ARCHIVED 2009-2010 Graduate Catalog 
    
    Nov 25, 2020  
ARCHIVED 2009-2010 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Regulations


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Course and Grade Policies Student Rights and Regulations
Program Completion, Graduation and Licensure

Graduate Degree Requirements and Information 

Changes in Requirements and Regulations

 

Course and Grade Policies

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Courses listed in this catalog are open to graduate students only. At least half of the credit hours applied toward a master’s degree must be from courses numbered 600 and above. At least half of the credit hours applied toward the education specialist degree must be from courses numbered 700 and above. All of the credit hours applied toward a doctor of education degree must be from courses numbered 700 and above.

Course Loads

The maximum full-time course load for graduate students is fifteen hours per semester. The minimum full-time load per semester is nine hours. The maximum load for graduate assistants is twelve hours per semester. Load limitation during summer school is twelve hours.

Students employed full-time are limited to six hours per semester and twelve semester hours for the academic year. Any exceptions to these rules must be approved by the department and the dean of Graduate School and Research.

Class Attendance. Graduate students are expected to attend all class meetings. Specific attendance regulations are announced by the instructor.

Grading System

The grades which may be assigned to graduate credit courses are as follows:

Grade   Interpretation  

Quality Points
Per Hour

  Grade   Interpretation  

Quality Points
Per Hour

A

  Superior  

4

 

W

  Withdrawal  

-

B

  Good  

3

 

AU

  Audit  

-

C

  Passing  

2

 

IP

  Grade Pending  

-

F

  Failure  

0

 

S

  Satisfactory  

0

I

  Incomplete  

-

 

U

  Unsatisfactory  

0

 

Incomplete Grades. Instructors may give an incomplete grade when students are unable to complete a course for nonacademic reasons. An incomplete is not a satisfactory grade and may lead to an academic warning. All incomplete grades must be removed and a grade of A, B, C, F, S, or U must be submitted to the registrar by the last day of classes in the next semester, excluding the summer, an F being automatic if the student has not completed the coursework. A student may not register for the course again until the incomplete has been removed. All incomplete grades in courses taken as part of the degree program must be removed before graduation.

A grade of incomplete will be awarded only when there is a reasonable prospect that the student can pass the course by making up the work missed. The instructor is required to send to the department head a list of the conditions for removing the grade of incomplete. If the instructor is no longer in the employ of the university, the department head will remove the grade of incomplete upon completion of the stated requirements.

Grade Pending. An IP is assigned only for thesis research or similar courses to indicate that a grade is pending until the sequence of courses is completed. A grade of A, B, C, F, S, or U is then assigned to each course by the instructor.

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Grading. The use of S/U (pass/fail) grading is limited to selected courses in which standard or traditional grading is rendered difficult by the nature and purpose of the courses. The courses are identified in the master class schedule and in the course descriptions in this catalog. S (satisfactory) and U (unsatisfactory) are the only grades assigned in courses approved for pass/fail grading.

A student may find it necessary or advisable to withdraw from one or more courses during a term. In some cases, he/she may find it necessary to withdraw from the university.

Course Withdrawal. After consultation with the academic adviser and the instructor of the course, a student may withdraw from any course prior to the expiration of one-half of the term and receive a “W”. A completed withdrawal form must be presented to the One Stop Student Service Center prior to the withdrawal deadline for posting. Course withdrawals do not count toward the nine hours required for full-time enrollment.

After one-half of a term, but prior to the fourteenth week of the semester (or before the last two class days of summer sessions), a “W” will be assigned only for written verifiable mental health, medical, legal, or administrative reasons. In order to obtain a “W”, the student must first consult with the course instructor, who may elect to support or withhold support for the student’s request. If the instructor supports in writing the student’s request, the student must receive written verifiable support from Western Carolina University Health Services’ staff, Counseling and Psychological Services’ staff, an official court of law, or a college dean, as appropriate. If a withdrawal is granted by the course instructor, the head of the department offering the course, and the student’s adviser, the withdrawal form must be submitted to the One Stop Student Service Center no later than the last day of the thirteenth week of the semester. No “W”s will be assigned after the last day of the thirteenth week of a semester, or during the last two class days of a summer session. In extenuating circumstances, or if the student’s request is not approved by any university party involved, the student can appeal through the Academic Appeal Procedure within thirty five days after the end of final exams.

University Withdrawal. To withdraw from the university (i.e. cease to attend all courses), a student must complete a withdrawal form from the Advising Center.

If an emergency prevents a student from completing the withdrawal process before leaving the campus, the student should call, write, or arrange for a relative to contact the Advising Center at 828-227-7170.

Any time a student is forced to withdraw from the university during a term for mental health, medical, legal, or administrative reasons which are verified in writing, a grade of W will be assigned in all courses in which the student is registered. If a student withdraws from the university for other than mental health, medical, legal, or administrative reasons after one-half of the total class time has elapsed, an F, W, I, or IP grade will be assigned by the instructor according to the following guidelines:

  1. A W grade will be assigned if the student is passing or if the student’s progress has not been evaluated.
  2. An I or IP grade will be assigned if the instructor agrees that there is a reasonable prospect that the work can be made up and agrees to allow the student to do so.
  3. An F grade will be assigned if the student is failing.

Current policies and procedures pertaining to grades, indebtedness, and refunds are applicable upon withdrawal from the university. A student who withdraws from the university either during or at the end of a term for any reason is responsible for clearing any indebtedness to Residential Living, bookstore, financial aid office, controller’s office, library, university police department, academic departments, and health services.

Audit. A graduate student may audit a course if space is available and if prior permission of the instructor, the advisor, the head of the department offering the course, and the dean of Graduate School and Research has been obtained. A completed course audit form must be submitted. No credit is earned for auditing, but the audited course must not add hours in excess of the student’s maximum load. An auditor’s participation in class activities is optional with the instructor. Change from audit to credit or from credit to audit is permissible only during the regular schedule change period. An audited course will be noted on the student’s transcript.

Final Grade Changes. When a grade other than incomplete has been reported officially by an instructor at the end of a term, the grade will be recorded by the registrar and can be changed only if an error has been made in estimating or reporting the grade. The instructor will, with the approval of the department head, report the error in writing to his/her dean with a recommendation about the action to be taken. Only the instructor has the right to change the grade in a course except as provided in the incomplete grade policy. Any request by a student for a change in a final grade must be submitted within 30 days of the mailing of the final grade report.

Grade Average for Graduation. An average of B (3.0 GPA) is required for all graduate degrees. Grades received in all graduate courses will be included in the graduate cumulative average.

Course Repeat Policy. A graduate student may repeat any course one time with the approval of the advisor, department head, and dean of Graduate School and Research. The original grade earned in the repeated course remains on the student’s transcript and is calculated in the student’s cumulative average.

Transcripts. Transcripts are furnished, either to the student or by mail, only after accounts are cleared and only upon the student’s written request, which must include the student’s signature and student identification number. Requests for transcripts should be addressed to the registrar. The university’s recommendation for teacher certification will be accompanied by a transcript. There is no charge for transcripts issued.

Academic Honesty Policy. Western Carolina University, as a community of scholarship, is also a community of honor. Faculty, staff, administrators, and students work together to achieve the highest standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is a serious offense at WCU because it threatens the quality of scholarship and defrauds those who depend on knowledge and integrity. Academic dishonesty includes:

A. Cheating- using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study aids in any academic exercise.
B. Fabrication- falsification or invention of information or citation in an academic exercise.
C. Plagiarism- representing the words or ideas of someone else as one’s own in an academic exercise.
D. Facilitation of academic dishonesty-helping or attempting to help someone else to commit an act of academic dishonesty, such as allowing another to copy information during an examination or other academic exercise.

The procedures for cases involving allegations of academic dishonesty are:

1. Instructors have the right to determine the appropriate sanction or sanctions for academic dishonesty within their courses up to and including a final grade of “F” in the course. Within 5 calendar days of the discovery of the event the instructor will inform his/her department head, and the Associate Dean of the Graduate School when the student is a graduate student, in writing of the academic dishonesty charge and sanction.

