Student Handbook: Academic Policies

This section of the College Catalog describes certain general academic policies of Wheelock College, but those policies ought not to be considered all-inclusive. In addition to the policies described here, there are requirements for beginning professionals in various professional areas. Questions about academic policies, procedures, or requirements should be directed to an academic advisor, Academic Dean, and/or the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Finally, the academic policies described in this catalog may refer to other documents (e.g., handbooks and pamphlets) that explain certain policies, procedures, or requirements more fully and may be obtained from the Office of Academic Records and Registration.

General Academic Policies

A. ACADEMIC HONESTY POLICY

As an academic community, Wheelock College affirms that all aspects of learning and the evaluation of student work require explicit and shared agreement on intellectual honesty. The College is committed to promoting intellectual growth in an environment that honors academic integrity, ethical behavior and academic excellence. To that end, all members of the Wheelock community pledge to conduct themselves according to an Academic Honesty System that aims to celebrate and recognize proper intellectual behavior and to address, remedy, and sometimes penalize improper behavior in a fair, consistent, and timely manner. Students are required at all times and in all their coursework and related endeavors to adhere to the College's standards for academic honesty as outlined below. These standards include producing original work, acknowledging and citing all non-original work and sources, and not giving or receiving unauthorized help on assignments, papers, or examinations. All students commit to behaving honestly in all academic and related endeavors.

Academic Honor Code

Central to the Academic Honesty System is the Academic Honor Code. Enrollment at the College requires undergraduate students to agree in writing to be bound by the Code at the beginning of each academic year. Graduate students must agree in writing to be bound by the Code when they enter their programs. All students must comply with the Academic Honor Code at all times while they are enrolled at the College.

The Academic Honor Code is as follows:
As a citizen of the Wheelock College community, I am committed to acting honestly and with integrity in all aspects of academic life, both inside and outside the classroom. I pledge to conduct myself ethically in all my academic endeavors. I accept responsibility for what I write and what I say. In the spirit of trust, I will not misrepresent my academic work. I will not cheat, plagiarize, or lie and I will work toward creating a fair academic environment for all. I also pledge to consult with my professors and other campus resources if I ever have questions or doubts about what constitutes academic integrity for any assignment.

B. ACADEMIC DISHONESTY

Academic dishonesty is broadly defined as any act that undermines or compromises academic integrity. Academic dishonesty can take many forms. It is the responsibility of all Wheelock students to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. It is the responsibility of each student to seek advice if he or she does not fully understand what constitutes academic dishonesty for each class and assignment. Some of the most obvious forms of academic dishonesty are the following:

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty and is the deliberate use of the work, words or ideas of another person or other source without clearly acknowledging the source. Examples of plagiarism include but are not limited to:

• copying text verbatim from another source without using proper citation methods;
•  paraphrasing from another source without acknowledgement;
•  using special terms, concepts, or phrases from another source without acknowledgement;
•  using sentences, phrases concepts or words that closely parallel another source without acknowledgement; and
•  summarizing from another work without acknowledgment

A necessary and expected part of any research project or paper is the proper citation of all sources. It is imperative to fully credit and cite any and all sources used in any assignment, project or paper that are not a student's original work. It is not acceptable to "forget" to add the bibliography to a paper or assignment.
Plagiarism applies to any format: books, newspapers, journal articles, websites, online sources, dictionaries, etc. If a student is ever uncertain about whether or not he or she must cite something, he or she is expected to ask his or her professor.

Cheating

Cheating is a form of academic dishonesty and includes but is not limited to:
•  copying from another individual during a test or examination;
•  receiving help without acknowledging that help; and
•  using written, verbal, and online sources without authorization.

Falsifying data

Falsifying data is a form of academic dishonesty and includes fabricating data, and crediting or citing sources that have not been used. It may also include false reports of observations, such as child observations, that have not actually taken place.

Multiple submission of papers or projects

Submitting a project or paper in part or whole that has been or will be submitted for another course without prior permission from the instructors of those courses is a form of academic dishonesty. Student work is expected to be original. The use of any prior work in an assignment must be discussed with the relevant professor.

Submitting work prepared by another individual

Submitting work prepared by another individual is a form of academic dishonesty. Submitting materials obtained from another person, student, commercial term paper source, or Internet website constitutes examples of this form of academic dishonesty. Any use of work prepared by another individual, if permitted by the professor for an assignment, must be fully acknowledged and cited.

