to teacher certification, or as an undeclared student.
- If a student readmitted under academic renewal wishes to apply for formal admission to teacher education status, that student may seek a change of major to a teacher certification program under the prevailing internal transfer policy of the specific program. The student must meet all requirements for formal admission to the desired program, including the minimum cumulative GPA.
- When the student applies to re-enter a program leading to teacher certification, the qualifying cumulative GPA will be based on the
- grades earned in those courses which were retained in the renewal process (even though these courses no longer contribute to the WCU cumulative GPA),
- grades of any transfer courses, and
- grades earned at WCU after returning under renewal (a minimum of 15 credits).
Taking Courses Off Campus
West Chester University students may take courses off campus and transfer the credits. Credit for these courses will transfer in to West Chester University only if the student's cumulative GPA from the institution where the courses are taken is 2.00 or higher on a 4.00 grading scale. Grades received in courses taken at other institutions are not calculated in the West Chester cumulative GPA; only the credits may be transferred. All minimum grade requirements of the student's major/minor program for individual courses also must be met for credit to transfer. The equivalency of the desired course must be established before the student takes the course off campus. Prerequisites also must be met before the courses will be transferred into the University.
Departments determine which courses at other schools are equivalent to specific courses in their department so that they can evaluate incoming transfer credits. They must inform the Office of the Registrar of those equivalencies, and the Registrar must keep a record of those equivalencies. If equivalency has been established for incoming transfer students, it also exists for matriculated West Chester students who wish to take the course off campus.
The student should contact the Office of the Registrar to determine which course is equivalent. If an agreement exists, the Office of the Registrar will specify the course to be taken and sign the form to indicate equivalency. If there is no record of equivalency for this course at the student's chosen school, the office cannot sign the form. In those cases, the student must contact the chair of the West Chester University department that offers the course and have equivalency determined. The signature of the registrar or the course's department chair indicates equivalency only; it does not grant or deny approval to take the course off campus.
Procedure: To ensure that equivalencies are current, the Office of the Registrar will establish a schedule for obtaining current syllabi and supporting documents from institutions that are most frequently involved in transfer credit evaluations. The Office of the Registrar will make this information available to department chairs to assist them in updating equivalency evalutions.
NOTE: Undergraduate students who take and complete a course at West Chester University may not repeat the course at another institution and have the credits or grade count towards a West Chester degree.
Transfer of Credit
Credit may be granted for equivalent courses completed in accredited institutions of higher education. Credit for work completed at an unaccredited institution may be granted on the recommendation of the student’s major department in consultation with the school or college dean and transfer credit analyst. (See also "Admission to West Chester" and the section on "Taking Courses Off Campus.")
Grades of D or above are accepted for transfer if the credit is for equivalent courses within the framework of general education requirements or free electives, provided the transferred course does not satisfy a major field requirement as well. For a D or above to transfer in, the student must have a 2.00 overall GPA from the institution from which he or she is transferring.
Grades in a course submitted for transfer as a major program requirement must be the same or higher than the minimum grade required by the department. For example, if a program requires that a student earn a B or better in a major program requirement, then the student requesting transferring credit from another institution must have earned a minimum of B in the parallel course. If a student earns a lower grade than the requirement, the department may require the course to be repeated at West Chester University.
If a student changes his or her major, grades originally approved for transfer will be re-evaluated by the new major department.
No course equivalency transfer credit will be given for WCU courses numbered at the 300 or 400 level, unless the courses are taken at an institution that grants a baccalaureate degree. Departments have the right to accept courses for their majors as XXX 199 or TRN 199 credits. An exception will be made for departments that have already established equivalency with nonbaccalaureate institutions for transferring courses at the 300 level. Those established equivalency agreements will remain in effect.
Transcripts will be evaluated by the Office of the Registrar prior to enrollment. Students will be sent a copy of the report.
Transfer Credit Appeal Process
All questions and appeals regarding the transfer of credits to West Chester University should be directed to the transfer credit area in the Office of the Registrar. All questions will be reviewed by the University’s official credit evaluators and, if need be, will also be reviewed in consult with the chairperson of the appropriate department. If a course syllabus and/or description is needed to further investigate the student’s appeal, it will be the student’s responsibility to provide this information. The Office of the Registrar will strive to respond to the student with a final determination within a two-week (or less) period of time.
IN ORDER TO RECEIVE FULL CREDIT FOR COURSES TAKEN ELSEWHERE AND FOR PROFICIENCIES DEMONSTRATED ON ADVANCED PLACEMENT OR COLLEGE LEVEL EXAMINATION PROGRAM (CLEP) EXAMINATIONS, THE TRANSFER STUDENT SHOULD CONSULT WITH THE TRANSFER CREDIT AREA IN THE OFFICE OF THE REGISTRAR PRIOR TO ENROLLING IN ANY POTENTIALLY EQUIVALENT COURSE AT WEST CHESTER.
