Academic Policies and Procedures

 

Academic Dishonesty Policy

Academic Dishonesty, in whatever form, belies the stated philosophy of West Liberty University “to promote the development of the intellectual, cultural, social, physical, emotional, moral, and vocational capacities of all persons within its sphere of influence.” Individuals who commit acts of academic dishonesty violate the principles, which support the search for knowledge and truth. The academic community has established appropriate penalties and disciplinary action for such behavior.

1. Types of Academic Dishonesty:

a.  Cheating: Using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information in any academic exercise. Examples: Using or attempting to use “cheat sheets” to gain credit on quizzes or tests; having a substitute take a test; having another complete a research or writing assignment; and/or using the service of a term paper company.

b. Fabrication: Falsifying/inventing any information/evidence or neglecting to follow established guidelines  of research and documentation. Examples: Distortion of evidence to prove some experiment; and/or creation of false sources/fictitious evidence.

c. Collaboration: Assisting others in engaging in scholarly wrongdoing. Examples: Stealing and distributing tests, etc.; permitting another to use a research paper/design; and/or permitting another to copy from his/her paper during an exam.

d. Destruction of Reference Sources and/or denying others access to learning materials. Example: Destruction of journal articles in the library’s collection; stealing of books and other materials from the library or other sources.

e. Plagiarism: Representing the words or ideas of another as one’s own. Examples: Not footnoting direct quotations; not acknowledging a paraphrase.

f. Misrepresentation of statistics

2. Penalties:

A student who violates the academic honesty policy may be subject to one or more of the following penalties:

a. A faculty member may award a failing grade on an assignment; lower a course grade or award a failing course grade, including a WF should the student withdraw from the class prior to the 2/3s withdrawal deadline.    

b. The University may place the student on probation.

c. The University may suspend the student.

d. The University may expel a student from a program or the University.

3. Procedures for Handling Academic Dishonesty Cases:

a. Cases of academic dishonesty where the maximum proposed penalty is limited to those listed in Section 2.a. may be resolved between the faculty member and the student. Within a reasonable time after discovery of the offense, the faculty member will discuss the incident with the student. A condensed written explanation of the charges/incident and the specific 2.a. resolution is to be filed with the Provost, Department Chair, and College Dean within five (5) working days of the resolution. If a resolution cannot be reached or the student disagrees with the proposed action, written formal charges of academic dishonesty are to be filed with the Department Chair and the College Dean within five (5) working days after meeting with the student. The student maintains the right to an appeal.

b. If the faculty member is recommending penalties identified in Sections 2.b., 2.c., 2.d. written formal charges of academic dishonesty are to be filed with the Department Chair within five (5) working days of the discovery of the offense. A copy of these charges will be simultaneously furnished to the College Dean and the Provost. The Chair may initiate the penalty recommended by the faculty member. The student maintains the right to an appeal.

c. Should there be two or more separate incidents of academic dishonesty across the campus by the same student the Provost may initiate penalty 2.b, 2.c. or 2.d. The student maintains the right to an appeal.

d. If formal charges of academic dishonesty are filed, as identified in Sections 2.b., 2.c., 2.d., the appropriate process for the student to follow is outlined in the Academic Probation and Suspension Appeals Policy and Procedures of this Handbook.

Academic Probation and Suspension Appeals Policy and Procedure

1. Policy Regarding Appeals of Academic Suspension, Probation, or Dismissal:

a. Responsibilities: Students are expected to adhere to institutional academic standards and acceptable standards of behavior and responsibility in all academic settings, classrooms, laboratories, clinics, and other activities which are part of academic requirements.

b. Sanctions: Infractions of institutional academic standards, rules and regulations, as stated in the University catalog or student handbook, may result in academic sanctions such as suspension, probation, and/or dismissal from the Institution or from an academic Program.

2. Criteria of Appeal:

a. A student, who believes that his/her suspension, probation, or dismissal either from the Institution or from an Academic Program was based on inadequate evidence or prejudicial judgment, may appeal this action in writing to the Department Chair within ten (10) working days of the receipt of such notification.  Undeclared students will appeal directly to the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

b. The Department Chair may establish a meeting with the student and other faculty members with whom the Chair needs to consult to discuss the appeal. The Department Chair will make a recommendation to the College Dean.

c. The College Dean will deliver a decision within five (5) working days by certified mail to the student with copies to the Registrar, the student’s advisor, the Department Chair, and the Provost.

d. If the decision is not satisfactory, the student may request, in writing, a hearing before the Appeals Committee. This written request is to be sent to the Provost within five (5) working days of receipt of the College Dean’s decision.

e. The Provost will convene the Appeals Committee, which will be composed of three (3) faculty members and two (2) students, none of whom may be from the Department or College involved.

