Instructional and Student Policies
8.1 UAH Catalogs
8.8 Class Syllabi
8.11 Field Trips
8.19 Class Records
8.20 Credit to Audit
8.22 Grading System
8.23 Reporting of Grades
8.24 Changing of Grades
8.25 Posting of Grades
8.29 Publications Board
8.30 Student Handbook
Course descriptions and degree requirements are specified in the undergraduate and graduate catalogs which are published every two years. Instructors should be familiar with the catalog descriptions and prerequisites for the courses they are teaching.
A change that originates in an academic department or program, that involves undergraduate programs, and that affects catalog copy will become effective and may be implemented only when the following procedure has been completed: the proposed change has been recommended by the academic department or program, reviewed and approved by the dean of the college, and approved by the provost. When the provost deems it necessary, proposed changes will be referred to the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee for review and recommendation. Changes affecting the graduate program originate in an academic department or program, are reviewed and approved by the dean of the college and the graduate dean and approved by the provost. The provost may refer changes to the graduate dean for consideration by the Graduate Council.
Changes that do not originate within an academic department or program but which do affect undergraduate degree requirements can be proposed to the Faculty Senate.
Proposals for undergraduate curriculum changes or new undergraduate programs are initiated in the department or program, approved by the dean, and then forwarded to the Office of the Provost. Proposals may then be referred to the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. Proposals for graduate curriculum changes or new graduate programs are initiated in the department or program, approved by the dean, and then forwarded to the graduate dean for consideration by the Graduate Council. The provost should be notified immediately if a proposal for a new program or degree is contemplated. All curriculum changes are approved by the provost. Proposals for additions, deletions, or modifications of undergraduate or graduate courses that do not significantly alter the total departmental or program curriculum are initiated in the department or program, forwarded to the dean of the college and the graduate dean, and approved by the provost.
A timetable of classes for fall and spring semesters is prepared annually and distributed during the spring semester prior to early registration. The summer timetable of classes is distributed separately at the same time. Schedule timetables include the time, room assignment, and instructor for each course. The schedule for each department or program is prepared by the chair or coordinator and forwarded to the dean of the college to allow for resolution of class conflicts between departments. The timetable is then reviewed in the Office of Provost to resolve scheduling problems among colleges and to assure scheduling patterns convenient to students. Deviations from the published schedule (additions, deletions, time changes, etc.) are recommended by the chair or coordinator, with approval of the dean and notice to the provost and the assistant vice president for enrollment services.
From time to time, faculty members are called upon to perform registration duties during registration periods. Such duties normally involve academic advising. Faculty are also expected to participate in departmental advising throughout the academic year. Registration assignments are made by the department or program chair. It is vital that all faculty members who serve as academic advisors be familiar with current university requirements and policies. Basic information can be found in the university catalog. The program chair or coordinator can provide additional information. The Academic Advisement and Information Center is a resource for information on general education requirements.
Faculty members are expected to conduct each of their classes for the entire scheduled class time. In the event of sickness or a necessary absence from the university, the chair must be notified, in advance, where practicable. Prior arrangements for the conduct of a missed class are to be made if at all possible. Classroom work missed because of a faculty member's absence has to be made up as soon as possible and in the manner deemed most appropriate by the instructor in consultation with the chair or coordinator. Cancellation of classes at any time requires the prior written approval of the chair and dean. Such cancellations will be approved only for unusual circumstances that must be stated in the request to cancel a class. Changing regularly scheduled classes and examination periods must be approved by the chair and dean with the concurrence of the provost. When changes are approved, the assistant vice president for enrollment services must be notified.
Each instructor should announce specific expectations concerning student attendance at the first class meeting. Education at UAH depends upon the cooperation of students and faculty. Students are held responsible for the full work of the course in which they are registered, including participation in the discussion and work of the class at each class meeting. A student's final grade in each course is determined on the basis of identified course requirements; therefore, regular class attendance is important.
During the first week of a class, the instructor must provide each student with a written outline of the administrative information for the course. Such an outline should include: goals/objectives of the course, course content, text or other materials required or recommended, methods of evaluation (including values of each assignment and mechanisms for determining final course grades), any modifications of student code of conduct, faculty office location and scheduled office hours and location. For the student code of conduct, consult the Student Handbook. See also Section 8.32.
