Dec 07, 2022  
2020-2021 Nursing Student Handbook 
    
2020-2021 Nursing Student Handbook [FINAL EDITION]

Nursing PHD Academic Policies and Procedures


STANDARDS FOR ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

The School of Nursing adheres to the University policy of academic integrity as stipulated in the University Student Handbook and as stated below. Student appeals related to allegations of academic fraud are heard by Academic Council of the School of Nursing.

Widener University strongly supports the concepts of academic freedom and academic integrity and expects students and all other members of the Widener University community to be honest in all academic endeavors. Cheating, plagiarism, and all other forms of academic fraud are serious and unacceptable violations of university policy, as specified in the Widener University Graduate Student Handbook. Widener University expects all students to be familiar with university policies on academic honesty, and Widener will not accept a claim of ignorance - either of the policy itself or of what constitutes academic fraud as a valid defense against such a charge.

DEFINITION OF VIOLATIONS OF THE STANDARDS OF ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

Violations of the standard of Academic Integrity constitute academic fraud. Academic fraud consists of any actions that serve to undermine the integrity of the academic process, including but not limited to:

  1. unauthorized inspection or duplication of test materials;
  2. cheating, attempting to cheat, or assisting others to cheat in a classroom test, take home examination or final examination;
  3. post-test alteration of examination responses;
  4. plagiarism;
  5. electronic or computer fraud.

In addition to but not limited to the above, for the School of Nursing violations of academic integrity include:

  1. unauthorized possession or disposition of academic material not formally released by course faculty;
  2. falsifying or altering clinical/patient records or other recordings;
  3. not reporting patient safety errors, etc.;
  4. falsifying research data or data analysis; and
  5. specific clinical behaviors identified in nursing courses.

DEFINITION OF PLAGIARISM 

One of the most common violations of the Standards for Academic Integrity is plagiarism. Plagiarism can be intentional or unintentional. However, since each student is responsible for knowing what constitutes plagiarism, unintentional plagiarism is as unacceptable as intentional plagiarism and commission of it will bring the same penalties. In many classes faculty will provide their definitions of plagiarism. In classes where a definition is not provided, students are invited to follow the standards articulated in the following statement.

STATEMENT OF PLAGIARISM:

Plagiarism - passing off the work of others as one’s own - is a serious offense. In the academic world, plagiarism is theft. Information from sources - whether quoted, paraphrased, or summarized -must be given credit through specific in-text citations. All sources used in the preparation of an academic paper must also be listed with full biographic details at the end of the paper. It is especially important that paraphrase be both cited and put into one’s own words. Merely rearranging a sentence or changing a few words is not sufficient. 

PENALTIES 

The minimal penalty for individuals found to have engaged in academic fraud will be failure in the course.

For a second offense, the penalty will be failure in the course and expulsion from the University.

For attempting to steal or stealing an examination, students found guilty will be failed in the course and expelled from the University.

The minimal penalty for individuals in the Doctoral program will be failure in the course and expulsion from the School of Nursing.

PROCEDURES

  1. A School of Nursing faculty member who obtains evidence of academic fraud should inform the student of this evidence, either orally or in writing. The faculty member may also provide the student with the opportunity to respond to the charges. If the faculty member cannot resolve the matter satisfactorily with the student, he or she may file a formal complaint against the student through the office of the Dean of the School of Nursing.
  2. The Dean of the School of Nursing shall notify the student in writing of the complaint, the evidence upon which the complaint is based, the penalty to be imposed, and of all rights of appeal.
  3. If the student wishes to contest the allegation of academic fraud the student may request a full hearing before the Academic Council of the School of Nursing.

PROCEDURE FOR STUDENT REQUEST FOR FULL HEARING

  1. The student shall address and present the request for a full hearing as a formal letter to the Chair of Academic Council within five (5) business days of receipt of the Dean’s letter. The request should include the nature of the appeal and available information to substantiate the appeal. The student’s advisor, faculty involved, appropriate Program Director and the Dean will also receive copies of the student’s letter.
  2. Upon receipt of the student’s letter, the Chair of Academic Council will convene a committee meeting within five (5) business days to review the student’s request and to schedule the hearing.
  3. The student’s advisor, faculty, appropriate Program Director, and Dean will be informed by the Chair of Academic Council, of the date, time, and place of the hearing.

