Refer to the Academic Catalog (catalog.wooster.edu) for full listing of academic policies and procedures.
Appeal of a Grade
Grade changes and appeal are accepted only when there is clear and compelling evidence that there is an error or injustice in the grade that was assigned.
1. Student submits a written appeal of a grade to the instructor of the course. The appeal should include all relevant documents indicating why a student believes the grade was assigned incorrectly. The instructor will then provide a written response to the petition.
2. If the student is not satisfied with the reply, then the student submits a written appeal of the grade to the Chair of the department. The appeal should include the original petition and reply from the faculty member. The chair will then provide a written response to the petition.
3. If the student is not satisfied with the reply from the department chair, then the student submits a written to the Dean for Curriculum and Academic Engagement, who shall refer the matter to the Committee on Academic Standards. This appeal should include the written appeals and the responses from the faculty member and the Chair of the department. The Dean will then ask the faculty member and the chair to provide a written statement. Any information submitted as part of the appeal will be shared with the faculty member and Chair of the department. In addition, the Dean will then convene the Committee on Academic Standards and ask them to review all the materials and decide if further evidence is necessary. At the end of the deliberative process the Committee will decide the outcome.
Exchange of Ideas during Class
At The College of Wooster, academic discourse within the framework of our courses is of fundamental importance and faculty members should work to provide and maintain an environment that is conducive to learning for all students. We strive to encourage the free exchange of ideas always in an environment of respect and civil discourse. Inappropriate comments or behavior can sometimes seriously undermine that environment. For example, while students and faculty are encouraged to debate ideas and offer differing viewpoints, even when these exchanges are uncomfortable, they should recognize that personal attacks are unacceptable.
The College also takes seriously the responsibility of all members of a learning community to interact in a respectful and civil manner in every area of community life. Disruptive or disrespectful behavior that subverts the efforts of faculty and students to pursue the teaching and learning process will not be tolerated. Steps to address disruptive or disrespectful behavior and assure that all students are able to participate fully in their academic pursuits are outlined below for:
- students who have concerns about faculty members or peers
- faculty or staff members who are concerned about a student’s behavior in relation to themselves, TAs, other students, or colleagues
Definition of Disruptive Classroom Behavior:
Behavior that is not conducive to the teaching and learning process (either in the classroom or in other settings such as labs or advising), and that interferes with the functions and services of the College. Examples of disruptive behavior include the following, though this list is not exhaustive:
- Aggression toward other students or instructors/TAs
- Making loud and distracting noises
- Frequent interruption of others
- Making physical or verbal threats
- Persisting in speaking without being recognized
- Yelling inside or outside of the classroom
- Untimely talking/laughing/crying
- Engaging in content on a laptop that others find disruptive
- Acting in a manner which disrupts a class or administrative process
Frank yet respectful informal discussions between instructors and students are the preferred response to problems that are covered by the Classroom Atmosphere Policy. However, each case is different and given these complexities faculty members or students who have concerns may wish to seek advice, as outlined below, to prepare for these discussions or to take other steps.
OPTIONS FOR STUDENTS
- Get advice from your academic advisor(s) and/or staff members in APEX, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI), or your Class Dean. Based on their judgment, these staff members may consult with, or encourage students to consult with, the Dean for Faculty Development (DFD) or the Dean for Curriculum and Academic Engagement (DCAE). Students may also consult informally with either of these Deans as a first step.
- If a student feels comfortable doing so, they are also encouraged to talk with faculty member directly, preferably during the semester so that there is time to resolve the issue. However, because the faculty member is in a position of authority over the student, students may not feel that it is possible for them to bring a concern directly to a faculty member.
- Students may also talk with a faculty member after the end of the course and/or provide their input using the course evaluation form that is administered at the end of the semester in all Wooster courses. However, we generally try to resolve conflict during the semester to improve the student’s (and their peers’) educational experience.
- If the student is not comfortable speaking directly with the faculty member, or if that does not lead to a successful resolution, they should next reach out to the Chair of the Department or Program about their concerns.
- If the faculty member is the Chair, or if the matter is not able to be resolved with the Chair, the student should reach out to one of the Deans in Academic Affairs
Dean for Curriculum and Academic Engagement (DCAE)
The DCAE addresses matters relating to the academic procedures and policies of the College that cannot be resolved at the departmental level. These can include grade appeals and concerns about violation of academic policy.