3. Appeals Committee Procedures for Hearings

a. All statements, arguments, and testimony given will be tape recorded. These tapes are to be available to both parties and to members of the committee during the hearing. At the conclusion of the hearing, they will be filed in the Office of the Provost (and retained for at least three years), though they will continue to be available only to the parties of the dispute and, at the discretion of the Provost, to the involved Appeals Committee members.

b. The committee will have the right to convene an executive session at any time, but no testimony will be heard in executive session.

c. The committee chair will be responsible for ruling on all motions made before it.

d. Rulings on motions of the parties will be prompt and take into consideration the effect such a decision would have on the right of both parties to a fair and impartial hearing.

e. The hearing will begin as soon as possible after the appeal committee receives the student appeal, unless by mutual consent the student and faculty member agree to a later starting date, or the appeal committee decides the case merits no hearing.

f. All witnesses will be placed under verbal and written oath.

g. The student will begin the hearing by reading his/her appeal.

h. Both parties will be given an opportunity to make opening statements.

i. The burden of proof lies with the student.

j. The first presentation of evidence is made by the student.

k. Evidence may include, but not be limited to, testimony, affidavits, depositions, and other relevant documents.

l. The committee may request any individual to give testimony.

m. Witnesses and parties may be cross-examined.

n. When the student has called all witnesses and presented all testimony and evidence desired, he/she will    rest; the same procedure will be followed in allowing the other party to present all testimony and evidence desired.

o. Once all parties have rested, each party, beginning with the student, will be given an opportunity to make a closing argument.

p. Each closing argument will be presented without interruption, except for committee members who may interrupt for purposes of: (1) inquiry, or (2) questioning the relevance of the testimony.

q. After closing arguments the committee will deliberate, and attempt to arrive at a decision as rapidly as is reasonably possible. The decision will be based on “CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE.”

r. Each decision will promptly be put in writing, giving:

i. conclusions on all allegations in dispute.

ii. an explanation of the reasoning examined in arriving at the decision.

s. All committee members in the appeal process are to respect the confidentiality of the appeal process by refraining from any discussion of the appeal with non-participants.

Grade Appeal Procedure/Policy

A student who wishes to appeal or question a final grade in a course must first contact the faculty member who assigned the grade within fifteen (15) class days of the semester following the semester for which the grade was issued. The student must arrange one or more informal conferences with the professor/instructor to attempt to resolve the conflict before a formal appeal is initiated. The grade appeal must be based on a faculty member’s alleged capriciousness, prejudice, or arbitrariness. The professional competence of the faculty member will not be an issue.

1. The Informal Conference and Criteria of Appeal

a.  Only a final course grade may be appealed.

b.  The student must attempt to arrange for an informal conference following the semester for which the grade was issued. If the grade was issued during a summer term, the conference must be within the 10th class day of the fall semester.

c.  If a student has not been successful in arranging an informal conference with the faculty member, he/she may request that the Department Chair arrange a time for the meeting between the student and faculty member. The chair or advocates are not to be       present at the informal conference.

d.  A formal grade appeal can be initiated only  after the informal conference has failed to resolve the issue.

e.  Voluntary termination of the appeal by the student is possible at any time. Termination of the appeal by the student must be in writing to the Department Chair, College Dean and the Provost.

f.  If the Department Chairperson is the faculty member who issued the grade, the College Dean will assume the role and responsibilities of the chairperson in the grade appeal process.

2. Initiation of the Formal Appeal and Level I  Conference

a.  The formal appeal is initiated by a written letter to the Department Chairperson requesting a Level I conference. The letter must be received within ten (10) class days after the informal conference.

b.  The written request must state the action being challenged; including a statement of the facts and evidence made with sufficient clarity to reasonably support the challenge.

c.  The student and faculty may each have an advocate at the level one conference. The advocate must be a WLU student, faculty member, or staff member who may confer with but may not speak for the client.

d.  The chairperson shall schedule and conduct the meeting within ten (10) class days following receipt of the written request. The chair will maintain an accurate record of the proceedings and will have the option of tape recording the conference. Upon request, both parties must be provided with copies of the recordings.

e.  Within five (5) class days following the Level I conference, the department chairperson will provide both parties with a copy of his or her recommendation.

