Oct 26, 2021  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
    
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog [FINAL EDITION]

College of Health and Human Services


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Philosophy and Purpose of the School

The College of Health and Human Services aspires to prepare individuals to become innovative scholars-practitioners-citizens. The disciplines of the school use dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, and community involvement in order to foster leadership, ethical and professional decision-making, interdisciplinary dialogue, a competent responsiveness to the needs of a culturally diverse community, and a commitment to the value of lifelong learning.

Grading Systems

Grading systems for each unit within the school are fully described elsewhere in this catalog as part of the program information for each respective Center and Institute.

The grade of I is given when a student has not completed course requirements because of excusable reasons. A student who receives a grade of incomplete must arrange to make up all deficiencies with the instructor issuing the grade. If the work is not made up within one calendar year from the end of the semester in which the incomplete is received, the grade will be automatically converted to F, unless the course in question is a thesis research course or a dissertation research course. Upon completion of the requirements, the instructor will institute a change of grade. (Note: A student does not register again for a course in which the grade of incomplete has been received.) A student cannot be awarded a degree when there is an outstanding incomplete grade on the transcript, even if the incomplete is in a course not required in the degree program.

If a course is repeated, both grades will be recorded on the transcript, but only the most recent grade will be used in calculating the grade point average (GPA). When a student is found to have violated Widener’s academic fraud policies, that student is prohibited from exercising the repeat-of-course option to remove the F grade (given as a result of fraud) from the GPA calculation.

If a student fails to meet the degree requirements in a timely manner or if repeated failure has occurred, the school may terminate the graduate program for the student. Conduct inconsistent with the ethical and professional standards of the discipline, whether it occurs before or after matriculation, is also grounds for dismissal from the program. Such conduct includes academic fraud. A student dismissed for academic fraud may no longer enroll in the graduate programs of the university and may not apply for admission into another division of the university. Please see the section entitled “Standards for Academic Integrity.”

Course Offerings

Graduate course offerings are published each semester and are accessible via Student Planning via my.widener.edu.

Drop/Add Policy

Students may add a course without special permission no later than one week after the semester has begun. If a student wishes to add a course after one week, written permission must be obtained from both the instructor and the program director’s office.

Students may withdraw from a 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 of the course.

Graduate students begin the withdrawal process by notifying their advisor of their intent to withdraw, either orally or in writing. The advisor submits a drop/add form, which includes the student’s last date of attendance at an academically related activity, to the Registrar’s Office.

Auditing

Students will be permitted to audit courses in the graduate program with the approval of the instructor. No grade or credit is given for auditing a course, and examinations need not be taken; however, the registration procedure and fee structure are the same as that for other students.

 

Standards for Academic Integrity

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 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 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 Graduate Studies and Extended Learning as the office of record. Please contact the associate provost 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 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 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.

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 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 will review all reports of academic fraud.

  1. If the associate provost 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 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, the student may initiate his or her appeal to the Academic Review Board by notifying the associate provost 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 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, 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 also includes his/her designee, except with respect to membership on the Academic Review Board.

Academic Review Board

The Academic Review Board consists of the provost, the associate provost, 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.

Academic Grievance Appeal Procedure

If a student has a grievance concerning a class in which he or she is enrolled, he/she will first try to resolve the problem with the instructor of the class. If a student has a grievance concerning an academic requirement of the program (e.g., comprehensive examination, final clinical oral examination, clinical placements), he/she will first try to resolve the problem with the director of the program. If it is impossible to resolve the matter at this initial level, the grievance must be placed in writing. Then the student may appeal to the next higher level. The student should inquire in the Office of the Dean, College of Health and Human Services, for the proper appeal procedure if the student’s grievance is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction after initial appeal to the instructor, the appropriate Center or Institute faculty committee and/or the appropriate Center or Institute director.

Graduation Requirements and Awarding of Degrees

Students are responsible for knowing and meeting curriculum requirements as shown in this catalog.

Those who expect to receive either the master’s or doctoral degree should make clear their intentions to their advisors. A student who completes requirements for the degree at the conclusion of either summer session will be awarded the degree in  August of that year; the student must submit a graduation petition online at www.widener.edu/registrar by March 1. A student who completes requirements for the degree at the conclusion of the fall semester will be awarded the degree in December of that year; the student must submit a graduation petition online at www.widener.edu/registrar by July 1. A student who completes requirements for the degree at the conclusion of the spring semester will be awarded the degree in May of that year; the student must submit a graduation petition online at www.widener.edu/registrar by November 1 of the previous year.

The university holds only one formal commencement in the spring to which August, December, and May graduates are invited.

A student who will be an August graduate may participate in the Commencement ceremony in May of that year. The student must petition to participate by April 30, and the student must be registered for a three-credit course at the time of the petition.

A student who petitions for graduation and who, for whatever reason, is not awarded the degree, must re-petition.

Please note that a waiver of any requirement for the degree must be approved in writing by the Office of the Dean of the College of Health and Human Services.

Challenge Examinations

A challenge examination may be taken for select graduate courses. Not all graduate courses may be challenged. If interested in challenging a course, please see the director of the relevant graduate program for more details. There is a fee for each examination, and the grade received is either Pass or Fail.