Dean for Faculty Development (DFD)
The DFD leads professional development for all faculty. Student concerns related to specific faculty, but also broader concerns about pedagogical approaches and faculty behavior may be brought to the DFD’s attention.
After speaking with the student (or students), the DCAE and/or DFD will seek to resolve the student concern. This may involve:
- a meeting with the Dean involving the student, faculty member, and/or their Chair
- in some cases, removing the student from the course or altering the nature of their participation might be considered
- depending on the nature of the student’s concern, a student may also file a formal grade grievance with the DCAE. See “Appeal of a Grade” in the Scot’s Key.
- a meeting with the instructor, often with the Chair of their Department or other colleague, to hear the instructor’s perspective and allow them to provide context for the student concern. This also offers an opportunity for informal mentoring. After that meeting, the Dean will send a summary email to the instructor and other attendees. While the Provost is not always involved in student concerns about instructors, the Provost’s responsibility as Chief Academic Officer may require their involvement in some situations. Actions taken that involve a staff or faculty member’s personnel records, or faculty reviews for tenure and promotion, are typically confidential.
FOR FACULTY MEMBERS AND STAFF INSTRUCTORS
For all courses, the instructor should:
- Include behavioral norms and expectations in the course syllabus (see guidance on creating classroom policies on the Teaching & Learning website, including Sample Syllabus Statements).
- Discuss what constitutes disruptive classroom behavior at the first meeting of the class.
- Establish an environment in which opposing views may be expressed in a civil and respectful manner.
- Exhibit the type of behavior you expect from the students.
If a disruptive behavior has occurred:
- Instructors may wish to consult with the student’s academic advisor, their own department or program chair, the Academic Resource Center, and/or a Dean in Academic Affairs, even at the stage of informal interventions.
- Address the disruptive behavior with a general comment to all students and/or follow up with the individual student in private after class.
- Follow up with the student in private after class and/or meet in a confidential setting. Ask the student to stop the disruptive behavior and warn that further disruption may result in disciplinary action. However, if the student’s behavior seems threatening to the instructor, the faculty member should ask the department or program chair and/or a Dean from Academic Affairs to join the initial discussion.
- If the student continues to be disruptive, ask the student to leave the class for the remainder of the class period and to meet with you before returning to class. At this point, inform the Department or Program Chair and the Director of Student Rights & Responsibilities (SSR) that their assistance may be requested.
If informal measures are unsuccessful, instructors should follow these procedures:
- The instructor should warn the student in writing that the disruptive behavior is unacceptable and warn that further disruption may result in disciplinary action.
- The instructor should keep notes on the dates, times, and details of the incidents of disruption, the impact of disruption on those present, and warnings conveyed to the student, as these are useful in later stages of the proceedings.
- If the behavior continues after a written warning has been given, the instructor should notify both Deans in Academic Affairs (DCAE & DFD) in writing, giving a summary of what happened and the action that has been taken. Upon receipt of this summary, one of the Deans will typically set up a meeting involving the instructor, student, and often the department or program chair. In order to minimize the procedure’s interference with courses, this meeting is typically scheduled as soon as possible, preferably before the next class meeting.
- At the meeting, the instructor and student are invited to discuss the situation. The goal of the meeting is to give both parties a chance to discuss, in a safe space, what has happened. Such a discussion may enable the instructor and student to see the problem from a different point of view or to hear the perspective of the other person in a new way. The Dean’s role is to moderate the discussion, ensuring that the conversation remains civil and focused on the issue at hand. Either party may, but neither must, bring an advisor to the meeting (a student may bring another student, faculty, or staff member, faculty often include their department or program Chair, and staff instructors might wish to include a supervisor). Advisors may consult privately with the person whom they are accompanying, but they do not enter the discussion.
- As soon as possible after the meeting, the instructor makes a recommendation to the DCAE and DFD, who will consult with the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities (SRR). If the instructor recommends that the student be allowed to remain in the course then a Dean, the Director of SRR, and the instructor should consult regarding how best to convey this decision and any stipulations or conditions to the student.
- If the instructor requests further action, they make that request in writing to the DCAE and DFD. The Dean then conveys the instructor’s conclusions along with a written summary of the three-way meeting to the Provost and the Director of SRR. The Director of SRR then facilitates a student conduct process in alignment with the proceeses identified in the Scot’s Key.
- If the Conduct Board’s sanction is to remove the student from the course, the Provost will be responsible for deciding what appears on the student’s transcript: W, F, or no entry.”
A pattern of disruptive behavior in several courses will be addressed jointly by Deans of the offices of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs.