Transfer students should refer to the Academic Passport Policy under "Admissions." Specifics of the Academic Passport Policy implications for West Chester University students can be obtained from the Office of the Registrar.
Advanced Placement Program
Courses taken under the Advanced Placement Program offered by the College Entrance Examination Board may be applied toward advanced placement in the University and/or toward credit requirements for graduation. For information about the Advanced Placement Program, contact the College Board directly. For questions about West Chester University's policy, see the "FAQs" section of the registrar's web page.
Experiential Learning Credits (Life Learning Experience)
West Chester University offers three programs that assess learning acquired outside of the traditional classroom. The University evaluates and awards credits on a course basis; therefore, students must demonstrate competence in a particular course, not a general body of knowledge. Transfer credits credentialed through ACE (American Council of Education) for experiential learning will be transferred in as TRN 199. Students may pursue specific course or subject area transfer credit appeal/petition through the existing transfer credit appeals process. Departments will determine equivalency, if any. Students may earn a maximum of 32 credits through any combination of these three programs.
- CLEP - the College Level Examination Program is a series of standardized tests offered by the College Board in approximately 30 different subject areas. West Chester University accepts the examinations, for degree credit only, in which the score is in the 50th percentile or above. The examinations are given at the University every month but December. West Chester University does NOT accept the general examinations of CLEP. Information, including fees, test dates, available exams, etc., is available through the Office of the Registrar.
- Portfolio Development and Assessment - Students may choose to develop a portfolio as a means of demonstrating competence in a course. A portfolio consists of a brief autobiographical sketch, and extensive description of the student's learning experiences and supporting documentation such as a job description, certificates from training courses, letters of recommendation, etc. The portfolio is evaluated by an appropriate faculty member who will also usually require an interview. The charge for portfolio assessment is one-half the tuition for the course. Information describing portfolio assessment is available through the Center for Adult Studies.
- Credit by Examination - The third option is credit by examination which is described earlier in this catalog.
Requirements for Graduation
A student is recommended for graduation upon the satisfactory completion of a minimum of 120 semester hours at the 100 level or above and upon fulfillment of all categories of the requirements for his or her degree. A minimum overall cumulative GPA of 2.00 (C) is required for graduation. The minimum GPA for major requirements varies by major. Students should consult with their respective department. Specific programs, in accordance with University procedures, may set other higher standards and may require more than 120 credits for completion of the degree. Degree requirements are detailed under the heading of the subject field. See also "Requirements for the Baccalaureate Degree." A student must file for graduation no later than the end of the junior year. It is imperative that the student meet with his or her academic adviser. Students can obtain a copy of the graduation checklist from the Office of the Registrar. Any student currently matriculated in the University may graduate after completion of 120 credits, PROVIDED
- he/she has completed all general education requirements, which include nine credits of free/student electives, that are specified in the catalog for the year that the student was most recently accepted into WCU;
- AND he/she has completed all courses required by the major, to include all supporting (cognate) courses;
- AND he/she is only eliminating free electives within the major, but not the nine credits of general education free/student electives (needed in "a" above);
- AND the student has completed all degree requirements within the semester in which he/she intends to graduate. (Any unmet degree requirements can only be completed for that semester's graduation date, if the attempt to complete the degree requirement was initiated prior to the end of the semester, and the requirement was completed within 30 days of the actual graduation date.)
Any senior who does not complete all degree requirements within 30 calendar days of the end of the term in which he or she intends to graduate must pay the diploma fee again before an updated diploma will be issued. Such a student, however, does have the right to request a letter from the University confirming his or her graduation after all requirements have been satisfactorily completed.
The permanent record (transcript) records all degrees, majors, and minors completed, but a diploma only shows one degree. Students who simultaneously complete two undergraduate degrees and who wish to receive two diplomas, each printed with one of their degrees, may do so by paying a second diploma fee.
Resident Credit Requirement
To qualify for graduation, a student must take at least 30 of his/her last 45 semester hours of credit at West Chester University. Normally, the student will take the last 30 semester hours at West Chester. In addition, a student must take at least 50% of the courses in his/her major or minor discipline (excluding cognate courses) at West Chester University. For active-duty service members, the academic residency requirements will not exceed 25% of the undergraduate degree program.
