Sep 17, 2021  
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog 
    
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog [FINAL EDITION]

Academic Regulations



Academic Integrity Policy

The Academic Integrity Policy was approved by the Faculty Council. Additional regulations are excerpted and paraphrased from the “Minutes of the Academic Council.” These regulations explain Widener University’s expectations regarding students’ academic conduct and describe procedures related to those expectations. Exceptions to the regulations may be made only by special action of the school/college academic councils of the Academic Review Board. References in this catalog refer to the Main Campus only.

Statement on Academic Integrity

Widener University strongly supports the concept of 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 unacceptable; they are serious violations of university policy. In some circumstances, students’ conduct may require review under the research integrity policy, the freedom to learn policy, the judicial review policy, and other university policies. Widener University expects all students to be familiar with university policies on academic integrity, as outlined in this catalog. The university 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.

Violations of Academic Integrity

Violations of academic integrity constitute academic fraud. Academic fraud consists of any action that serves to undermine the integrity of the academic process or that gives the student an unfair advantage, including:

  • inspecting, duplicating or distributing test materials without authorization.
  • cheating, attempting to cheat, or assisting others to cheat.
  • altering work after it has been submitted for a grade.
  • plagiarizing.
  • using or attempting to use anything that constitutes unauthorized assistance.
  • fabricating, falsifying, distorting, or inventing any information, documentation, or citation.

Each student’s program may have on record additional specific acts particular to a discipline that constitutes academic fraud. These specific acts are specified in relevant handbooks or course syllabi.

Statement on Plagiarism

One of the most common violations of 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 members will provide their definitions of plagiarism. In classes where a definition is not provided, students will be held to the definition of plagiarism that follows:

Definition of Plagiarism

Plagiarism—submitting 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 citations. When a student paraphrases a work, it is still necessary to cite the original source. Merely rearranging a sentence or changing a few words is not sufficient. The citation style should be appropriate for the discipline and should clearly indicate the beginning and ending of the referenced material. All sources used in the preparation of an academic paper must also be listed with full bibliographic details at the end of the paper, as appropriate in the discipline.

Faculty and Student Responsibilities

  • Every student, faculty member, and administrator is responsible for upholding the highest standards of academic integrity. Every member of the Widener community shall honor the spirit of this policy by refusing to tolerate academic fraud.
  • When expectations for a course are not addressed in this policy, it is the responsibility of the instructor to provide students with additional guidelines for what constitutes “authorized” and “unauthorized” assistance.
  • It is the responsibility of every student to seek clarification if in doubt about what constitutes “authorized” and “unauthorized” assistance. In cases of collaborative work, all students within the collaborative group may be responsible for “unauthorized” assistance to any individual student within the collaborative group.
  • Students are required to obtain permission prior to submitting work, any part of which was previously or will be submitted in another course. The instructor has the option of accepting, rejecting, or requiring modification of the content of previously or simultaneously submitted work.

A student who suspects that a violation of academic integrity has occurred should report that violation to the associate provost for undergraduate academic affairs or their dean. In this report, the student should describe any action taken, such as talking with the person involved or with a faculty or staff member. Every effort will be made to preserve the anonymity of the student reporting the incident; however, confidentiality cannot be guaranteed.

Resolution at the Faculty/Student Level for Academic Fraud Occurring in a Course

Process and Reporting

A faculty member who becomes aware of possible academic fraud in a course will:

  1. Collect and preserve all evidence of the suspected fraud.
  2. Inform the suspected student(s) in writing. The faculty member may contact the associate provost for undergraduate academic affairs for additional support and guidance.
  3. Provide the student with the opportunity to respond to the charges within five business days of his/her receipt of, or refusal to accept, notice of the suspected fraud. If the student fails to respond to this opportunity, the student forfeits any right to appeal the decision to the school or college level where the course is taught, and the faculty member will determine the penalty.
  4. Discuss the academic fraud with the student and agree to pursue student/faculty resolution. If no such agreement is reached, the faculty member refers the matter to the dean of the school or college level where the course is taught and will be processed at the school/college level.
  5. In cases where a faculty member takes action for a case of academic fraud, the faculty member will send a report describing the academic fraud and the penalty being imposed to the student, the dean of the school or college where the course involved is taught, the dean of the school or college where the student is enrolled, and the Office of the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs as the office of record. Please contact the associate provost for undergraduate academic affairs for guidelines and templates for constructing the reports.

If the faculty member is not satisfied with the sanctions available, he or she may refer the case to the dean responsible for the course in question. If the student does not accept responsibility for the academic fraud or disagrees with the sanction imposed by the faculty member, the student may appeal the outcome at the school or college level according to the process stipulated in the bylaws or student handbook of the school or college where the course is taught.