2. The department head or graduate program director will meet with the student to inform him/her orally and in writing of the charge and the sanction imposed by the instructor within 10 calendar days of written notice from the instructor. Prior to this meeting, the department head will contact the Office of Student Judicial Affairs to establish if the student has any record of a prior academic dishonesty offense. If there is a record of a prior academic dishonesty offense, the matter must be referred directly to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs. In instances where a program does not have a department head or graduate program director, the Dean or Associate Dean of the college will assume the duties of department head for cases of academic dishonesty.

3. If the case is a first offense, the student can choose to accept the charge and sanction from the instructor by signing a Mutual Agreement with the department head or graduate program director or can choose to have a hearing with the Academic Integrity Board. Within 10 calendar days of the meeting with the student, the department head or graduate program director will 1) report the student’s choice of action in writing to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs, 2) file a copy of the Mutual Agreement (when applicable) with the Office of Judicial Affairs, and 3) inform the student of the sanction or sanctions to be imposed under the Mutual Agreement or inform the student of the procedure for requesting a hearing with the Academic Integrity Board if the Mutual Agreement is not accepted. Mutual Agreements are final agreements not subject to further review or appeal.

4. In instances of second offenses, or when the student chooses a hearing, the Office of Student Judicial Affairs will meet with the student to provide an orientation to the hearing process and to schedule a date no less than 10 and no more than 15 calendar days from the meeting for the hearing. The student can waive minimum notice of a hearing; however, extensions are at the sole discretion of the Office of Student Judicial Affairs. Should the student choose not to attend his/her orientation meeting, a hearing date will be assigned to the student.

5. The hearing procedures will follow the same format as stated in the Code of Student Conduct (Article VA5). The hearing body (Academic Integrity Board) will consist of two (2) graduate students from the Student Judicial Affairs Student Hearing Board and 3 full graduate faculty members. The faculty fellow for academic integrity will be one of the faculty members and will serve as the chair. The other two faculty members will be chosen by the Director of Student Judicial Affairs from a pool of eight faculty hearing officers. Each academic year, each academic program dean will appoint faculty members from their college to comprise the pool of faculty hearing officers. Hearings will be held in a student’s absence when a student fails to attend the hearing for any reason. The hearing body may impose any sanctions as outlined in Article V.B. in the Code of Student Conduct. Students given a sanction of probation for academic dishonesty will remain on probation at Western Carolina University until graduation.

6. Following a decision from the Academic Integrity Board, the Office of Judicial Affairs will inform the student of the sanction or sanctions to be imposed upon them and of their right to file an appeal with the Graduate Appeals Committee. The appeal is limited to those rules and procedures expressly mentioned in the Code of Student Conduct (Article V.D.2) and is limited to the existing record. If the student does not file an appeal with the Graduate Appeals Committee within 5 calendar days, the sanction or sanctions from the Academic Integrity Board will be imposed. The decision of the Graduate Appeals Committee may be appealed to the Provost. Any decision of the Provost may be appealed to the Chancellor.

7. Upon final resolution of a case involving suspension or expulsion, the Director of Student Judicial Affairs will inform the appropriate dean, department head, and the administrator in the One Stop Office who is responsible for University Withdrawals of the sanction.

8. A student may remain enrolled pending the outcome of the appeal. An act of academic dishonesty, including a first offense, may place the student in jeopardy of suspension from the university. A repeated violation or more serious first offense may result in expulsion. Disciplinary records for any act of academic dishonesty are retained by the Department of Student Judicial Affairs for at least five years from the date of final adjudication. These records are available to prospective employers and other educational institutions in accordance with federal regulations. For specific information on procedures for cases involving allegations of academic dishonesty, see relevant sections in the Student Handbook.

Academic Dismissal Policy

Dismissal from the Graduate School:
A Graduate student who accumulates three grades of C or any grade of F will be dismissed from the Graduate School. A student who has been admitted provisionally and fails to meet the terms of the provisional admission will also be dismissed from the Graduate School.

Dismissal from a Program:
Individual programs may have program-specific grounds for program dismissal, including but not limited to failure to adhere to technical standards, failure to pass comprehensive examinations in a timely manner, professional misconduct, or failure to successfully pass other programmatic requirements. Program dismissal does not automatically result in dismissal from the Graduate School. If dismissed from a program, a student may apply to another WCU graduate program as long as he/she is in good academic standing (GPA of 3.0 or better and fewer than three Cs or one F).

Request for Readmission after Dismissal:
A student may be readmitted to the Graduate School only one time following academic dismissal. Any request for readmission after dismissal will be evaluated by program faculty and the Graduate School, taking into account the student’s performance in graduate school and the student’s potential for improved performance. Approval for readmission may be accompanied by additional requirements. Upon readmission the student must meet all requirements under the catalog in effect at the time of his/her readmission. A readmitted student who receives any additional grade of C or lower will be permanently dismissed.

Academic Action Appeal Policy.

A student (undergraduate or graduate) has the right to appeal a final assigned grade or dismissal from a program level. A student may only appeal a final grade or program dismissal if he/she can show the grade or program dismissal was assigned arbitrarily or impermissibly. A student who wishes to appeal a grade on a particular assignment or exam can do so if it affects their final assigned grade or dismissal from a program.A final grade or program dismissal is deemed to have been assigned arbitrarily or impermissibly if, by a preponderance of the evidence, a student establishes that:

1. The final grade or dismissal was impermissible based in whole or in part upon the student’s race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, disability, sexual orientation, or for some other arbitrary or personal reason unrelated to the instructor’s reasonable exercise of his or her professional academic judgment in the evaluation of the academic performance of the student; or
2. The final grade or program dismissal was assigned in a manner not consistent with the standards and procedures for evaluation established by the instructor, the program, or the University in the Catalog, in the course syllabus, or during the class/program in written or oral communications directed to the class/program as a whole; or
3. The final grade or program dismissal was the result of a clear and material mistake in calculating or recording grades or other evaluation.
4. Individual elements (e.g., assignments, tests, activities, projects) which contribute to a final grade are generally NOT subject to appeal or subsequent review during a final grade appeals procedure. However, individual elements may be appealed under these procedures providing all of the following conditions are met:

a) The student presents compelling evidence that one or more individual elements were graded on arbitrary or impermissible grounds;
b) Grounds can be established for determining a professionally sound grade for the appealed element(s); and
c) The ensuing grade for each appealed element would have resulted in a different course grade than that assigned by the faculty member.

If dismissal from the Graduate School is a result of grades (3 C’s or an F), the student may appeal the grade causing the dismissal. If the appeal is unsuccessful, the dismissal stands; the student cannot appeal the dismissal as well as the grade because dismissal is based upon the grades. If the appeal is successful, the dismissal will be rescinded. If a student is appealing dismissal from a program, or a final assigned grade that results in dismissal, the student shall be allowed to continue taking courses until the appeal is resolved (with the approval of the program in which the classes are taken), with the exception of clinical placements or internships, or when the students’ continued participation is deemed by the program director or department head to be harmful or disruptive to other students and/or the program. If the appeal is unsuccessful and the dismissal stands, the student will be removed from any classes in which he or she is registered and will be responsible for any tuition and fees accrued as a result of registration during the appeals process.

Academic Action Appeal Overview:

Students who wish to appeal a final assigned grade or dismissal from an academic program for any reason other than academic dishonesty should follow, in order, the academic appeal procedure outlined below. (n.b. For these procedures, a “working day” = a day classes are held on campus) Appeals of a final assigned grade and appeals of dismissals from an academic program follow similar procedures:
1. Appeal to Instructor
2. Appeal to Department Head (The term “Department Head” in these procedures refers both to Department Heads and School Directors)
3. Appeal to Academic College – Associate Dean – may dismiss appeal or send to:
4. College Academic Action Committee Review
5. Academic Dean Review
An Appeal to Provost is only allowed for (1) alleged violations of procedures, (2) discrimination based on a protected class, or (3) the student’s exercise of rights guaranteed by the United States Constitutional. No right of appeal is available beyond the Provost.

Final Grade Appeal Procedures:

The following procedures detail the steps for appealing a final assigned grade (whether or not that grade results in dismissal from the Graduate School). The student is encouraged to meet/talk with the instructor prior to filing a formal appeal. The student must demonstrate that the grade was impermissibly or arbitrarily assigned (see Academic Action Policy). That the student simply disagrees with the assigned grade does not constitute a basis for a review.

