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Academic Policy Changes

Academic Policies Changed and Effective for the 2020-2021 Academic Year

This page contains a short explanation of academic policy changes each academic year, what students, faculty, and academic advisers need to know about those changes, and provides a short rationale for why these changes were made.

Links to the current policy and its location in the Catalog are also provided.

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Location in the Catalog

I.     Probation and Suspension Policy

Academic Standards

II.    Attendance Policies Enrollment, Advising, and Grades

III.    Credit for Prior Learning

Programs, Courses, and Credits

IV.    Final Exam Policy

Programs, Courses, and Credits
V.    Additional Changes

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I. Probation and Suspension Policy

What's changed?
  • The suspension process will occur twice a year at the end of each regular term (fall and spring).
  • Students will be suspended for the first time at the end of the third term for which they have an overall GPA that is less than 2.00.
    • This means that freshmen can only be suspended, at the earliest, at the end of their third full term.
  • First and second suspensions are for one year; the third suspension is for three years (before: one semester, one year, five years).
  • Probation contracts are mandatory.
Why did we make this change?
  • To eliminate "surprise" suspensions due to students only being suspended in the spring.
  • To support students who struggle early in their academic career and have the ability to make consequential improvement to their GPA.
  • To ensure that academic suspension is an effective sanction.
  • To increase the transparency and clarity necessary for probationary students to succeed.

II. Attendance Policies

What's changed?
  • COVID-19 related absences for either illness or quarantine will be treated as university-sanctioned absences for academic year 2020-2021. This means that students who miss class for those reasons cannot be punished academically (cannot lose points) and will be given the chance to either make-up work that was missed or given alternative means to meet the course learning outcomes.
    • Generally, students who are in quarantine will be expected to be working on completing assignments while they are in quarantine.
  • An Emergency Leave policy was added to the Catalog. This policy functions the same as the Military Leave Policy and protects students who experience a prolonged and consecutive absence from class due to an unexpected illness, injury, or other unexpected event. Students will work with the dean's office of their major and their instructors to arrive at the best possible resolution (from receiving the grade for the course that has been earned thus far, to an Incomplete or late withdrawal) for each course. While no particular outcome is guaranteed, it will protect students from the most adverse outcomes.
    • Evidence of the illness, injury,or event may be required depending upon the resolution.
Why did we make these changes?
  • To protect students who are either made ill by COVID-19 or asked to quarantine because of travel, exposure to the virus as determined by contact tracing, or in protective measure.
  • To protect students who experience dire personal events and may be unable to use normal university policies at the regular time because of those events.
  • To encourage faculty to move away from including simple physical presence (attendance) as part of their course grades and move towards more regular participatory and engagement-focused grading.

III. Credit for Prior Learning

What's changed?

  • Degree programs will now have the ability to grant credit for transcripted learning experiences like professional certifications and training.
    • Students will need to present their documented credential to their academic adviser and work with their degree program to determine if their credential can be awarded credit for that particular program.
Why did we make this change?
  • To facilitate degree completion for students with these kinds of experiences.

What's changed?

  • Rules governing giving substantial examinations or quizzes during the last week of regular classes (preceding finals week) were changed so that faculty can only give exams or quizzes that cover less than 20% of the course content AND for which they intend to provide meaningful feedback to students prior to the final examination for the course.
Why did we make this change?
  • To support faculty in providing more low-stakes assessments in their courses.
  • To increase student success in course completion and improve learning in those courses

V.  Additional Changes

Accelerated Bachelor's to Master's programs and 3+3 degree programs
While there are no changes to existing Accelerated Bachelor's to Master's or 3+3 degree programs, the AY 2020-2021 Catalog will contain much more information that pertains to students enrolled or seeking to enroll in those programs.

Modality Definitions
Definitions of course delivery options have been updated focusing primarily on two new modalities - correspondence and hybrid-flexible - and sharpening the distinction between asynchronous and synchronous online courses. Further methods of identifying these modalities will be forthcoming in Banner in spring 2021 and those will be reflected here once they're ready.
  • Correspondence courses are distance-delivered (online) but without regular instructor-initiated interaction with the students. They also may be self-paced within the term of the course.
  • Asynchronous online sections will not have a classroom nor meeting time assigned.
  • Synchronous online sections (those that will "meet" at set times) will not have a classroom but will have a meeting time that appears on students' schedules. They may or may not use all of those meeting times.
  • Hybrid and hybrid-flexible sections will appear like any other traditional on-campus section in fall 2020. Students will need to contact their instructors to determine the exact meeting pattern and expectations for the course.