Unauthorized use of aids during examinations

Unauthorized use of books, calculators, electronic devices, mobile phones, the Internet, notes or other aids during examinations is a form of academic dishonesty unless expressly permitted by the professor.

Unauthorized collaboration

Unauthorized collaboration with others during classroom examinations, take home examinaton, or projects is a form of academic dishonesty. While collaboration may be authorized and appropriate in some situations, as expressly stated by the assignment and professor, the role of each collaborator must be clear and acknowledged.

Other forms of dishonesty:

Academic dishonesty also includes the following:
•  unauthorized computer use;
•  damage or theft of library materials, including writing in library books;
•  removing reserve materials from the library, hiding reserve materials for later use, or holding on to reserve materials past the allowable loan period;
•  forgeries;
•  misrepresenting work as your own;
•  misrepresenting personal circumstances to an instructor to obtain an extension of time or other relief from course requirements; and
•  violating course policies on the use of mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and other electronic devices in the classroom.

WHERE TO GET HELP REGARDING ISSUES OF ACADEMIC HONESTY
The Wheelock College faculty and the staffs of the Writing Center, Office of Academic Advising, and Library are all ready, willing, and able to assist students with research and writing assignments and to offer guidance on proper reference and citation standards. These resources can also help with study skills, such as proper note taking and time management. It is imperative that students seek advice whenever they are uncertain about issues of academic integrity.

PROCEDURES TO REVIEW POSSIBLE ACADEMIC HONESTY VIOLATION

The Academic Honesty System is jointly administered by the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Academic Appeals Board. The Academic Appeals Board is responsible for reviewing possible violations of the Academic Honesty Code. The following procedures will be followed:

  1. All situations involving possible violations will initially be handled by the instructor who has reason to believe that a student has violated the Academic Honesty Code. The instructor must notify the student of the possible violation and present whatever information exists about the possible violation to the student and the student must be given an opportunity to respond. The instructor may consult the Dean of his or her School or his or her Department Chair for guidance or advice or refer the matter to the Academic Appeals Board.
  2. If the instructor believes that a violation of the Academic Honesty Code has occurred, he or she may complete an Academic Dishonesty Report reporting the violation and indicating what penalty he or she has imposed. The completed Report must be filed in the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
  3. If the instructor and student do not agree that a violation has occurred and/or on the penalty imposed, the student may request a hearing before the Academic Appeals Board. The instructor and the student must attend the hearing and both will be given an opportunity to present information to the Board.
  4. After both the instructor and the student have been given an opportunity to present information to the Academic Appeals Board, the Board will decide: (a) if a violation of the Academic Honesty Code has occurred and (b), if a violation has occurred, whether the penalty imposed by the instructor is appropriate or, if not, what an appropriate penalty is.
  5. All decisions of the Academic Appeals Board may be appealed by either the instructor and/or the student to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, or his or her designee. The decision of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, or his or her designee, on any appeal is final.
  6. A record of all violations of the Academic Honesty Code will be filed in the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs. These records are not part of a student's permanent academic record and will be destroyed when the student graduates or leaves the College. However, dismissal from the College or suspension from the College for academic dishonesty will be noted on the student's permanent record.

PENALTIES

An instructor has wide discretion to determine what penalty to impose if he or she believes that a student has violated the Academic Honesty Code. These penalties may include, but are not limited to, lowering a grade or assigning a failing grade for a specific assignment; lowering a grade for a course; failure of a course; or assigning additional work.

An instructor may choose to refer the matter to the Academic Appeals Board. The Board may recommend whatever penalties it deems appropriate under the circumstances, including suspension or expulsion from the College. Repeat violations of the Academic Honesty Code will typically result in harsher penalties. The Vice President for Academic Affairs will inform the Board of any prior violations of the Academic Honesty Code by a student The Board may consider whether the penalty imposed by the instructor for a repeat violator/violation is adequate and may impose a more severe penalty. The Vice President for Academic Affairs will be the final arbiter and decision-maker on all issues involving possible violations of the Academic Honesty Code.

C. ACADEMIC COURSE POLICIES

ATTENDANCE AND ABSENCES
Regular class attendance is expected of all undergraduate and graduate students. Students cannot attend class unless they are registered through the Office of Academic Records and Registration. Each instructor must clearly explain his or her attendance policy in the course syllabus. The course syllabus must clearly indicate:

  • whether class attendance is a factor in the final grade;
  • what constitutes "excessive" absences.