(Step 1) Appeal to Instructor:
Within 35 calendar days after the student receives notification of the academic action (grade) the student should submit a formal written appeal to the instructor. This appeal must include:
a) a statement of the reason(s) why the student believes the grade was impermissibly or arbitrarily assigned (see policy Academic Action Appeal Policy)
b) the resolution sought.
If the grade being appealed is leading to dismissal from the Graduate School, the Dean of the Graduate School should be copied on the student’s initial appeal. All correspondence should include contact information. The instructor must respond to the student’s request in writing as soon as possible (no later than ten working days after receiving the student’s written appeal). This response should detail whether or not the instructor is approving or denying the appeal.

(Step 2) Appeal to Department Head:
If the student is unable to resolve the grievance through the appeal to the instructor, the student should submit a written appeal to the department head within 10 working days of receiving the instructor’s written response (from Step 1). If the department head is the instructor for the grade assigned, the associate dean of the department’s college will serve this function. Students appealing to the department head assume the burden of proof. Therefore, the appeal must include:
a) A statement of the reason(s) the student believes the grade was impermissibly or arbitrarily assigned;
b) The steps taken to resolve the disagreement over the assigned course grade; and
c) The resolution sought.
The appeal must be accompanied by evidence the student believes supports the conclusion that the grade was impermissibly or arbitrarily assigned. Evidence might include papers, tests, syllabi, or written documentation. Within ten working days of receiving this appeal, the department head will attempt to resolve the appeal. If the department head is unable to resolve the appeal within ten working days, the department head will notify the student of the decision, and the student has 10 days to appeal to the associate dean of the academic college.

(Step 3) Appeal to the Academic College (Associate Dean Review):
If appealing to the academic college, the student should forward (to the associate dean of the academic college) his/her initial Appeal to the Instructor and response from the instructor (from Step 1), the subsequent Appeal to the Department Head, and the department head’s written notification (from Step 2). Upon receipt of the appeal and aforementioned materials the associate dean may request further information from the student, the instructor, and/or the department head. If the associate dean concludes that the facts alleged by the student do not constitute permissible grounds for appeal as set forth in this Academic Action Appeal Policy or Procedures, the associate dean may, in consultation with the Dean and Graduate Dean if applicable, dismiss the review. The student will not be allowed any further appeal. If the associate dean determines that the facts alleged in the student’s written appeals could, if true, constitute a violation of the Academic Action Appeal Policy or Procedures, the associate dean, within ten working days of receiving all information, shall refer the case to the College’s Academic Action Committee.

(Step 4) Academic Action Committee Review:

The College Academic Action Committee (CAAC) will consist of faculty members (who do not teach in the program from which the appeal originated) and students as designated by the academic college (graduate or undergraduate based upon appeal) appointed by the appropriate Academic Dean or Associate Dean. At least two of the faculty members shall be selected from “allied” disciplines or programs. The Associate Dean will serve as ex officio (non-voting) chair of this committee. The purpose of the CAAC is to determine whether the facts support the student’s contention that the grade was impermissibly or arbitrarily assigned, or there was material procedural deviation, as defined in the policy. It is not the function of the Committee to re-evaluate the student’s work to determine whether the CAAC agrees with the professional judgment of the faculty member who assigned the grade.

The CAAC Chair shall convene the Committee not later than ten working days from the request by the associate dean to examine the student’s appeals to the instructor and department head. The CAAC will also take into consideration any written statements received by the associate dean from either the student or the instructor, and any additional relevant documentation. Additionally, the CAAC may request oral presentations from both parties. Other relevant parties may be questioned.

Neither the student nor the faculty member may be accompanied or represented in the hearing by legal counsel or other advisor. The CAAC may consider only such evidence as is offered by the parties and at the hearing(s) and need consider only the evidence offered that it considers fair and reliable. The burden of proof shall be on the student to satisfy the Committee that a preponderance of the evidence supports a conclusion that the grade was awarded arbitrarily or impermissibly as defined. All recommendations of the CAAC shall be made by a simple majority vote.

Within ten working days from the conclusion of its hearing(s) on the matter, the CAAC Chair will provide a written report to the academic dean and to the graduate dean (for graduate-level grade appeals). The Committee report must include the Committee’s finding as to whether or not the grade assigned was awarded arbitrarily or impermissibly as defined in the policy. If such a determination is made, the CAAC shall recommend a course of action which could include recommending assignment of a specific grade to replace the one originally assigned or implementation of some process to re-evaluate the student’s work

(Step 5) Review by the Dean:
Within ten working days after receiving the CAAC’s report, recommendations and other documentation assembled in the review, the academic Dean will, in consultation with the faculty member and department head, determine a final course of action. S/he will then communicate the final action in writing to the student, faculty member, department head, and (for graduate-level grade appeals) the dean of the Graduate School.

Appeal to the Provost: An appeal to the Provost is only allowed if the student can establish a reasonable basis that the appeal procedures were not followed, discrimination of a protected class has occurred, and/or a student’s exercise of rights guaranteed by the First Amendment has been violated. If the student feels one of these conditions applies, s/he must file a written appeal to the Provost explaining the situation that warrants this level of appeal. The Provost shall provide his/her written decision to the student within ten calendar days of receipt of the appeal. No appeal is available beyond the Provost.

Substitution Provisions: In the event that the faculty member whose grade is being reviewed is also a department head/school director, the associate dean shall do those things required by the head or director. In the event that the faculty member whose grade is being reviewed is also an associate dean, the academic dean or Provost can name an appropriate substitute to perform the functions of the associate dean as required by this policy.

Program Dismissal Appeal Procedures:

The following procedures detail the steps for appealing a dismissal from a program for any reason other than final assigned grade(s), including failure to adhere to technical standards. Dismissal from the Graduate School (and therefore dismissal from the program) based on bad grades may not be appealed. In this case, the affected student must appeal the final grade(s) resulting in the dismissal from the Graduate School. The student is encouraged to meet/talk with the program director prior to filing a formal appeal. The student must demonstrate that dismissal was impermissibly or arbitrarily assigned (see Academic Action Policy). That the student simply disagrees with the dismissal does not constitute a basis for a review.

(Step 1) Appeal to Program Director:
Within 35 calendar days after the student receives notification of the academic action (cause for program dismissal) the student should submit a formal written appeal to the instructor. This appeal must include:
a) a statement of the reason(s) why the student believes the dismissal was impermissibly or arbitrarily assigned (see policy Academic Action Appeal Policy)
b) the resolution sought.
When appealing a dismissal from a graduate program, the student must copy the Dean of the Graduate School on this initial appeal. All correspondence should include contact information. The program director must respond to the student’s request in writing as soon as possible (no later than ten working days after receiving the student’s written appeal). This response should detail whether or not the program is approving or denying the appeal.

(Step 2) Appeal to Department Head:
If the student is unable to resolve the grievance through the appeal to the program director, the student should submit a written appeal to the department head within 10 working days of receiving the program director’s written response (from Step 1). If the department head is the instructor for the grade assigned, the associate dean of the department’s college will serve this function. Students appealing to the department head assume the burden of proof. Therefore, the appeal must include:
a) A statement of the reason(s) the student believes the dismissal was impermissibly or arbitrarily assigned;
b) The steps taken to resolve the disagreement over the dismissal; and
c) The resolution sought.
The appeal must be accompanied by evidence the student believes supports the conclusion that the dismissal was impermissibly or arbitrarily assigned. Evidence might include papers, tests, syllabi, or written documentation. Within ten working days of receiving this appeal, the department head will attempt to resolve the appeal. If the department head is unable to resolve the appeal within ten working days, the department head will notify the student of the decision and copy the dean of the Graduate School, and the student has 10 days to appeal to the associate dean of the academic college.

(Step 3) Appeal to the Academic College (Associate Dean Review):
If appealing to the academic college, the student should forward (to the associate dean of the academic college) his/her initial Appeal to the Program Director and the program director’s response (from Step 1), the subsequent Appeal to the Department Head, and the department head’s written notification (from Step 2). Upon receipt of the appeal and these materials the associate dean may request further information from the student, the program director, and/or the department head. If the associate dean concludes that the facts alleged by the student do not constitute permissible grounds for appeal as set forth in this Academic Action Appeal Policy or Procedures, the associate dean may, in consultation with the academic Dean and Graduate Dean if applicable, dismiss the review. The student will not be allowed any further appeal. If the associate dean determines that the facts alleged in the student’s written appeals could, if true, constitute a violation of the Academic Action Appeal Policy or Procedures, the associate dean, within ten working days of receiving all information, shall refer the case to the College’s Academic Action Committee.

