Academic Policies & Procedures
CSU Academic Policies & Procedures
Definition of an Academic Year
The standard Academic Year at Clarks Summit University is based on academic program length measured in credit hours, and can be further confirmed to comprise:
- A minimum of 30 weeks of instructional time per year
- Including 24 credit hours per year
- With each year consisting of 2 terms/semesters
The definition of an Academic Year above assumes the following key details:
- A week is a consecutive seven-day period
- A week of instructional time is any week in which at least one day of regularly scheduled instruction or examinations occurs or, after the last scheduled day of classes for a term or payment period, at least one day of study for final examinations occurs; and
- Instructional time does not include any vacation periods, homework or periods of orientation or counseling
Class Attendance Policy
Course attendance for online classes is reported weekly in Portal. Attendance is defined as participation in a graded activity or documentation showing that the student initiated contact with the instructor regarding the course. Simply logging into the course does not, in and of itself, constitute attendance. Online students may appeal excessive absences to the Academic Office during the last week of their course.
Student attendance for residential classes is recorded in Portal for each class period. Attendance is recorded daily for the first full week of class and then at least weekly thereafter. Residential undergraduate students who exceed the allowable limit may appeal their school-sponsored absences, at the end of the semester, to the Absence Appeals Committee.
The residential undergraduate class attendance policy is as follows:
In-class interaction with professors and classmates maximizes the benefits of the educational program of Clarks Summit University. We expect you to attend all scheduled classes regularly and punctually. We want you to appreciate your learning opportunities while developing personal responsibility, self-discipline and decision-making skills.
The University faculty is encouraged to assist you in developing these important qualities through class attendance requirements. Faculty members use various approaches to encourage attendance, and they are explained in the course syllabi. Academic bonuses related to attendance should not exceed five percent of the final grade. Generally, it is understood that absences should be reserved for emergencies, sickness or school-sponsored activities. As questions arise in this area, please speak to your professor. The following standards have been established to allow reasonable absences as you develop personal discipline.
Three tardy arrivals to class will result in one absence. On the third tardy, the student will be marked absent in Portal.
Multiply the number of class meetings per week by two (except modified schedules) to find the maximum number of allowable absences per semester for any reason.
You determine when and why you take an absence. Absences beyond the maximum number allowed are considered excessive and will lower your course grade as follows:
- For classes meeting three or more days per week, a 2% reduction in the final grade per absence over the limit will be assessed.
- For classes meeting two days per week, a 3% reduction in the final grade per absence over the limit will be assessed.
- For classes meeting one day per week, a 6% reduction in the final grade per absence over the limit will be assessed.
Automatic failure will result if your absences exceed one quarter of the scheduled sessions for a course, even if some of your absences are for university-approved and university-sponsored activities. In extraordinary circumstances, the Academic Office will consider an appeal for this failure.
Failure will occur when your absences reach the following levels:
Class Sessions Per Week Absences:
- 5 day-a-week full semester class: 19 absences
- 4 day-a-week class: 16 absences
- Class with a 2-hour lab: 16 absences
- 3 day-a-week class: 12 absences
- 5 day-a-week compressed class: 8 absences
- 2 day-a-week class: 8 absences
- 1 day-a-week class: 4 absences
Adjustments for Extracurricular Activities
We encourage students to be involved in extracurricular activities such as field trips, athletic contests, musical events, special ministries, etc., sponsored by the University. Sometimes your participation in such an activity forces you to be absent from class, and you will need to use some of your cuts for such extracurricular events. In addition, upon appeal, you may be granted up to the following additional absences:
Two additional absences for classes meeting 3-5 days/week
One additional absence for classes meeting 1-2 days/week
In unusual cases, a student may be permitted to take exams and quizzes late without penalty for university-sponsored absences, illness or a death in the family.
Interim Grade Reports
Periodically, during each semester, faculty submit a list of those students whose class achievement at that time is below a C average, have excessive absences or are otherwise in danger of not completing the class. This is for the purpose of helping the student by monitoring progress and does not appear on a student’s permanent record.
Late Work Policy
While at Clarks Summit University, students are expected to work diligently as they learn the important skills of time management and responsibility. However, there will be times when work may be turned in late. In such cases, the following guidelines are followed.
- Each faculty member may establish their own late policies based on the style of teaching and content needs.
- This policy will be clearly articulated in the course syllabus.
- Late work policies could include:
- The steps for turning in late work (i.e. permission, form, email, etc.)
- The immediate penalty for late work (i.e. point reductions, limited feedback from instructor, etc.)
- The time frame for accepting late work (i.e. cut-off date, maximum number of days, etc.)
- Late policies will make allowances for emergency situations that arise without creating an overwhelming grade penalty for the students.
Because a student’s overall education is not limited to the content of a course, our Clarks Summit University faculty seek to exhibit grace in the application of these policies.
Final Exam Policy
Final Exams are not allowed to be taken early.
The final exam schedule will be published during the first month of the semester to allow for students to arrange end-of-semester travel plans.
If there is an academic scheduling problem, and two finals are scheduled at the same time, the student and faculty member will arrange an alternate time.
If there is more than one section of a course, the professor may approve a student taking the exam at a different time.
If there is an unplanned emergency (sickness, death in the family, etc.), a student may petition the Vice President for Academics for permission to take their finals at an alternate time. This alternate time will be worked out between the academics office and the faculty members affected.
Written Work Standards
In order to help students standardize appropriate style and form for the writing of papers, the Clarks Summit University faculty have adopted specific styles. Most undergraduate programs use the MLA format. Some undergraduate programs use the APA format as professions demand. This formatting will be communicated to the students by the content instructors. Most graduate programs at the university use the APA format. The Master of Arts in Literature program uses MLA format. The Seminary uses Turabian format.