It is the student's responsibility to communicate with his or her instructors regarding absences. In rare circumstances, a student may have to miss more than a week of class due to serious or chronic illness, or to personal emergencies. In these cases, a student should be in immediate contact with his or her instructor and advisor to discuss what options may be available, including withdrawing from the course. The student is expected to complete whatever work is necessary to make up for absences.

Class roster verification will occur at various points in the semester. Students who do not attend the first class meeting of a course in which they are registered may be administratively dropped unless they make arrangements with the instructor prior to the first day of class. The Registrar's Office will notify students dropped from courses by emailing the student. Students must not assume that they will be dropped if they fail to attend the first few days of class. It is the student's responsibility to communicate with his or her instructors regarding absences. Students absent for the equivalent of a week of classes without notifying the instructor will be reported as not attending. For full-semester courses, one week of classes is defined as one class meeting for courses that meet once a week, two consecutive class meetings for courses that meet twice a week and three consecutive class meetings for courses that meet three times a week. Any student who fails to attend all classes for a period of two consecutive weeks and does not contact his or her instructors may be administratively withdrawn from the college.

ABSENCES FOR RELIGIOUS BELIEFS
The College complies with Massachusetts law (G.L. c. 151C, § 2B) which provides, in relevant part, that:
"Any student in an educational institution, who is unable, because of his religious beliefs, to attend classes or to participate in any examination, study, or work requirement on a particular day shall be excused from any such examination or study or work requirement, and shall be provided with an opportunity to make up such examination, Study, or work requirement which he may have missed because of such absence on any particular day; however, that such a makeup examination or work shall not create an unreasonable burden upon such school. No fees of any kind shall be charged by the institution for making available to the said student such opportunity. No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any student because of his availing himself of the provisions of this section."

DROPPING OR ADDING A COURSE
Each semester during the drop/add period, a student may drop and/or add a course or courses. A student will not receive a grade for any course in which he or she is not officially registered. If the student has not initially registered for the course through MyWheelock or Academic Records, he or she is not considered officially registered for that particular course. If a student registered for a course and has not dropped it through MyWheelock or Academic Records, that student is considered officially registered. After the drop/add deadline has passed, a student wishing to withdraw from a class must fill out a withdrawal form (see below). Any student registered in a course will be given a grade by the faculty according to the student's performance in the course (including an "F" if the student did not complete the required assignments). A student who wishes to add or drop a course must add or drop the course through the MyWheelock portal or use an Add/Drop form (available on MyWheelock) submitted to Academic Records in accordance with the add and drop dates on the academic calendar.

Note that changes to course registration, including dropping or adding courses, may change a student's financial obligations to the College and financial aid eligibility. Consult the academic calendar for drop/add periods.

WITHDRAWING FROM A COURSE
Once the drop/add deadline has passed students must complete and submit to the Office of Academic Records and Registration a Course Withdrawal form to withdraw from a course. The student, and only the student, can withdraw from a course. Notice of withdrawal from all semester-long and seven-week courses, except practica, must be completed by the course withdrawal deadlines stated in the academic calendar. After these deadlines, any student who does not attend a course and otherwise fails to satisfy the minimum requirements of that course will receive a failing grade of "F."

WITHDRAWING FOR MEDICAL REASONS
The only exception to the above policy is given when a student must withdraw from a course after the deadline because of medical reasons. To request withdrawal from a course for health considerations after a withdrawal deadline, an undergraduate student must petition the Scholastic Review Board and a graduate student must petition the Graduate Review Board by submitting the Request for Medical Withdrawal form within one year after the last day of classes.

REPEATING COURSES
A student may repeat a course one time only unless the course is designated as one that may be repeated for credit. Some courses require permission prior to being repeated. Refer to the Request for Continuance form for more information. Any exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Scholastic Review Board (for undergraduate students) or the Graduate Review Board (for graduate students).

EXEMPTIONS FROM REQUIRED COURSEWORK
Certain courses are required for all students. However, on rare occasions, students may apply for exemptions from some required courses. Information describing the procedures to obtain exemptions from required courses is available in the Office of Academic Records and Registration. Prior to applying for an exemption, a student must consult with his or her advisor and the instructors in his or her majors.