Please note: This policy is not meant to cover behavior that occurs outside the classroom or other educational settings and/or involves harassment or discrimination. Other policies are in place to handle those situations; these are published in the Scot’s Key, the Faculty Handbook, and the Handbook of Selected College Policies.
Chairs are welcome to consult with the Deans at any point, and if the concern is not able to be resolved at that level, Chairs should advise that the student meet directly with one of the Deans regarding their concerns. Please note that there is some overlap in their areas and on some occasions meeting with both Deans may be advisable. In cases where there is a conflict of interest involving the Chair or a Dean, the Provost may also participate in a conversation.
Leave of Absence or Withdrawal
Leave of Absence
A student has the option of requesting a leave of absence for one semester in order to advance future plans, assist with a family situation, or some other unforeseen circumstance.
To be eligible for a leave of absence, the student must be in good academic, financial, and conduct standing; and the request must be received prior to the start of the term in which the student plans to take a leave.
To formally request a leave of absence students must submit an application to the Office of the Dean of Students (firstname.lastname@example.org). In the request, they should specify the reason for the leave and their plans while away from Wooster.
During the time on leave, the student is still considered to be a current Wooster student, but not enrolled in classes during their time away. Their wooster.edu email address will remain active and will be the primary means of contact by the college. During the leave of absence, students, may contact faculty as well as their Class Dean in the Dean of Students Office. Additionally, any financial aid awarded to the student will be reinstated upon their return from leave.
Students must notify the college of their intent to return to campus no later than November 1 to return the following spring semester and April 1 to return the following fall semester.
In the semester preceding their return to the college, students on leaves of absence will be eligible to participate in such procedures as registration for classes and room selection for housing assignments along with students who are regularly enrolled.
Students who face personal illness or family emergency should contact their faculty member(s) and the Dean of Students Ofﬁce. Any arrangements to make up academic work missed during a personal illness or family emergency must be negotiated directly with the individual faculty member(s).
Withdrawal from the College
Withdrawal from the college may occur at any point, during or between semesters. Once withdrawn, students are no longer permitted to participate in the academic and co-curricular activities of the college unless officially readmitted. Students will also lose the meal plan and are required to vacate campus housing immediately (Extensions for travel arrangements may be granted by the Dean of Students’ Office. Once a student is withdrawn from the college, the official Wooster email address is deactivated within 30 business days.
A student withdrawing prior to the 6th week drop date will have grades of “W” recorded for each course. After the 6th week drop date, grades of F will be recorded for all courses. Students may petition the Dean for Curriculum and Academic Engagement for an exception to this policy. Exceptions are approved only in truly extraordinary and extenuating circumstances, and primarily for documented health and medical reasons. If the petition is approved the Fs will be changed to WP (withdrawal passing) or WF (withdrawal failing).
If a student enrolled in any off-campus program is voluntarily or involuntarily withdrawn from that program, that student will be required to apply for readmission to The College of Wooster. The host institution will assign grades based upon their policies.
If the withdrawal occurs prior to the end of the seventh week of the semester, a pro-rated rebate may be made in accordance with the policy outlined in the section on expenses.
Students receiving any financial aid or scholarships should consult with the Financial Aid Office about the potential financial impact of withdrawing. Any adjustment to the student’s tuition will be made in accordance with standing college policies. If a student withdraws without completing the full withdrawal process, they will forfeit their entire enrollment deposit.
In situations where there are unresolved issues related to a student’s behavior/conduct and/or financial obligations to the college, a hold may be placed on the student record at the time of withdrawal.
Policies or practices of the college related to satisfactory academic progress will be considered upon return and may impact financial aid.
Schedule for Charges for Withdrawal
An undergraduate student enrolled full-time who cancels or withdraws from the college for personal or medical reasons, or is suspended or dismissed from the college, will receive a refund of tuition, and if applicable, room and meal plan charges, in accordance with the following schedule:
1st week of a semester………………………………. Refund 90% of the full semester’s charge
2nd week of a semester…………………………….. Refund 80% of the full semester’s charge
3rd week of a semester …………………………….. Refund 70% of the full semester’s charge
4th week of a semester …………………………….. Refund 60% of the full semester’s charge
5th week of a semester …………………………….. Refund 50% of the full semester’s charge
6th week of a semester …………………………….. Refund 40% of the full semester’s charge
7th week of a semester …………………………….. Refund 20% of the full semester’s charge
For the purposes of this policy a week is defined as Wednesday through Tuesday.
