The page uses Browser Access Keys to help with keyboard navigation. Click to learn moreSkip to Navigation

Different browsers use different keystrokes to activate accesskey shortcuts. Please reference the following list to use access keys on your system.

Alt and the accesskey, for Internet Explorer on Windows
Shift and Alt and the accesskey, for Firefox on Windows
Shift and Esc and the accesskey, for Windows or Mac
Ctrl and the accesskey, for the following browsers on a Mac: Internet Explorer 5.2, Safari 1.2, Firefox, Mozilla, Netscape 6+.

We use the following access keys on our gateway

n Skip to Navigation
k Accesskeys description
h Help
Western Carolina University    
 
    
 
  Sep 20, 2017
 
ARCHIVED 2013-2014 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Regulations


Click on a link to be taken to the entry below. 

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

Courses listed in this catalog are open to graduate students only. At least half of the credit hours applied toward a master’s and the Specialist in School Psychology 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 doctoral degree must be from courses numbered 700 and above.

Course Loads

Full-time course load for graduate level students per term is nine hours. The maximum course load is fifteen hours per term. The maximum course load during summer term is twelve hours. Doctor of Physical Therapy students are exempt from the standard course load limit and may enroll into a maximum of nineteen hours per term. Course load regulations for the mini or summer session are published on the Registrar’s website at registrar.wcu.edu.

Class Attendance Policy

  1. General Attendance Policy: All students are expected to attend and participate in all meetings of the courses in which they are enrolled; any absence is incurred at the student’s own risk.

    Each instructor will establish the attendance requirements, make-up procedures, and guidelines for absences in each course and the effect that irregular attendance, lack of participation, and inadequate preparation will have upon a student’s grade. Attendance requirements and their relationships to grades shall reflect the norms of the department and college and should not conflict with university policy herein. The instructor will distribute written attendance policies to students at the beginning of each term. An instructor may establish special and more demanding attendance requirements for students who are performing less than satisfactorily. Each student is responsible for complying with the announced procedures for making up missed work.

    Students with more unexcused absences than the semester hours given for a course can expect the instructor to lower their final grade, especially in a 100-(freshman) or 200-(sophomore) level course. Missing approximately 10% of class meeting times (e.g. 4-5 MWF classes, 3 TR classes, or 1 laboratory or night class) or more constitutes a significant amount of class materials and experience and is very difficult, if not impossible, to make up. Class attendance may be required of undergraduate students as a condition of admission or readmission to the university or of eligibility to continue enrollment.
    Graduate students are expected to attend all class meetings. Specific attendance regulations are announced by the instructor.
     
  2. University Excused Absences: In addition to a documented and bona fide medical emergency, the death of an immediate family member, or pre-arranged absence for religious observance, excused absences are granted for university events that include performances and events sanctioned by the Chancellor to promote the image of the university, regularly scheduled university team competitions (athletic and otherwise) including postseason play (practices and training sessions are excluded) and, in addition, student engagement sponsored by the institution and approved by the Provost (e.g. research presentations and performances at national conferences or events).

    Individual class requirements such as field trips, field research or service learning activities are not considered institutional events. Faculty who schedule outside activities may request other faculty to excuse students from their classes so they may attend the outside event. However, individual faculty will determine whether the absence is excused or not. Should students be unable to attend the outside class event because of required attendance in other classes, they will not be penalized by the professor offering the outside activity.

    An instructor is expected to honor a valid university excuse for an absence and to provide reasonable make-up work if the student notifies him or her of the approved absence at least one class period prior to the date of absence. A student who misses class work because of a university excused absence is responsible for contacting the instructor within one class meeting after returning to make satisfactory arrangements that the instructor deems appropriate for a make-up. Excused absences should not lower a course grade if the student is maintaining satisfactory progress in the class and has followed the instructor’s make-up procedures. Class experiences that are impossible to make up should be discussed during the first week of classes when there is sufficient time for a student to drop the course.

    A student who anticipates missing a high number of classes (i.e. 10% or more of class time) for excused absences is required to discuss this issue with the instructor during the first week of classes to determine the possible solutions or consequences. Courses in professional programs with accreditation or licensure requirements should not be taken in a semester where a student anticipates a high number of absences.