CONDUCT OF THE HEARING

  1. All parties involved in the appeal shall have the right to be present at a portion of the hearing to respond to all information presented as well as to present their side of the appeal. Each party may have a School of Nursing advisor present at the hearing. 
  2. The Chair of Academic Council may, at the discretion of the Chair, request any party involved in the appeal, including the advisor, to leave the hearing at any time. 
  3. The full hearing may be continued at the discretion of Academic Council. 
  4. Within three (3) business days following the conclusion of all Academic Council meetings, the Chair shall submit a written report of the Committee’s findings and recommendations to the Dean. 
  5. The prescribed penalty shall be imposed in cases where determination of guilt by Academic Council committee or in cases in which the student chooses not to contest the charges. 
  6. The Dean of the School of Nursing will study the case, review the Academic Council’s findings and recommendations, and will render a final decision.
  7. The Dean will communicate the final decision to the student via email to the Widener account and via Standard USPS mail. 
  8. The Dean will notify the appropriate Associate Provost (Graduate/Undergraduate) in writing of the name of the student who has been found guilty. 
  9. Appeals beyond the School of Nursing following the Academic Council’s decisions may be made by the student to the University Academic Review Board. Students should consult the University Student Handbook for board duties. Appeals to the Academic Review Board must be initiated by the student through the Office of the Associate Provost. 
  10. In the event a student is charged with academic fraud and the student is not enrolled in the course in which academic fraud in being charged, action will be taken by the Dean’s office of the school/college where the student is matriculated. 
  11. When a student is found guilty under Widener’s academic fraud policies, that student is then prohibited from exercising either the repeat-of-courses or the retroactive pass/fail options to remove the F grade (given as a result of fraud) from the GPA calculation. This restriction always applies to the particular course for which the F grade was given, as a result of academic fraud, in a particular semester. Equivalent courses taken during other semesters are not in general restricted. 
  12. A confidential, centralized listing of students disciplined for academic fraud will be maintained by the Office of the Provost. In the event of alleged second offense, the student will be informed, in writing, by the Office of the Provost of this allegation. 
  13. Names will be dropped from the list of first offenses upon graduation or at the end of seven years after the last attendance.

The above articulated steps constitute due process when students are accused of academic fraud. Minutes will be taken of all Academic Council meetings and hearings held concerning any appeal. Hearings may be tape recorded by the Chair of Academic Council. Minutes/tape recording will be kept in a secure file.

Approved by faculty September 2000 Editorial revision 7/03, 4/04, 8/09, 9/11

STUDENT CONDUCT

All students are expected to be honest, mature, and responsible and to respect the rights and property of others. The purpose of the Student Code is to promote, preserve, and protect the educational mission of the university. All students must be aware of and conform to the Widener University “Student Code of Conduct” that is published online in all Widener University Student Handbooks in the electronic catalog under student handbook. The Student Code of Conduct applies to all student behavior in class, lab, clinical settings, and public places.

Nursing is a profession requiring the highest level of ethical behavior. Students are held to the American Nurses Association Code of Ethics. This code is available online at: https://www.nursingworld.org/coe-view-only.

Violating the Widener University Code of Conduct, the School of Nursing Code of Conduct or the American Nurses Association code of ethics is a serious offense and may result in the student’s dismissal from the School of Nursing.

In addition to the general University Student Code of Conduct, the following student behaviors may result in disciplinary action by the School of Nursing. Even a single incident of one of these behaviors may result in dismissal. This may mean permanent separation from the School of Nursing. These issues of professionally related conduct may include but are not limited to:

  • a breach of client confidentiality.
  • a behavior that jeopardizes a client, student, Widener University personnel or clinical agency personnel.
  • other unprofessional behaviors, based on faculty judgment.

Approved 5/95, Editorial Revisions 6/04, Revised 8/08

Grading and Dismissal Policies

GRADING SCALE FOR THE SCHOOL OF NURSING GRADUATE COURSES

Letter Grade Quality Points

Percentage

Range

A 4.0 93-100
A- 3.7 90-92
B+ 3.3 87-89
B 3.0 83-86
B- 2.7 80-82
C+ 2.3 77-79
C 2.0 73-76
C- 1.7 70-72
F 0.0 <70
I   Incomplete
W   Withdrawn
P/NP*   Pass/No Pass
AU   Audit (no credit)

* For Courses offered on a pass/no pass basis

NOTE: Individual instructors may elect, at their discretion, not to use plus/minus grades.

DISMISSAL POLICIES

The dismissal policies are outlined in the current Widener University Graduate Student Catalog under University Sanctions. The School of Nursing will strictly adhere to the policies of the University.

Advisement

ACADEMIC ADVISING

All students are assigned a School of Nursing advisor. Students may request a change in his or her advisor after consultation with the Associate Dean for Graduate Nursing.

ACADEMIC RECORDS

Graduate student records are kept in the Graduate Nursing Office. The record contains such information as course grades, correspondence, course planning form, etc. The academic record is the property of the University. Students are permitted to view this record in the presence of their advisor. Written permission must be obtained from the student for any release of documents to family, employers, etc.

CANDIDACY

After the successful completion of the comprehensive examination, the student is accepted as a doctoral candidate.

COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION

Comprehensive examinations will be taken at the successful completion of all course work. Comprehensive examinations are offered three times per year, May, August, and December. After successful completion of the comprehensive examination, the student is accepted as a doctoral candidate. The student must make the arrangements for examination with the PhD Program Director.

If a student is unsuccessful on the comprehensive examination, the student must re-take the examination the next semester the examination is offered to allow time for remediation. The student may not take additional courses until the comprehensive examination is passed. Students may retake the comprehensive examination one time only. Students who are unsuccessful on the second attempt are dismissed from the doctoral program and may not reapply.

Grad prog 4/11/08

CONTINUOUS ENROLLMENT

The doctoral program is designed for continuous enrollment of calendar year students in fall, spring and summer semesters and for summer’s option students during four consecutive summers. To maintain matriculated status, students must be enrolled fall and spring semesters for the calendar year program or obtain an approved leave of absence. “Dissertation Advisement” (NURS 950) must be taken each fall, spring, and summer until dissertation is completed. Students who do not follow this policy will be dismissed from the program.