(Step 4) Academic Action Committee Review:
The College Academic Action Committee (CAAC) will consist of faculty members (who do not teach in the program from which the appeal originated) and students as designated by the academic college (graduate or undergraduate based upon appeal) appointed by the appropriate Academic Dean or Associate Dean. At least two of the faculty members shall be selected from “allied” disciplines or programs. The Associate Dean will serve as ex officio (non-voting) chair of this committee. The purpose of this Committee is to determine whether the facts support the student’s contention that the dismissal was impermissibly or arbitrarily assigned, or there was a material procedural deviation, as defined in the policy. It is not the function of the CAAC to re-evaluate the student’s work to determine whether the Committee agrees with the professional judgment of the program director or faculty member(s).

The CAAC Chair shall convene the Committee not later than ten working days from the request by the associate dean to examine the student’s appeals to the program director and department head. The committee will also take into consideration any written statements received by the associate dean from either the student or the program director, and any additional relevant documentation. Additionally, the Committee may request oral presentations from both parties. Other relevant parties may be questioned.

Neither the student nor the program director may be accompanied or represented in the hearing by legal counsel or other advisor. The CAAC may consider only such evidence as is offered by the parties and at the hearing(s) and need consider only the evidence offered that it considers fair and reliable. The burden of proof shall be on the student to satisfy the Committee that a preponderance of the evidence supports a conclusion that the dismissal was awarded arbitrarily or impermissibly as defined. All recommendations of the CAAC shall be made by a simple majority vote.

Within ten working days from the conclusion of its hearing(s) on the matter, the CAAC Chair will provide a written report to the academic dean and to the graduate dean (for graduate-level grade appeals). The Committee report must include the Committee’s finding as to whether or not the dismissal assigned was awarded arbitrarily or impermissibly as defined in the policy. If such a determination is made, the CAAC shall recommend a course of action which could include recommending readmission or implementation of some process to re-evaluate the student’s actions/work that lead to the program dismissal.

(Step 5) Review by the Dean:
Within ten working days after receiving the CAAC’s report, recommendations, and other documentation assembled in the review, the academic Dean will, in consultation with the program director and department head, determine a final course of action. S/he will then communicate the final action in writing to the student, faculty member, department head, and the dean of the Graduate School.

Appeal to the Provost: An appeal to the Provost is only allowed if the student can establish a reasonable basis that the appeal procedures were not followed, discrimination of a protected class has occurred, and/or a student’s exercise of rights guaranteed by the First Amendment has been violated. If the student feels one of these conditions applies, s/he must file a written appeal to the Provost explaining the situation that warrants this level of appeal. The Provost shall provide his/her written decision to the student within ten calendar days of receipt of the appeal. No right of appeal is available beyond the Provost.

Substitution Provisions: In the event that the faculty member whose grade is being reviewed is also a department head/school director, the associate dean shall do those things required by the head or director. In the event that the faculty member whose grade is being reviewed is also an associate dean, the academic dean or Provost can name an appropriate substitute to perform the functions of the associate dean as required by this policy.

Credit Policies

Graduate Program Hours and Residence Requirement. Graduate degree programs require at least 30 semester hours of graduate course work; graduate certificate programs require at least 12 semester hours. Many programs require substantially more than the minimum hours. At least 24 semester hours of a student’s work toward a degree must be earned through instruction offered by Western Carolina University. See Transfer Credit policies for more information regarding the number of hours that may be trasferred in to a degree program.

Transfer Credit. Transfer credit refers to any credit transferred to WCU from another institution.

Policies regarding transfer credit vary according to the graduate program. Based on the following sliding scale (total number of hours in the graduate program) graduate students may transfer in hours (with a grade of B or better) with approval of the Program Director.  Depending on the total hours required by the graduate program, students may transfer six to twelve semester hours of graduate credit earned with grades of B or better. 30-39 hours (up to 6 hours); 40-49 hours (up to 9 hours);  50+ hours (up to 12 hours).

Students should consult with the academic advisor to determine the specific number of transfer hours allowed in a program.  Requests for transfer of credit already earned are made as soon as is feasible when the student is accepted into degree status. Forms for the transfer of credit are available from the Graduate School. Courses accepted for transfer credit must (l) be appropriate to the student’s program and be approved by the student’s advisor, (2) be completed within the six-year limit for course work applicable toward the degree, and (3) have been offered by a regionally accredited institution for graduate credit. Transfer credit must be approved as part of a degree granting program-of-study at WCU; non-degree and certificate-only students may not request transfer of credit.

Graduate students who have been admitted to Graduate School may enroll at other regionally accredited graduate-level institutions for coursework which is applicable to their programs provided they have obtained advance permission from their advisor(s) and the dean of Graduate School and Research. Forms are available from the Graduate School. Such course work cannot exceed the twelve-hour maximum for transfer credit. Students should note that while courses may be transferred into a degree program, grades earned at other institutions are not transferred and therefore are not counted toward a student’s GPA.

Use of Credit in Two Programs: Up to 9 hours (with a six year time limit) may be counted in meeting the requirements in two different graduate degree programs.  Certain certificate programs allow application of certificate hours to specific degree programs.

Experiential Credit. The university does not grant graduate academic credit for the life experiences of students. A policy has been established to award credit, up to a maximum of twenty percent of a graduate degree, for experiential courses. Experiential courses have been defined by the university as structured, preplanned, experiential-learning opportunities for which credit toward a degree may be earned through regular enrollment in established university courses. Experiential courses are required by some, but not by all, graduate programs.

External Instruction Courses. Western Carolina University has guidelines for enrolling students in external instruction courses/programs. External instruction programs are defined as instruction received at a site(s) to which the student is sent by the enrolling institution to participate in instructional activities. Encompassed in the scope of external instruction are programs referred to as cooperative programs, practical training, independent study, and open-circuit televised instruction which meet the following guidelines:

  1. All courses are bona fide: approved by all required college, university, state, regional, and national regulatory agencies. Courses are also approved to meet all licensure and licensing requirements.
  2. All courses are an integral part of the student’s program; credit will apply toward graduation and/or will be required for a particular degree program.
  3. All courses are appropriately rigorous with assigned credit proportionate to the amount of instructor involvement and control (assigned credit is determined by university and state requirements).
  4. The university/college has an agreement on file with specific work sites assuring that the experiences will provide opportunities for application of the knowledge, skills, and competencies gained from on-campus academic programs.
  5. All courses have regularly employed faculty members responsible for all students participating in external instruction courses.

Continuing Education Units (CEU) Credit. Courses in which CEUs are earned are not accepted for undergraduate or graduate credit, and regular credit courses offered by the university are not available for CEU credit. Students interested in CEUs should contact the Division of Educational Outreach for information about special programs and courses suited to their needs.

Time Limitation. Work to be applied toward any master’s or education specialist degree must be completed within six years immediately preceding the completion of requirements for the degree. Graduate credits to be accepted in transfer must have been earned within the six-year period. Students in the Ed.D. program must complete all degree requirements within five years of admission to candidacy. Extension of time limits will only be granted based on compelling reasons or circumstances beyond the control of the student.  Extensions must have the approval of the student’s advisor, the head of the department of the student’s program, and the dean of Graduate School and Research. Requests must be submitted in writing detailing the reasons for or circumstances surrounding the request; it must also detail any remaining degree requirements.  The dean of Graduate School may establish conditions for any approved extension.

Independent Study. Independent study courses are offered by several departments at Western Carolina University. The content and criteria for each course is determined by each academic department. Credit for these courses range from 1 to 6 semester hours credit as determined by the department.