    The trip or activity sponsor must obtain written permission to travel as soon as possible and give each student a copy of the approved request. Each student must give the request to the instructor as soon as possible but ideally at least one week prior to the day of the absence. The request should contain the name of the sponsor and group, the purpose, date(s), location of the event, and time and the names of the participating students.

    The forms for University Sponsored Absence and Class Absence due to Required Religious Observance are found on the Registrar’s webpage at http://www.wcu.edu/24089.asp.
     
  3. Drop for Non-Attendance: An instructor will have the discretion to cancel a student’s registration for a course if the previously registered student fails to attend the first class meeting and fails to notify the instructor prior to the end of the first day of class. Students may re-register for the course on a seats-available basis up through the end of drop/add (5th day of semester).

    Although instructors may drop students for non-attendance, students should not assume that this will occur. Students are responsible for dropping a course, if that is their intent, to avoid a grade of W or F.

    Student appeals resulting from emergencies or other extenuating circumstances will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the department head or in the appropriate dean’s office. Re-registration will not be permitted for any reason after census day (10th day of semester).

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

  In Progress  

-

F

  Failure  

0

 

S

  Satisfactory  

0

I

  Incomplete  

-

 

U

  Unsatisfactory  

0

Incomplete. The instructor may grant a student an I grade for work not completed if there is a reasonable prospect that the student can pass the course by making up the work missed if the incompletion is unavoidable and not caused by the student’s negligence. All incomplete grades must be removed and a grade of A, B, C, F, S, or U must be submitted to the registrar. The work must be made up and a grade received by the registrar by the last day of classes of the next regular semester (excluding summer), or the grade will become an F. A student may not re-register for the course until the I is removed or changed to an F. The instructor is required to list the conditions to remove the I and send them to the department head. If the instructor is no longer employed by the university, the department head will remove the I upon completion of the stated requirements. In extenuating circumstances, students should refer to the “Academic Appeals Procedure” section in The Record.

In Progress. An IP (In-Progress) is assigned only in courses that have been approved for IP grading. An IP grade indicates that a grade is pending until the sequence of courses is completed. A grade of IP is appropriate as long as work remains in-progress. Once work is complete the IP grade will be replaced with an evaluative grade appropriate for the course. If a student changes programs; changes options within a program such that credit is no longer needed to complete program requirements; or if the student ceases enrollment and the work is not completed within a year, an evaluative grade will not be issued and the IP grade will be administratively replaced with NG (No-Grade) to indicate that work is no longer in-progress.

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.

Audit. When space is available, a registered student may audit a course with the approval of the adviser, the instructor, the head of the department offering the course and the Dean of Graduate School and Research. A completed course audit form must be submitted in order to enroll. Change from audit to credit, or the reverse, is permitted only during the regular schedule adjustment period. No credit is earned for auditing, but the audited course must not add hours in excess of the student’s maximum load. An audited class will be noted on the student’s transcript. Audit courses do not count toward the credit hours required for full-time enrollment. Participation in class activities is optional with the instructor. Tuition and fees for audited courses are determined by the hour value of the courses.

Final Grade Changes. When a grade other than incomplete is reported officially by an instructor at the end of a term, the grade is recorded and can be changed only if an error was made in estimating or reporting it. The instructor will, with the approval of the department head, report the error in writing to the dean with a recommendation about the action to be taken. Only the instructor can change the grade in a course except as provided in the incomplete grade policy. In cases of student appeal, or acdemic integrity violation the final grade may be determined by the appropriate appeal body as part of sanctions (see Academic Integrity Policy). Any request by a student for a change in a final grade must be submitted to the instructor within thirty-five days after the end of final exams.

Grade Average for Graduation. An average of B (3.0 GPA) is required for all graduate degrees and certificates. Grades received in all graduate courses will be included in the graduate cumulative average. In the case of the returning graduate student receiving subsequent degrees or certificates, a B average must be reflected in the grades received in all graduate courses (the graduate cumulative average) as well as grades received in the subsequent graduate program courses.

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.

Withdrawal Policies and Procedures

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 credit 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 828-227-7753.

