Common Academic Issues
HOW DO I GET ACADEMIC ADVISING
When you made application to Valley City State University you were asked to indicate on the application form the area of study that you wish to pursue. It is from that information that the Office of Student Academic Services makes the adviser assignments.
Students are most often assigned an adviser from the department or division that they choose. Many students at the time of application are undecided about an area of study. If so, students are assigned an advisor who is prepared to help you plan a schedule that will enable you to explore a number of different areas while completing the foundation studies requirements.
You are urged to get to know your adviser as soon as possible. Your adviser can become your most valuable academic resource
HOW THE REGISTRATION SYSTEM WORKS
Near the end of each semester there is a registration for all currently enrolled students. Prior to that time your adviser will receive a computerized registration form that includes your name, student number, and information regarding your phone number, campus address, and home address.
Your adviser may send you a note regarding an appointment time for you or he/she may have a sign-up sheet on his/her door for you to schedule yourself an appointment. In any case you must contact your adviser prior to registration to obtain your registration form.
Once you have completed the registration form with your desired class schedule, including alternative classes and receive the signature of your adviser you are ready to register.
The Registrars Office sets the registration schedule. At your designated time you report to the Registrars Office with your completed registration form and officially register. Simple as that!
CHANGING AN ADVISER
Students may, at any time change advisers. Students change for a number of reasons, including a change of majors, or a desire to change to an adviser the student feels more comfortable with. Students are to talk to the adviser they wish to change to before processing the change.
All changes are processed in the Office of Student Academic Services.
YOUR RESPONSIBILITY AS AN ADVISEE
The adviser assigned to you accepts the responsibility to be informed and to show concern for you as an advisee. Academic Advising is an involved process. With the help of your adviser, you will move from a decision making process toward realistic, flexible academic and professional goals.
In order for your adviser to provide this valuable service for you, he/she has a right to expect that you the student should:
- consult with the adviser on at least a semester basis and when necessary.
- keep appointments promptly. If the student finds it is impossible to keep the appointment, the student should try to notify the adviser before the appointment time.
- be prepared for the appointment and bring appropriate materials.
- seek assistance with the decisions to be made rather than expect the adviser to make them.
- seek reassignment to another adviser when appropriate.
It is important to remember that a student has primary responsibility for meeting all appropriate academic requirements. The Bulletin lists the appropriate requirements by academic area. Deadlines for applying to selective admissions programs such as teacher education and other departmental guidelines must also be noted by the student.
An adviser will help students interpret academic requirements and regulations, establish educational goals, and assist in the scheduling of courses so that educational goals may be attained.
PLANNING THE FRESHMAN PROGRAM
In preparing to satisfy the requirements of a major degree, refer to the Valley City State University Bulletin for the requirements in the various departments.
Your adviser will work with you in determining a wise course of study for your freshman year. A good first-year program is a carefully selected group of courses based on the students long range plans and interests not a random choice of courses which seems attractive.
- Concentrate your first year on the completion of the Foundation Study requirements.
- You may wish to choose at least one course in your general field of interest during the first year.
- Don't be afraid to experiment by trying new subjects which will introduce you to other fields of interest.
- Stick to 100 or 200 level courses during the first year.
- Don't be in a big hurry! An overload of courses in the first few semesters is not recommended for a student new to the college experience. Sixteen credit hours is an average course load.
WHAT IF I AM UNDECIDED ABOUT A MAJOR
Many students start their freshman year still undecided about a major course of study. Finding the right course may take time and you may change your mind about your major as you progress. Your adviser and counselors are prepared to help you in making educational and career plans. By spending your first year in foundation studies and using the resources available to you in the Career Planning office, you will find a degree program for yourself.
Keep in mind that spending your first few semesters as an undecided student will not ordinarily hamper your completion of a degree program within a reasonable period of time.
You may be a student with a planned major area of study that we call "pre-professional". If you are pursuing a degree in an area such as medicine, dentistry, optometry, nursing, etc., you will be preparing yourself for further study at an institution offering those programs.
Specialized academic advising is provided for students to insure the transfer of credits and to complete the necessary requirements for those programs. The Career Planning and Placement Center works with the pre-professional student in selecting and making the transfer to another institution. In the past, students from Valley City State University have been accepted into medical schools, optometry schools, law school, and chiropractic colleges.
COURSE LOAD FOR STUDENTS
A normal course load is considered to be sixteen credit hours. A student must be enrolled in at least twelve credit hours to maintain fulltime status. A student in good standing may register for up to nineteen semester hours. The student wishing to enroll in more than nineteen credit hours must meet the appropriate grade point average standards.