Annual Notice to Students Regarding Education Records

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords eligible students certain rights with respect to their education records. (An “eligible student” under FERPA is a student who is 18 years of age or older or who attends a postsecondary institution.) These rights include:

  • The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days after the day the university receives a request for access. A student should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The university official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the university official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
  • The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.

A student who wishes to ask the university to amend a record should write the university official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed.

If the university decides not to amend the record as requested, the university will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student’s right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.

  • The right to provide written consent before the university discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.

The university discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to university officials with legitimate educational interests. A university official is a person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including, without limitation, law enforcement unit personnel, health staff, athletic coaches and trainers, and admissions counselors and recruiters); a person serving on the board of trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee. A university official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of the university who performs an institutional service or function for which the university would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the university with respect to the use and maintenance of PII from education records, such as an attorney, auditor, contractor, consultant, or collection agent, or a student volunteering to assist another university official in performing his or her tasks. A university official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the university.

Upon request, the university also discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. Such education records may include updated or corrected information, including, without limitation, disciplinary and health records.

  • The right to file a complaint with the U.S Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the university to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:

Family Policy Compliance Office U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202

  • The right to withhold public disclosure of any or all items of “directory information” by written notification to the Registrar’s Office of the university or the School of Law, as applicable, within two weeks after the commencement of the fall or spring semesters of any given academic year. Under current university policy, the term “directory information” includes, without limitation, a student’s name, home and campus address, telephone listing(s), electronic mail address, photographs, major field of study, grade level, enrollment status (e.g., undergraduate or graduate, full-time or part-time), dates of attendance, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, degrees, honors and awards received, and the most recent educational agency or institution attended.

Campus Safety

Campus Security and Fire Safety Reports

Widener is committed to the safety and security of all members of the Widener University community. The university’s annual Campus Safety and Fire Safety Reports are on the Widener website and contain information on campus security and personal safety, including crime prevention, university law enforcement authority, crime reporting policies, disciplinary procedures, and other campus security matters. The Campus Safety Reports contain statistics for the three previous calendar years on reported crimes that occurred on campus, in certain off-campus buildings and property owned and controlled by the university, and on public property within or immediately adjacent to and accessible from campus.

The Fire Safety Report contains information on fire safety systems in on-campus student housing facilities, the number of fire drills held during the previous year, the university’s policies on portable electrical appliances, smoking, and open flames in student housing facilities, the university’s procedures for student housing evacuation in the case of a fire, policies regarding fire safety education and training programs provided to students and employees, a listing of persons or organizations to which fires should be reported, and plans for future improvements in fire safety. It also contains statistics for the three most recent calendar years concerning the number of fires and cause of each fire in each on-campus student housing facility, the number of persons who received fire-related injuries that resulted in treatment at a medical facility, the number of deaths related to a fire, and the value of property damage caused by a fire.

The annual Campus Safety and Fire Safety Reports are available online at www.widener.edu/campussafety. If you would like a printed copy of these reports, contact the Campus Safety Office at 610-499-4203 to have a copy mailed to you. The information in these reports is required by law and is provided by the Campus Safety Office.

Transcripts

Students in good financial standing may have copies of their transcripts forwarded to employers, agents, or institutions of higher education by contacting the Office of the Registrar.

Financial Aid

Widener University offers a wide range of financial aid programs. Financial information is available on the university’s website at www.widener.edu/admissions/graduate/financial_aid.

General Information

Matriculation

A matriculated student is one who has been officially admitted to an approved program leading to a graduate degree or certificate.

Special Status

A “special status” student is a nonmatriculated student. Special status students typically register for courses for professional development. While a student in this category can take an unlimited number of courses, a student must become matriculated in order to pursue a degree or certification. Courses completed under special status will not automatically transfer toward a degree or certificate program. No more than six credits should be taken before matriculating.

Graduate Assistantships

A limited number of graduate assistantships and graduate administrative assistantships are available each year for graduate students. Students receive partial tuition remission for course work and a stipend based on up to 20 hours of work per week. Graduate assistants work with the faculty and administration on special research and administrative projects.

Grading and Dismissal

Graduate students are expected to maintain satisfactory rates of progress toward their graduate degree. The graduate record for students begins with the first course in which they enroll and includes all subsequent courses.

Courses may be repeated only once and only with permission of the relevant program faculty. Both grades will be recorded on the transcript, but only the most recent grade will be used in calculating the GPA. When a student is found to have violated Widener’s academic fraud policies, that student is prohibited from exercising the repeat-of-course option to remove the F grade (given as a result of fraud) from the GPA calculation. No student will graduate with an incomplete grade.

Conduct inconsistent with the ethical and professional standards of the discipline, whether it occurs before or after matriculation, is grounds for dismissal from the program.

Pass/No Pass

Almost all graduate courses will give standard letter grades. Occasionally, the special nature of some courses will require that they be graded on a pass/no pass basis. The decision to grade on a pass/no pass basis will be included on the course syllabus and will apply to only that course. This is not an option for any course except one in which the instructor has determined this to be the appropriate form of grading.

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