COURSE OVERLOAD

Nine credits of course work in fall/spring and six in one summer session are recognized as normal course load for full-time students. Faculty believe that students, as adult learners, have the right to make decisions related to their learning needs. However, faculty believe a course load above nine credits for fall/spring or six credits in a summer session has potential for creating academic jeopardy.

Students enrolling for more than nine credits during fall/spring semester or six credits in one summer session must have approval from the PhD Program Director.

COURSE WAIVER

Doctoral students who have completed doctoral level courses comparable to courses in the PhD Program are provided the opportunity to further enhance their knowledge base rather than repeating prior learning experiences.

A request for doctoral-level course waiver must be submitted to the PhD Program Director with the following documentation:

  •  An official transcript indicating a grade of B or better.
  • Evidence that the course was successfully completed within the last five years. 
  • A doctoral-level syllabus reflecting the course is comparable to a specific required course in the doctoral program.

A maximum of six credits may be eligible for course waiver. The request is presented to the Graduate Program Committee for consideration. Students receiving an approved course waiver are required to achieve/obtain the credits that would be allocated for the waiver through additional courses or independent study approved by the PhD Program Director.

DISSERTATION PROCEDURES

Students are required to complete all required course work prior to enrollment in Dissertation Seminar II (NURS 901). Exception to this policy requires approval from the School of Nursing Academic Council. Students are expected to continue to enroll in “Dissertation Advisement” (NURS 950) for three semester hours each consecutive fall, spring, and summer semester until the degree is granted. If another course becomes necessary to complete the dissertation, enrollment in NURS 950 may be waived while the student is taking that course.

A waiver from enrollment in NURS 950 may be granted by the student’s dissertation chairperson based on the student’s or chairperson’s availability for dissertation work. A waiver will not alter the seven-year limitation for completion of the doctoral program. For more than one semester of “Dissertation Advisement” to be waived in a calendar year, students are required to obtain a leave of absence that does extend the time limit for completion of the doctoral degree. Doctoral candidates who have not successfully defended the dissertation proposal with six (6) semesters following completion of NURS 901 may not continue and must repeat NURS 900 and/or NURS 901 the next time they are offered. These courses would be taken in lieu of NURS 950 for that semester or summer session.

Policies and procedures specific to dissertation proposal and final dissertation defense are available in the Graduate Nursing Office or click here.

Revised and approved 2/25/11

NURSING INDEPENDENT STUDY

Independent Studies - enrollment in an independent study course is an option available to students only when a required course is not available. An independent study course requires approval of the faculty member supervising the independent study, the PhD Program Director, and the Associate Dean for Graduate Nursing. Listed below are the descriptions and procedures of the two types of independent studies within the School of Nursing. 

  1. In rare situations, a course may be offered in an independent study format to meet the curricular requirements while facilitating the student’s timely progression through the nursing program.Special permission of the PhD Program Director in conjunction with the course instructor must be obtained. 
  2. Steps for enrolling and completing Independent Studies are:
    1. Discuss plans for independent study topic with advisor.
    2. Select potential mentor on reference of advisor.
    3. Discuss ideas for study with potential mentor.
    4. Obtain acceptance of faculty member to be a mentor. The student and faculty member must complete the Independent study and registration forms, obtain signatures of the PhD Program Director and the Associate Dean for Graduate Nursing. The course is designated as NURS 899 and a specific number of credits indicated. 
    5. Establish estimated completion date.
    6. Meet with faculty mentor as necessary.
    7. Submit written drafts of study phases to mentor for suggestions, clarification, or approval
    8. Submit formal typed report using APA (7th edition) format at a mutually agreeable date.

OVERLOAD POLICIES

It is University policy that no student with less than a 3.0 G.P.A. will be permitted to carry an overload. An overload of more than one (1) course will be permitted only in rare instances upon specific approval of the student’s school.

Course Overload - Nine credits of course work in fall/spring and six credits in one summer session are recognized as a “normal” course load for full-time graduate nursing students. Faculty believes students, as adult learners, have the right to make decisions related to their learning needs. However, faculty believe a course load above 9 credits for fall/spring and 6 credits in one summer session has potential for creating academic jeopardy.

Students enrolling in more than 9 credits during fall/spring semester or 6 credits in one summer session must have approval from their faculty advisor and the Director of the PhD program. Students are required to complete and sign the Course Overload Acknowledgement Form (including rationale for request), which must be signed by the PhD Program Director prior to enrolling in the course. The Overload Acknowledgement Form is intended to communicate to students written acceptance of their responsibility for this decision.

PRE-REGISTRATION

Dates for pre-registration are posted and listed on Widener’s Web page. It is the student’s responsibility to be alert to these dates.

Pre-registration is available on-line for matriculated students only. Please contact your advisor prior to course selection and to answer any questions.

If for any reason you must drop and/or add courses the student may do this provided you have consulted with your advisor and the advisor has signed the form. Note: the student is responsible for payment and/or additional fees as determined by the Bursar’s office.

NOTE: A course of study should be developed with your advisor. Your advisor will place 1 copy in your file and you will retain 1 copy to assist you with your course planning.

REPETITION OF NURSING COURSES

A student is expected to maintain satisfactory progress toward a degree, or post-master’s certificate. Please see the section entitled “Grading and Dismissal ” in the current university Graduate Catalog.