3. Level II Grade Appeal Committee Hearing

a.  Within five (5) class days following the date of the chairperson’s recommendation, either party will indicate in writing if he/she accepts the recommendation or wishes to initiate a Level II hearing.

b.  The Department Chair must notify the College Dean to convene the Grade Appeal Committee, to be composed of three (3) faculty members and two (2) students, none of whom may be from the College or department involved. The College Dean will chair the committee as an ex-officio member of the committee.

c.  The Appeal Committee will review the Level I recommendation and all records of the appeal in executive session to determine the validity of the appeal.

d.  If by majority vote the validity of the appeal is rejected because the appeal does not establish reasonable doubt about the fairness of the grade, then no further action will occur. The parties will be notified of the decision and the faculty member’s grade shall be final.

e.  If the committee does decide the grade may have been based on capricious, arbitrary, or prejudice, the committee will hold a full hearing to resolve the issue.

f.  After hearing and evaluating all evidence, the Grade Appeal Committee will inform the Provost by majority decision (1) rejection of the appeal (2) up holding the appeal.

g.  If the appeal is upheld, the faculty member will be given the opportunity to correct the grade. If he/she declines to do so, then the Provost will direct the Registrar to change the grade.

h.  In the event that the Registrar is instructed to change the grade, the Provost will be the instructor of record.

i.  The decision of the Grade Appeal Committee is final.

4.  Grade Appeals Hearings Procedures

a.  One advocate for each party may be present and may consult with the client, but may not address the committee.

b.  All statements, arguments, and testimony given will be tape recorded. These tapes are to be available to both parties and to members of the committee during the hearing. At the conclusion of the hearing, they will be filed in the Office of the Provost (and retained for at least three years), though they will continue to be available only to the parties of the dispute and, at the discretion of the Provost, to the involved Grade Appeals Committee.

c.  The committee will have the right to convene an executive session at any time, but no testimony will be heard in executive session.

d.  The committee chair will be responsible for ruling on all motions made before it.

e.  Rulings on motions of the parties will be prompt and take into consideration the effect such a decision would have on the right of both parties to a fair and impartial hearing.

f.  The hearing will begin as soon as possible after the appeal committee receives the student appeal, unless by mutual consent the student and faculty member agree to a later starting date, or the appeal committee decides the case merits no hearing.

g.  All witnesses will be placed under verbal and written oath.

h.  The student will begin the hearing by reading his/her appeal.

i.  Both parties will be given an opportunity to make opening statements.

j.  The burden of proof lies with the student.

k.  The first presentation of evidence is made by the student.

l.  Evidence may include, but not be limited to, testimony, affidavits, depositions, and other relevant documents.

m.  The committee may request any individual to give testimony.

n.  Witnesses and parties may be cross-examined.

o.  When the student has called all witnesses and presented all testimony and evidence desired, he/she will rest; the same procedure will be followed in allowing the other party to present all testimony and evidence desired.

p.  Once all parties have rested, each party, beginning with the student, will be given an opportunity to make a closing argument.

q.  Each closing argument will be presented without interruption, except for committee members who may interrupt for purposes of: (1) inquiry, or (2) questioning the relevance of the testimony.

r.  After closing arguments the committee will deliberate, and attempt to arrive at a decision as rapidly as is reasonably possible. The decision will be based on “CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE.”

s.  Each decision will promptly be put in writing, giving:

i.  conclusions on all allegations in dispute.

ii. an explanation of the reasoning examined in arriving at the decision.

t.  All committee members in the appeal process are to respect the confidentiality of the appeal process by refraining from any discussion of the appeal with non-participants.

Class Attendance Policy

The students of West Liberty University depend upon the faculty, staff, and other resources. Faculty and students depend upon the class schedule for an orderly arrangement of instruction. Scheduled classes testify to the importance of ordered class instruction and the implicit benefit of class attendance for the students.

Consequently, the policy of West Liberty University encourages all students to attend classes and all instructors to organize and conduct their courses accordingly. Students should attend every class for which they are scheduled as they are held responsible for all the work covered in the courses taken. Irregularity in attendance may cause a student to become deficient scholastically and create the risk of receiving a failing mark or receiving a lower grade than he/she might have secured had he/she been in regular attendance.

