DATE: August 8, 2013
TO: All Teaching Faculty
FROM: Jan E. Thomas, Associate Provost
SUBJECT: Summary of important academic policies
The following has been extracted from the Faculty Handbook, the 2013-14 Kenyon College Course Catalog, and the Student Handbook. Please refer to those sources for more detailed information.
ACADEMIC ADVISING ‑ All entering students are assigned a faculty advisor by the Dean for Academic Advising and Support, Hoi Ning Ngai. Beginning their second year at the College, all full-time faculty members are assigned advisees from the entering class.
ACADEMIC FREEDOM ‑ Freedom to search for truth and to teach and learn without fear of arbitrary interference is a first principle of a community of learning, and Kenyon College classes are conducted in that spirit. Members of the teaching faculty, without regard to specific conditions of appointment, and students at Kenyon College enjoy the privileges and responsibilities of academic freedom.
ACADEMIC HONESTY ‑ To foster integrity in all academic work, instructors are expected to insist on high standards of honesty and integrity in their classes. Because of the seriousness of plagiarism or academic dishonesty, students are urged to consult with their instructors if they have questions about the attribution of sources. Please refer to http://www.kenyon.edu/directories/offices-services/registrar/course-catalog-2/, 2013–2014 Kenyon College Course Catalog 2013-2014 (Administrative Matters) online for policies on academic honesty. A violation of academic honesty is among the most serious matters in an academic community. An instructor who suspects a student of academic dishonesty is required to present the evidence to the chair of his or her department. If the chair concurs, he or she reports the alleged violation to the Chair of the Academic Infractions Board. In the interest of helping students avoid inadvertent infractions, faculty are expected to specify in their syllabi the forms that academic infractions may take in the particular kinds of work required in their courses and should always respond to student inquiries about these matters. All faculty are asked to include a statement of academic integrity on their syllabi. Below is an example of a general statement which faculty can amend to include course specific information:
Kenyon College is, at the core, an intellectual community of scholars – students and faculty – engaged in the free and open exchange of ideas. Critical to this lively exchange and deep engagement with ideas is the academic integrity of our work, both inside and outside the classroom.
At Kenyon we expect all students, at all times, to submit work that represents these standards of academic integrity. It is the responsibility of each student to learn and practice the proper ways of documenting and acknowledging those whose ideas and words you have drawn upon (see Academic Honesty and Questions of Plagiarism in the Course Catalog). Ignorance and carelessness are not excuses for academic dishonesty. If you are uncertain about the expectations for academic honesty in this class, please ask for clarification.
CANCELED CLASSES ‑ If an emergency makes it necessary for an instructor to cancel class, she or he should make an effort to notify the class, the department administrative assistant, and the department chair. If circumstances require a more extended absence during the semester, the instructor should notify the Provost's office and make alternative arrangements for the classes to be made up or otherwise covered.
CLASS ATTENDANCE - Students should be notified of the instructor’s attendance policy in each class, by a statement in the course syllabus. Generally, students are expected to attend all lectures, laboratories, and other scheduled course sessions. Students absent from class, even for an excused reason, bear full responsibility for minimizing the loss. Excuses for absences from classes are granted by the Dean of Students or the Dean for Academic Advising and Support when substantial reason is shown. Excused absences are coordinated through the Dean of Students office. Recognized grounds for excused absences are:
a. Curricular or extracurricular activities recommended by the faculty and approved by the Dean of Students and the Dean for Academic Advising and Support (this includes inter-collegiate athletic contests, the schedule for which is approved by CAS),
b. Personal obligations claimed by the student and recognized as valid by the Dean of Students and the Dean for Academic Advising and Support, and,
c. Sickness declared by the College physician with notice sent to the Dean of Students who issues a weekly report to the faculty listing students who have been officially excused from classes.
Personal obligations may include the observance of religious holidays. Faculty should try to avoid scheduling exams or other major assignments on the major religious holidays.