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.

Psychological/Mental Health University Withdrawal and Readmittance. If a student obtains a psychological or mental health withdrawal, readmittance to Western Carolina University is contingent upon review by Counseling and Psychological Services to ensure that recommended services can be obtained. These students will not be allowed to preregister or register for future classes until they have met the criteria outlined at the time of withdrawal.

Academic Integrity Policy and Process. This policy addresses academic integrity violations of undergraduate and graduate students. Graduate students should read inside the parenthesis below to identify the appropriate entities in charge of that step of the process.

Students, faculty, staff, and administrators of Western Carolina University (WCU) strive to achieve the highest standards of scholarship and integrity. Any violation of the Academic Integrity Policy is a serious offense because it threatens the quality of scholarship and undermines the integrity of the community. While academic in scope, any violation of this policy is by nature, a violation of the Code of Student Conduct and will follow the same conduct process (see ArticleVII.B.1.a.). If the charge occurs close to the end of an academic semester or term or in the event of the reasonable need of either party for additional time to gather information timelines may be extended at the discretion of the Department of Student Community Ethics (DSCE).

Violations of the Academic Integrity Policy include:

Cheating - Using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study aids in any academic exercise.
Fabrication - Creating and/or falsifying information or citation in any academic exercise.
Plagiarism - Representing the words or ideas of someone else as one’s own in any academic exercise.
Facilitation - Helping or attempting to help someone to commit a violation of the Academic Integrity Policy in any academic exercise (e.g. allowing another to copy information during an examination)

The procedures for cases involving allegations of academic dishonesty are:

Undergraduate (Graduate) Process. Graduate students should read inside the parenthesis to identify the appropriate entities in charge of that step of the process.

  1. Faculty members have the right to determine the appropriate sanction(s) for violations of the Academic Integrity Policy within their courses, up to and including a final grade of “F” in the course. Within five (5) days of the instructor’s knowledge of the alleged violation of the Academic Integrity Policy, the instructor will inform his/her department head (Associate Dean of the Graduate School) in writing of the allegation and proposed sanction(s).
     
  2. The faculty member will meet with the student to inform him/her orally and in writing of the allegation and the sanction(s) imposed within ten (10) days of knowledge of the alleged violation. If the student is part of a distance learning program and does not have face-to-face interaction with the faculty member, the meeting may take place over the phone. Should either the student or faculty member feel uncomfortable about this meeting, either party may bring an advisor with them. Prior to this meeting, the faculty member will contact the DSCE (227-7234) to establish if the student has any record of previous academic integrity violations. If a previous academic integrity violation exists, the matter must be referred directly to the DSCE.
     
  3. If the case is a first offense, the student can choose to accept the allegation and proposed sanction(s) from the faculty member by signing a Mutual Resolution or can choose to have a hearing with the Academic Integrity Board (Graduate Academic Integrity Board). Prior to the meeting with the student, the faculty member will complete the Academic Integrity Violation Form (dsce.wcu.edu). Once complete, the faculty member will present it to the student, who must choose to either accept the proposal or go to a hearing. After the student has made their decision the faculty member is responsible for submitting copies to the student, their department head, and the DSCE. The DSCE should also receive any supporting documentation such as the assignment in question, the course syllabus, etc. Mutual Resolutions are final and are not subject to further review or appeal. The DSCE will maintain these files and give the faculty member and department head confirmation of receipt.
     
  4. In instances of second offenses, or when the student chooses a hearing, the DSCE and student will schedule a hearing orientation meeting to discuss the hearing process and schedule a hearing. The date of the hearing will not be fewer than ten (10) days after receipt of written notice. The student can waive minimum notice of a hearing; however, extensions are at the sole discretion of the DSCE. Should the student choose not to attend his/her hearing orientation meeting, a hearing date will be assigned to the student. 
     
  5. Hearings shall be conducted by the Academic Integrity Board (Graduate Academic Integrity Board) according to the following guidelines:

(a) Hearings shall be conducted in private.

(b) Admission of any person to the hearing shall be at the discretion of the chair of the Academic Integrity Board (Graduate Academic Integrity Board) and/or the DSCE.

