Academic Policies

Academic Policies and Procedures

Change of Name and Address

Any student who moves during a semester must immediately register his or her change of address at the Records Office. Change of name because of marriage or correction of name because of spelling errors may be made by turning in a name change card. A copy of the legal document making the name change official must accompany all name changes. The Records Office is located in room 102 Wimberly Building.

Academic Honesty

Lamar University expects all students to engage in academic pursuits in a manner that is above reproach. Students are expected to maintain complete honesty and integrity in their academic experiences both in and out of the classroom. Any student found guilty of dishonesty in any phase of academic work will be subject to disciplinary action.

23.1 FORMS OF ACADEMIC DISHONESTY. The University and its official representatives may initiate disciplinary proceedings against a student accused of any form of academic dishonesty including, but not limited to, cheating on an examination or other academic work which is to be submitted, plagiarism, collusion, and the abuse of resource materials. Cheating includes:

a) copying, without authorization from the instructor, another student’s test paper, laboratory report, other report, or computer files, data listings, and/or programs;

b) using, during a test, materials not authorized by the person giving the test;

c) collaborating, without authorization, with another person during an examination or in preparing academic work;

d) knowingly, and without authorization, using, buying, selling, stealing, transporting, soliciting, copying, or possessing, in whole or in part, the contents of test or assignment that has not been administered or assigned;

e) substituting for another student, permitting any other person, or otherwise assisting any other person to substitute for oneself or for another student in the taking of an examination or test or the preparation of academic work to be submitted for academic credit;

f) bribing another person to obtain a test not yet administered or information about such; and

g) purchasing, or otherwise acquiring and submitting as one’s own work any research paper or other written assignment prepared by an individual or firm. (This section does not apply to the typing of the rough and/or final versions of an assignment by a professional typist).

Plagiarism shall mean the appropriation of another’s work or idea and the unacknowledged incorporation of that work or idea into one’s own work offered for credit.

Collusion shall mean the unauthorized collaboration with another per-son in preparing work offered for credit.

Abuse of resource materials shall mean the mutilation, destruction, concealment, theft, or alteration of materials provided to assist students in the mastery of course materials.

Academic work shall mean the preparation of an essay, dissertation, thesis, report, problem, assignment, creative work or other project that the student submits as a course requirement or for a grade.

23.2.1 PROCEDURES. Procedures for discipline due to academic dishonesty shall be the same as in other violations of the Student Code of Conduct (see Student Handbook), except that all academic dishonesty cases shall be considered and reviewed by the faculty member, and if necessary, the Department Chair, Dean, and Provost. The faculty member shall conduct a complete, thorough, and impartial investigation of the charge of academic dishonesty and determine whether

or not the student was responsible for the violation. If the faculty member determines that the student was responsible for the violation, the faculty member may assess an appropriate and reasonable sanction. The student shall be entitled to a written notice from the faculty member of the violation, the penalty, and the student’s right to appeal the determination of dishonesty and/or the sanction imposed. A copy of the faculty member’s notice to the student shall be forwarded to the Provost.

If the student does not accept the decision of the faculty member concerning the determination of dishonesty and/or the penalty imposed, the student may appeal to the faculty member’s Department Chair for review of the case. To do so, the student must submit, in writing, a request for an appeal to the Chair within five working days of notification of the right to appeal. The student shall be entitled to a written notice of Chair’s decision and the student’s right to further appeal.

If the student does not accept the decision of the Chair concerning the determination of dishonesty and/or the sanction imposed, the student may appeal to the Dean for review of the case. To do so, the student must submit, in writing, a request for an appeal to the Dean within five working days of notification of the Chair’s decision. Prior to rendering a decision about an appeal, the Dean may request a review of the case and recommendation from the College’s Student-Faculty Relations Committee. The student shall be entitled to a written notice of the Dean’s decision and the right to further appeal.

If the student does not accept the decision of the Dean, the student may then appeal to the Provost for review of the case. To do so, the student must submit, in writing, a request for an appeal to the Provost within five working days of notification of the Dean’s decision. Before rendering a decision, the Provost shall convene an ad hoc Student-Faculty Relations Committee composed of members from the standing Student-Faculty Relations Committees from the other Colleges to review the case and offer a recommendation. The student shall be entitled to a written notice of the Provost’s decision. The decision of the Provost shall be final.