A faculty member is expected to maintain office hours in order to be available to students, other faculty members, and administrative officers at regular places and times. A schedule of at least two hours per week for each lecture course taught should be established at the beginning of each semester and made known to students, advisees, and the departmental office. Office hours should be posted in the departmental office and outside the faculty office.
Building use policy and availability of keys, locks, lights, office equipment and off-hours heating and air conditioning should be taken up with the department chair or program coordinator.
The Bookstore will assist faculty members in securing copyright clearance for classroom materials to be included in course packs. For information about the practical application of the "fair use" doctrine under federal copyright law, see the pamphlet, Questions and Answers on Copyright for the Campus Community, available in the Bookstore. Legal advice in this regard is available from the Office of Counsel.
Certain courses lend themselves to field trips for demonstration purposes. In general, such trips are permissible if they do not interfere with attendance in other classes. The proposed trip should be cleared with the department chair (or equivalent) and the dean of the college. For assistance regarding the need for signed releases for participating students, contact the Office of Counsel. Such contact should be made as soon as possible to facilitate timely preparation and completion of releases, if required. All due caution should be taken on such trips to safeguard the students. If car pools are used for transportation, they should be required to return to the campus at the completion of the trip.
A Student Instructor Evaluation (SIE) form is distributed in each class during the last week of the semester. Completed forms are collected and returned to the departmental office by a designated student in the class. Summary reports of the evaluation are sent to instructors and department chairs during the next semester and are included in the faculty member's comprehensive file (7.7.1.C).
Students who are unable to take announced quizzes and examinations because of illness or extenuating circumstances should report to their instructor. The faculty member may require verification of the illness or extenuating circumstance before administering a make-up examination. Absences from a scheduled final examination without prior arrangement with the course instructor (except in extenuating circumstances) will be classified unexcused and a failing grade may be assigned. An X is to be assigned as a temporary grade in a course in which the student has an excused absence from a final exam. If the faculty member does not wish personally to conduct the makeup of the final examination, he or she must contact the Office of Student Records in a timely manner and provide a copy of the makeup final examination which will be administered by that office. The Office of Student Records will establish the date for the makeup examinations it administers. That date will normally be the first Saturday following the beginning of the next semester or summer term.
Unless the nature of a particular course precludes the administering of a final examination, the university expects each faculty member to give such an examination. This examination is to be administered at the time specified on the Semester Calendar that is distributed to each faculty member. No change by the instructor in the final exam schedule may be made unless it is approved (in advance, where practicable) in writing by the chair and the dean of the college with the concurrence of the provost. When changes are approved, the Office of Student Records must be notified.
Students have the right to review their final examinations with faculty members. For this reason, final examination papers must be kept on file for one calendar year. Continuing full-time faculty and graduate teaching assistants may keep these papers in their offices. Part-time faculty should turn in exam papers to the departmental office. In addition to the final examination, other examinations are administered and outside work assigned in a manner deemed appropriate by the instructor. Sufficient work should be assigned and evaluated prior to midterm to permit students to assess clearly their progress in the course.
Instructors must remain in the classroom during examinations since there is no student honor code that permits unproctored examinations. This means that instructors must proctor all examinations. On such occasions, every reasonable precaution should be taken to eliminate the possibility of student misconduct. A comprehensive description of those acts that constitute academic dishonesty may be found in Article III of the Code of Student Conduct, published in the Student Handbook, and listed below in 8.32. The options and procedures available for the handling of a case of academic dishonesty are described in Article IX of the Code.
Any student whose final examination schedule is such that he or she is scheduled to take three examinations during a single day has the right to have the middle examination rescheduled. The date and time of the rescheduled examination must be by mutual agreement between the student and the affected faculty member and must be agreed upon by the end of the thirteenth week of classes. It is the student's responsibility to notify his or her instructor of the conflict, and it is the instructor's responsibility to verify that the conflict actually exists. If a student is scheduled to take four examinations during a single day, then the same procedure applies except that the student then has to right to have both the second and the third examinations rescheduled.