NOTE: No more than two repetitions total and only one repetition of a particular course are allowed

  1. Only students with a GPA of at least a B (3.0) or better will graduate. 
  2. A student may repeat a nursing course only one time. If a course is repeated both grades will be recorded on the transcript but only the most current will be used in calculating the GPA (A second failure results in automatic dismissal from the program.)
  3. A student with an I (Incomplete) grade in any course that is a prerequisite to another course will not be allowed to enroll in the subsequent course until the grade of I in the prerequisite has been removed and replaced with a satisfactory grade.
  4. Enrollment and subsequent withdrawal in a nursing course is considered one attempt. A nursing course may be attempted no more than two times.
  5. A student whose academic performance is considered inadequate will be dismissed.

Students will be dismissed from a graduate program of the School of Nursing for:

  • a GPA below 3.0
  • a second grade of F 
  • a violation of the University Student Code of Conduct (See Student Conduct). 
  • failure to keep any contractual stipulations imposed by the PhD Program Director or the Associate Dean for Graduate Nursing. 7/01

WITHDRAWAL

Students may withdraw from the course at any time prior to the final examination and receive the grade of W. If a course offered through these programs does not include a final examination, the deadline for withdrawing from the course with a grade of W is the final class meeting for the course.

The University determines course refunds. The effective date used for all adjustment of charges will be the date that written notice of the withdrawal is received by the appropriate office of Widener University.

Graduation Policies

DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

The doctoral student must complete at least 48 credits of approved doctoral course work beyond the master’s degree in nursing. In addition, the student must successfully complete the comprehensive exam, submit a manuscript for publication, and defend a dissertation for graduation. Only doctoral courses will be accepted for doctoral credit. Please note that the Program Director must approve a waiver of any requirement for the degree in writing. PhD candidates are not permitted to participate in graduation and commencement activities prior to completion of all degree requirements.

SUBMISSION OF A MANUSCRIPT

Prior to program completion, all PhD students are required to submit a manuscript for publication to a peer-reviewed journal. The manuscript may be the product of a course or course requirement. The student must be the first author on the manuscript. A copy of the manuscript, documentation of submission, and cover letter is to be submitted to the Program Director for the student’s file.

Approved 4/1/11 GPC

PETITION FOR GRADUATION

A student, in anticipation of graduation, must submit a graduation petition by the start of the semester in which his/her program will be completed. Incomplete grades must be removed by May 1, August 1, or December 1 in order for your petition to be completed in time for graduation.

Forms are available online. Fees must be remitted with the petition as designated by the registrar’s office.

Due Process/Grievance Policy

Students in the School of Nursing are afforded opportunities to express their interests, issues, and concerns through student representation as voting members on selected SON standing committees, including Undergraduate Programs Committee, Graduate Programs Committee, and Student Affairs Committee. Students may also voice concerns by completion of Course and Faculty Evaluations at the end of each course. The School of Nursing due process policy and procedure designates three formal and separate categories (or types) of student concerns.

Formal grade appeal, grievance and waiver of SON policy: 

  • Student concerns about a final course grade(s) must be addressed through the formal Grade Appeal Policy.
  • Requests for exceptions to existing policies may be addressed through the Waiver of Policy process. 
  • Concerns or complaints about School of Nursing processes other than grade appeals, plagiarism, are addressed through the formal Grievance Policy.

Grievance issues related to discrimination and harassment, and or violation of the Widener Compact shall be addressed by the University policies and procedures outlined in the Undergraduate and Graduate University Catalogs.

FORMAL GRADE APPEAL POLICY

It is the policy of the School of Nursing to allow students to appeal the final course grade if they believe their grade has been derived in a manner not consistent with the fair and equitable application of evaluation criteria specified in the syllabus.

DEFINITION 

A grade subject to the Grade Appeal Policy is a final grade the student believes to be derived in a manner not consistent with the fair and equitable application of grading criteria found in the course syllabus and/or a grade the student believes to have been miscalculated, again based on the criteria specified within the course syllabus.

I. Student Procedure

  1. The student will complete the Statement of Grievance Form  and take it to the faculty of record to begin the formal grade appeal process. 
  2. If meetings and discussions fail to produce a decision or resolution acceptable to the student, the student should meet with his or her faculty mentor to discuss a possible further course of action. If the decision is to pursue the Grade Appeal after the discussion with the faculty mentor, the student writes a narrative outlining the situation surrounding the grade appeal and attaches the completed Statement of Grievance Form . The student sends the form and narrative to Academic Council through the office of the academic program director. 
    1. Students may remain in their present classroom courses for which they are enrolled until the appeal process is completed, however they will be unable to begin or remain in clinical.