The student wishing to take twenty or twenty-one semester hours must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.00. The student wishing to take twenty-two or twenty-three credit hours must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.50. No student will be allowed to enroll in more than twenty-three semester hours.
Any exception to the above policy requires a petition to the Academic and Scholastic Standing Committee.
Students are expected to attend all class sessions of courses for which they are registered.
CHANGE OF PROGRAM
Any student desiring a change of program after completing the initial registration for the term must complete the "Change of Program" card at the Office of the Registrar. Veterans receiving financial aid or benefits from the G.I. Bill must inform the Director of Financial Aid and the Registrar of any change in program. Failure to comply may result in the discontinuance of further financial benefits.
ADDING A COURSE
A student may add a course during the first two weeks of the semester. Specific dates are listed in the academic calendar.
DROPPING A COURSE
A student may withdraw from a course any time during the first ten weeks of the semester. Specific dates are listed in the academic calendar. If a student withdraws before the tenth week of the semester, no entry of that course or grade will appear on the permanent record. In order to withdraw from a course after the tenth week the student must petition the Academic and Scholastic Standing Committee. A hearing may be required. A student dropping below full-time status after the seventh class day will not receive a refund for the class that is dropped.
WITHDRAWAL FROM COLLEGE
If for any reason a student finds it necessary to withdraw from Valley City State University during the semester, an official withdrawal card must be filed with the Coordinator of Student Development. Failure to follow the regular procedure may result in the student receiving failing grades in all courses for that semester.
Academic integrity as it applies to students is a trait of character which derives from the student's sense of personal honor and self worth. It is defined by standards which are traditional within the academic community and which represent the academic commitment to the pursuit of truth. Academic integrity is especially concerned with the treatment of evidence and the originality of scholarship or student work. A stated objective of the University is to help individuals increase their intellectual, social, personal, and moral development. The academic integrity policy is one means by which this objective is implemented.
Personal moral values, whether or not they are related to academic work, are internal and spontaneous to each individual. Ideally they are self-regulated. In the cultivation of these values among students, however, regulation and sanction may be necessary discipline. In order that students may recognize breaches of academic integrity the following practices are identified as violations of academic integrity and subject to appropriate sanction.
Copying another student's work on tests, quizzes, examinations, or other assignments.
Gaining unauthorized access to examinations.
Using unauthorized notes during tests or examinations. ("Crib notes")
Submitting term papers or assignments which are not the student's original work.
Plagiarism, or the use of citations or quotations without attribution of their source.
Interfering with laboratory experiments, or recording experimental data not experimentally derive ("Dry-labbing")
Recording bibliographic citations not actually consulted.
Falsifying academic transcripts, records, letters of recommendation or other evaluations.
Assisting another person in a breach of academic honesty.
Any other action which does not, in competent academic judgment, accord with the general standards of academic honesty.
Any one or more of the following actions may be imposed on a student who has violated the ideal of academic integrity.
- After confronting a student with the evidence, a faculty member may lower a student's grade, deny credit, assign a grade of F for the particular test or assignment, or give a grade of F for the course in question.
- All instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
- The Vice President for Academic Affairs will have first jurisdiction in allegations regarding violations that occur outside the classroom.
- The Vice President for Academic Affairs may impose academic warning, academic probation, academic suspension or expulsion, depending on the severity of the offense. Any such action may be reflected on the student's transcript.
- Should a violation under this policy include violations of the Student Code of Conduct, further action may be taken according to the operating guidelines of that policy.
Valley City State University operates an academic calendar on the semester system. One semester hour of credit represents one academic hour of class instruction or two or more academic hours of laboratory work for a period of fifteen weeks or the equivalent.
Grades are reported in letter symbols. Each grade carries a value in grade points per credit hour. The system used is as follows:
The grade of incomplete may be negotiated with an instructor when the student has failed to meet a specific and important requirement in the course but has in other respects done passing work for the semester. The grade of incomplete must be removed during the regular semester following the term in which it was reported, unless the Registrar's Office receives written consent from the instructor to extend the incomplete. If the deficiency is not made up within the specified time, the incomplete will revert to the grade earned at the time the incomplete was negotiated.
A limited number of courses are graded on a satisfactory-unsatisfactory basis. No grade points are assigned. To encourage students to explore courses where they might not otherwise take a course, they may enroll in courses that are not required for their graduation on a satisfactory-unsatisfactory basis. A sophomore or higher may elect to take one course per semester graded on a S-U basis. No grade points are assigned. A maximum of fifteen semester hours of non-required S-U graded courses may count toward graduation. Work of ""C" level of better is required to receive an "S" grade.
"Audit" means to register and participate in class activities at the discretion of the instructor. No credit is awarded for an audited course. The student must notify the Registrar of his/her intent to audit a course no later than the third week of the semester.