Anticipated Time for Degree Completion
It is the expectation that a student should anticipate being able to graduate in eight consecutive fall/spring semesters. This expectation would not apply if any of the following conditions exist:
- A student needs to complete developmental courses.
- A student enters the major of graduation after the first semester of his/her first year.
- A student transfers to West Chester University and has compiled courses that do not fit into his/her current program.
- A student fails to meet the minimal standards of academic performance of the University of his/her major program.
- A student chooses to repeat one or more courses.
- A student fails to follow guidelines set forth to meet major or University requirements.
- A student who selects the culture cluster option requires an extra semester to meet that requirement.
In order to graduate following (or within) the expectation, it is the student's responsibility to consult with the major department for course scheduling guidelines in the major.
The expectation, however, is invalidated when the following conditions exist:
- A program requires more than 120 hours for completion.
- The sequencing of courses requires more than eight consecutive fall/ spring semesters.
- A program requires the completion of requirements that can only be met in summer.
Nothing in this policy prevents the offering of a program that does not meet expectations. Such programs, however, are so identified in the University catalog.
Each department will determine when its courses will be offered.
Required Notice of Intention to Graduate
Students intending to graduate in May or August must apply for graduation online via the myWCU web portal by December 30 of the previous year. Students who need to take summer courses in order to complete degree requirements are considered August graduation applicants. August graduation applicants may participate in the May commencement exercises if they apply by the deadline. Students intending to graduate in December must apply online before classes start for that fall semester.
Students must meet the deadlines in applying for graduation. These deadlines are set so that students have an opportunity to add/change courses in meeting final requirements, as well as have their name printed in the commencement program. Students who miss the deadline to apply online must apply for graduation in person in the Office of the Registrar. Having to apply in person will greatly reduce the opportunity for a student's name to appear in the commencement program.
After applying for graduation online, students will receive an e-mail notification, which is sent to their University e-mail account, regarding their general education clearance. The graduation fee of $82 is applied as soon as a student submits the online application. In addition, students will receive information about ordering their cap and gown.
Students are encouraged to meet with their academic adviser for departmental requirements prior to submitting their application to graduate.
Graduation honors are awarded as follows:
|cum laude||3.250 - 3.499|
|magna cum laude||3.500 - 3.749|
|summa cum laude||3.750 - 4.000|
In order to earn graduation honors, a student must have a minimum of 60 graded West Chester University credits calculating into the GPA. The honors list for commencement is based on the GPA from the next-to-last semester before a student graduates. A transfer student must have 60 credits (earned + currently attempted) reported at West Chester University prior to that time to be recognized. Those who do not attain honors distinctions until the end of their final semester, or those transfer students with honors distinction who do not complete 60 hours until the end of the final semester, will have recognition of their achievement on their final transcripts, where all honors distinctions are recorded. If earned, graduation honors will be recorded on a student’s transcripts.
Requests for official transcripts are made online through the myWCU portal for students who attended after 1985. Students may choose either a paper transcript or an e-transcript (certified PDF) which can be e-mailed. The cost is $7 per transcript for either option. Students who attended prior to 1985 will not be able to order online since their records are archived. These students need to use the transcript request form which can be found on the Registrar’s website. Only paper transcripts are available for students who attended prior to 1985. Students will not be able to request a transcript if they have any outstanding holds on their account. More detailed ordering information is available on the Registrar’s website, www.wcupa.edu/registrar/.
Important note: Current term “In-Progress” courses will not display on a West Chester University transcript. Only courses that have been graded will display.
Directory Information - Rights and Privacy Act of 1974
From time to time, West Chester University 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, 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, and weight and height of members of athletic teams. 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/her account, it will remain in effect until otherwise notified.
Student Name Changes
Any student wishing to change his/her name from that currently on record must provide legal documentation supporting the change. This must be the original or a notarized photocopy of a court-generated document, such as a marriage license, court order, divorce decree, etc. A driver's license is not adequate. Requests for name changes received through the mail will be acknowledged by letter.
Exception to Academic Policies
Students may file a petition that requests exception to academic policies. Petition forms are available in the Office of the Registrar and on the Registrar's web page. Students who may request an exception because of a disability should refer to pages 33-34, "Services for Students with Disabilities."
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
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:
- the student gives his or her parents written consent if the student is independent; or
- 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.
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 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/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 provost 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, 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 with 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 student's 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.
Please contact the Office of the Registrar with any questions.
ADA Policy Statement
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 610-436-321, or the following website: www.wcupa.edu/viceProvost/universityCollege/ossd/documents/RevisedADAhandbook.pdf/.
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 Resource Services has been designated as the contact for employees and applicants seeking to request an accommodation. The Office of Human Resource Services 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.