Instructors must distribute written copies of their attendance policy to students in their classes, their Department Chairperson, and their College Dean before the end of the first week of classes.

Regularly scheduled classes take precedence over all other activities. No penalty may be imposed upon a student for failure to perform curricular or extracurricular responsibilities that are scheduled in conflict with a regular class. It is the responsibility of the student to notify their instructors of their absence due to these types of activities.

Instructors should provide, within reason, an opportunity for students who miss class for university-recorded curricular and extracurricular activities (such as field trips, debate trips, choir trips and athletic contests) to make up work. However, it is the student’s responsibility to initiate timely discussion on these matters with the faculty member of the regular scheduled class.

Health Services does not provide students with excuse slips in the case of illnesses. If a faculty member wishes to verify a student’s illness, the faculty member must call Health Services.

Faculty members are expected to maintain student attendance records in their classes. Failure to attend the first scheduled meeting of classes may result in the loss of the student’s position in those classes unless he/ she has notified the instructor prior to the first meeting that he/she will be unable to be in attendance. Furthermore, all attendance policies go into effect upon the first meeting of the class.

Core Coursework /Transfer Agreement

The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission has established a process and format which enables students who transfer from one college or university to another to transfer core coursework that will count toward fulfillment of general studies requirements at the receiving institutions. Under terms of the agreement, a student may transfer up to thirty-two (32) credit hours of undergraduate coursework in the areas of English Composition, Communications and Literature, Mathematic, Natural Science, and Social Science as general studies credits. For further details on the above, please refer to the University Catalog or contact the Registrar.

Appropriate Computer Use Policy

The Appropriate Use Policy (AUP) is designed to establish acceptable use of computer and information systems as well as to protect our students, faculty, and staff.  As good net citizens, we encourage all users to use electronic communications in a manner respectful to others.

Performance

Users must take precaution that their actions and the computers they own or are assigned to them for use do not negatively affect the WLU computer network.  You must properly maintain your systems by having up-to-date anti-virus protection and performing operating system patches.  Inaction or refusal to remove viruses and the like that pose a threat of infection will result in removal from the WLU network.

Intellectual Property

You are expected to use software and electronic materials in accordance with copyright and licensing restrictions.  You may not use WLU networks, equipment, or softw3are to violate the copyright terms of any license agreement.

Google

WLU and Google have partnered to provide Google Gmail, Calendar, Contacts, Drive, Groups, Sites, Talk, and Video to all applicable WLU users.  Use of these services are governed by the contract between Google and WLU.  Google’s Privacy Policy is available for review at www.google.com/intl/en/policies/privacy.

Shared Resources

Tying up network resources for illegally downloading or sharing music, software and files, sending harassing email, sending large volumes of mail, etc. are not appropriate use of WLU network resources.  The bandwidth demands of this usage can be excessive.

General

Attempting to impersonate any person, using forged headers or other identifying information is prohibited.  Activities which adversely affect the ability of other people or systems are prohibited.  Attempts, whether successful or not, to gain access to any computer system, or users data, without consent is prohibited.

Web Hosting

WLU will not host web sites which involve illegal activities such as the illegal transfer or use of copyrighted materials or any fraudulent solicitation.  WLU will not host web sites of an offensive nature such as ones of pornography, gambling, extreme violence, racial or ethnic hatred.  WLU reserves the right to protect its systems and its users by not hosting sites that would be deemed generally offensive and be likely to provoke responses such as Denial-of-Services attacks upon its servers or systems.

Financial

Re-selling service without express written consent from WLU is prohibited.  Offering any public information service, such as running a web server or FTP server is also prohibited without express written consent from Information Technology Services (ITS).  Using programs to defeat system timers limiting inactivity is prohibited.

Privacy

It may be necessary for ITS employees to examine system logs and other records to resolve system problems.  WLU reserves the right to access an account’s mailbox to resolve system problems or mail system errors.

In addition, WLU will cooperate with the appropriate legal authorities in investigating claims of illegal activity, including but not limited to illegal transfer or use of copyrighted material, postings, or email containing threats of violence, or other illegal activity.

WLU makes no guarantee and assumes no liability for the security of any data on any server including “secure servers.”

Our users are reminded that no computer system should be considered safe from intrusion.  Email may pass through many computer systems, and should not be considered a secure means of communication unless it is encrypted.  Even then, information is only as secure as the encryption method.