II. Academic Council Procedure

  1. Upon receipt of the student’s Statement of Grievance form and narrative explanation, the Chair of Academic Council will convene a committee meeting within ten (10) business days to review the student’s request. 
  2. After review of the Grade Appeal, the Chair of Academic Council will notify the academic program director of Undergraduate or Graduate Studies of the Council’s recommendations. The Chair will also notify the student by letter via the office of the academic program director. Widener email and regular USPS mail will be used to communicate the decision within ten (10) business days of the receipt of the student’s letter by Academic Council. The letter will consist of one of the following Committee decisions: 
    1. Rejection of the Grade Appeal - If determined to be outside the jurisdiction of Academic Council, inconsistent with the definition stated previously, beyond the designated time frame, or with insufficient grounds based on inadequate evidence, the Chair of Academic Council will notify the student through the office of the appropriate Academic Program Director within 10 business days.
    2. Findings of the Review of the Grade Appeal - The Chair of Academic Council will notify the student through the Office of the Academic Program Director within 10 business days. Findings are limited to the context of the definition of a grade subject to appeal. 3. Request for a full hearing- The Academic Council may determine that a full hearing be arranged based upon the need for further information from the student or from the faculty
  3. Upon request for a full hearing the student’s advisor/ mentor, faculty involved, office of the academic program director, and Dean will be notified by the Chair of Academic Council.
  4. Confidentiality shall be maintained by all persons. This is an essential component of the grievance procedure and due process. Specific information is kept within the committee.

III. Conduct of Hearing

  1. All parties involved in the appeal shall have the right to be present at a portion of the hearing to respond to all information presented as well as to present their side of the appeal. The student may have a School of Nursing advisor/mentor present at the hearing. 
  2. The role of the Advisor/mentor is to support the grievant, assure that the grievance procedure is followed, and that the grievant is receiving due process. 
  3. Within five (5) business days following the conclusion of all Academic Council meetings, the Chair shall submit a written report of the Committee’s findings and recommendations to the Dean and office of the academic program director. 
  4. Within five (5) business days the office of the academic program director will notify the student in writing of the Council’s findings with recommendations. The student has the right to appeal the Academic Council decision to the Dean within five (5) business days of the receipt of the written report from the Chair of Academic Council. 
  5. Minutes will be taken of Academic Council meetings and hearings concerning any appeal.

Hearings may be tape recorded by the Chair of Academic Council. Minutes/tape recording will be kept in a secure file according to the policy established by the school of nursing.

IV. Grade Appeal to the Dean of the School of Nursing

The final step in the Grade Appeal Process is to the Dean of the School of Nursing.

  1. If the student chooses to continue to pursue the grade appeal with the Dean, the student must appeal to the Dean by letter within ten (10) business days of receipt of the office of the academic program director’s letter regarding the outcome of the full hearing by Academic Council. The letter should specify the grounds for the further appeal as well as the information to substantiate the appeal. 
  2. Dean’s Process
    1. The records from the Academic Council review will be requested and studied.
    2. The Dean may convene meetings with the student, faculty, or Academic Council Chair as deemed necessary within the context of the definition of a grade subject to appeal. 
  3. The student will be notified of the Dean’s findings within ten (10) business days of the Dean’s receipt of the student’s letter. Students will be notified via Widener email and standard USPS mail. Copies of the Dean’s letter will be forwarded to the appropriate Associate Provost, appropriate academic program director, and Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Student Services if applicable, Course Coordinator (if applicable to program of study), Chair of Academic Council, student’s faculty mentor, and faculty member involved. 
  4. The Dean’s decision regarding the student’s grade appeal is final.

Approved by faculty 9/00 Editorial Revisions, 8/01, 6/04, 5/09, 9/09 Approved by faculty 9/11

GRIEVANCE PROCESS

The grievance process provides students with a mechanism to request review of decisions and actions within the School of Nursing other than grade appeals or allegations of plagiarism, discrimination, or harassment. The School of Nursing encourages the prompt resolution of student concerns. Students are encouraged to discuss specific concerns, beginning with the person most directly involved with the issue of concern. Many disputes may be resolved following a thorough discussion of the issues by the parties involved. Course related problems should be first addressed by speaking directly with the involved faculty member. If the matter is not able to be resolved with the initial conversation, and if the student desires to make a formal statement of grievance, the student will initiate a formal grievance according to the following procedure:

  1. Initiate the Statement of Grievance Form , beginning with a written narrative identifying the issue of concern and including documentation of the initial conversation with the School of Nursing faculty or staff member involved with the grievance. 
  2. If unresolved in step 1, continue to discuss the issue of concern with the Course Coordinator (pre-licensure program), Level Coordinator (pre- licensure program), and/or Program Coordinator (FNP program only). If this individual is different from the person referenced in step 1. Such consultations will be documented on the Statement of Grievance form and with additional narrative documentation as is necessary. 
  3. If unresolved in step 2, continue to discuss the issue of concern with the appropriate Academic Program Director. 
  4. The Academic Program Director will, when appropriate, suggest alternative individuals, groups, or committees through which solutions may be achieved, including but not limited to the SON Academic Council. The report of the academic program director review will be made in writing via USPS mail and Widener email, and will be copied to the Dean and other involved parties. 
  5. If unresolved in step 4, continue to discuss the issue of concern with the Dean of the School of Nursing. The report of the Dean’s review will be made in writing via USPS mail and Widener email, and will be copied to the appropriate Academic Program Director and other involved parties.

SCHOOL OF NURSING WAIVER OF ACADEMIC POLICY PROCESS

A waiver may be sought when a student seeks an exception to a School of Nursing policy. Requests for waivers are considered by the SON Academic Council on an individual basis and are not generalized to the student body.

Outcomes of requests for waiver will be reported to the faculty.

The student will complete the Statement of Grievance Form   along with a narrative and take it to the graduate office to be forwarded to the Chair of Academic Council to begin the formal wavier process.