(c) Charges against multiple students involved in the same incident may be heard in a single hearing only if the accused student(s), complainant(s), and the DSCE consent to such a proceeding.

(d) The complainant and the accused have the right to be assisted by any adviser they choose, at their own expense. The complainant and the accused are both responsible for presenting his or her own case. Advisers are not permitted to speak or to participate directly in any hearing before the Academic Integrity Board (Graduate Academic Integrity Board).

(e) The DSCE and the Academic Integrity Board (Graduate Academic Integrity Board) must assure that the accused student has the capability to present his/her information and defense at the hearing. The method for assuring this capability may vary depending on the nature of the case. Upon a determination of incapability, the DSCE must advise the accused to seek assistance or may assign an adviser to the accused.

(f) Prior to the hearing, the complainant, and the accused have the right to review any written information that will be used at the hearing and to obtain a list of witnesses intended to be called.

(g) Pertinent records, exhibits, and written statements may be accepted as information for consideration by a hearing body to the extent that the information is relevant, credible, not prejudicial to the fairness of the proceedings, and does not otherwise infringe upon the rights of other students.

(h) All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the chair of the Academic Integrity Board (Graduate Academic Integrity Board).

(i) During the closed deliberations of the hearing, the Academic Integrity Board (Graduate Academic Integrity Board) shall deter-mine by majority vote whether the student has violated each section of the code with which the student has been charged. 

(j) The Academic Integrity Board’s (Graduate Academic Integrity Board’s) determination shall be made on the basis of whether it is more likely than not (a preponderance of the information) that the accused student violated the code.

(k) The following order of presentation is recommended for use in formal hearings. The order may be changed at the discretion of the chair of the Academic Integrity Board (Graduate Academic Integrity Board).

1. Presentation of formal charges.
2. Opening statements by the complainant and by the accused.
3. Presentation of information and witnesses, and cross-examination by the complainant and by the accused.
4. Closing statements by the complainant and then by the accused.
5. The Academic Integrity Board (Graduate Academic Integrity Board) will then go into closed deliberations. The accused student, complainant, and all witnesses, unless released by the chair, are required to remain in close proximity to the hearing, should the Academic Integrity Board (Graduate Academic Integrity Board) need to recall.
6. When deliberations are complete, the accused student and complainant are recalled and the chairperson verbally delivers the finding of the hearing body. If the student is found not-responsible the hearing is then complete. If the student is found responsible for the violation(s) the board will once again go into closed deliberations to determine sanctioning.

  1. There shall be a single verbatim record, such as a recording, of all hearings before the Academic Integrity Board (Graduate Academic Integrity Board). The record shall be the property of the university.
     
  2. In all cases, the information in support of the charges shall be presented and considered. Thus, if the accused student chooses not to be present at his/her hearing, the hearing will continue in absentia. A student’s absence at his/her hearing is not a violation of the code; however it prevents that student’s voice from being heard.
     
  3. During the closed deliberations of the hearing, the Academic Integrity Board (Graduate Academic Integrity Board) shall deliberate to determine if the accused is responsible for violations of the code. If responsibility for a violation is found, the hearing body will impose appropriate sanction(s) as outlined in Article VIII of the Code of Student Conduct. After a finding of responsibility and before determination of sanction(s), the hearing body may review the disciplinary history of the accused student and/or victim-impact statements. If the hearing body determines that expulsion is an appropriate sanction, that finding must be in the form of a recommendation to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, who makes the final administrative decision in all expulsion cases. Final administrative decision must be reached within forty-five (45) days and transmitted in writing to the student within ten (10) days of the decision.
     
  4. In cases other than those which result in a recommendation of expulsion, the final administrative decision must be transmitted to the student in writing within ten (10) days of the date the decision is made, and it must contain a brief summary of the information upon which the decision is based and appeal rights must be specified by the DSCE.
     