In the calculation of final course grades, students may not be penalized for excused absences, but they should be held responsible for all course assignments. Instructors may, if they wish, permit students to ameliorate the consequences of an excused absence in such situations. Excessive absence is one of the valid reasons for an instructor to expel a student from a course.
CLASS MEETING TIMES ‑ Courses will meet throughout the semester in a place and at the time assigned by the Registrar. So that students may participate freely in student life at Kenyon, no regular class sessions may be scheduled between 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. or during Common Hour on Tuesday and Thursday from 11:10 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
COURSE EVALUATIONS ‑ The College operates a system of required course evaluation for all classes. The online College Form is completed by students during the last week of classes each semester. Instructors may also use their own, optional course evaluation instruments or questions designed for their specific courses in addition to the College Form.
Course evaluations will be available online during the last week of the semester. Students will respond to college form questions by choosing from a scale of five responses the one that best represents their opinion. Once this information is tabulated, responses will be available to the faculty member and the Provost. The faculty member will have access to the results as quickly as they are compiled.
Summary results of the nine standard College Form evaluation questions will be added to the instructor’s dossier for the purpose of faculty review. Any additional, optional questions or course evaluations created by the instructor are for the personal use of the instructor and will not be added to the instructor’s review dossier.
COURSE SYLLABI ‑ Instructors are required to prepare and distribute a syllabus for each course. Each student must receive a copy of the syllabus at an early class meeting, and a copy of the syllabus should be available on request for at least one semester following the conclusion of the course. Syllabi should outline the student’s academic responsibilities, including attendance, tests, papers, required and suggested readings, and examinations, as well as provide clear explanations of course objectives and grading policies. In addition to a description of the basis on which the final grade will be calculated, the instructor should indicate when a final examination is given whether it is to be two or three hours in length.
DISABILITY ACCOMMODATION SYLLABI INFORMATION - All faculty are asked to include an accommodation statement within their course syllabi similar to the following:
“Students with disabilities who will be taking this course and may need academic accommodations are encouraged to make an appointment to see me as soon as possible. Also, you are required to register for support services with the Office of Disability Services in the Olin Library, Center for Innovative Pedagogy. Please contact Erin Salva at 5453 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Students are required to register for support services with Erin Salva.
PROGRESS REPORTS ‑ Instructors must file a mid-semester deficiency report for any student currently earning a C- or below. Deficiency reports are also required for students who are on "conditional enrollment." These mid‑semester evaluations provide an essential early warning system for students and advisors; please be sure that they are based on sufficient graded work to give the student useful information. The Report form is on line from the Registrar’s web site - Faculty Forms (but is an instrument of the Dean for Academic Advising and Support.)
ENFORCING COURSE PREREQUISITES – The enrollment system screens students for all pre-requisites outlined in the course of study. Faculty can override the pre-requisites for individuals by signing a student’s drop/add form or override form and checking the “Pre-requisite” box.
EXPULSION FROM A COURSE ‑ An instructor may expel a student from a course for cause at any time provided that at a reasonable time beforehand he or she has given the student written warning, with copies to the Dean of Students, the Dean for Academic Advising and Support, an Associate Provost, and the Registrar. Valid causes include excessive absences or disturbances in class. Poor performance in a class or failure to submit written work do not constitute sufficient reasons for expulsion.
EXTENSIONS AND INCOMPLETES ‑ All due dates within each semester are at the discretion of the instructor to the extent that they conform with the policies set forth below. Fairness to other students demands that an instructor exact a grade penalty for any student who submits late work. It is not a violation of academic policy to allow extensions on papers or projects even if such an extension results in the new due date being during a Grace Period (see “Grace Periods” below) or an exam period, as long as the original due date was not during a Grace Period or exam period. However, since the purpose of the Grace Periods and exam periods is to enable students to prepare for and take exams unencumbered by other major projects, such extensions may actually be disadvantageous to students. Instructors have the discretion to refuse to accept and grade late work if students have received written, timely notice of the instructor’s policies in this regard. Instructors may not accept work for credit which is submitted after the official end of the semester. The first semester ends on Friday, December 20, 2013, at 4:30 p.m. The second semester ends on Friday, May 9, 2014, at 4:30 p.m. Incomplete grades or extensions beyond the last day of exams are not granted by instructors. Incompletes are granted only by the Dean for Academic Advising and Support, after consultant with the course instructor, and the initiative for such requests should come from the student.