No disciplinary action against the student shall become effective until the student has received substantive and procedural due process as described above. A copy of the record pertaining to each case shall be forwarded to, reside in, and considered by the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs where it shall be treated as a disciplinary record as described in the Student Handbook. If additional judicial action is necessary, as in the case of flagrant or repeated violations, the Student Affairs Office shall initiate further action in accordance with the procedures for student discipline as described in the Student Handbook.

23.3 RESPONSIBILITIES OF INSTRUCTORS. Instructors shall take reasonable and necessary precautions, including the careful administration and monitoring of examinations and assignments, to prevent acts of academic dishonesty.

Academic Grievances

To provide for the resolution of alleged academic grievances in a prompt, fair, and equitable process throughout the university, departments and academic divisions of the university shall follow the grievance and appeals procedures. There shall be in each College a Student-Faculty Relations Committee. It shall be comprised of four faculty members, two undergraduate students and one graduate student. Department Chairs may not serve as a member of this committee. Members of the committee shall be chosen by procedures established by the College. The chair of the committee shall be selected from among the faculty members. Annually, the Dean of the College shall provide a membership listing to the Provost. In the event that any member of the committee is a party to an alleged grievance or is unavailable for an extended period of time, the Dean shall appoint a substitute member.

The Student-Faculty Relations Committee should be involved in an alleged grievance only after normal procedures for resolving issues have been exhausted. The initial step in the normal procedure should be for the aggrieved party (henceforth referred to as student), to discuss the issue with the offending party (henceforth referred to as instructor). If the issue is not resolved satisfactorily, the student’s second step should be to consult with the instructor’s Department Chair. If the Department Chair cannot resolve the issue satisfactorily, the matter should be referred to the Dean, who may convene the College’s Student-Faculty Relations Committee. The grievance procedure should be initiated within ten working days of the alleged offense.

The aggrieved student should deliver a written statement of the alleged grievance to the Dean within one calendar week of the written response from the Department Chair. The Dean, at his or her discretion, may render a decision about the appeal or may convene the Student-Faculty Relations Committee. If the Dean chooses to convene the committee, the written statement shall be submitted to the committee in a timely fashion with the charge to the committee that it will fully investigate the alleged grievance and present appropriate findings and recommendations to the Dean of the College. To be forwarded, Committee findings and recommendations must receive a majority vote. The Dean shall notify all involved persons and the Provost by separate written communication of the committeeís findings and recommendations, and his or her decision regarding the grievance. To assure prompt resolution of alleged grievances, the Student-Faculty Relations Committee shall make every reasonable effort to complete its report within two weeks from the date of receipt of the statement of grievance.

In the event that any party involved in the alleged grievance should seek to appeal the decision and/or recommendation of the Dean, a written appeal should be delivered to the Provost within one calendar week of receiving the Dean’s decision. The Provost must appoint a review committee selected from the several College Student-Faculty Relations Committees to hear the appeal and offer findings and recommendations before rendering a decision.

Each review committee appointed by the Provost shall be composed of four members of the faculty selected from the Student-Faculty Relations Committees in Colleges other than the College from which the appeal originated, and three student members, one of whom shall be a graduate student, and all of whom shall be majors in Departments other than the Department from which the appeal originated. The review committees shall include both men and women, and members shall elect a chair and assign other responsibilities and adopt appropriate rules of procedure before the initial presentation of the appeal.

Each review committee shall, at the conclusion of its considerations, report to the Provost one of the following:

a) “In the considered opinion of the review committee, the alleged grievance is in fact a grievance resulting from an improper application or interpretation of an existing institutional policy, or arbitrary and/or capricious action contrary to standard acceptable academic practice, and the specific redress recommended by the committee is…” Or, b) “In the considered opinion of the review committee, the alleged grievance is not in fact a grievance resulting from arbitrary and/or capricious action contrary to standard acceptable academic practice, institutional policy or procedures, and the appeal is rejected.”

The report of the review committee shall be completed within two weeks following the appointment of the review committee unless an extension is requested and granted by the Provost. In the presentation of recommendations by the review committee, reference to instructional personnel must comply with the established policies and procedures regulating tenure and the academic administrative procedures as published in this Handbook. The President and Board of Regents reserve the right to hear any further appeal.