Students should be familiar with their respective format, and papers will be graded according to this standard.
Academic Dishonesty Policy
Students are expected to display integrity in all their academic work. Academic dishonesty or cheating of any kind is a direct violation of biblical principles. Clarks Summit University takes dishonesty very seriously. The following policy outlines how academic dishonesty is handled. It is expected that all work students submit to any class for grading is their original work unless the student gives credit to the source. A student who does not exhibit academic integrity may be dismissed from the University.
Plagiarism, the act of presenting another person’s work as one’s own, is a serious, punishable offense. Plagiarism is a form of cheating and is an academic dishonesty issue. Plagiarism involves presenting another’s text, idea, vocabulary or sentence structure as one’s own.
Plagiarism issues also include copying one’s own or another student’s work, submitting one paper to multiple professors (without prior permission) or cutting and pasting passages from another work into one’s work and presenting it as original. Further, proper referencing issues, source documentation and collaboration are also plagiarism issues.
It is the responsibility of the student to examine and understand the act of plagiarism to ensure correct presentation of original thought and research in academic work.
With these principles in mind, the steps below will be followed when any incident of academic dishonesty occurs.
- Faculty members will handle formatting issues and minor textual issues during grading.
- First Offense: Any submitted work exhibiting academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade. The faculty member will confront the student privately and make sure that the student understands the offense. The faculty member will keep a copy of the submitted work, a copy of the supporting proof of the cheating and other pertinent documentation of the offense. Notice and record of the offense will be given to the School Dean and the Academic Vice President. That documentation will be kept on file in the Academic Office. The Office of Student Development (OSD) will be notified.
- Second Offense: A second offense in any course by the same student will result in a failing grade for the course where the second offense occurred. The School Dean and the Academic Vice President will be notified, the documentation of this offense will be added to their Academic Office file and OSD will be notified.
- Third Offense: A third offense in any course by the same student will result in dismissal from the school. The School Dean and the Academic Vice President will be notified, the documentation of this offense will be added to their Academic Office file and OSD will be notified. The student may apply for re-admission to the school upon demonstrated evidence of personal growth.
- In the case of online students, the Executive Director of Online Learning should also be notified.
- In the case of seminary students, the Chaplain for the Seminary should be notified.
- Any offense may be appealed by the student by following the process outlined in the Students Appeal and Grievance Policy. The student has 30 calendar days from notification of a decision to appeal that decision.
Depending on the severity of each case, the University reserves the right to immediately dismiss a student for cheating.
Academic Restriction and Probation Policy
Any student whose cumulative grade point average falls below 2.0 will be placed on Academic Restriction. This prohibits residential students from participating in more than one major extracurricular activity per semester.
Serious academic deficiency will result in a student being placed on Academic Probation. Residential students on Academic Probation may not participate in any major extracurricular activity until the probation is removed. Online students on Academic Probation may only enroll in one class per session until the probation is removed. Normally, probation means that your cumulative grade point average has fallen below the level specified on the following scale:
Credits Attempted * Cumulative GPA Cum. GPA for Accelerated Program Students**
1-18 1.4 2.4
19-36 1.6 2.6
37-55 1.8 2.8
56+ 2.0 3.0
*Includes transfer credits (if any), but excludes credit hours for repeated courses and courses graded S, U, I, WP or AU.
**Accelerated programs include Accelerated Counseling and Accelerated Pastoral. These courses incorporate graduate work during the undergraduate years of study.
The Admissions Committee, the Re-admissions Committee or the VP for Academics may impose a special probation status in certain cases. In these cases, the specific details of the probation will be given to the student.
As it relates to Academic Restriction or Probation status, a major extracurricular activity is defined as participation in student government, intercollegiate athletics, music groups or any organized student group or activity functioning regularly. If a student is earning academic credit by participating in a particular activity, the definition of extracurricular does not apply. If there are questions on whether a given activity or group is considered a major extracurricular activity, consult the OSD Deans.
At the conclusion of each semester, the VP for Academics reviews the achievement of every student with a semester of cumulative grade point averages below 2.0. He or she may administer Academic Dismissal, if a student has:
- been on the Academic Probation list for more than one semester,
- failed to meet the requirements of the special probation which may have been imposed or
- experienced extreme academic deficiency during that semester (even is he or she has not been on Academic Probation) and the prospect for significant improvement seems remote.
Students who have been dismissed for academic reasons may seek readmission after one semester of not attending CSU.
Student Appeals and Grievance Policy
Academic decisions are intended to be final and binding. All students, however, have the privilege of making appeals and addressing grievances related to exams, assignment grades, course grades, plagiarism, academic integrity issues or any other issues relating to academic standards or performance. Students with such concerns should follow this process:
- Present your grievance or argument in a one-page document, specifying your concerns, grievance or issue in dispute
- First, to the faculty member in charge of the course
- If there is no resolution, the student may appeal to the Dean of the school under which the course falls
- If there is still no resolution, the student may appeal to the Vice President for Academics
- If there is still no resolution, the student may appeal to the Academic Affairs Committee, whose decision will be final and binding
- Timing: All complaints must be filed within 30 calendar days after the incident occurs. The student has 15 calendar days from notification of a decision to appeal that decision.
At each stage of this process, if matters are not resolved to the student’s satisfaction, then both the student and the University’s representative in that stage should document the issues in writing for submission of the matter to the next stage of appeal.