Students receiving financial assistance under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, who withdraw during the first sixty percent of the semester (measured in calendar days); will be subject to a “Return of Title IV Funds” calculation to determine the portion of their federal student aid that must be returned to the federal government. Students who withdraw after the sixty percent point are considered to have “earned” all their federal student aid for that semester. The college has adopted this same policy with respect to college-funded aid. State aid reductions may also be required in accordance with each state’s regulations. Consequently, no adjustment to a student’s account will be made until all appropriate financial aid reductions are calculated. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid for additional information about possible loss of aid and for examples of typical calculations. An optional Comprehensive Fee refund insurance plan is available for insuring up to a full refund of fees in the event of a student’s early withdrawal from Wooster because of illness. Information concerning this plan is mailed to all parents prior to the beginning of the academic year.
A student wishing to voluntarily withdraw from the college must meet with a Dean of Students staff member to discuss the withdrawal process and complete the necessary steps. This process includes completion of an exit interview through the Dean of Students office.
Readmission from Voluntary Withdrawal
If a student seeks readmission following a voluntary withdrawal, the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, in consultation with the Dean for Curriculum and Academic Engagement, will review the application and notify the student of their decision.
A student may be involuntarily withdrawn from the college for academic, behavioral, disciplinary, or financial reasons.
If a student is involuntarily withdrawn from the college, the Office of the Dean of Students, in consultation with appropriate campus resources, will make a determination regarding the length of separation from the college and describe the conditions under which the student may seek to reapply.
Involuntary Academic Withdrawal
The Committee on Academic Standards is comprised of a group of voting members who meet in the presence of additional staff from across campus who can inform voting members about relevant context pertaining to individual cases. Voting members of the Committee include Dean for Curriculum and Academic Engagement, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, one additional staff member from the Dean of Students Office, Vice President for Enrollment and Admissions, Associate Dean for Academic Advising, three additional faculty members.
Committee for Academic Standards - Mid Semester
- Involuntary academic withdrawal from Wooster may be at the initiation of the college, by the Committee on Academic Standards, at any point during or between semesters for reasons such as:
- The student fails to attend the first day of classes for any given semester.
- The student fails to attend classes regularly as outlined in individual course syllabi.
- The student misses more than five consecutive business days without permission from the Dean for Curriculum and Academic Engagement.
- The student is not engaged in their education, for example, failure to be prepared for class and/or labs, failure to be an active participant in the classroom activities, and failure to turn in assignments on time.
Committee for Academic Standards - End of Semester
Following the conclusion of each academic semester, the Committee on Academic Standards will meet to review the students who have failed to make Satisfactory Academic Progress. After a careful analysis of each record, those students who have been unsuccessful in making satisfactory academic progress may be withdrawn by the Committee. These decisions are made on an individual basis and specific requirements to be eligible for readmission are outlined in the withdrawal letter.
Appeal of Involuntary Academic Withdrawal
A student may appeal the college’s decision in writing to the provost within five business days of the student’s receipt of the withdrawal decision. The provost will review all available information related to the student and make a final decision regarding the appeal. The decision of the provost shall be the final decision of the college. The appeal must be based upon a violation of procedural rights and/or new supporting documentation.
Readmission Following Involuntary Academic Withdrawal
If a student applies for readmission following an involuntary academic withdrawal, the Committee on Academic Standards will review the application at a meeting at the conclusion of each semester and determine whether the student is readmitted.
Involuntary Financial Withdrawal
Students with outstanding balances at the beginning of the semester may be involuntarily withdrawn by the provost upon the recommendation of the Vice President for Finance and Business and after consultation with the AVP/Controller, the Dean for Curriculum and Academic Engagement, and the Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students. (see specific financial details regarding withdrawal in the Financial Holds Section) Students may appeal the involuntary financial withdrawal following the appeal process outlined in their withdrawal letter. The appeal must be based upon a violation of procedural rights and/or new supporting documentation.
Involuntary Conduct/Disciplinary Withdrawal
A student may be involuntarily withdrawn at any time from The College of Wooster for conduct/disciplinary reasons. Violation of The Wooster Ethic, Academic Integrity policies, or Community Value policies within The Scot’s Key may be grounds for involuntary disciplinary withdrawal. Student may appeal the involuntary withdrawal following the appeal process outlined in their withdrawal letter.