Purpose of Policy: When a student registers for a course, the university and its faculty allocate resources for the benefit of that student that are not fully recovered from the student's tuition. Furthermore, for many courses the demand exceeds the availability of resources making it impossible to serve all students desiring such courses. It is, therefore, incumbent on the student to make best possible use of these resources. In particular, withdrawing from a course, without just cause, should be discouraged. Not only does it represent a misuse of both the student's and faculty's time and resources, but potential employers and graduate schools tend to view an excessive number of withdrawals on a student's transcript with disfavor.
The university recognizes, however, that there are occasions when a withdrawal from one or more courses is justifiable and even necessary. It is understood that a student may underestimate the demands of a particular set of courses and should be given the opportunity to adjust his or her course load before time and other resources are inappropriately spent by all involved. Later in the semester, illness or changing job requirements may make it impossible to continue in a course. It is to handle these exigencies that the following policy is adopted.
General Policy: Up through the tenth week a student may withdraw from any course. After the tenth week a student may withdraw from a course only under extenuating circumstances and with approval of the dean of the college in which the student is enrolled. In any case, the student must initiate a formal request for withdrawal through the Office of Student Records. Class non-attendance does not constitute withdrawal nor does notification to the instructor. Any student failing to follow established procedure for withdrawal will continue to be enrolled in the class and may receive a failing grade in that course.
Recording of Withdrawals: If the withdrawal process is completed during the first two weeks, the withdrawing student's name will not appear on the final rolls of the class from which the student withdrew, and that course will not appear on the student's permanent record. If the withdrawal process is completed after the first two weeks, then the withdrawing student's name will be on the final rolls of the class from which the student withdrew, and that course will be recorded on the student's permanent record with a final grade of W. It is the responsibility of the Office of Student Records to inform each instructor in a timely manner (and in writing) when a student appearing on the instructor's final class rolls withdraws from that course. The university does not use grades of W to compute grade point averages.
Justification and Approvals Required: The university does not require that the student justify any course withdrawal completed before the end of the tenth week. After the tenth week, the student must give evidence of extenuating circumstances to justify withdrawal from a course. Avoidance of an undesirable grade does not justify withdrawal. It is the duty of the dean of the college in which the student is enrolled as a major to verify that the circumstances justify withdrawal from a course. In addition, students participating in certain programs must secure approval or give adequate notification to the appropriate officers of these programs. It is the joint duty of these programs and the Office of Student Records to insure that students participating in these programs are aware of any such requirements.
Counseling: Students need to be aware that many potential employers, as well as graduate and professional schools, view an excessive number of W's on a transcript as a flag that the student cannot be counted on to complete demanding projects. Advisors should be informed of this fact and students encouraged to discuss with their advisors any plans to withdraw from a course, especially after the first two weeks of the semester.
For specific general education requirements identified with academic departments (e.g., English composition, western civilization, mathematics, foreign language), refer to the chair of the department responsible for required courses that are involved (e.g., English composition to English Department, western civilization to History Department).
For requirements that are less well-specified or involve combinations of disciplines (e.g., mathematics/science, social studies, mixed language options), refer recommendations of the student's advisor (and/or department chair) to the appropriate dean. If disciplines in more than one college are involved, the deans concerned must concur with the recommendation of the student's advisor (and/or department chair).
For university-wide regulations applicable to all students such as residence requirements, 30 percent upper-level rule, total hours, grade-point average, etc., recommendations must be made by the chair of the student's major department, concurred in by the dean of the college, and approved by the provost.
Faculty members are expected to maintain grade records. Different types of grade books are available in the University Bookstore and can be ordered through the departmental office. Upon termination of services with the university, the faculty member is to turn in grade records to the department chair or program coordinator, who maintains such records in accordance with institutional policy and the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Any part-time faculty or graduate teaching assistant who does not continue in that capacity for the next semester must turn in the grade book for a particular class to the departmental office at the same time grades are required to be turned in for the course.
Students may on occasion desire to register for a course as an "audit". No credit is given for an audit and no quality points are assigned. Auditing a course gives the student permission to attend classes, to listen to the instructor's presentations and lectures, to participate in class discussions, as appropriate, and to receive handouts associated with the presentations and lectures. Students auditing a course are permitted to ask to participate in graded activities, such as homework, group projects, laboratories, and exams. The instructor is not required to grade any written assignments that may be submitted by an auditing student. A student who elects to audit a course may not at any point after electing to audit, change to "for-credit", i.e., graded status. Up through the fourth week a student may elect to change the grading status for any course from credit to audit. The student must initiate a formal request for change to audit through the Office of Student Records. Any student failing to follow established procedure for change to audit will continue to be enrolled in the class for credit and may receive a failing grade in that course.