Special Topics Course Policy. Courses numbered 593, 594, 693 or 694 are for special topics that reflect a student’s or faculty member’s special interest not covered by regular departmental curriculum offerings. Credit in these courses varies from one to four credit hours, to be determined by the department for each offering. Students may take up to 12 hours of special topic credit in a single department/program. A particular topic course can be taught at most two times in a five-year period. If a department/program wishes to teach a particular topic course more than twice in a five year period, it must propose the course as a regular course, subject to the curriculum review process.

Course Credit and Prefix Policies

Credits and Class Meetings. Unless specifically indicated at the end of the course description, the number of hours a class meets each week is the same as the credit-hour value of the course. The credit-hour value of each course is indicated in parentheses immediately following the title of the course. For example, if three hours of credit may be earned, the credit is indicated as follows: (3). In variable credit courses, the minimum and maximum hours are shown as follows: (1-3). Unless repeat credit is specified in the course description, a course may be applied only once toward the hours required for graduation. The availability of a course for repeat credit and the maximum hours that may be earned are indicated within the parentheses and immediately following the credit-hour value of the course, as follows: (3, R6). In this example, the course carries three hours of credit and may be repeated once for a maximum of six hours applicable toward a degree.

Prerequisites and Corequisites. A prerequisite (PREQ) is any special requirement, usually one or more background courses or requirements, in addition to class rank, which a student must meet before enrolling in a course specifying the prerequisite. A corequisite (COREQ) is any course in which a student must enroll simultaneously with the course specifying the corequisite.

Departmental and Course Prefixes. The prefixes used to designate departments and courses, except in the case of very short names such as Art, are abbreviations of the names of departments or of fields of study within the departments. 

Prefix   Field of Study   Department/School
ACCT   Accounting   Accountancy, Finance, and Entrepreneurship
ANTH   Anthropology   Anthropology and Sociology
ART   Art   School of Art and Design
ASI   Arts and Sciences Interdisciplinary   College of Arts and Sciences
AST   Astronomy   Chemistry and Physics
BA   Business Administration   College of Business
BIOL   Biology   Biology
CHEM   Chemistry   Chemistry and Physics
CIS   Computer Information Systems   Business Computer Information Systems and Economics
CJ   Criminal Justice   Criminal Justice
CM   Construction Management   Kimmel School of Construction Management, Engineering and Technology
CMEM   Electronic Media   Communication, Theatre, and Dance
CMHC   Human Communication   Communication, Theatre, and Dance
CMPM   Print Media   Communication, Theatre, and Dance
CMPR   Public Relations   Communication, Theatre, and Dance
CMTA   Theatre Arts   Communication, Theatre, and Dance
COUN   Counseling   Human Services
CS   Computer Science   Mathematics and Computer Science
CSD   Communication Sciences and Disorders   Human Services
CSP   College Student Personnel   Educational Leadership and Foundations
ECON   Economics   Business Computer Information Systems and Economics
EDCI   Curriculum and Foundations   Educational Leadership and Foundations
EDEL   Elementary Education   B-K, Elementary and Middle Grades Education
EDHE   Higher Education   Educational Leadership and Foundations
EDL   Educational Leadership   Educational Leadership and Foundations
EDMG   Middle Grades Education   B-K, Elementary and Middle Grades Education
EDPY   Education and Psychology   College of Education and Allied Professions
EDRD   Reading   B-K, Elementary and Middle Grades Education
EDRS   Educational Research   Educational Leadership and Foundations
EDSU   Educational Supervision   Educational Leadership and Foundations
ENGL   English   English
ENT   Entrepreneurship   Accountancy, Finance, and Entrepreneurship
ENVH   Environmental Health   Health Sciences
ET   Engineering Technology   Kimmel School of Construction Management, Engineering and Technology
FIN   Finance   Accountancy, Finance, and Entrepreneurship
GEOG   Geography   Geosciences and Natural Resources Mgt.
GEOL   Geology   Geosciences and Natural Resources Mgt.
GERN   Gerontology   College of Applied Sciences
HIST   History   History
HR   Human Resources   Human Services
IBUS   International Business   Management and International Business
LAW   Business Law   Marketing and Business Law
MATH   Mathematics   Mathematics and Computer Science
M.B.A.   Master of Business Administration   College of Business
MET   Manufacturing Engineering Technology   Kimmel School of Construction Management, Engineering and Technology
MGT   Management   Management and International Business
MHS   Health Sciences   Health Sciences
MKT   Marketing   Marketing and Business Law
MUS   Music   School of Music
ND   Nutrition and Dietetics   Health Sciences
NSG   Nursing   Nursing
PA   Public Affairs   Political Science and Public Affairs
PAR   Philosophy and Religion   Philosophy and Religion
PE   Physical Education   Health and Human Performance
PHYS   Physics   Chemistry and Physics
PM   Project Management   Management and International Business
PRM   Parks and Recreation Management   Health and Human Performance
PSC   Political Science   Political Science and Public Affairs
PSY   Psychology   Psychology
PT   Physical Therapy   Physical Therapy
SCI   Science Education   Chemistry and Physics
SM   Sport Management   Health and Human Performance
SOC   Sociology   Anthropology and Sociology
SOCW   Social Work   Social Work
SPED   Special Education
Mental Retardation
Behavioral Disorders
Learning Disabilities
Severe & Profound Disabilities
  Human Services
USI   University Studies Interdisciplinary   Academic Affairs

 

Program Completion, Graduation and Licensure

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Application for Graduation. Degree-seeking students must file an application in their department or with their advisor the semester prior to their graduation date. (Forms for this purpose may be found online at westerngrad.wcu.edu). A required $30 graduation fee must be submitted before the student can be cleared for graduation.

Graduation Attendance. Candidates for degrees are required to be present at the commencement exercises in the prescribed academic dress. Requests for exceptions to this policy should be addressed to the registrar.

Enrollment. All students must be enrolled for credit during the semester in which they complete their graduate work or are scheduled to receive their degrees.

Certificates and Teacher Licensure

Licensure. It is the responsibility of the student to apply for an initial North Carolina teacher license or to upgrade an existing North Carolina license by contacting the licensure specialist in Killian Building, Room 219, at the beginning of the final semester. For current fees and licensure forms, consult http://www.ncpublicschools.org/licensure/.

Certificates. Certificate students must contact their academic advisor in order to submit a request for certificate conferral.

Clinical and Field Experiences in Programs Leading to Professional Education Licensure by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction

The goal of professional education clinical and field experiences is to assist students in professional licensure programs to help all of the pupils with whom they work to achieve at high levels of performance. Although each clinical and field experience requirement has its own specific purpose and placement procedures, the strategies to achieve this goal are stated below:

  1. so that students have the opportunity to work with qualified educators in successful programs.
  2. so that students have the opportunity to work with diverse learners.
  3. in collaboration with B-12 school personnel.
  4.  to facilitate appropriate supervision of students.

Foreign Language Requirement

A reading knowledge of a foreign language is required of candidates for the Master of Arts degrees in History and English. Other degree programs do not require proficiency in a foreign language.

Comprehensive Examinations

A comprehensive examination is required for most degree programs. The examination may be written or oral or both. The specific requirement for each program is stated in the degree outline.

The comprehensive examination shall be administered by the appropriate department at least two weeks before the end of the semester in which the student expects to receive a degree. Written notice of the results of the examination shall be given to the Graduate School at least ten days prior to commencement.

Failure of a student to pass the oral or written comprehensive examination terminates the student’s graduate work in that program unless otherwise recommended by the departmental committee. Only one reexamination will be permitted. All committee actions may be appealed by written application to the dean of Graduate School and Research.

Thesis

A thesis is required in the master of arts and master of science degree programs for history (excluding non-thesis option and public history option), biology, chemistry, English (excluding non-thesis option), clinical psychology, and school psychology. A thesis is optional for the master of arts in music; however, a lecture/recital is required. A thesis may be accepted for some degree programs leading to the master of arts in education, the master of health sciences, the master of science in applied mathematics, the master of science in communication disorders, and the master of science in nursing.

A thesis proposal approved by the student’s thesis committee, program director, department head, and the dean of Graduate School and Research must be on file in the Graduate School. The proposal cover sheet can be downloaded from the Graduate School website at http://www.wcu.edu/1169.asp. Students should submit a copy to their director no later than four weeks prior to the end of the semester.  Students may only register for thesis credit for the following semester after the proposal has been approved.  If the student’s research involves either human or animal subjects, the protocol must be approved by either the Institutional Review Board (for human subjects) or the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (for other live vertebrates) before the thesis proposal can be approved. IRB instructions and forms can be found at http://www.wcu.edu/6801.asp.