FINAL EXAMS SCHEDULES ‑ Notice to students about the schedule and length of the final examination should be given in the syllabus at the beginning of the semester. Subsequent changes in that schedule, even with the agreement of all members of the course, require the permission of Associate Provost Thomas. When considering special examinations for individual students, in the interest of fairness to both students and faculty colleagues, instructors must observe the following guidelines:
1. The examination schedule is available on the Registrar’s web page well before the beginning of each semester so that students may plan accordingly. Therefore, problems involving transportation or jobs are not sufficient grounds for setting special examinations.
2. Students who are scheduled for three or more examinations on the same day ordinarily are entitled to relief. Students should approach one of their instructors, typically beginning with the instructor of the 1:30pm exam. For additional assistance contact the Dean for Academic Advising and Support Hoi Ning Ngai or Associate Provosts Thomas or Hartlaub.
3. Scheduling problems involving the health of a student or personal or family crises are considered on a case‑by‑case basis. Ordinarily, the student and the instructor should consult with the Dean of Students, Hank Toutain.
A take‑home or out‑of‑class examination paper or project may be assigned in lieu of a final examination if the due date for this assignment is no earlier than the scheduled concluding time the Registrar has designated for the final exam in that course and if notice to students has occurred at the beginning of the semester in the syllabus.
Final examinations for first semester courses are scheduled by the Registrar for December 16-20. Final exams for year courses and second semester classes are scheduled for May 5-9. When an instructor tests all members of a class simultaneously, he or she must do so at the time and place announced by the Registrar; any exceptions must be approved by Associate Provost Thomas. Final examinations in semester courses are normally two hours in length, but may be up to three hours long if so indicated in the course syllabus.
GRACE PERIODS ‑ To ensure that students have adequate time, free from extraordinary pressures, to prepare for final examinations, and that students may have vacations free from substantial additional assignments, the College provides Grace Periods during the year. During these Grace Periods, instructors may not require work of any scale beyond that necessary for normal daily participation in classes, seminars and laboratories. When instructors believe that a particular course requires violation of the pattern required by grace periods, they may require work that conflicts with a grace period (such as a term paper) but they must inform the class of these assignments at the beginning of the course in the syllabus. The Grace Periods are seven calendar days before the beginning of the final examination period (last week of class) in each semester and two days following each vacation except Thanksgiving. Students and faculty with questions concerning Grace Periods should contact Associate Provost Thomas. Dates of Grace Periods for the current academic year are December 9-15; January 13-14; March 17-18; and April 28-May 4.
GRADE REPORTS ‑ Faculty may enter grades into the campus database via the web or they may deliver their grades to the Registrar's Office for entry by the Registrar's staff. Instructions for direct entry of grades are provided by the Registrar, or can be found on the web at the Registrar's site (registrar.kenyon.edu). It is important that these deadlines be honored by all faculty:
Fall Semester: Tentative grades for the first half of year courses and final grades for semester courses may be entered via the web at any time during the final exam period, but no later than 10:00 a.m. Monday, December 30, 2013.
Spring Semester: All grades for Seniors must be entered by 10:00 a.m. Monday, May 12, 2014. All grades must be entered by 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, May 20, 2014.
HOURS FOR ACADEMIC BUILDINGS ‑ Academic buildings at Kenyon are open during the academic year from 6:00 a.m. to midnight. They are not open, and will not be opened, for the submission of student work between midnight and 6:00 a.m.