  1. Upon receipt of the student’s Statement of Grievance Form   and narrative explanation, the Chair of Academic Council will convene a committee meeting within ten (10) business days to review the student’s request. 
  2. After review of the Waiver of policy appeal, the Chair of Academic Council will notify the appropriate Academic Program Director of the Council’s recommendations. The Chair will also notify the student by letter via the office of the Academic Program Director. 
  3. Widener email and regular USPS mail will be used to communicate the decision within ten (10) business days of the receipt of the student’s letter by Academic Council. 
  4. If the student chooses to appeal to the Dean, the student must appeal to the Dean by letter within ten (10) business days of receipt of the Academic Program Director’s letter regarding the outcome of the full hearing by Academic Council. The letter should specify the grounds for the further appeal as well as the information to substantiate the appeal. 
  5. Students are able to remain in the courses for which they are enrolled until the appeal process is completed. 
  6. The Dean’s decision is final and will be communicated to the student via the Widener email account and standard USPS mail.

Reviewed 6/04, 5/06, 8/08, 9/11

Shared Governance

SCHOOL OF NURSING COMMITTEE

Student representation on School of Nursing committees is an important aspect in the development and advancement of the nursing curricula and programs. The standing committee that graduate students may serve on is the School of Nursing Graduate Program Committee. Its respective functions and student membership are outlined below.

GRADUATE PROGRAM COMMITTEE

Functions

  1. Develop and evaluate the curriculum and course changes submitted by the faculty and/or students.
  2. Recommend graduate curriculum changes to the faculty.
  3. Develop, review, and recommend policies for graduate programs.
  4. Develop and implement admission policies for graduate programs.
  5. Review and recommend changes to the committee bylaws and submit changes to the Faculty Affairs committee by March 1 of each year.
  6. Review and recommend changes, if appropriate, to the following sections of the SON Faculty Handbook and submit changes to the Faculty Affairs committee: Goals and Outcomes of the Masters Program, Goals and Outcomes of the Doctoral Programs, Standards of Professional Practice, by March 1 of each year.

Student Membership

  1. Students will be invited by the Committee Chair to serve as directed in the Bylaws. Students represented on the School of Nursing committees shall be granted voting privileges.
  2. Student representation shall include one (1) masters, one (1) DNP, and one (1) PhD student.

2 a,b,c,d,e,f Approved

5/11 Reviewed updated 9/11

Approved full faculty 5.3.12

GRADUATE STUDENT AWARD (Dean’s Award for Excellence: PhD)

The Dean’s Award for Excellence: PhD is given annually to a student who is granted the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. This award recognizes a student whose dissertation is exceptional and exemplifies high standards of scholarship and knowledge development.

Dissertations will be considered based on the following criteria.

  1. The study problem is significant for the discipline of nursing.
  2. The study proceeds from a clearly defined conceptual or theoretical basis.
  3. The methods (sample, data collection techniques, and data analysis) are valid and consistent with the research design.
  4. The findings contribute to the body of nursing knowledge.
  5. The dissertation sets the stage for a research career and the direction for a program of research.

Procedures for Consideration 

  1. The Program Director will circulate a list of those who have successfully defended the dissertation by April to the faculty. All graduate faculty members will be requested to submit names of students they consider eligible for the Dean’s Award. Students can self-nominate.
  2. Faculty members for each student who is nominated must submit a letter of support addressing the criteria for the Award. Any faculty member may submit more than one student name.
  3. The Dean of the School of Nursing and appropriate Program Director will select the student who, in their judgment, best meets the criteria for the program. Faculty recommendations will be important in the final selection process.

SIGMA THETA TAU INTERNATIONAL NURSING HONOR SOCIETY ETA BETA CHAPTER

Eta Beta Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, International, the Nursing Honor Society, was established in 1984. The purposes of the Society include:

  1. Recognizing superior achievement;
  2. Developing leadership qualities;
  3. Fostering high professional standards;
  4. Encouraging exploration, innovation and research in nursing;
  5. Strengthening commitment to the ideals and purposes of the profession.

Membership:

The requirements for membership on the graduate level include:

  1. A minimum academic average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale.
  2. Completion of at least one quarter of the curriculum requirements and in good academic standing.
  3. Submission of a curriculum vita and a 250-word essay describing leadership abilities in school or work environments and a plan to demonstrate this leadership in the nursing honor society.

Candidates are invited to apply for membership. An induction ceremony is held each academic year. For further information regarding the chapter and faculty counselors please refer to the Eta Beta website. https://etabeta.sigmanursing.org/etabetachapter/aboutus/aboutus92

General Administrative Policies

See General University Information  

Dissertation Policies and Procedures

DISSERTATION PROPOSAL

The purpose of the dissertation proposal is to provide a formal written document describing in detail the nature and scope of the planned study. The dissertation proposal is an academically oriented research proposal and may reflect quantitative and/or qualitative approaches to investigation of phenomena.

It is the responsibility of the student, throughout the program, to explore researchable topics as a focus for the dissertation. By the time students enroll in the dissertation seminar course it is anticipated that they will have identified a dissertation topic. At the completion of the Dissertation Seminar (NURS 901), doctoral candidates are expected to have finished the proposal in first draft and selected a committee chairperson.