Range of Numbers Level of Course
001-099 Refresher (noncredit)
300-399 Junior (upper level)
400-499 Senior (upper level)
500-599 Graduate credit, with undergraduate credit awarded in some departments.
700-above Graduate, Ph.D. level
The grading system at UAH includes grades of (A, B, C, D, F, NC, I, X, W, S, U, P, AU, and N).
Instructors have the option of augmenting the course grades of A, B, C, and D with the symbols "+" and "-" signifying, respectively, high and low achievement within the assigned letter grade. These augmented letter grades become part of the student's permanent record and appear on transcripts, but augmentation of a letter grade does not affect its value for the purposes of GPA computation.
A Superior achievement. Four quality points given per semester hour.
B Above average achievement. Three quality points given per semester hour.
C Average achievement. Two quality points given per semester hour.
D Passing work. One quality point given per semester hour.
F Failing work. No credit given; no quality points assigned.
NC No Credit: Assigned for failing work in specified courses. No Quality points assigned. A student who receives a grade of NC twice for the same course must obtain permission from the department offering that course before registering for it again.
I Incomplete. Assigned by the instructor when a student, due to circumstances beyond his/her control, has not satisfied a course requirement. The deadline for a student to remedy a grade of I is the last day of class of the next semester enrolled or one calendar year from the date of the grade whichever occurs first. If the grade of I is on a student's record past the deadline or at the time of graduation, it is treated as an F.
X Excused absence Assigned by the instructor when a student from Examination completes all course requirements except the final examination. This grade becomes an F unless the examination is completed by the time of the announced deferred examination date at the beginning of the semester of the next regular enrollment of the student.
W Withdrawal. Recorded by the office of student records when a student withdraws from a course.
S Satisfactory work. Applicable to noncredit courses and to some specified credit courses. Will not be counted in the GPA.
U Unsatisfactory work. Applicable to noncredit courses and to some specified credit courses. It will be counted as an F and computed in the GPA for undergraduates, but not graduate students.
P Passing work. Assigned in some courses. See Pass-Fail Option in the Catalog.
AU Audit. No credit given; no quality points assigned.
N No grade. Assigned by the Office of Student Records when a grade is not reported by the instructor.
Final grades are reported on class lists prepared by the Office of Student Records. These lists are distributed to each instructor who is individually responsible for their return to the department office or to the Office of Student Records in accordance with departmental policy. The lists should be delivered by hand rather than mailed, in order to permit the timely reporting of student grades and certification for graduation. Cooperation of the faculty is essential if the Office of Student Records is to function effectively and students are to receive final grades in a timely manner.
A student is permitted a maximum of one semester from the date a grade is assigned to request a change of course grade. As a rule, grades may be changed only by submission by the instructor of a Change of Grade form containing a written explanation of the error. Grade changes for X or I to a letter grade are also submitted on a Change of Grade Form. The Change of Grade form must be approved by the chair of the department or equivalent and received in the Office of Student Records no later than two semesters from the date the original grade was assigned.
Instructors are neither required nor encouraged to post grades. They may incur liability and violate the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act if they do post grades. If the grades are posted, in order to comply with federal law, the instructor must use a code designation for each student instead of his or her name, insuring that the code, or the display of the code, does not permit anyone other than the instructor and the student to determine the student's identity. Neither the student's name nor social security number may be used. The instructor must also comply with the following requirements prior to posting grades: An announcement must be made to the class that grades will be posted and the procedure to be used described. Students must be informed that they may choose not to participate in the procedure by simply notifying the instructor of their objection within 72 hours after the announcement. No grades can be posted until after the lapse of the 72-hour period to allow for any objections. Thereafter, only the grades of those students who have not objected can be posted. Furthermore, all graded material should be returned in a manner that protects student's confidentiality.