Penalties

The suggested penalty for academic fraud in any course is failure in the course. However, faculty members may take alternative steps. Penalties available to faculty members include:

  • Formal warning.
  • Reduction in grade for the assignment.
  • Reduction in the grade for the course.
  • Failing grade for the assignment.
  • A failing grade (F) in the course.
  • A failing grade (XF) in the course (a grade of XF will appear on the transcript and be defined on the transcript as failure as a result of academic fraud).

Offenses Subject to Expulsion

All reports of academic fraud will be reviewed by the associate provost for undergraduate academic affairs to verify whether reports have been received indicating that the student has been found responsible for any other act of academic fraud. In cases where the associate provost finds that the case is a repeat offense for which the student has received a failing grade (F or XF) in a course for each offense or a case in which a student has stolen or attempted to steal an examination, the associate provost will expel the student from the university. The student may appeal cases resulting in expulsion to the Academic Review Board.

Resolution at the School/College Level

Process and Reporting

When a faculty member or any other employee of the university becomes aware of possible academic fraud occurring outside a course, the faculty member or employee will:

  1. Collect and preserve all evidence of the suspected fraud.
  2. Refer the matter to the dean of the school or college where the student is enrolled.

When a case of academic fraud occurring in a course is referred to the dean of the school or college where the course is taught or when a case of academic fraud occurring outside a course is referred to the dean of the school or college where the student is enrolled:

  1. The dean will notify the student and the associate provost for undergraduate academic affairs in writing of the charge of academic fraud, the penalty to be imposed, and all rights of appeal, if any.
  2. If a student wishes to contest the charge of academic fraud or disagrees with the sanction imposed, the student may do so according to the process stipulated in the bylaws or student handbook of the school or college where the course is taught. In such a case, the student will also be informed of the process as stipulated by the school or college.
  3. In cases where the penalty results in dismissal of the student from the school or college, the student may appeal the decision at the university level in writing to the Academic Review Board via the associate provost for undergraduate academic affairs.

Penalties

The maximum penalty imposed in school or college resolution for individuals convicted of academic fraud shall be dismissal from the school or college. Lesser penalties may include:

  • Formal warning.
  • Reduction in grade for the assignment.
  • Reduction in the grade for the course.
  • Failing grade for the assignment.
  • Failing grade (F) in the course.
  • A failing grade (XF) in the course (a grade of XF will appear on the transcript and be defined on the transcript as failure as a result of academic fraud).
  • Required attendance at an academic integrity workshop or tutorial.

Offenses Subject to Expulsion

All reports of academic fraud will be reviewed by the associate provost for undergraduate academic affairs to verify whether reports have been received indicating that the student has been found responsible for any other act of academic fraud. In cases where the associate provost finds that the case is a repeat offense where the student has received a failing grade (F or XF) in a course for each offense or a case where a student has stolen or attempted to steal an examination, the associate provost will expel the student from the university. The student may appeal cases resulting in expulsion to the Academic Review Board.

Resolution at the University Level— Repeat Offenses / Theft of Examination Materials

Process

The associate provost for undergraduate academic affairs will review all reports of academic fraud.

  1. If the associate provost for undergraduate academic affairs finds the case is a repeat offense where the student has received a failing grade (F or XF) in a course for each offense, the associate provost will expel the student from the university. The student may appeal the case to the Academic Review Board.
  2. If the associate provost finds the case is a repeat offense where the student has not received a failing grade for both offenses, the case will be referred to the Academic Review Board.
  3. If the student has stolen or attempted to steal an examination, the associate provost will expel the student from the university. The student may appeal the case to the Academic Review Board.

Penalties

The maximum penalty imposed by the Academic Review Board for individuals convicted of academic fraud shall be expulsion from the university. Penalties include:

  • An XF grade in the course (a grade of XF will appear on the transcript and be defined on the transcript as failure as a result of academic fraud).
  • Removal of the privilege of representing the university in extracurricular activities, including athletics, as well as the privilege of running for or holding office in any student organization that is allowed to use university facilities or receives university funds.
  • Suspension from the university for up to one academic year. Students suspended for academic fraud cannot transfer into Widener any credits earned during the suspension.
  • Dismissal from the university. Students dismissed for academic fraud must apply for readmission according to the Academic Review Board guidelines. Readmission applications by students suspended for academic fraud must be approved by the Academic Review Board.
  • Expulsion from the university without the opportunity for readmission.

Reporting

The associate provost for undergraduate academic affairs will send a report describing the academic fraud and the penalty being imposed to the student, the affected faculty members, the dean of the school or college where the course involved is taught, and the dean of the school or college where the student is enrolled, as well as maintain a copy as the office of record.