  5. The Academic Integrity Board (Graduate Academic Integrity Board) will consist of two (2) students from the DSCE Student Hearing Board (Graduate Student Representatives) and three (3) faculty members (Graduate Faculty Representatives). The DSCE faculty fellow may be one of the faculty members and may serve as the chair. The other two (2) faculty members will be chosen by the DSCE from a pool of twelve (12) faculty hearing officers. Each academic year, each college dean will appoint two (2) faculty members from his/her college to comprise the pool of twelve (12) faculty hearing officers. In the event that there is no DSCE faculty fellow the third faculty member on any Academic Integrity Board (Graduate Academic Integrity Board) will be chosen from the pool. The Academic Integrity Board (Graduate Academic Integrity Board) may impose any sanction(s) as outlined in Article VIII. in the Code of Student Conduct. Students given a sanction of probation for a violation of the Academic Integrity Policy will remain on probation at WCU until graduation. In the event the Academic Integrity Board (Graduate Academic Integrity Board) assigns a sanction which requires review, the chair of the Academic Integrity Board (Graduate Academic Integrity Board) will determine if the sanction is satisfactory. These educational sanctions are independent from course work and do not have any bearing on a student’s evaluative grade.
     
  6. Following a decision from the Academic Integrity Board (Graduate Academic Integrity Board), the DSCE will inform the student of the outcome of the hearing in writing. If a student is found responsible, the DSCE will inform him/her of the sanction(s) to be imposed and of his/her right to file an appeal with the University College Academic Action Committee If the student does not file an appeal within five (5) days of the hearing, the sanction(s) from the hearing body will be imposed. The appeal is limited to the following rules, procedures, and existing verbatim record.
     
  7. Upon final resolution of a case involving suspension or expulsion, the DSCE will inform the appropriate dean, department head (Graduate Program Director), and the administrator in the One Stop Office who is responsible for University Withdrawals of the sanction(s).

Any violation of the Academic Integrity policy, 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 DSCE for at least eight (8) years from the date of final adjudication. These records are available to prospective employers and other educational institutions in accordance with federal regulations. Students may inspect their conduct files in accordance with University Policy #72 – Student Records.

Grounds for Appeal:
An appeal shall be limited to review of the verbatim record of the initial hearing and supporting documents for one or more of the following purposes to be included in the letter of appeal:

  • A violation of due process
  • A material deviation from Substantive and Procedural standards adopted by the Board of Governors.

Process for Appeal:

  • Based on the grounds listed above, any decision reached or sanction(s) imposed by the Academic Integrity Board (Graduate Academic Integrity Board) shall be afforded at least one level of appeal. In cases that do not result in University suspension/expulsion the decision made by the College Academic Action Committee is final and there will be no further appeals.
  • Cases that result in a sanction(s) of university suspension/expulsion can be appealed to the College Academic Action Committee, and then to the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, and then to the Chancellor.
  • Cases can be appealed by the accused student or the complainant.
  • A formal notice of appeal shall be in writing and shall be delivered to the appellate body within five (5) days of the decision.

Timeline for Appeal:

  • A formal written appeal is due to the College Academic Action Committee* within five (5) days of the hearing, or receipt of the hearing findings letter, whichever is first.
  • Upon receipt of the appeal, the College Academic Action Committee must render a decision within five (5) days, and notice of the appellate decision must be communicated within ten (10) days of the decision.
  • Should the student have the ability and wish to appeal that decision, a formal written appeal is due to the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs within five (5) days of the receipt of the hearing findings letter.
  • Should the student have the ability and wish to appeal to appeal the decision of the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, a formal written appeal is due to the Chancellor within five (5) days of the receipt of the hearing findings letter.
  • At all times the DSCE reserves the authority to make exceptions to timelines on a case-by-case basis (e.g. university closures, holidays, ends of semester, etc.).

Outcomes for Appeal:

  • If an appellate body upholds the findings of the hearing body, the review of the case may result in reduced or adjusted sanctions, but may not increase the sanction(s) imposed by the original hearing body.
  • Procedures for appeals are determined by the appellate body and shall be communicated to the appealing student in advance of the appeal.
  • If the appeal is denied, the student must comply with the original sanction(s).
  • Students are not expected to complete any assigned sanctions during this process until they have exhausted their appellate process and the case is complete.

*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.