AUDITING COURSES
Most courses offered for credit may be taken for audit on a space available basis, and with prior permission from the instructor. Credit or audit enrollment must be decided by the end of the drop/add period. The tuition charge for an audited course is two-thirds of the tuition charge for a course taken for credit. Students must make arrangements with instructors regarding assignments and responsibilities for all audited courses. Audited courses may not be changed to gain credits or a grade. Audited courses appear on a student's transcript with an "AU" and carry no credit value.

WAIT LIST
Wait lists enable the College and students to monitor the demand for courses, make decisions about course enrollments, and provide students with opportunities to request places in closed courses. Students may add themselves on wait lists during the designated time through MyWheelock. Wait lists are reviewed by the Department Chairs who, in consultation with the instructors of the courses, will make decisions about the wait lists. A decision may also be made to add an additional section of a course or to increase the number of available spaces in a course. Students are notified of their status in the course after the decisions have been made. Students approved for enrollment will be added to the course and then have the option of dropping it themselves through MyWheelock.

Academic Appeals

A Wheelock College student (and a student from any of the Colleges of the Fenway taking a course at Wheelock) has a right to appeal a final grade or Academic Probation. A student may appeal a final grade or Academic Probation to the Academic Appeals Board. Undertaking such an appeal is an extraordinary matter.

ACADEMIC APPEALS BOARD

The College has adopted procedures permitting students to appeal certain academic decisions. Among other things, the Academic Appeals Board hears appeals of a final grade or Academic Probation. Such appeals should be taken only in extraordinary situations and only after the student considering an appeal has attempted to resolve the matter with the instructor who assigned the final grade or with the Scholastic Review Board (for undergraduate students) or the Graduate Review Board (for graduate students) in matters involving Academic Probation. The Academic Appeals Board also administers the Academic Honesty System jointly with the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Academic Appeals Board is composed of three full-time tenured faculty members appointed by Faculty Senate. The Chair of the Academic Appeals Board will be appointed at the beginning of each academic year by Faculty Senate. The Chair of the Academic Appeals Board will convene the Board whenever he or she deems it necessary or advisable. The Vice President for Academic Affairs is solely authorized to interpret and apply the policies, guidelines and procedures governing academic appeals and, more generally, academic affairs.

APPEAL OF FINAL GRADE

Before deciding to appeal a final grade, a student must first meet and attempt to resolve the matter with the instructor who assigned the grade. To file an appeal, the student must submit evidence to the Academic Appeals Board that the final grade was based on factors not related to his or her academic performance.

Students are responsible to know the steps and associated time limits that are involved in the appeal of a final grade that are described below. The failure of a student to file a written notice of intent to appeal a final grade within thirty (30) days from the date that the final grade was mailed or posted for viewing on the web will result in the termination of his or her appeal.

