Course Management

Class Attendance

The following Student Attendance Policy was approved by Faculty in Spring 2005:

In keeping with a strong liberal arts tradition that encourages active learning and complete participation in the education process, the college expects students to attend class. Specific attendance policies are set by individual instructors and indicated on the course syllabus at the beginning of each term. Warning slips will be issued by instructors for all students failing to meet the stated course attendance policies. Excessive absences by first year students and students on academic probation will be reported to the Dean’s office. Students may be dropped from a course with a grade of F for failing to meet the stated policy.

Academic Alerts

Academic alerts must be submitted promptly during the semester for students whose grade in a course falls below a C minus. These alerts are submitted to the student and the student’s academic adviser, as well as to the Office of the Dean, Residence Life, and the Ursinus Institute for Student Success. Academic alerts inform appropriate support personnel about a student’s performance so that remedial actions can be taken.

Reporting of Grades

Faculty are responsible for establishing criteria for determining a course grade. These criteria must be prescribed in the course syllabus. Letter grades must be reported for all students at the end of each semester. Mid-term grades are required for all first-year, transfer, and new students and those students who are on academic probation.

Letter grades should be reported promptly following the guidelines provided by the Registrar’s Office. Grades become official once released by the Registrar to students.

Incompletes

A grade of Incomplete (I) may be given only with the written permission of the Dean of the College. This grade is reserved for cases of incomplete work, due to documented physical incapacitation or other extenuating circumstances beyond the student’s control. A plan and schedule for completing the remaining work, agreeable to student and professor, must accompany the request for an incomplete. If the incomplete is not removed within one month after the end of the semester in which it was given, the grade F will be assigned for the course.

Grade Changes

Normally, no change will be made to official grades unless there is an error in transcription, computation, or assessment. All grade changes must be approved by the Dean of the College.

Grade Appeals

No grade change will be made as a result of an appeal unless there is evidence of error, prejudice, or caprice. Students must initiate a request for a grade change no later than two weeks after the start of the next semester. The appeal must be resolved within four weeks of the student’s initial contact with the instructor.

  • A student who wishes to appeal a final grade must contact the instructor and attempt to resolve the issue.
  • If, there is no resolution, the student contacts the chair of the department or coordinator of the program in which the course is offered. The chair or coordinator attempts to resolve the conflict by discussing the issue with the instructor involved. Every effort should be made to resolve the conflict at the departmental or programmatic level.
  • If there is still no resolution, the student contacts the Office of the Dean of the College, and in writing, describes the nature of the complaint. The Dean discusses the matter with the chair and the instructor and makes a recommendation to the instructor.
  • If there is still no resolution, the Dean will bring the issue to the Committee on Academic Standards and Discipline who will appoint a subcommittee of faculty to make a recommendation to the instructor. The committee will be composed of members acceptable to both the student and the faculty member.

Evaluation of Student Work

Students are required to take examinations at the time and place scheduled. The instructor of a course (or another faculty member, and not a department administrative assistant or student assistant) should be present at all times during an examination. If a student misses an examination, the faculty member will decide whether the reason for absence is valid and whether a make-up exam is warranted. Faculty are required to comply with ADA accommodations for students as determined by the Ursinus Institute for Student Success.

If any student work is not returned, faculty members should invite students who wish to go over their work to come to their office for that purpose. Any unreturned documents should be kept for at least one year in case a question arises concerning the student’s performance.

Academic Honesty/Dishonesty

Statement on Academic Honesty

Ursinus College is a small community that functions by a social contract among students, faculty, administration and alumni. In order for the spirit of community to endure and thrive, this agreement, based upon shared values and responsibilities and a sense of mutual respect, trust and cooperation, must be preserved. Students have an obligation to act ethically concerning academic matters and the faculty has a responsibility to require academic honesty from students and to be vigilant in order to discourage dishonesty.

Lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty, and plagiarism violate this spirit of mutual respect and collaboration and corrode the atmosphere of openness and free inquiry upon which the educational process is based. Such activities are demeaning and potentially damaging to those who undertake them. Moreover, academic dishonesty is damaging to the student body as a whole, in that it cheapens the achievement of other students and subverts the integrity of the institution.

Students should be aware that there are many legitimate sources of help available on campus. Resources for supplemental academic assistance include the Ursinus Institute for Student Success, the Center for Writing and Speaking, and Myrin Library. This help is provided for academic assistance and is designed to enhance the learning process rather than circumventing it which occurs in cases of academic dishonesty.

The student body, the faculty, and the administration of Ursinus College therefore unanimously condemn academic dishonesty in all its forms and affirm that it is the responsibility of all members of the college community to prevent such activity.

Statement on Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the act of taking the words—written or spoken—or the ideas of someone else and passing them off presenting them as one’s own. Students are guilty of commit plagiarism if they copy exactly a statement by another and fail to identify the source; take notes from a book, an article or a lecture, express those materials in their own words, and present the result as their work without identifying the source; copy part or all of a paper written by a friend, another student, or a writing service and offer it as their own work; or take material verbatim from a source (even though the source is acknowledged) without identifying it as quoted material by means of quotation marks.

Plagiarism is easy to avoid by using common sense and following the advice and direction for acknowledging sources. Such forms and methods are available from instructors and from style sheets provided by departments. In order to avoid unintended plagiarism students should never take notes verbatim or in their own words without using appropriate quotation marks and noting exact sources, including page numbers of the material.