Academic Dismissal Policy. There are two levels of academic dismissal: (1) Dismissal from a graduate program; or (2) Dismissal from the Graduate School. Individual programs set criteria and make decisions related to program dismissal. The Graduate School sets criteria and makes decisions for dismissal from the Graduate School.

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. Students will be informed in writing by the Graduate School at the time of dismissal.

Request for Readmission after Dismissal from the Graduate School:
A student may be readmitted to the Graduate School only once following academic dismissal. A student must contact the Graduate School in writing to request readmission after dismissal from the Graduate School. A request for readmission after dismissal from the Graduate School 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. Program faculty will make a readmission recommendation to the Graduate School which will be used in the Graduate School’s decision to approve or deny the student’s request for readmission. The Graduate School will notify the student of the readmission decision. Approval of 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 unless the program requires the student to meet the requirements of a previous catalog. A readmitted student who receives an additional grade of C or F will be permanently dismissed from the Graduate School.

Dismissal from a Graduate 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, professional misconduct, or failure to successfully pass other programmatic requirements. The Program Director will notify the Graduate School in writing of the decision to dismiss a student from the program. Students will be informed of the program dismissal by the Graduate School. Program dismissal does not automatically result in dismissal from the Graduate School; the 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). However, registration for future terms will be dropped and a registration hold will be applied to the student’s record until s/he applies for and is accepted into another program.

Request for Readmission after Dismissal from a Graduate Program:
A student may be readmitted to a program only once following dismissal from that program. A student must contact the Graduate School in writing to request readmission after dismissal from a program. A request for readmission after dismissal from the program will be evaluated by program faculty, taking into account the student’s potential for improved performance in the program. The Program Director will inform the Graduate School of the decision to approve or deny the student’s request for readmission and the Graduate School will notify the student of the readmission decision. Approval of 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 unless the program requires the student to meet the requirements of a previous catalog.

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. Graduate degree programs require a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate course work. Graduate certificate programs require a minimum of 12 semester hours. Programs can require substantially more than the minimum hours.

Residence Requirement. 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 transferred 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.  Forms for the transfer of credit are available on the Graduate School Forms & Manuals web page. 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 (note: prerequisite course time limits are determined at the discretion of the Program Director), 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. Such course work cannot exceed the maximum allowable 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 credit. 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

Master, Specialist, and Doctoral degrees. Work to be applied toward any master, specialist, or doctoral 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.

Extension of time limits will only be granted based on compelling reasons or circumstances.  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 and circumstances surrounding the request. The request must also detail any remaining degree requirements and a timeline for completion. The Dean of Graduate School may establish conditions for any approved extension.

Course Credit Policies and Abbreviations

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 as (3). In variable credit courses, the minimum and maximum hours are shown as (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 (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, 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.

Course and Campus Abbreviations. 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.  A complete list of codes and abbreviations is located on the Registrar’s website Registration and Course Information (see link Course and Campus Codes).

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. Special Topics courses are for special topics that reflect a student’s or faculty member’s special interest not covered by regular departmental curriculum offerings. Credit hours in these courses are 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.

Program Completion, Graduation, and Licensure

Application for Graduation. Students must apply to graduate to have a degree conferred. The application for graduation can be found online in MyCat. Students should apply to graduate during the semester prior to the semester in which they will complete degree requirements. Students should pre-register for their final courses and review their degree audit to verify all requirements have been met before they apply to graduate. Graduate student coursework and non-course requirements must be completed by the Graduate Schol deadlines to participate in the ceremony and receive their degrees.  A graduation fee ($60) will be charged. Students who wait until their final semester to apply to graduate may be assessed a late fee.

Specific deadlines for filing degree applications are listed in the Academic Calendar.

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 at least one hour of credit during the term in which they are scheduled to have their degrees or certificates conferred. This enrollment requirment includes the summer term. Degree program students planning to graduate must apply for graduation. Certificate program candidates should check with their advisor or program director regarding certificates.