Readmission for Conduct/Disciplinary Withdrawal
For involuntary disciplinary withdrawal, the members of the Student Conduct Board through Student Rights and Responsibilities will review the readmission application and any additional requirements set forth in the conduct withdrawal letter. The committee will inform the Committee for Academic Standards if the applicant has completed necessary conduct requirements for readmission and also needs to meet stipulated academic requirements.
An Application for Readmission to The College of Wooster must be completed by all persons who have voluntarily or involuntarily withdrawn from The College of Wooster and wish to apply for readmission. Applicants for readmission must complete the following steps:
Submit an Application for Readmission to the Dean of Students Office (email@example.com);
Address any holds that may have been placed on their student record or account by contacting the appropriate office(s) (for example, the Business Office, Dean of Students Office, Registrar);
Complete the Readmission Application by appropriate deadlines. All information is located on the Dean of Students Office website.
All other necessary information related to readmission is available at the Dean of Students website listed above.
Reading Days and Examination Periods
No co-curricular or extracurricular activities, or programs by departments and academic programs, are permitted during the period reserved in the academic calendar each semester for Reading Days and Examinations. The Reading Days and Examinations period will begin at 4:00 p.m. on the last Friday of classes and run through the Sunday before the Examination Period. The Examination Period begins the Monday after the end of class and runs through the completion of all final exams.
Exceptions will be made for the activities that are clearly related to preparation for final examinations (review classes, group study sessions); and previously scheduled intercollegiate athletic games and tournaments. Any exception to this policy needs to be reviewed and approved by the Dean for Curriculum and Academic Engagement in consultation with the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students and Director of Lowry Center and Student Activities. Requests for exceptions must be submitted no later than three (3) weeks before the desired event date. Requests must be submitted to the Director of Lowry Center and Student Activities, who will assist with the exception process.
The College of Wooster acknowledges that our community is one of many faiths with a diverse range of practices and observances important to each tradition. To fulfill the college’s mission to educate a diverse population of students and our commitment to inclusion regardless of religious and spiritual tradition, we seek to practice an equitable and consistent approach in providing religious accommodations.
Students shall not suffer academic, athletic, or employment penalties because of the conscientious observance of any religious day or days. Penalties include reduction of grades, exclusion from class projects, reduction in number of other excused absences, bias in evaluation, suspension or termination from play or work, and other preventable negative consequences. Religious observances that may require accommodation include but are not limited to attendance at services, fasting, set prayer times, and other practices that would impede a student’s normal participation in classes, labs, other course-related work, athletic participation, and student employment.
Accommodations may include excused absences, adjusted exam times, permission to eat during class time, changes to assignment due dates and project schedules, and other reasonable adjustments to course schedules and activities. Accommodations should not reduce the overall expectations of a course nor unduly burden the student requesting accommodation.
Students whose conscientious religious observance requires their absence from class, campus employment, athletic practice, and/or game days or necessitates accommodations should notify the Dean for Curriculum and Academic Engagement (DCAE) prior to the holiday. Although not required, it is highly recommended that students submit written notification of the pending religious holiday, preferably at the start of the semester or at least one week before the holiday. The DCAE will distribute written notification to faculty. Distributing the written notification during the first week of classes, campus employment, or at the start of the athletic season will give the student, faculty, coach, or supervisor the most time to prepare for the absence. A student missing an examination due to religious observance will be permitted to take a makeup exam without penalty. A student with an assignment due on a religious holiday will be permitted to submit that assignment by an agreed upon due date, without penalty. A student will be able to make up academic work and/or campus employment requirements, without penalty.
Co-Curricular Activities and Academic Responsibilities
Co-curricular activities in the performing arts and athletics are sponsored by The College of Wooster through its academic departments and are provided for the students as a part of the educational program. They are supported by the college primarily for their educational value to the participants and only secondarily for the purpose of public performance. Directors or coaches are faculty members (or in some instances are non-faculty personnel with special assignments who are responsible to the Chairperson of the Department) who have the responsibility for the instruction and evaluation of the participants in the activity in a way like the way all faculty members are responsible for the instruction and evaluation of the students enrolled in courses.
Performing arts directors and coaches, in a manner similar to that of teachers in classes, shall inform student participants at the beginning of each activity of the regulations governing attendance and participation. A director or coach has the responsibility for judging which students, based on their performance ability, participate in the public appearances of the organization, and a student who fails to attend scheduled practices or performances prejudices their chances of public appearance. A student performer who has been denied participation in a public appearance because of absence from a scheduled practice or performance may appeal the decision to the Dean for Curriculum and Academic Engagement.