The completed, defended thesis should be submitted to the Graduate School (via ProQuest/UMI Dissertation Publishing www.etdadmin.com/wcu) at least four weeks before the commencement ceremony at which the degree is to be conferred. A thesis guide to help students prepare their thesis is available from the Graduate School. The guide can also be found online at westerngrad.wcu.edu. After the thesis has been reviewed, the student will receive an email regarding the Graduate School’s approval or denial of the submission.  One bound copy must be sent to Hunter Library and will automatically be listed on the order form.  Students should check with their director about any additional copies that may be required.

Students should contact the Graduate School for additional information prior to submitting their theses.

The thesis, in its final form, must be approved by the student’s major department and the dean of Graduate School and Research before a candidate can receive the graduate degree.

Dissertation

A dissertation is required for the Ed.D. in educational leadership. A dissertation proposal approved by the student’s doctoral committee and the dean of Graduate School and Research must be on file in the Graduate School.  The proposal cover sheet can be downloaded from the Graduate School website at www.westerngrad.com/1169.asp.  If the student’s research involves human subjects, the protocol must be approved by the Institutional Review Board before the dissertation proposal can be approved.  IRB instructions and forms can be found at http://www.wcu.edu/6801.asp. Students should submit a dissertation proposal the semester prior to the semester in which they plan to graduate.  After approval of the proposal, students may register for EDL 899 for the following semester. A student cannot defend the proposal and the dissertation in the same semester.

Program Completion

Students who have completed their coursework and the number of thesis/dissertation hours for credit required in their graduate degree program must take action as follows.

Thesis/Dissertation Programs:

  • Students who write dissertations are expected to defend their work during oral examinations.
  • Students in thesis/dissertation programs must enroll in the Thesis Research course (usually numbered 699 or 899) during the semester they begin their thesis/dissertation.
  • If the thesis/dissertation is not completed during the required thesis hours for the program, students must enroll in Continuing Research - Thesis Option (usually numbered 799, or 999) in their discipline. These hours (1-9, depending upon program) will not count toward the degree.

Non-Thesis Option Programs

  • Students who are in a non-thesis program/option who have completed all degree requirements with the exception of degree requirements such as a comprehensive examination, the removal of an incomplete grade, or portfolio, must enroll in Continuing Research - Non-Thesis Option (usually numbered 779) in their discipline.

Students are expected to be continuously enrolled during regular semesters (fall/spring) while completing their program of study. Students who will not use university resources can apply for a leave of absence. Students choosing this option must file a formal petition for a leave of absence that states that they will not use university resources during the leave period. Students must submit a re-enrollment form upon returning after an approved leave of absence.

All students must be enrolled for credit during the semester in which they complete their graduate work or are scheduled to receive their degrees. This enrollment requirement includes the summer session.  Degree-program students planning to graduate must apply for graduation.  Certificate program candidates must apply for certificate conferral.  Contact your program director to apply for graduation or to apply for certificate conferral.

Student Rights and Regulations

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Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights include:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access. Students should submit to the registrar’s office written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The registrar’s office will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. Students who believe that their education records contain information that is inaccurate or misleading, or is otherwise in violation of their privacy or other rights, may discuss their problems informally with the university director of Equal Opportunity Programs. If the decision is in agreement with the students’ requests, the appropriate records will be amended. If not, the students will be notified within a reasonable period of time that the records will not be amended, and they will be informed by the director of Equal Opportunity Programs of their right to a formal hearing.
  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally-identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception that permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the university has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.
  4. The right to file a complaint with the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20202-4605 concerning alleged failures by Western Carolina University to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

Western Carolina University hereby designates the following categories of student information as public or Directory Information. Such information may be disclosed by the institution for any purpose, at its discretion.

  • Student name
  • Local and home address
  • Telephone numbers
  • Classification
  • Parent/guardian
  • County
  • Major field of study
  • Photograph
 
  • Dates of attendance
  • Degrees
  • Honors and awards received
  • The most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Weight and height of members of athletic teams
  • Electronic mail (E-mail) address.

Students may withhold directory information by notifying the One Stop Student Service Center in writing within five working days from the first day of classes for the fall term, or by the first day of classes for subsequent terms. Students are warned, however, prior to making a decision to withhold personally-identifiable data, that undesirable consequences frequently occur, such as names of students on the Deans’ List are not published, names are not listed in commencement bulletins, and requests from prospective employers are denied. Forms are available at the One Stop Student Service Center and on the Web at registrar.wcu.edu.

Western Carolina University’s complete FERPA policy may be obtained from the One Stop Student Service Center.

Students’ Education Records At General Administration of The University of North Carolina: Annual Notification of Rights

Certain personally-identifiable information about students (education records) may be maintained at The University of North Carolina General Administration, which serves the Board of Governors of The University system. This student information may be the same as, or derivative of, information maintained by a constituent institution of The University, or it may be additional information. Whatever their origins, education records maintained at General Administration are subject to the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).

FERPA provides that a student may inspect his or her education records. If the student finds the records to be inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights, the student may request amendment to the record. FERPA also provides that a student’s personally-identifiable information may not be released to someone else unless (1) the student has given a proper consent for disclosure or (2) provisions of FERPA or federal regulations issued pursuant to FERPA permit the information to be released without the student’s consent.

A student may file with the U.S. Department of Education a complaint concerning failure of General Administration or an institution to comply with FERPA.

The policies of the University of North Carolina General Administration concerning FERPA may be inspected in the office at each constituent institution designated to maintain the FERPA policies of the institution. Policies of General Administration may also be accessed in the Office of the Secretary, General Administration, The University of North Carolina, 910 Raleigh Road, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 27515.

Further details about FERPA and its procedures at General Administration are to be found in the referenced policies. Questions about the policies may be directed to Legal Section, Office of the President, The University of North Carolina, General Administration, Annex Building, 910 Raleigh Road, Chapel Hill, North Carolina (mailing address P.O. Box 2688, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27515-2688; telephone 919-962-4588).

Standards of Conduct

The university is committed to developing and maintaining the highest standards of scholarship and conduct. Therefore, all students are subject to the rules and regulations of the university. In accepting admission to Graduate School, students indicate their willingness to abide by university rules and regulations and acknowledge the right of the university to take appropriate disciplinary action, including suspension and/or expulsion, as may be deemed appropriate, for failure to abide by university rules and regulations. Rules related to student conduct and procedures for the resolution of cases may be found in the Code of Student Conduct available in the Student Handbook or on the World Wide Web.

Students registered in the Graduate School at Western Carolina University may not be enrolled simultaneously at another institution except in the case of transfer of credit or guest matriculant, which must be approved in advance by the dean of Graduate School and Research. Failure to comply with this policy may result in dismissal from the Graduate School.

Code of Ethics

Graduate students are expected to be familiar with and to adhere to the professional and ethical guidelines appropriate to their area of study. Failure at any time to adhere to the guidelines may result in immediate dismissal from the Graduate School.