Certificates and Teacher Licensure

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

Licensure. It is the responsibility of the student to apply for an initial North Carolina teacher or school professional license or to upgrade an existing North Carolina license by contacting the licensure specialist in Killian Building, Room 230 (828.227.2000; bschade@wcu.edu), at the beginning of the final semester. For current fees and licensure forms, consult http://teacherlicensure.wcu.edu or www.ncpublicschools.org/licensure/

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

The Office of Field Experiences in the College of Education and Allied Professions is dedicated to supporting applicable departments in preparing teacher education majors to become highly qualified public school teachers. The Office of Field Experiences provides support to ease the transition from pre-service to induction by seeking clinical placements that enrich student experiences and strengthen the connection between theory and practice. The main goal of clinical and field experiences is to provide quality, diversified field experiences and clinical practice that enhance candidates’ knowledge, experiences, and values for success in a diverse, global society.so that students have the opportunity to work with qualified educators in successful programs. For information contact the Office of Field Experiences, (828) 227-7314.

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.  Graduate students must complete the foreign language requirement by Graduate School deadlines to participate in the ceremony and receive their degrees.

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 business days prior to commencement.  Graduate students must complete the comprehensive examination requirement by Graduate School deadlines to participate in the ceremony and receive their degrees.

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 re-examination 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 many master of arts, master of science and Specialist degree programs. A thesis is optional for the master of arts in music; however, a lecture/recital is required. Some degree programs have a thesis option. Check with your degree program to confirm if a thesis or thesis option exists.

A one-five page abstract of the thesis proposal and list of references 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 abstract cover sheet can be downloaded from the Graduate School website at www.wcu.edu/1169.asp. Students should submit a copy to their director and the Graduate School 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 abstract has been approved by the Graduate School.  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 abstract 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 end of the semester at which the degree is to be conferred (see Academic Calendar for deadline). An online thesis guide to help students prepare their thesis is available on the Graduate School Forms & Manuals website. 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.

The thesis, in its final form, must be approved by the student’s thesis committee 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 one-five page abstract  of the dissertation proposal and list of references approved by the student’s doctoral committee and the Dean of Graduate School and Research must be on file in the Graduate School.  The abstract cover sheet can be downloaded from the Graduate School website at www.wcu.edu/6158.asp. Students should submit a dissertation abstract at least one semester prior to the semester in which they plan to graduate.  Students may only register for EDL 899 for the semester following successful completion of comprehensive exams.  A student cannot defend the proposal and the dissertation in the same semester. 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 www.wcu.edu/6801.asp.

The completed, defended dissertation should be submitted to the Graduate School (via ProQuest/UMI Dissertation Publishing www.etdadmin.com/wcu) before the end of the semester at which the degree is to be conferred following the deadlines given in the Ed.D. Dissertation Manual (also see the Academic Calendar for deadline). After the dissertation 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.

The dissertation, in its final form, must be approved by the student’s dissertation committee and the Dean of Graduate School and Research before a candidate can receive the doctoral degree.

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 theses/dissertations are expected to defend their work during oral examinations.
  • Students in thesis/dissertation programs must enroll in the Thesis/Dissertation Research course (usually numbered 699 or 899 respectively) during the semester they begin their thesis/dissertation.
  • If the thesis/dissertation is not completed during the required Research hours for the program, students must enroll in Continuing Research (usually numbered 799 or 999 respectively) 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.

Enrollment in Semester of Conferral. All students must be enrolled for at least one hour of credit during the term in which they complete their graduate work and are scheduled to have their degrees or certificates conferred. This enrollment requirement includes the summer term.  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 certificate conferral.

Student Rights and Regulations

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 Ethics and the Academic Integrity Policy.

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 co-chaired 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 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/25319.asp.

Electronic Mail Policy

University electronic mail accounts are provided and supported by the State of North Carolina to support the mission of the university. The electronic mail system is provided by the university as one of its primary means of official communication. An electronic mail message regarding university matters sent from an administrative office, faculty, or staff member is considered to be an official notice. Students, faculty, and staff are required to read their university electronic mail system messages on a regular basis to receive these official notices.

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 the university’s Electronic Mail Policy. Violations of this policy may result in restriction of access to the university email system and/or other appropriate disciplinary action. University Policy #93, Electronic Mail Policy online at http://www.wcu.edu/25376.asp, ensures the appropriate use of the university’s electronic mail system by its students, faculty and staff.

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

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.

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.