Doctoral candidates who have not successfully defended the dissertation proposal with six (6) semesters following completion of NURS 901 may not continue and must repeat NURS 900 and/or NURS 901 the next time they are offered. These courses would be taken in lieu of NURS 950 for that semester or summer session. The outline for the dissertation is addressed in the section entitled Dissertation Report and the sections to be included in the proposal are Chapters I, II and III. Anticipated appendixes should be listed and should include drafts of permission and consent forms, correspondence and a copy of proposed instruments. A timeline for dissertation completion should be presented.

Format of the proposal must conform to the instructions for manuscripts in the APA Manual (7th ed.), except when superseded by the General Instructions for the Preparation of Dissertations.

ADVISEMENT

The doctoral candidate, following satisfactory completion of all courses including the Dissertation Seminar (NURS 901), is expected to enroll in Dissertation Advisement (NURS 950) for three semester hours each consecutive Fall, Spring, and Summer semester until the degree is granted. Students may be required by their dissertation committee to complete additional elective coursework over and above the minimum course requirements in support of the content area or research methodology. See Graduate Catalog at https://catalog.widener.edu/ for additional policies related to dissertation advisement.

DISSERTATION COMMITTEE

The purposes of the Dissertation Committee are to provide ongoing academic guidance to the student and to evaluate scholarly research achievement in the form of the dissertation. The Committee will consist of at least three members, all of who must hold an earned research doctorate. The student will select the chairperson from among full-time faculty of Widener University School of Nursing. The student and chairperson will collaborate in the selection of the other members at least one of whom must be a member of the School of Nursing faculty. Other members may be qualified individuals from within or outside the University, subject to approval by the chairperson and the PhD Program Director. A curriculum vita is required of members outside the University.

The Committee members will be officially appointed by the Dean of the School of Nursing, on the basis of a written request submitted by the student and a signed Consent to Serve form from each prospective Committee member. These forms are available on request in the Graduate Nursing Office.

If the chairperson or a committee member leaves Widener University prior to completion of the dissertation, the individual may be allowed to remain on the Committee if feasible. If not, a replacement will be selected by following the steps in the original procedure. A Committee chairperson or member may resign from the Committee by informing the candidate and the Dean in writing. Under exceptional circumstances students may request a change in Committee membership by writing to the PhD Program Director and to the Dean.

PROPOSAL DEFENSE

Having completed the dissertation proposal in consultation with the Committee, in individual and group meetings as necessary, the student will submit to the Graduate Nursing Office, two copies of a written proposal describing the nature and scope of the expected research. These copies are distributed to the readers. Two full-time School of Nursing faculty with earned research doctorates will be assigned as readers by the PhD Program Director. The committee members and readers must be formulated so that each dissertation proposal defense committee has at least three School of Nursing faculty members. In addition, the student is responsible for distributing copies to the Chairperson and committee members. The copies must be submitted by the dates published in the Graduate Catalog.

The PhD Program Director will inform the student of the Readers’ names, the date, and time of the proposal defense. The Graduate Nursing Office will schedule a room. The proposal defense is open to Widener University faculty and doctoral students who wish to observe but they may not participate. The presentation of the proposal is open to friends, family, and colleagues of the doctoral student; the examination portion is closed to these observers.

The oral defense is conducted before the Committee and the two Readers. The decision must be at least a four-fifths majority vote with the following categories as defined below:

  1. Approved as Written
  2. Approved with Revisions
  3. Approval Denied

Successful completion of the defense requires approval of any revisions by the Dissertation Chair and/or Committee. The Dissertation Committee Chair will determine the date for filing the final proposal copy in the Graduate Nursing Office. The final copy of the proposal will be sent electronically to the PhD Program Director as a single pdf file for the student’s record.

PROPOSAL DEFENSE DEFINITION OF TERMS

  1. Approved as written. The dissertation proposal is judged to be conceptually and methodologically sound. Minor edits may be needed to produce a final copy. The student may submit the application for protection of human subjects to the Institutional Review Board (IRB).
  2. Approved with revisions.
    1. The dissertation proposal is generally judged to be conceptually and methodologically sound. Editorial changes may not concern methodology and/or data collection. The application for protection of human subjects may be submitted for IRB review. The Dissertation Chair must approve revisions before data collection begins. 
    2. The dissertation proposal is judged to be generally sound; however, substantive changes are required so as to afford greater clarity of conceptual and/or methodological issues. The Dissertation Committee Chairperson will state clearly, in writing, the changes that must be made and the time frame for submission of the revised dissertation proposal. The Dissertation Committee must approve the revised proposal before the candidate submits the application for protection of human subjects to the IRB.
  3. Approval denied. The dissertation proposal is judged to have major deficiencies that require the candidate to rewrite and redefend the proposal. The Dissertation Committee Chairperson will state clearly, in writing, the reasons for denial of approval and the course of action the candidate must undertake prior to resubmitting and redefending the dissertation.

HUMAN SUBJECTS PROTECTION

Following approval of the dissertation proposal, but before data collection begins; the doctoral candidate must obtain permission from the Widener University Institutional Review Board (IRB) following the procedure established by that Board for the protection of human subjects.

Human subjects review procedures and forms may be obtained online in myWidener, under the Institutional Review Board Office. It is the candidate’s responsibility to provide the Dissertation Committee Chairperson with a signed approval from the IRB.