Faculty members should be careful that the Privacy Act is not violated by well-intentioned efforts to accommodate students. For example, grades should not be given out to telephone requests since it is almost impossible to establish fully the identity of the caller.
Faculty members must check with their department office before posting grades, to determine if a departmental policy exists.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 is a federal law that protects the confidentiality of student educational records. To implement this law, the university has formulated and adopted a written institutional policy governing the handling of these records. Copies of this document are available in the Office of Student Records and should be consulted for a comprehensive treatment of this subject.
Under this law and university policy, students have the right of access to their educational records and may inspect and review the information contained in them. The term educational record generally refers to any record maintained by the institution directly pertaining to an individual as a student, other than that made by institutional, supervisory or administrative personnel remaining in the sole possession of the maker; by campus security; or by a physician, psychiatrist, or any other such medical personnel. This right of access does not extend to financial information submitted by the students' parents. Furthermore, students may at their discretion waive the right of access to any confidential letters of recommendation.
If a student believes that the records contain inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise inappropriate data, he or she may bring the matter to the attention of the records official concerned. If by informal discussion with this official, the student does not obtain the corrective action desired, the student is entitled to a hearing at which he or she may challenge the item found to be objectionable. The decision of the hearing official or panel is final. If the decision is adverse to the student, he or she may insert in the educational record an explanatory statement related to the contested item.
A student's privacy interest in his or her records is further protected by the rule against unauthorized disclosure. The university may not, without the student's written consent, release educational records or any personally identifiable information contained in them to other individuals or agencies. Disclosure to the following parties, however, is specifically excepted by the Privacy Act from this rule: (a) administrative and academic personnel within an institution who have a legitimate educational interest; (b) officials of institutions in which the student seeks to enroll; (c) persons or organizations to whom the student is applying for financial aid; (d) accrediting agencies; (e) organizations conducting studies relating to tests, student-aid programs or instruction; (f) certain federal and state government officials; (g) any person where the disclosure is required for compliance with a judicial order or proper subpoena; (h) appropriate persons where a health or safety emergency affecting the student exists; and (i) parents of a dependent student. As to some of these parties, additional conditions must be met in order for the disclosure to be allowable in the absence of a written consent from the student. Personally identifiable information will be transmitted by the university to a third party only on the condition that the recipient not permit any other party to have access to it without the student's consent.
The university may release directory information to others without the necessity of obtaining permission from the student. For a description of what constitutes directory information, see the Student Handbook. Questions about the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act should be directed to the appropriate dean or to the Office of the Provost.
Disability Support Services (DSS) is committed to providing an equal educational opportunity for all qualified student with disabilities. Any student who has a documented condition that substantially limits his or her learning activities can request coordination of appropriate academic support services. DSS collaborates with students, faculty, and staff to ensure appropriate services are provided to students registered with our office. If a student self-identifies to a member of the campus community, the student must be given a referral to DSS.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the University must provide reasonable academic accommodations for qualified student with disabilities. UAH relies on faculty to provide access to all of its programs and activities to student with disabilities. As members of the campus community, you are required to adhere to relevant disability laws. The University accepts only those students who are qualified for admission regardless of their disabilities. Accommodations are provided for eligible students in order to level the playing field so that students with disabilities have an equal opportunity to succeed in their academic pursuits. Students must submit an application and appropriate medical documentation of disability to be eligible for services.
Instructors are to announce procedures for arranging academic accommodations at the beginning of each semester and include the information in the course syllabus. We are available to provide consultations via email or phone. We encourage all faculty, staff, and students to call us should questions or concerns arise. You may also want to view the "information for Faculty" section on our website at www.uah.edu/counseling/disability. Legal advice concerning disability laws may be obtained from the Office of Counsel.
The Student Government Association (SGA) promotes the welfare of students in all areas of university life. Its primary purpose is to help improve the educational environment, including promoting academic innovation and working closely with the faculty and administration to help bring about desirable changes in institutional policies. The SGA develops and sponsors programs that will enrich the student's cultural, intellectual, and social life.
