Academic Policies and Procedures - Clarks Summit University

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

Course attendance for online classes is be reported to the Registrar’s Office at the end of the first week. 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. Online students may appeal excessive absences to the Academic Office during the last week of their course.

The residential undergraduate class-attendance policy is as follows.

Attendance Standards

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 or penalties related to attendance will 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.

Tardiness

Three tardy arrivals to class will result in one absence. On the third tardy, the student will be marked absent in Portal.

Maximum Absences

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.

The student should determine when and why he or she takes an absence. Absences (including excused absences) beyond the maximum number allowed are considered excessive and will lower the 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 4% reduction in the final grade per absence over the limit will be assessed.

Automatic failure will result if a student’s absences exceed one quarter of the scheduled sessions for a course, even if some of the 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 a student’s 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

Students are encouraged to be involved in extracurricular activities such as field trips, athletic contests, musical events, special ministries, etc., sponsored by the University. Sometimes participation in such an activity may force the student to be absent from class, and he or she will need to use cuts for such extra-curricular events. In addition, upon appeal, students 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 or 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 polices based on 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.

Course Grades

Final course grades are usually entered in Portal within three business days after the end of the course. Students may access their grades through the Student Portal. Instructions for Portal are available from the Registrar’s Office.

Written Work Standards

In order to help undergraduate students standardize appropriate style and form for the writing of papers, the Clarks Summit University faculty have adopted specific styles. Undergraduate programs use the MLA format. Most graduate programs at the college use the APA 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

Students are expected to display integrity in all their academic work. Cheating of any kind is a direct violation of biblical principles. Clarks Summit University takes cheating 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 give credit to the source. A student who does not exhibit honesty may be dismissed from the University.

When a case of cheating has been confirmed, a faculty member will confront the student; adjust the student’s grade for the exam or project on which the offense occurred; and report the incident to the Department Chair, School Dean, Office for Student Development and to the Academic Office. In the case of online students, the Director of Distance Education will also be notified. In the case of Seminary students, the Chaplain for the Seminary will be notified. Should a student feel they have been unfairly accused, they may appeal the decision.

Violations of academic dishonesty could lead to dismissal from Clarks Summit University.

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism, the act of presenting another person’s work as one’s own, is a serious, punishable offense. Unfortunately, it is now all too common in higher education. Plagiarism is a form of cheating; and cheating of any kind is regarded by Clarks Summit University as a direct violation of biblical principles. It is an academic integrity 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 this in mind, the steps below will be followed when an incident of plagiarism occurs.

  • Faculty members will handle formatting issues and minor textual issues during grading.
  • First Offense: A paper exhibiting blatant textual issues 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 paper, a copy of the supporting proof of the plagiarism, 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: 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.
  • Any offense may be appealed by the student through Academic Affairs.
  • The student has 30 calendar days from notification of a decision to appeal that decision. The grievance process is outlined below.

Academic Restriction and Probation Policy

Academic Restriction

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.

Academic Probation

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.
The Admissions Committee, the Re-admissions Committee, or the VP for Academic may impose a special probation status in certain cases. In these cases, the specific details of the probation will be given to the student.
**Accelerated programs include Accelerated Counseling and Accelerated Pastoral. These courses incorporate graduate work during the undergraduate years of study.

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 of every student with 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 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, who 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.

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