It is the policy of Ursinus College to reject and to punish the act of plagiarism. (The above has been adapted from Millward, Handbook for Writers, pp. 354‑355.)

Definition of Cheating

Students are cheating if, for example, they do the following:

  • Copy answers or use information from a fellow student’s paper during a test, quiz, or examination.
  • Divulge answers or information, or otherwise give improper aid to another student during a test, quiz, or examination; or accept such aid.
  • Relay or receive any improperly obtained or confidential information concerning test, quiz, or examination before, during, or after such test. (Example: if they see the test before it is to be given and transmit information concerning its contents or whereabouts to other students.)
  • Use or refer to any unauthorized notes, books, calculators, or problem-solving aids during a test, quiz, or examination.
  • Collaborate improperly with another student on an open-book or take-home test, quiz or examination.
  • As a proctor or student assistant, divulge confidential information or aid any student in an improper manner during a laboratory exercise, test, quiz, or examination.
  • Commit any act of plagiarism (intentional or unintentional).
  • Borrow under false pretense, steal, or otherwise improperly obtain lecture or research notes, laboratory data, or any information gathered by another student and present it as their work (examples: term papers; laboratory reports or experimental yields; computer programs or assignments; English composition themes), or knowingly collaborate with another student by making such material available to them, or falsify laboratory data, notes, results or research data of any type in any course and present it as their own work.
  • Steal or intentionally damage or destroy notes, research data, laboratory projects, library materials, computer software (including the intentional passing of a computer virus) or any other work of another student (or faculty member), out of malice, or for the purpose of sabotaging that person’s work and thereby gaining an unfair advantage to themselves.
  • Knowingly and willingly violate any special rules concerning research procedures, group assignments, or inter-student collaboration which may be established by an instructor in any course.
  • Submit the same work including oral presentations for different courses without the permission of the instructors involved. Since it is expected that different courses offer different learning experiences, students are depriving themselves of an educational opportunity by submitting the same or similar work for more than one course. Examples include, but are not limited to, submitting a partial or complete paper previously handed into another class, superficially reworking one assignment for submission to another class.
  • Misrepresent themselves to an instructor or an administrator for the purpose of gaining special favors or extensions for academic work missed. Examples include, but are not limited to, lying about health or the health of a relative, or forging doctor’s notes.
  • Forge signatures on forms, documents or letters pertinent to College business. This may include, but is not limited to, course of study sheets, drop/add forms, or doctor’s notes.
  • Students are an accessory to cheating if they do the following: witness or have direct knowledge of any person involved in the aforementioned forms of cheating and fail to inform an authorized person (faculty member, administrator, proctor, or student assistant); bring unauthorized materials into a testing area and fail to or refuse to remove them when instructed to do so; fail to or refuse to comply with admonitions from a faculty member or authorized proctor to cease any activity which might aid other students in cheating. Penalties may be applied.

Procedures for cases of suspected academic honesty violations

  • Should a faculty member suspect a student of having committed an academic honesty violation of any kind, he/she should confront the student with the evidence.
  • If the student admits guilt, the faculty member should inform the Dean of the College of the violation and the student’s confession. After consultation with the Dean of the College, the faculty member will impose a penalty of either a zero (0) on the work in which the student was dishonest or a failure (F) in the course in which the dishonesty took place. If the student has previously been found guilty of a violation of academic honesty of any kind, the Dean of the College will impose additional penalties.
  • Normally, for a second offense, the student will be suspended, be asked to withdraw from the College, or be permanently dismissed.
  • If it is a third offense, the student will be permanently dismissed.
  • If the student maintains innocence, or if the faculty member or the Dean of the College request it, the case will be immediately referred to the Committee on Academic Standards and Discipline. The Subcommittee on Academic Discipline from the Committee on Academic Standards and Discipline will amass evidence and hear testimony regarding the case. This committee will then hear the evidence in the case. The faculty member will present his/her evidence to the committee in the presence of the student and then the student may present his/her defense in the presence of the faculty member. The hearing will be closed, but the student may have a campus friend with him/her during the proceedings. Members of the committee may question any parties involved in the case.
  • The committee will then deliberate and judge guilt or innocence in the case.
  • In the event of a verdict of guilty, the faculty member will impose a penalty of either a zero (0) on the work in which the student was dishonest or a failure (F) in the course in which the dishonesty took place. If the student has previously been found guilty of a violation of academic honesty of any kind, the Dean of the College will impose additional penalties. Normally, for a second offense, the student will be suspended, be asked to withdraw from the College, or be permanently dismissed. If it is a third offense, the student will be permanently dismissed.
  • Decisions of the Committee on Academic Standards and Discipline or the Dean of the College may be appealed to the President. The President’s decision is final.

Procedures for Record-keeping in Cases of Academic Honesty Violations

  • The Dean of the College will keep a record of all cases of academic dishonesty reported by individual faculty members and of all cases, regardless of their outcomes, which are adjudicated by the regular three-person committee process.
  • These records will not be kept in the regular academic files of the students involved, but in a special records section. Accused students may view their records at any time.
  • Records are to be preserved until such time as students named therein are graduated or leave the College for other reasons. At such time, these records are to be destroyed, unless the individual student has been dismissed for disciplinary reasons relating to academic dishonesty or has withdrawn from the College while the circumstances of a charge of academic dishonesty against the student are still under investigation. If a student voluntarily withdraws from the College after the conclusion of a case involving a charge of academic dishonesty against that student, the record will be expunged.