Student Appeals/Decisions—Expulsion/Dismissal

When a student is expelled or dismissed by the associate provost for undergraduate academic affairs, the student may initiate his or her appeal to the Academic Review Board by notifying the associate provost for undergraduate academic affairs in writing of the request for an appeal, together with a concise statement of the grounds for the appeal.*

Written notice of the student’s request for appeal, together with the concise statement of the student’s grounds for the appeal, must be received by the associate provost for undergraduate academic affairs no more than ten business days following the decision of the faculty, school/college, or university.

When a case is referred to the Academic Review Board, the associate provost shall notify the student in writing of the time and location for the Academic Review Board hearing.

The membership of the Academic Review Board consists of the provost, the associate provost for undergraduate academic affairs, the dean, the chair of the faculty, and the chair of the Faculty Council Academic Affairs Committee; provided, however, that any majority of the foregoing members shall constitute a quorum for purposes of conducting any matters to come before the Academic Review Board pursuant to these standards. Any faculty member on the Academic Review Board involved in the original accusations will not participate in deliberations in that case.

At an appeal before the Academic Review Board, the student shall have the opportunity to be heard and the right to produce witnesses or introduce evidence subject to the reasonable discretion of the Academic Review Board. The student may also be accompanied by a representative of his or her choosing who may not participate in the appeal. The Academic Review Board shall not be subject to any evidentiary rules but shall accept or reject evidence in its sound discretion. All appeals shall be closed to the public and no stenographic record shall be required unless requested at the expense of the requesting party. In the absence of a stenographic record, the Academic Review Board shall provide, in its sole discretion, either a recorded record or notes of the proceedings taken by a member of the Academic Review Board.

The results of all appeals to the Academic Review Board, permitted in the Academic Integrity Policy, shall be final.

Any matter submitted to a faculty member, the school/college, or the university for decision or review under this policy will be decided in a timely manner and the parties will use their best efforts to conclude the proceedings within the semester in which the alleged offense has occurred or the appeal is received, provided, however, that any delay in the proceedings will in no way operate as a waiver of the university’s right to assess any or all of the sanctions permitted hereunder. References to the associate provost for undergraduate academic affairs also includes his/her designee, except with respect to membership on the Academic Review Board.

*Appeals from students in the Center for Extended Learning shall be submitted to the associate provost and dean for graduate studies and extended learning, and the appeal review shall follow the same process outlined above with the Extended Learning Academic Review Board.

Class Attendance

A student’s regular attendance at class meetings is in his or her best interest. Course instructors may specify in the course syllabi the number of absences permitted in a particular course and the consequences of absences beyond this limit. However, no action solely based on class absence can be imposed on a student if the number of absences in a semester does not exceed the number of weekly class meetings. This freedom must not be construed as an invitation to be absent from class without good cause. No failing grade may be given solely due to class absences if the number of absences in a semester does not exceed twice the number of weekly class meetings. A student may receive a failing grade if the number of absences in a semester exceeds twice the number of weekly class meetings, if so specified in the course syllabus. In modules, the students are limited to half of the absences allowed in the above cases. In those courses that have laboratory components, laboratory meetings will be considered as a separate course in this class attendance policy.

A student who anticipates a period of absence exceeding one class week should notify the Office of the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs immediately.

In the interest of more effective student counseling, instructors in courses at all levels are encouraged to keep attendance records. All absences, including those due to both curricular and extracurricular activities, will normally be counted.

Final Examination Policy

For undergraduate Main Campus day classes offered during the fall and spring semester, an exam worth more than 30 percent of the final grade cannot be given during the last five calendar days of classes.

Missed Examinations Policy

Every student is responsible for all work missed, including examinations, due to absence from class. Every instructor is responsible for his or her own examination policy and will normally announce this policy early in the semester. Students who miss an examination due to documented illness, court appearance, or death in the family are often permitted to take a make-up examination. However, the instructor is under no obligation to resolve the missed examination in this way, and the student should not assume that a make-up examination is forthcoming. Students who expect to miss a scheduled examination should immediately notify the instructor. A student who has missed an examination and is dissatisfied with the course instructor’s remedy may appeal to the course instructor’s dean. Further dispute may be resolved by the associate provost for undergraduate academic affairs.

Academic Grievance Appeal Procedure

If a student has a grievance concerning a class in which he or she is enrolled, the student will first try to resolve the problem with the instructor of the class. If it is impossible to resolve the matter at this level, the student must place the grievance in writing and can then appeal to the next higher level. The student should inquire at the office of the dean responsible for the course in question for the proper appeal procedure if the student’s grievance is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction after appeal to the instructor.

Academic Review Board

The Academic Review Board consists of the provost, the associate provost for undergraduate academic affairs, the deans of each school/college, the vice chair of the University Council, and the chair of the University Council Academic Affairs Committee. Duties of the board include (1) hearing petitions for the waiver of academic regulations that transcend a single school or college (e.g., distribution or residency requirements, walk-through policy), and (2) serving as the appeal body in cases of an alleged violation of procedure in school/college Academic Council hearings.