Additional procedures of grievance /appeal are provided to University students in the following areas of University service:

a) Student Conduct/University Discipline Code, including academic dishonesty (See Student Handbook)

b) Traffic and Parking Regulations (See Student Handbook)

c) Residency Appeals (See Student Handbook)

d) Discrimination and sexual harassment (See Human Resources Policy Manual)

Grades remain as recorded by the instructor of record and can be changed, normally, only by the instructor. In the absence of the instructor, the Department Chair and Dean are charged with the responsibility for changing grades. Grades may be changed by the Department Chair, Dean of the College or Provost if and when, as a result of the appeals process, it is determined that a faculty member has failed to implement a previously announced grade policy, awarded a grade in what has been determined to be an arbitrary or capricious manner, or violated a University or Texas State University System rule or policy.

All academic grades and grading methods are subject to review by the appropriate Chair and Dean when a review is requested by a student regarding a specific grade. The Chair and Dean must approve any change in grade requested by an instructor after final grades are recorded.

Academic Affairs Appendix I

Grievance Procedures for Filing, Processing, and Resolving Complaints of Alleged Discrimination Based upon Race, Color, Creed, Sex, Age, Handicap or National Origin.

1. Informal Proceedings.

A complainant may bring an allegation of violation of this policy to any Dean, Vice President, Associate Vice President or any of the resource persons whose names, addresses, and telephone numbers are available in Student Affairs or the Human Resources Office. Notice of the allegation should be brought to the attention of the appropriate University Official within ten working days of the alleged violation.

This resource person will counsel the complainant as to the options avail-able under this policy, and will direct the complainant to the appropriate authority to hear the complaint. In determining the appropriate authority to whom the complainant shall be referred, the person to whom the complainant initially brings the allegation shall consult with the Director of Human Resources. In selecting the appropriate authority, consideration shall be given to the level of authority required for such procedures and the channels of communication available to the complainant as well as the authority’s ability to insure that a thorough and timely review of the complaint shall take place.

Once designated, the appropriate authority will direct that the complaint be put in writing and will initiate an informal, preliminary inquiry to deter-mine whether a reasonable basis for the complainant’s allegations exists. At this stage of the proceedings, the identity of the complainant shall not be disclosed without the consent of the complainant.

If the preliminary investigation reveals that there is a reasonable basis for believing that a violation has occurred, the person against whom the complaint was lodged will be notified, and the appropriate authority will conduct an administrative review of the complaint including:

a) review of the allegations by the complainant;

b) review of the response of the accused to the allegations;

c) negotiations to resolve the matter in a manner reasonably acceptable to both interested parties.

All the parties involved at this stage should be cautioned not to publicize or divulge either the nature of the proceedings or the identity of the people involved.

If the administrative official determines that a violation of this policy occurred, the administrative official may issue an oral or written warning, demand a promise not to commit such an abuse again, impose mandatory counseling on the individual who violated the policy, or take any other sanction which appropriately reflects the severity of the violation of the policy.

2. Formal Proceedings.

If, after the informal proceedings, the appropriate official concludes that there is no reasonable basis for the complaint, the complainant may pursue a formal complaint in accordance with the procedure outlined in this section.

In addition, after the informal proceedings, if the appropriate administrative official concludes that there is a reasonable basis to support the allegations of misconduct and that it will take specific and appropriate steps to bring the matter to a satisfactory resolution, or if either the accused or the complainant is not satisfied with the resolution adopted by the administrative official, the administrative official shall initiate the formal proceedings. Formal proceedings hereunder shall take place in accordance with the following guidelines:

3. Student

A formal complaint filed against a student shall be directed to the Vice President for Student Affairs who should investigate the case and determine within five working days whether further investigation or a recommendation for sanctions is warranted. Under appropriate circumstances, the Vice President may convene an ad hoc committee to review the facts surrounding the case and to make recommendations for resolution of the complaint. The Vice President for Student Affairs shall notify the student and the complainant of the decision.

