DATE: August 1, 2015
TO: All Teaching Faculty
FROM: The Associate Provosts
SUBJECT: Summary of important academic policies
The following has been extracted from the Faculty Handbook, the 2015-16 Kenyon College Course Catalog, and the Student Handbook. Please refer to those sources for more detailed information. Policies are listed in alphabetical order.
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 Kenyon College Course Catalog 2015-2016 (Academic Policies and Procedures; Academic Integrity) on line for policies. 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. 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 in print 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 negative impact of the absence. Policies and practices with regard to class absences are generally defined, communicated to students, and enforced by individual course instructors. Instructors will receive notification of student absence due to the following reasons: 1) curricular or extracurricular activities sanctioned in advance by the College, 2) infirmity as determined by the College Health and Counseling Center, or 3) compelling and unavoidable personal circumstances as determined by the Dean of Students or the Dean for Academic Advising. In these cases, students may not be penalized for the absence, but they should be held responsible for all course assignments. The rescheduling of examinations or assigned work must be initiated by the student.
Instructors may, of course, grant other excuses for absence according to their own judgment. Ordinary ambulatory illnesses such as colds are subject to the mutual understanding of individual students and instructors. Excessive absence is one of the valid reasons for an instructor to expel a student from a course.
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.
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.
Please note that there are three days that will have minor adjustments to some regular class times: Founder’s Day (October), Martin Luther King Day (January), and Honors Day (April).
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.
Summaries will also be made available to mentoring committee members, in the case of first and second year faculty, and to department chairs, in the case of visiting faculty. Summary results of the nine standard College Form evaluation questions will be added to the instructor’s dossier for the purpose of faculty review for permanent part-time faculty and tenured and tenure track faculty. 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 expectations, dates of tests, papers and other assignments, required and suggested readings, and clear explanations of course objectives and grading policies. In addition to a description of how the final grade will be calculated, the instructor should indicate whether the final exam will 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 one below. Alternative suggestions can be found on the Student Accessibility and Support Services (SASS) website.
“Students who anticipate they may need accommodations in this course because of the impact of a learning, physical, or psychological disability are encouraged to meet with me privately early in the semester to discuss their concerns. In addition, students must contact Erin Salva, Director of Student Accessibility and Support Services (740-427-5453 or firstname.lastname@example.org), as soon as possible, to verify their eligibility for reasonable academic accommodations. Early contact will help to avoid unnecessary inconvenience and delays.”
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 to 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 18, 2015, at 4:30 p.m. The second semester ends on Friday, May 13, 2016, 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 García. When considering special examinations for individual students, in the interest of fairness to both students and faculty colleagues, instructors must observe the following guidelines:
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 14-18. Final exams for year courses and second semester classes are scheduled for May 9-13. 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 García. 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 – The College provides Grace Periods during the year to ensure that 1) students have adequate time, free from extraordinary pressures, to prepare for final examinations, 2) students have winter and spring breaks free from substantial assignments, and 3) the routine work in classes during the final week of the semester is not disrupted. During grace periods, instructors may not offer final exams. Also, instructors should not require assignments beyond what is necessary for normal daily participation in classes, seminars and laboratories during grace periods. Instructors may only schedule more ambitious assignments during grace periods if there is a pedagogical rationale for doing so, and they must inform the class of these assignments at the beginning of the course. The grace periods are seven calendar days before the beginning of the final examination period in each semester and two days following winter and spring vacations.
Students and faculty with questions concerning Grace Periods should contact Associate Provost García. Dates of Grace Periods for the current academic year are December 7-13; January 18-19; March 21-22; and May 2-8.
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. Tuesday, December 29, 2015.
Spring Semester: All grades for seniors must be entered by 10:00 a.m. Monday, May 16, 2016. All grades must be entered by 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, May 24, 2016.
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.
HOURS FOR ACADEMIC BUILDINGS ‑ Academic buildings at Kenyon are open during the academic year from 7:00 AM to 8:00 pm for everyone. Between 8:00pm and midnight, ID cards will be necessary to enter the academic buildings. Academic buildings are not open, and will not be opened, for the submission of student work between midnight and 7:00 am.
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 - Except for rules regarding Commencement, students may petition for an exception to an academic rule under extenuating circumstances. 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 extenuating nature of 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 Ms. Fawcett, and your statement will find its way to the Petitions Committee. Your comments may either be supportive of the petition or argue against it; please provide your view of the matter in as complete a manner as possible. No petition is routine or guaranteed; neither students nor faculty should ever assume that one will be granted. Students should always continue to participate in class with the understanding that the petition is not approved until approval has been granted. Please do not give any assurances to students that could lead to their disappointment.
PROGRESS REPORTS ‑ Instructors submit progress reports throughout each semester for students with excessive absences, delinquent work, and/or academic deficiencies. An academic deficiency is defined as a level of performance at C- or below. At the end of each semester, instructors are required to comment in cases of academic deficiency. Progress reports are also submitted at mid-term and the end of the semester for students on Conditional Enrollment to provide regular feedback on academic progress, even when academic performance is not deficient. Improvement and exceptional work by any student can also be reported.
Progress reports are sent to the student's advisor, the dean for academic advising, and additional sources of support. The advisor and/or dean for academic advising use these reports to counsel the student. Progress reports are reviewed by the Committee on Academic Standards and considered in its deliberations at the end of each semester. The Report form is available on line on the Registrar’s website (although it is an instrument of the Dean of Academic Advising and Support)
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; October 8-9, 2015, December 12 and 13, and 8:00-5:00 on December 16, 2015 and for the spring semester, May 7 and 8, and 8:00-5:00 on May 11, 2016. An exception is made in the case of honors examinations, which may be scheduled during reading periods.
STUDENT APPEALS – Occasionally, students may encounter situations in which a policy in a course is apparently in conflict with the academic policies of the college. In some of these circumstances, students may be permitted relief from the course policy. For advice about these situations, students should consult their faculty advisors and/or the Dean of Academic Advising. When students believe that a course policy is not in compliance with the academic policies of the college, they should discuss the matter with the instructor first, then the chair of the department or program that lists the course, and finally a member of the administration (an Associate Provost or the Provost).
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:
These academic policy reminders are available on the Provost’s web site (http://www.kenyon.edu/directories/offices-services/office-of-the-provost/facilities-resources/) 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 Ivonne García.