DISSERTATION REPORT

The outline for the dissertation varies depending upon the type of research (quantitative or qualitative). It also may vary depending upon the specific question being addressed. Therefore, although students are encouraged to read other dissertations they should be cautious in adopting an outline since the content of each dissertation must respond to the specific question posed. The final form of the proposal is decided in conjunction with the committee.

In preparing the dissertation it is necessary to refer to the information available in the APA Manual (7th ed.), the Guidelines for Preparation of the Dissertation on the Wolfgram Memorial Library/Widener University webpage, and the guidelines from Proquest.

DISSERTATION DEFENSE

The student will be required to defend the completed dissertation during an oral examination conducted by the Committee and two additional readers appointed by the Director of the PhD Program. Both readers are full-time School of Nursing faculty members. The committee members and readers must be formulated so that each dissertation defense committee has at least three School of Nursing faculty members. The PhD Program Director will notify the student of the names of the readers. The candidate will arrange the date and time of the defense with the Committee, readers, and PhD Program Director. The Graduate Nursing Office will reserve a room.

Two copies of the dissertation and one additional abstract with title page must be submitted to the Graduate Nursing Office of the School of Nursing according to the calendar in the Graduate Catalog (http://catalog.widener.edu). The two copies will be distributed to the readers. In addition, the student is responsible for distributing copies of the dissertation to the Committee.

The full defense is open to Widener University faculty and doctoral students who wish to observe but they may not participate. The presentation of the dissertation findings is open to friends, family, and colleagues of the doctoral student; the examination portion of the defense is closed to these observers. The topic, date, time, and place of the dissertation defense and an abstract are posted. The decision regarding the outcome will be made by four-fifths majority vote of the Committee members and outside readers. The categories are:

  1. Approved as Written
  2. Approved with Minor Revisions
  3. Approved with Revisions
  4. Approval Denied

DISSERTATION DEFENSE DEFINITION OF TERMS

  1. Approved as written. The dissertation is judged to be conceptually and methodologically sound. Some minor edits may be needed to produce final copies for filing in the Graduate Nursing Office. The student and chair negotiate a due date for submission of the final dissertation. 
  2. Approved with minor revision. Some minor editorial changes are necessary but generally approved as written. 
  3. Approved with revisions. The dissertation is judged to be generally sound; however, some changes are required to afford greater clarity of conceptual and/or methodological issues or of data analysis and interpretation. The Dissertation Committee Chairperson will state clearly, in writing, the changes that must be made and the time frame for submission of the revised dissertation. The Dissertation Committee must approve the revised dissertation before the candidate files the final copies with the Graduate Nursing Office. 
  4. Approval denied. The dissertation is judged to have major deficiencies, which require the candidate to rewrite and redefend the dissertation. In some instances, additional data collection may be required. The Dissertation Committee Chairperson will state clearly in writing, the reasons for denial of approval and the course of action the candidate must undertake prior to resubmitting and redefending the dissertation.

COMPLETION OF REQUIREMENTS: TITLE PAGE AND FINAL COPIES

After making final corrections and receiving approval from your committee chair, two (2) copies of the reviewed dissertation on 100 % cotton paper must be submitted to Wolfgram Library for binding. The graduation fee covers the cost of binding these two copies. Students will not be cleared for graduation until the Librarian has signed the Library Dissertation Completeness Review Form and returned to the Graduate Nursing Office.

These two required copies are distributed as follows:

  • 1 - University Library Archives
  • 1 - University Library Circulation

The candidate must electronically upload the final dissertation file in the Digital Dissertations database. The procedure is described on the Wolfgram Library dissertation requirements and procedures page. The candidate should copyright the dissertation. The graduation fee includes the copyright fee. Sigma Theta Tau International honor society members should visit the Sigma Theta Tau website and the Virginia Henderson (VH) Library if they wish to submit their dissertation abstract to the VH library. It is the candidate’s responsibility to meet all deadlines.

The candidate is also responsible for asking committee members if they want a copy of the final dissertation. Additional copies will be bound at the current rate per volume as requested by the student. A check should be made payable to Widener University for the full amount at the time of the request.

DEADLINES

Requests for comprehensive examination, dissertation proposals, and dissertation for defense must be submitted in accordance with the deadlines listed in the School of Nursing calendar. The dates listed in fall, spring and summer sessions are the last dates that material is accepted. Materials may be submitted earlier. The following schedule is required to assure a May, August, or December graduation.

ACTIVITY FALL SPRING SUMMER
Declare intent to defend and schedule date/time for defense by Sep 15 Jan 30 June 1
Submit Proposal/Final Dissertation 4 weeks prior to defense 4 weeks prior to defense 4 weeks prior to defense
Defend Disseration Proposal Dec 10 May 1 Aug 1
Defend Final Disseration Dec 1 Apr 20 July 20
Submit to Library Dec 10 May 1 Aug 1
Graduate Dec May  Aug

In order to be cleared for graduation, PhD candidates must submit required corrected copies to the library by the above date prior to graduation. Candidates are not permitted to participate in graduation and commencement activities prior to completion of all degree requirements. Candidates not meeting these timelines will be scheduled for dissertation defense during the next semester with graduation that semester.

Note: If one’s anticipated graduation date is missed, your petition for graduation will be retained for the next graduation date. The Registrar’s office will not issue a graduation diploma without a petition for graduation.

Reviewed, editorial revisions 8/05, 5/21/08, 4/10, 7/11, 2/19 bjp