Authority to Suspend Students

In extraordinary circumstances the president may, at any time, during or after an investigation of a complaint, suspend an accused student from a specific class or from the university altogether. The President will take such action if, after review and investigation, he/she finds it reasonably certain that;

a) the alleged offense has occurred and

b) the accused would be in a position either to retaliate against, or in any way do serious harm to, the students or conduct of that particular class or to the university community.

Appeal from Sanctions

Student.

Appeals from recommended sanctions against students shall be directed to the campus discipline committee as described in the Student Handbook.

Grade Replacement Policy

Students will have one chance to replace a grade for a course. If a student repeats a course, the official grade is the second one made, although the original grade remains on the student’s transcript. A grade once earned and entered on a student’s record, cannot be removed. The repetition of a Lamar University course at another institution will not replace a grade in the grade point average (GPA) calculation of the Lamar University course. Any further grades earned by further repetition of the same course will be used in calculating the University GPA. Eligibility for all University honors will be determined on the basis of a cumulative GPA that includes all grades earned at Lamar University.

Any student who wishes to repeat a course must do so before completing a more advanced course in the same subject. The chair for the department offering the course will determine what constitutes a more advanced course. Before registering to repeat a course for grade replacement, a student must receive approval from the department chair or advisor.

This policy does not apply to classes repeated before the fall of 2000. Students may obtain a grade replacement form from the Records Office. Students are responsible for completing and filing the grade replacement form with the Records Office after talking to their advisor and registering for the course. In accordance with State law, additional tuition will be charged when a student enrolls in the same course for the third or subsequent time. This includes transferred courses and dropped courses. For more information, please contact the Registrar, 880-2113.

Once a degree has been conferred, a student may not use the Course Repetition/Grade Replacement Policy for any courses used to award the degree or calculate the cumulative grade point average.

Classification of Students

Officially enrolled students are classified as follows:

Freshmen: has met all entrance requirements but has completed fewer than 30 semester hours.

Sophomore: has completed a minimum of 30 semester hours with 60 grade points.

Junior: has completed a minimum of 60 semester hours with 120 grade points.

Senior: has completed a minimum of 90 semester hours with 180 grade points.

Other Grievances

(those not addressed by the above policies/procedures for academic and student life complaints)

Students are encouraged to resolve complaints (or grievances) at the appropriate level of dispute; however, should this approach fail or be inappropriate, students may submit written complaints to the Office of Student Affairs (Wimberly Bldg. 115, fax 409-880-1726). Written complaints should include the following information: Name of the complainant; identifying information (student ID, address, telephone contact number, email address, classification, and major); nature of the complaint (detailed, but concise description of the complaint which includes pertinent dates, times, locations, parties involved, etc.); any relevant documentation, evidence or witnesses; desired resolution; and a description of other attempts to resolve the complaint. All written complaints must be signed and dated by the complainant and delivered to the Office of Student Affairs within five business days of the alleged events which led to the complaint. Though written complaints containing the above-mentioned information will be accepted, a student complaint form is available in the Office of Student Affairs.

Resolution Procedures

Upon receipt, the written complaint will be filed with the Office of Student Affairs and promptly reviewed by the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs or his/her designee (Official) for completeness and evidentiary integrity. If it is determined by the Student Affairs Official that the written complaint is lacking completeness and/or integrity, the complaint may be dismissed or additional information may be requested. In either case, the complainant will be notified by the Student Affairs Official. If in the opinion of the Student Affairs Official, the opportunity for resolution at a more appropriate level of the university was not afforded, the complainant may be directed to a more appropriate university official.

If it is found by the Student Affairs Official that sufficient documentation exists, a hearing will be scheduled with the complainant and, if judged necessary by the Official, additional investigatory actions will be taken. Hearings may be conducted by phone if the student is enrolled only in online classes. Upon completion of a thorough review, the Student Affairs Official will render a written resolution, and notify the complainant of said action in a timely manner.

The complainant may appeal the resolution, in writing, to the Vice President for Student Affairs. Appeals may also be submitted by fax or e-mail as indicated above. The written appeal must be submitted within five business days and include the basis for the appeal and the desired outcome. The Vice President will review the appeal and reserves the right to hear from the complainant, the Student Affairs Official and any other party. The Vice President will render a judgment on the appeal and, if appropriate, a final resolution. In a timely manner, the complainant will be notified in writing.