Policy on Illegal Drugs

  1. Purpose
    Western Carolina University is an academic community dedicated to the transmission and advancement of knowledge and understanding. The Board of Trustees is committed to the maintenance and protection of an environment in which students and faculty members may responsibly pursue these goals through teaching, learning, research, discussion, and publication, free from internal or external restraints that would unreasonably restrict their academic endeavors. Moreover, it is the obligation of all members of the university community—faculty, students, administrators, and other employees—to help maintain an environment where academic freedom flourishes and in which the rights of each member of the academic community are respected. The illegal use of and trafficking in drugs can jeopardize the welfare of members of this academic community. Accordingly, in an effort to responsibly address such threats to the integrity of the academic environment, the Board of Trustees adopts this policy.
  2. Applicable Policies, Practices, and Programs
    1. Education, Prevention, Counseling, and Rehabilitation
      1. Just as the primary purpose of Western Carolina University is education, so also the university’s major effort to address drug abuse should be educational in nature. The university shall maintain a comprehensive drug education program available to all members of the academic community (students, faculty, administration, and staff). The activities of the program shall be the responsibility of the Drug and Alcohol Education Task Force cochaired by the University addictions counselor and a faculty member and composed of faculty, staff, and students. The task force shall develop and coordinate an ongoing program available to all members of the academic community that:
        1. informs members of the academic community about the health hazards associated with drug abuse;
        2. emphasizes the incompatibility of drug abuse and maximum achievement of personal and educational goals;
        3. encourages members of the campus community to make use of available campus and community counseling, medical, and rehabilitation resources in dealing with drug abuse problems; and
        4. informs members of the academic community that they also may be subject to criminal prosecution for violating state laws relating to the illegal use, possession, delivery, sale, manufacture, or creation of controlled substances.
      2. WCU shall provide information about drug counseling and rehabilitation services to members of the university community, through campus-based programs for students and through community-based organizations for faculty, staff, and students. Persons who voluntarily avail themselves of university services shall be assured that applicable professional standards of confidentiality will be observed.
    2. Enforcement and Penalties
      1. Western Carolina University shall take all actions necessary, consistent with state and federal law and applicable university policy, to eliminate illegal drugs from the university community. The institutional policy on illegal drugs shall be publicized in catalogs and other relevant materials prepared for all enrolled and prospective students and in relevant materials distributed to faculty members, administrators, and other employees.
      2. Students, faculty members, administrators, and other employees are responsible, as citizens, for knowing about and complying with the provisions of North Carolina law that make it a crime to possess, sell, deliver, or manufacture those drugs designated collectively as “controlled substances” in Article 5 of Chapter 90 of the North Carolina General Statutes. Any member of the university community who violates that law is subject both to prosecution and punishment by the civil authorities and to disciplinary proceedings by the university. It is not “double jeopardy” for both the civil authorities and the university to proceed against and punish a person for the same specified conduct. The university shall initiate its own disciplinary proceeding against a student, faculty member, administrator, or other employee when the alleged conduct is deemed to affect the interests of the university.
      3. Penalties shall be imposed by the university in accordance with procedural safeguards applicable to disciplinary actions against students, faculty members, administrators, and other employees, and by regulations of the State Personnel Commission.*
      4. The penalties to be imposed by the university shall range from written warnings with probationary status to expulsions from enrollment and discharges from employment. However, the following minimum penalties shall be imposed for the particular offenses described.
  3. Trafficking in Illegal Drugs
    1. For the illegal manufacture, sale or delivery, or possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver, of any controlled substance identified in Schedule I, North Carolina General Statutes 90-90, or Schedule II, General Statutes 90-90 (including, but not limited to, heroin, mescaline, lysergic acid diethylamide, opium, cocaine, amphetamine, and methaqualine), any student shall be expelled and any faculty member, administrator, or other employee shall be discharged.
    2. For a first offense involving the illegal manufacture, sale or delivery, or possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver, of any controlled substance identified in Schedules III through VI, North Carolina General Statutes 90-91 through 90-94 (including but not limited to marijuana, pentobarbital, codeine), the minimum penalty shall be suspension from enrollment or from employment for a period of at least one semester or its equivalent. For a second offense, any student shall be expelled and any faculty member, administrator, or other employee shall be discharged.
  4. Illegal Possession of Drugs
    1. For a first offense involving the illegal possession of any controlled substance identified in Schedule I, N.C. General Statutes 90-89, or Schedule II, N.C. General Statutes 90-90, the minimum penalty shall be suspension from enrollment or from employment for a period of at least one semester or its equivalent.
    2. For a first offense involving the illegal possession of any controlled substance identified in Schedules III through VI, North Carolina General Statutes 90-91 through 90-94, the minimum penalty shall be probation, for a period to be determined on a case-by-case basis. A person on probation must agree to participate in a drug education and counseling program, consent to regular drug testing, and accept such other conditions and restrictions, including a program of community service, as the chancellor or the chancellor’s designee deems appropriate. Refusal or failure to abide by the terms of probation shall result in suspension from enrollment or from employment for any unexpired balance of the prescribed period of probation.
    3. For second or other subsequent offenses involving the illegal possession of controlled substances, progressively more severe penalties shall be imposed, including expulsion of the students and discharge of faculty members, administrators, or other employees.
  5. Suspension Pending Final Disposition
    When a student, faculty member, administrator, or other employee has been charged by the university with a violation of policies concerning illegal drugs, he or she may be suspended from enrollment or employment before initiation or completion of regular disciplinary proceedings if, assuming the truth of the charges, the chancellor or, in the chancellor’s absence, the chancellor’s designee concludes that the person’s continued presence within the university community would constitute a clear and immediate danger to the health or welfare of other members of the university community; provided, that if such a suspension is imposed, an appropriate hearing of the charges against the suspended person shall be held as promptly as possible thereafter.
  6. Compliance with Federal Drug-free Workplace Act of 1988 Pertaining to Employees
    1. As a condition of employment, an employee must abide by the terms of this policy and must notify his immediate supervisor at Western Carolina University of any criminal drug conviction occurring in the workplace no later than five days after that conviction.
    2. Western Carolina University will notify federal granting or contracting agencies within ten days after receiving notice that an employee directly engaged in a grant or contract has been convicted of a drug offense in the workplace.
    3. Western Carolina University will impose sanctions and/or require satisfactory participation in drug abuse or rehabilitation programs by an employee convicted of a drug-related violation in the workplace no later than thirty days after notice of said conviction.

* Rules of the State Personnel Commission govern disciplinary actions that may be taken against SPA employees; under current Commission policies, discharge rather than suspension is the applicable penalty for SPA employees in instances where this policy otherwise requires suspension.

Computer and Email Use Policies

Policy on Computer Abuse

The University provides computer access through the information technology division, college, and department computer systems. It is essential that computer systems be protected from misuse and unauthorized access subject to university policy and applicable state and federal laws. Computer abuse defined as, but not limited to, privacy issues, theft, vandalism, copyright issues, and harassment will be referred to the Office of the Chief Information Officer and/or college or department computer network and laboratory managers. Abuse involving theft or vandalism will also be reported to the director of the University Police Department. Penalties include, but are not necessarily limited to, suspension or revocation of computing privileges, reimbursement to the university for resources consumed, other legal action including action to recover damages, referral to law-enforcement authorities, and referral to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs for disciplinary action. In connection with inquiries into possible abuses, the university reserves the right to examine files, programs, passwords, accounting information, printouts, or other computing material without notice authorized only by the Chief Information Officer. See University Policy #52, Use of Computers and Data Communications online at http://www.wcu.edu/chancellor/index/universitypolicy/policy52.html.

Electronic Mail Policy

University electronic mail accounts are provided and supported by the State of North Carolina to support the missions of the University. The purpose of this Policy is to ensure the appropriate use of the University’s Electronic Mail System by its students, faculty and staff. The Electronic Mail System is provided by the University as one of its primary means of official communication. Users have the responsibility to use these resources in an efficient, effective, ethical and lawful manner. Use of the University’s electronic mail system evidences the user’s agreement to be bound by this Policy. Violations of this Policy may result in restriction of access to the University email system and/or other appropriate disciplinary action.

User Responsibilities

The Information Technology Division maintains the University’s official Electronic Mail System. Faculty, staff, and students are required to read their Electronic Mail System messages on a regular basis. Faculty, staff or students who choose to use another email system are responsible for receiving University-wide broadcast messages, notices and personal mail by checking the University’s official electronic mail system and the University’s World Wide Web homepage . An alternate method of receiving University electronic mail is to utilize the Forward Feature, which can be set to forward mail to an individual’s personal email account. An Electronic Mail System message regarding University matters sent from an administrative office, faculty, or staff member is considered to be an official notice. Supervisors must ensure that their University staff and faculty have access to the necessary or appropriate messages distributed via the University’s Electronic Mail System.

Personal Use of Electronic Mail System

The University’s Electronic Mail System may, subject to the foregoing, be used for incidental personal purposes provided such use does not violate either this policy or University Policy #52. In addition, personal use must not interfere with University operation of information technologies, including electronic mail services, generate a direct cost for the University or interfere with the user’s employment or other obligations to the University. Privacy of personal electronic mail content residing on or transmitted through University equipment should not be expected. No University faculty member, staff member, or student should use a University Electronic Mail System account with the expectation that any particular Electronic Mail System content, whether personal or business-related, will be private.