OFFICE HOURS - Full time instructors are expected to maintain open office hours five hours per week, typically one hour per day. Part-time faculty may pro-rate their hours based on this standard. Office hours should be posted on your door and entered on the web through Personal Access page, accessible via the Registrar’s webpage.
PASS/D/FAIL GRADING - Students may take courses Pass/D/Fail, but only with the instructor’s permission. Faculty are not obligated to grant approval but are advised to cover this in the syllabus. Students have the first four weeks of class to make this decision and must do so on a drop/add form through the Registrar’s office or Registrar’s webpage under Student Forms. After students have declared a major, they may not take courses on a P/D/F basis in the department of their major or in other courses required for that major.
PETITIONS ‑ Students may petition for an exception to any academic rule except those regarding Commencement. The petition must include a request from the student and statements from the student's advisor and any other person who might shed light on the situation. Complete instructions for submitting a petition may be found at the Registrar's web site under “Student Forms.” If you receive a copy of a student petition (via e‑mail), the sender’s name will be Phaedra Fawcett in the Registrar’s office, simply REPLY to Phaedra so that it will find its way to the Petitions Committee. Your comments may be supportive of the petition or may argue against it; just provide your view of the matter. No petition is routine; never assume that one will be granted. Students should always continue to participate in class as if the petition will be denied. Please do not give assurances to students that could lead to their disappointment.
READING PERIODS ‑ During Reading Days designated in the College calendar, no class sessions, tests or assignments may be required. Reading days for the fall semester are October Break; 10-11, December 14 and 15, 8:00-5:00 on Dec.18, and for the spring semester, May 3 and 4, 8:00-5:00 on May 7. An exception is made in the case of honors examinations, which may be scheduled during reading periods.
GUEST STUDENTS AND AUDITORS –A guest student is someone who wishes to take courses on a part-time, occasional basis and whose immediate intention is not to earn an undergraduate degree from Kenyon. Admitted guest students may be admitted to any course in the College if there is space available on the first day of class, or conversely, guest students may not be admitted if any full‑time Kenyon student has been denied admission to the course. Guest students may take courses for credit or audit, a choice they negotiate with the instructor when they enroll in each course. All guest students must be admitted via an application process. Forms are available from the Registrar’s office.
Other Kenyon students may audit classes, though they may not change their status from credit to audit after the first seven class days of the semester. The minimum requirement for an auditor is regular attendance, but an instructor may negotiate additional academic requirements for auditors as he or she wishes.
WITHDRAWAL FROM COURSES ‑ Ordinarily, a student may withdraw from an extra course only within the first eight weeks of each semester, provided the student remains enrolled for at least 1.75 units of credit in the semester and for 4.00 units in the year. A WP is recorded if the student is passing at the time of the request; otherwise an F is recorded. Students who withdraw from a course because a serious illness or other personal circumstances beyond their control have prevented them from meeting the requirements of their courses will have WI recorded. A member of the Dean of Students Office or The Dean for Academic Advising and Support staff must support a petition for WI and the petition must be approved by the Committee on Academic Standards Subcommittee on Petitions. However, there are two exceptions: (1) Any student may seek a late withdrawal (WL) at any point (in any one semester of their Kenyon career) up to and including the last day of the regularly-scheduled class meeting. To obtain a late withdrawal, the student must discuss the matter with the instructor, the advisor and the Dean for Academic Advising and Support and must complete a withdrawal form and return it to the Registrar’s office no later than the last day of regularly-scheduled class. (2) Seniors who are credit ahead, may enroll for as little as 1.50 units in one semester as long as they attempt a minimum of 3.5 units over the academic year.
These academic policy reminders are available on the Provost’s web site (provost.kenyon.edu) and are updated each summer or as needed. For other advice on academic policies or other instructional matters, please consult with the Dean for Academic Advising and Support Hoi Ning Ngai, or the Associate Provosts Brad Hartlaub or Jan Thomas.