All student clubs are required to be chartered by SGA and recognized by the university, and each club must have one or more faculty or staff advisors. These clubs operate in the overall framework of the goals, aims, objectives, and purposes of the University, and the structure, function, direction, scope, and membership standards are defined in the written constitution of the club. Descriptions of various student clubs and organizations can be found in the undergraduate catalog. The SGA allocates a portion of its annual budget to help fund recognized clubs and organizations. After a club or organization has been chartered by the SGA and recognized by the university, that group is eligible to submit a request to the SGA Legislature for funding. Information on the criteria for such funding and assistance in preparing a budget request can be obtained by contacting the SGA vice president.
The Publications Board promotes the highest standards of jurisdiction in the operation of student publications, safeguards their interests, including their financial stability and their editorial independence, and ensures that those publications are responsive to the needs and concerns of the University Community. For detailed information on this subject see Appendix M.
The UAH Student Handbook should be consulted for the entire Code of Student Conduct and for information on student facilities, services, and activities.
A student has the right to the opportunity to learn and to benefit from the university's educational environment. Accompanying this right are certain general and special responsibilities. Among the academic rights and responsibilities of students stated in the Student Handbook are the following:
1. Students have a right to be governed by justifiable regulations in all academic matters.
2. Students have a right to an educational environment conducive to learning and free from unreasonable distraction. Students are responsible for classroom behavior that is conducive to the teaching and learning process.
3. Students are free to take reasoned exception to data and views offered in the classroom and to maintain personal judgment about matters of opinion without fear of penalty.
4. Students have a right to grades that represent the instructor's professional judgment of their performance in courses and laboratories.
5. Students have a right to information stated clearly and accurately which enables them to determine the general requirements for establishing and maintaining an acceptable standing; their own academic/admission relationship with the university and any special conditions which apply; and the graduation requirements of any particular curriculum and major.
6. Students have a right to be informed of the content and objectives of a course, the method and types of evaluations, and the relative importance of each test, paper, etc., comprising the total evaluation.
7. Students are responsible for meeting the requirements of a course of study according to the standards of performance established by the instructor.
8. Students have a right to protection against improper disclosure of information acquired by instructors concerning their grades, views, beliefs, political associations, health, or character.
9. Students have a right to seek assistance from instructors during the instructor's regularly scheduled office hours.
10. Students have the right to refrain, without penalty, from activities that involve unreasonable risk to physical health and safety, except with the student's consent.
11. Students have a responsibility for honest and ethical conduct in all academic and non-academic matters.
The university is not on an honor system. However, all forms of academic dishonesty are considered as misconduct under the Code of Student Conduct, including the following:
1. Copying from another student's test paper.
2. Using materials during a test not authorized by the person giving the test.
3. Collaborating during a test with any other person by giving or receiving information without authorization.
4. Stealing, buying, or otherwise obtaining all or part of an unadministered test.
5. Selling or giving away all or part of an unadministered test.
6. Bribing any other person to obtain an unadministered test or information about an unadministered test.
7. Substituting for another student, or permitting any other person to substitute for oneself, to take a test.
8. Submitting as one's own, in fulfillment of academic requirements, any theme, report, term paper, essay, or other written work; any speech or other oral presentation; any painting, drawing, sculpture, musical composition or performance, or other aesthetic work; any computer program; any scientific experiment, laboratory work, project, protocol, or the results thereof; etc., prepared totally or in part by another.
9. Selling, giving, or otherwise supplying to another student for use in fulfilling academic requirements any work described above.
10. "Plagiarism", defined as the use of any other person's work (such work need not be copyrighted) and the unacknowledged incorporation of that work in one's own work offered in fulfillment of academic requirements.
11. Submitting in fulfillment of academic requirements, if contrary to course regulations, any work previously presented, submitted, or used in any course.
12. Falsifying records, laboratory results, or other data used in a course.
13. Cheating or deceit in any other manner.
Faculty members are encouraged to identify, in each course syllabus, the behaviors that are to be considered acceptable and unacceptable academic conduct. Reference may be made to existing stated rules, such as those in the Student Handbook, with additional expectations listed that may be particular to that discipline, department faculty member or course. Faculty members possess the well-established prerogative to deal with academic misconduct committed by a student in a course by applying an academic penalty within the context of that course. (For grievance procedures, see the Student Handbook). Faculty members may also at their discretion refer a case of academic misconduct under procedures stated in the Code of Student Conduct. Procedures and requirements are stated in the Student Handbook.
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