  1. To appeal a final grade, a student must first meet and attempt to resolve the matter with the instructor who assigned the grade. It is the obligation of the student to make an appointment with the course instructor.
  2. If a student inquires about a final grade to anyone other than the instructor who assigned the grade, that student should be informed that it is his or her obligation to meet and attempt to resolve the matter with the instructor who assigned the grade.
  3. If the student and instructor who assigned the grade are unable to resolve the matter, the student may contact the Chair of the Academic Appeals Board. The Chair will explain to the student the steps and associated time limits that are involved in the appeal of a final grade.
  4. If the student decides to appeal a final grade, he or she may file a written notice of intent to appeal a final grade with the Chair of the Academic Appeals Board within thirty days from the date that the grade was mailed to the student or posted for viewing on the student portal on the web, or within ten days of the next fall or spring semester.
  5. The Chair of the Academic Appeals Board will promptly send a copy of the written notice of intent to appeal a final grade to the instructor who assigned the grade and to each member of the Academic Appeals Board.
  6. The Chair of the Academic Appeals Board will convene the Board for a hearing of the appeal on the earliest date that the members of the Board, the student, and the instructor are available. The Chair of the Academic Appeals Board will provide written notice of the date and time of the hearing to each member of the Board, the student, and the instructor.
  7. As soon as practicable, before the hearing, the student must submit a written letter of appeal no longer than approximately three typewritten pages to the Chair of the Academic Appeals Board clearly demonstrating why, in his or her opinion, the final grade was based on factors not related to his or her academic performance. The Chair will promptly deliver a copy of the appeal letter to each member of the Board and to the instructor who assigned the grade.
  8. The hearing on the appeal will not be open to the public. Usually the only people who may attend the hearing are: (a) the student appealing the final grade; (b) one member of the Wheelock community who may act as an advisor to the student; (c) the instructor who assigned the grade, or his or her designee; and (d) the members of the Academic Appeals Board. Occasionally the Academic Appeals Board may invite another relevant person to the hearing for the purpose of clarification.
  9. The student who is appealing a final grade may make an oral presentation to the Academic Appeals Board. The student may also respond to questions posed by the members of the Board. The student may decide whether to have an instructor present during his or her statement.
  10. The instructor who assigned the final grade, or his or her designee, may make an oral presentation to the Academic Appeals Board. The instructor, or his or her designee, may also respond to questions posed by the members of the Board.
  11. After the oral presentations and responses to the questions posed by members of the Academic Appeals Board, if any, are completed, the hearing will be closed.
  12. Except as stated above, the Chair of the Academic Appeals Board will determine, in consultation with other members of the Board, how the hearing will be conducted.
  13. Immediately after the close of the hearing, the members of the Academic Appeals Board will meet privately to deliberate the appeal. Usually, no one else is present during these deliberations. If a majority of the members of the Board vote to recommend to the instructor that he or she change the final grade, the recommendation of the Board will be to change the final grade. If only one member of the Board votes affirmatively to recommend a change in the final grade, the appeal will be dismissed and there will not be a recommendation to change the final grade.
  14. Within five days of the vote of the Academic Appeals Board, the Chair of the Board will deliver written notice of the vote of the Board to the instructor who assigned the final grade and to the student who appealed the final grade.
  15. If the Academic Appeals Board recommends that a final grade be changed, the instructor who assigned the grade should consider the recommendation and decide within 10 days from his or her receipt of the recommendation whether to change the grade. On or before the date that the ten-day period expires, the instructor must inform the Chair of the Academic Appeals Board whether he or she will accept or reject the recommendation to change the final grade. The Chair will give written notice of the instructor's decision to the members of the Academic Appeals Board and to the student who appealed the final grade. The decision of the instructor will be final and there will be no further appeal.

APPEAL OF ACADEMIC SUSPENSION (Undergraduate)

A Wheelock College student has a right to appeal Academic Suspension. Students are responsible to know the steps and the associated time limits that are involved in the appeal of Academic Suspension that are described below. The failure of a student to file a written notice of intent to appeal Academic Suspension within thirty (30) days from the date the notice of Academic Suspension was postmarked to the student will result in the dismissal of his or her appeal.

a. To appeal Academic Suspension, an undergraduate student must first meet and attempt to resolve the matter with the Scholastic Review Board. It is the responsibility of the student to make an appointment with the Scholastic Review Board during the designated appeal period.
b. If a student inquires about Academic Suspension to anyone other than the Scholastic Review Board, the student should be informed that it is his or her obligation to meet and attempt to resolve the matter with the Scholastic Review Board.
c. If the matter remains unresolved after the meeting with the Scholastic Review Board, the student may contact the Chair of the Academic Appeals Board. The Chair will explain to the student the steps and associated time limits that are involved in the appeal of Academic Suspension.

To continue an appeal of Academic Suspension to the Academic Appeals Board, the student should consult the Academic Appeals Policy.

APPEAL OF ACADEMIC DISMISSAL

A Wheelock College student has a right to appeal Academic Probation. Students are responsible to know the steps and the associated time limits that are involved in the appeal of Academic Probation that are described below. The failure of a student to file a written notice of intent to appeal Academic Probation within thirty (30) days from the date the notice of Academic Probation was postmarked to the student will result in the dismissal of his or her appeal.

1. To appeal Academic Probation, an undergraduate student must first meet and attempt to resolve the matter with the Scholastic Review Board. It is the sole obligation of the student to make an appointment with the Scholastic Review Board during the designated appeal period.
2. If a student inquires about Academic Probation to anyone other than the Chair of the Scholastic Review Board, the student should be informed that it is his or her obligation to meet and attempt to resolve the matter with the Scholastic Review Board.
3. If the matter remains unresolved after the meeting between the student and the Scholastic Review Board, the student may contact the Chair of the Academic Appeals Board. The Chair will explain to the student the steps and associated time limits that are involved in the appeal of Academic Probation.
To continue an appeal of Academic Probation to the Academic Appeals Board, the student should consult the Academic Appeals Policy.

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