REPEATING A COURSE
A student may repeat a course to improve a grade. The original and repeated course grade will be recorded. The last grade will be calculated in the cumulative grade point average.
GRADE POINT AVERAGE
The grade point average is determined by calculating the total number of grade points earned and dividing by the number of credit hours in which a letter grade of A, B, C, D, or F was received. Other letter grades such as I, S, U, AU, and W carry no grade point value and are not included in the calculation of the grade point average.
Students have protection through orderly procedures against prejudiced or capricious academic evaluation. At the same time they are responsible for maintaining standards of academic performance established for each course in which they are enrolled.
The following is the procedure to be followed by a student seeking an avenue of appeal for cases in which the student feels an evaluation was prejudicial or capricious.
All appeals must be made within ten days of the evaluation and any attempt to carry the appeal outside of the procedure set forth may negate the entire appeals process for that case.
- In all cases the student's first step of appeal is to the instructor of the class involved. If the case is not resolved at that point, the student must then report his/ her appeal to the Office of Student Academic Services.
- The student must submit in writing to the Director of Student Academic Services the nature of the complaint. At that point a meeting will be scheduled between the student and either the appropriate Department Head or Division Chair. If the situation is not resolved to the satisfaction of the student at this point, he or she may appeal to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
- The Vice President for Academic Affairs, after consultation with all parties involved will make a final decision on the matter.
- Appeals of the Vice President for Academic Affairs decision's are directed to the University Hearings and Appeals Board. A request for a hearing by that board may be made by the student by contacting the Director of Student Academic Services and all operating guidelines set forth by the Board will be followed.
Students who complete twelve hours of classes for which grade points are entered and who receive a grade point average of at least a 3.50 at the end of any semester will qualify for the Dean's Honor Roll. Students who complete twelve semester hours carrying grade points with a 4.00 grade point average at the end of any semester will qualify for the President's Honor Roll. Students who will have achieved a cumulative grade point average between 3.50 and 3.74 at the time of graduation will qualify for the honor, cum laude. Students who will have achieved a cumulative grade point average between 3.75 and 3.89 will qualify for the honor, magna cum laude. Students who will have achieved a cumulative grade point average between 3.90 and 4.00 will qualify for the honor, summa cum laude.
ACADEMIC PROBATION AND SUSPENSION
Students not making satisfactory progress will be on academic probation. The following standards for satisfactory progress have been established and apply to all regularly enrolled students.
Total Hours Attempted Cumulative GPA Required
Any student who does not make academic satisfactory progress according to these standards is placed on academic probation. Until the student brings his or her cumulative grade point average up to the required level, the student is continued on probation, providing he or she achieves at least a 2.00 grade point average during the subsequent semester(s) of enrollment. The summer session is considered an equivalent to a semester.
Full-time students accruing adequate credits may be placed on academic probation or suspension at the discretion of the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Adequate credits is defined as two-thirds of the hours attempted.
In order to increase the probability of future academic success, academic probation status restricts the student to a maximum course load of fourteen credits and requires the student to complete a one-hour course in study skills as part of the restricted course load. Satisfactory progress while on probation means achieving a grade point average of at least 2.00 or better during the semester. Failure on the part of the student to achieve a semester grade point of at least 2.00 while on probation or achieve the required cumulative grade point average results in academic suspension from the University.
A student who has been suspended from the University may submit a petition to the Academic and Scholastic Standing Committee for readmission. The Committee reviews the petition, considers the evidence, and makes a decision regarding the status of the student. Any student who is reinstated by this Committee is required to meet contractual obligations set forth by the Vice President of Academic Affairs.
ACADEMIC AND SCHOLASTIC STANDING COMMITTEE
The Academic and Scholastic Standing Committee is comprised of administration and faculty members, who convene for the purpose of considering petitions concerning student academic affairs. The student submitting a petition may be asked to appear for a hearing with the Committee. Decisions may be appealed as outlined in the VCSU Student Handbook.
Regular Student status applies to anyone whose objective is to complete a degree The following classifications apply:
- A Freshman is a student who has accumulated fewer than thirty-two hours of course credit.
- A Sophomore is a student who has accumulated at least thirty-two hours but fewer than sixty-four hours of course credit.
- A Junior is a student who has accumulated at least sixty-four hours but fewer than ninety-six hours of course credit.
- A Senior is a student who has accumulated ninety-six or more hours of course credit.
Unclassified Student status applies to anyone who has a degree and is enrolled for additional courses, or anyone who is enrolled for courses but not following an established program.
Eligibility of students to participate in university athletics is governed by the rules and by laws of the associations in which the university holds membership.