Rationale

This document provides a general understanding of WLU’s policy on the Appropriate Use of WLU’s information technology services.  Common sense and judgment are a necessary part of any system of rules, and this Appropriate Use Policy (AUP) is no exception.  Of course, flagrant or repeated violations of the policy are viewed in a very different light than minor infractions.

Protection of our customers and our resources, the ability to provide quality service to our customers, conformance with existing law, and the protection of our reputation as a service provider are all contributing factors to decisions on AUP violations.

If a WLU account is used to violate the AUP, various action may be taken including, but not limited to the following:

  • suspension or revocation of computing privileges
  • reimbursement to WLU for resources consumed
  • other legal action including action to recover damages
  • referral to law enforcement authorities

Computer users will be referred as follows:

  • Faculty will be referred to the College Dean and/or Provost
  • Staff will be referred to the Human Resources Administrator
  • Students will be referred to the Judicial Coordinator and Instructor/College Dean

Dean’s List

At the end of each semester the Registrar’s Office prepares a

Dean’s List of students who have done outstanding scholastic work for that semester. To be eligible for the Dean’s List, a student must complete a minimum of twelve (12) semester hours with a quality-point average of at least 3.50.

Graduation with Honors

Recognition is accorded candidates for graduation as follows:

  • Summa Cum Laude
  • Magna Cum Laude
  • Cum Laude

The grade point average of all courses at West Liberty University and that of all work transferred from other institutions must meet the grade point standard in each category of honors.

To be considered for graduation with honors, a student must have completed a minimum of 36 semester hours of credit for regular letter grade (A, B, C, D, F) at West Liberty University.

Withdrawal from Courses

A student who officially withdraws from a course by the end of the class day marking the two-thirds point of the semester or summer term shall receive a grade of “W.” A grade of “WP” is given if a student officially withdraws from a course any time after the two-thirds point and before the last scheduled class meeting, including the final examination, providing he or she is passing the course at the time of withdrawal. A “WF” will be given if a student officially withdraws any time after the two-thirds point and before the last scheduled class meeting, including the final examination, if he or she is failing the course at the time of withdrawal. A student who does not officially withdraw from a course shall receive a grade of “FIW,” indicating failure because of improper withdrawal. Grades of “WF” and “FIW” are computed as “F” for grade-point average.

Students can drop courses in WINS until the last date to enroll for the respective semester.  After the last date to enroll, drop slips must be used.  Drop slips are available in the Enrollment Services Center. It is the student’s responsibility to have the signed forms returned to the Enrollment Services Center. The official withdrawal date is the date signed by the instructor.  Withdrawing students receiving financial aid may be required to repay a portion of their financial aid in some cases.

Withdrawal from the University

Students who find it necessary to withdraw from the university during the course of a semester or summer term must complete the official withdrawal procedure. The necessary forms may be obtained from the Enrollment Services Center. The Enrollment Services Center will review the form with the student.  The withdrawal is not official until these forms are received and processed by the Enrollment Services Center.

Students who leave the university without officially withdrawing will receive failing grades (“FIW”) in all courses for which they are enrolled. The final grade in each course will be determined by each instructor in accordance with the institutional grading policy.

Policy Regarding Students Called To Active Military Service

As a result of a national military emergency, university students may be among the military reservists called to active duty. While there are federal regulations in effect which impose certain obligations on employers with respect to employees in active military service, these laws have not been extended to students called for active military service. Consequently, the following procedure is to be used in those instances wherein students from West Liberty University are called to active military service and can provide to university officials a copy of their official orders.

When a student is notified to report for active military service, the student should contact each of his or her individual instructors and inform them of the situation. It is then the responsibility of the instructor to determine an appropriate grade for the student. If the student has made sufficient progress and the instructor feels that sufficient material has been covered to warrant a final grade in the course, the instructor should issue a grade of “incomplete.” Due to potential variables involved, there may be other arrangement that could be expedited and this will be left to the discretion of the faculty member. In all situations, care should be taken to ensure that credit earned by a student in a class, up to the point of the student’s leaving for military service, be granted to the student or preserved for a future grade determination.

If a student is required to withdraw from classes before a letter grade or an incomplete can be given, a 100% refund of tuition and fees will be issued. Tuition and fees will be charged only for those courses for which a letter grade of an incomplete is given. The unused portion of room and board payments will be refunded.