Privacy of Email Files

The University does not inspect or monitor electronic mail routinely. To the extent permitted by law, however, the University reserves the right to access and disclose the contents of faculty, staff, students’ and other users’ electronic mail without the consent of the user. Access to electronic mail on the University’s computers that involves reading or disclosing electronic mail may occur only where authorized by the University and only for the following purposes:

  • troubleshooting hardware and software problems, such as rerouting or disposing of undeliverable mail;
  • preventing or investigating unauthorized access and system misuse;
  • retrieving or reviewing for University purposes University-related information;
  • investigating reports of violation of University policy or local, state, or federal law;
  • investigating reports of employee, student or user misconduct;
  • complying with legal requests for information (such as subpoenas and public records, requests); and
  • retrieving information in emergency circumstances where there is a threat to health, safety, or University property involved.

Users of the Electronic Mail System also should be aware that, in addition to being subject to authorized access as detailed herein, electronic mail in its present form cannot be completely secured and is, therefore, vulnerable to unauthorized access and modification by third parties. Receivers of electronic mail documents should check with the purported sender if there is any doubt about the identity of the sender or the authenticity of the contents, as they would with print documents.

Users of the Electronic Mail System also should be aware that even though the sender and recipient have discarded their copies of an electronic mail record, there may be back-up copies of such electronic mail that can be retrieved on University systems or any other electronic systems through which the mail has traveled.

Access by authorized University employees to electronic mail stored on the University’s network of computers may be necessary to ensure the orderly administration and functioning of University computing systems. Such access, gained for purposes such as to back up or move data, ordinarily should not require the employee gaining access to the electronic mail to read messages. The University requires employees, such as system administrators, who as a function of their jobs routinely have access to electronic mail and other electronically stored data to maintain the confidentiality of such information.

Limitations on the Use of Electronic Mail System

The legal and regulatory environment surrounding the University’s Electronic Mail System creates a number of other limitations on the use of the University’s Electronic Mail System accounts. Most apply uniformly to the use of all State-provided resources. They may be briefly summarized:

  • Electronic Mail System accounts are for the exclusive use of the individual to whom they are assigned
  • No use is permitted that conflicts with the requirements of civil or criminal law, including but not limited to laws relating to the privacy of student and employee records, pornography, defamation, intellectual property infringement, and illegal discrimination, or conflicts with any applicable policy of the UNC Board of Governors or Western Carolina University (including University policy #52), such as use in support of partisan political activities.
  • No use is permitted that constitutes the unauthorized exchange of proprietary information or any other privileged, confidential, or sensitive information.
  • The knowing transmission of a message containing a computer virus or that misrepresents the identity of the sender is prohibited.
  • The use of or attempt to use the accounts of others without their permission is prohibited.
  • Personal use cannot interfere with a University employee’s obligation to carry out University duties in a timely and effective manner.
  • The personal use cannot involve sending or soliciting chain letters or sending unsolicited bulk mail messages (e.g., “junk mail,” “spam,” or “MLM”), or otherwise overloading the University’s electronic mail system or negatively interfering with system performance.
  • Uses that result in commercial gain or personal profit are not permitted, except as allowed under University intellectual property policies and external activities for pay policy; however, in no case may the University’s Electronic Mail System be used for solicitation of an unrelated, external activity for pay. See University Policy 54 for EPA employees and University Policy 87 for SPA employees.
  • No personal use may state or imply University sponsorship or endorsement of its message.

Electronic mail created for business purposes by University employees is a public record and, as such, may not be disposed of, erased or destroyed unless permitted by law. Just as in the case of hard copies, individual employees are responsible for saving or archiving their Electronic Mail System messages. Electronic Mail System messages that have reference or administrative value but are of a temporary, ephemeral, or transient nature may be deleted when the user has determined that their reference value has ended.

Just as in the case of hard copies, the retention period for electronic mail that must be retained is determined by the type of document being retained. The North Carolina University Records Retention and Disposition Schedule followed by the University, contains required retention periods by category of record. If you have questions bout retention periods, please contact the Head of Special Collections in Hunter Library.

Electronic mail may be retained electronically or it may be printed and retained as a hard copy. Due to limited resources, the Information Technology Division has the right to restrict the amount of user space on the primary message server or archive older messages on other servers as necessary.

Electronic Mail System accounts of students who have not registered for a semester will be purged after 30 days. Accounts for faculty/staff who have left the University will be frozen within two working days after the person’s last day and will be deleted after 30 days. This period can be extended for up to three months for faculty and staff if requested by their supervisor before the employee’s last day.

Official University Electronic Mails

Catamount Email is the official communication method for university/student communications including messages concerning notifications and alerts as well as course information from instructors.

Not all written communication is appropriate for the Electronic Mail System. In fact, in certain limited situations, the law may require the use of paper originals delivered via regular mail. In other situations, good business practice may call for not only a paper original, but, for example, one that is sent by certified mail, receipt requested.

When using the Electronic Mail System as an official means of communication, students, faculty, and staff should apply the same professionalism, discretion, and standards that they would use in written business communication. Furthermore, students, faculty and staff must remember that matters communicated via the Electronic Mail System may become a public record, may become evidence in a lawsuit or may otherwise be shared with a broader audience than intended.

Students, faculty and staff may not inappropriately disclose University information in Electronic Mail System messages to which they have privileged access because of their position at the University.

Those wishing to transmit broadcast electronic messages, either to an on or off campus audience, containing essential University announcements to alumni, students, faculty, and/or staff must obtain approval from the appropriate administrative authority. Within the scope of their authority, only the Offices of an Associate Vice Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, Provost, or the Chancellor may authorize the transmission of broadcast messages to a wide audience of students, faculty and staff. Appropriate broadcast of electronic messages may include, but is not limited to, the following types of announcements:

  • Emergency or unforeseen campus-wide events notification (e.g., cancellation of classes or closing of the University due to inclement weather or emergency);
  • Important campus deadline notification (e.g., last day of drop/add for students);
  • Improved services to students, faculty, or staff that directly impact all members of the affected group.

By contrast, broadcast electronic messages should not be used for non-essential matters such as publicizing campus events. Broadcast email messages should be sent only to the affected group (students, faculty, or staff, or a subgroup of one of those groups) and should be of critical importance to that group.

Graduate Degree Requirements and Information

Degree candidates are subject to those degree requirements in force at the time of their initial registration following admission. Degree candidates who have been readmitted following withdrawal for one full year (example: fall semester, spring semester, and a summer school), are subject to those degree requirements in force at the time of their initial registration following readmission. All degree candidates have the option of graduating under the degree requirements in force at the time the degree is to be awarded.

This catalog details the absolute minimum requirements for each degree. Credentials of each applicant are reviewed and a program of study is devised for each individual. Therefore, students may be required to take course work above the minimum.

The appropriate graduate degree will be conferred upon a student after completion of one of the programs outlined below to the satisfaction of the major department(s) and the dean of Graduate School and Research. Each program requires successful completion of the minimum number of semester hours of graduate study, as required by each program, with at least half of the credits having been earned in courses open to graduate students only and numbered 600 or above for a master’s degree and numbered 700 or above for the education specialist degree. All courses for the doctor of education degree must be from courses numbered 700 and above.

Changes in Requirements and Regulations

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Every effort has been made to assure the accuracy of statements in this catalog to the extent they could be known at press time. However, changes in, or elimination of, provisions contained herein on any and all matters, including courses, course descriptions, designations of faculty, fees and other charges, admissions and degree requirements, and academic policies and procedures, may be made and applied before the next catalog publication occurs. All rules and regulations pertaining to graduate students are maintained in the Graduate School and may be reviewed there.

The policies, rules, regulations, and requirements of the Graduate School are intended to promote quality and excellence in the graduate program and to assist students to progress in a steady and orderly way toward the achievement of their academic and professional goals. It is recognized that graduate students may enter their graduate studies with various academic experiences; thus, exceptions to these policies, rules, regulations, and requirements may be considered when, in the opinion of the appropriate faculty and the Graduate School, a change will enhance the student’s program of study, and when the objectives and quality of the individual student’s program of study and the standards of the Graduate School will not be compromised.