Academic Policies

Attendance

Students are expected to attend all regularly scheduled classes, labs and other course related activities. However, on some occasions students may need to be absent. Instructors are privileged to establish reasonable absence regulations which should be clearly stated at the first class meeting. The suggested norm is twice the number of classes per week. This means that a student would be permitted two absences in a class that meets once a week. When unavoidable absences occur, the student should explain the circumstances as soon as possible to the instructor who will judge the validity of the excuse.

The instructor is expected to determine when the number of absences has reached the level where any additional absences would prevent the student from attaining the objectives of the course. This judgment should be communicated to the student with the warning that any further absences will result in an automatic dismissal from the course and a grade of “F.”

Examinations

In their syllabi, instructors specify examinations of a kind and number that are, in their judgment, appropriate to the needs of the students and to the objectives and conditions of the course. Final examinations are required in every course and are administered during final-examination week at times and places scheduled by the registrar.

Separation from the College

Each student’s continued registration at the college, the awarding of academic credits and the granting of any certificate or degree are entirely subject to the disciplinary authority of the college. The college reserves the right, therefore, to enforce the regulations concerning satisfactory academic performance and, in consequence, to cancel a student’s registration, to refuse academic credits or to deny a certificate or degree. Separation from the college may also be imposed as a penalty for any conduct which conflicts with the ideals of the college or damages its reputation and that of its students.

Grades

Grades inform students of the level of performance they have achieved in a course. Grades are means whereby students may come to know and appreciate their capacities and abilities. Instructors are responsible for specifying the performances required in their courses; students are responsible for meeting the requirements specified.

Grades earned by students at Canisius College reflect:

  1. The extent to which the requirements specified in the course syllabus have been met.
  2. The degree to which the requirements completed exhibit mastery of the subject or skills which are the object of the course.
  3. Other criteria specified by the instructor at the beginning of the course, criteria such as, but not limited to, attendance at lectures or other course functions, projects voluntarily undertaken in excess of specified requirements, correct use of oral or written English and contribution to discussion or other course activities.

Quality Points

The quality-point average indicates the student’s general scholastic average and is a measure of the quality of his or her work, just as credit hours are the measure of its extent. Points are assigned as follows for each semester hour completed:

Grade Points
A4.0
A-3.7
B+3.3
B3.0
B-2.7
C+2.3
C2.0
C-1.7
F0

A student’s GPA is obtained by dividing the total number of quality points by the total number of credit hours carried. Other grades authorized by the deans include the following:

  • W – Authorized withdrawal from a course.
    The description of withdrawal procedures is in a preceding section of this chapter.
  • I – Incomplete.

Final grades are available on the MyCanisius portal at the conclusion of each semester. If an official grade report is needed for any reason, contact the Student Records office to request a grade report.

Final course grades cannot in normal circumstances be altered after they have been recorded on the student academic record. Should an exceptional reason occur that would justify a late grade change, the faculty member can submit to the appropriate associate dean a request to change a student’s recorded grade within the following time frame:

  • The end of the spring semester following a course taken in the fall
  • The end of the fall semester following a course taken in the summer
  • The end of the fall semester following a course taken in the spring

Any request for a grade change after these deadlines must be submitted to the dean of the appropriate college with documentation as to why the grade should be changed.

Students who are dissatisfied with their grade in a course may repeat the course once (exceptions may be approved by the appropriate associate dean in consultation with the department chair). In such cases, both grades will be entered in the student’s record, but, for the purpose of computing cumulative GPA, only the second grade will be used for the calculation.

Incomplete Grade

A student who, for serious and well defined reasons, has failed to fulfill all requirements of a course or has failed to take the final exam may petition the course instructor to request from the appropriate associate dean, a grade of “I”, indicating “Incomplete Performance.”

Only the appropriate associate dean or his or her designate (Program Directors in the College of Arts & Sciences) may grant an incomplete grade request. It will not be granted to a student whose only reason is excessive absence during the semester or failure to complete the work of the course before the close of the semester without an exceptionally good reason. Examples of such good reasons might be prolonged illness or hospitalization during the semester, serious illness at the time of the final examination, or other unusual circumstances.

An incomplete grade, when granted, is merely temporary and will automatically be changed to an “F” grade if a final grade is not submitted by March 1 for the fall, August 1 for the spring and October 1 for the summer.

Grade Grievance Procedure

Occasions may arise when a student does not agree with the grade he or she has received in a course. When this happens, the question of whether the grade should be reconsidered is addressed in two stages.

Part A) The initial stage in the grievance procedure is as follows:

The student first contacts the course instructor to discuss the grade in question within four weeks of the start of the semester (regular academic session) immediately following that in which the grade was awarded. If the instructor agrees that the grade in question was inaccurate, a grade change is processed by the instructor. 

If the student and the instructor cannot agree on the appropriateness of the grade in question, the student may contact the chair of the instructor’s department, in writing, within ten working days after the meeting with the instructor. If a mutually agreeable decision is made through mediation conducted by the chair, the instructor will submit the agreed upon grade and the process is completed. If there is no outcome that is mutually acceptable to the student and the instructor, the process may continue. If the instructor is also the chair, then Step 2 is omitted and the process goes to step 3.

The student may appeal the decision to the appropriate associate dean’s or his or her designates office within ten working days after the mediation process is complete. The dean shall collect written views and other pertinent material from the involved instructor, student and chair, as well as consult with any other individuals deemed necessary. The dean shall render the decision whether the grade should be reconsidered.

The decision of the associate dean or his or her designate to reconsider or not to reconsider the grade in question is final. If the decision is to reconsider the grade, the procedure outlined in Part B below is followed. If the decision is not to reconsider the grade, the original grade cannot be changed. Cases which are referred to the procedure in Part B can be withdrawn only with the consent of the student, instructor, department chair and dean, and after first informing all parties involved.

Part B) The final stage in the grievance procedure is as follows:

If the dean feels that the reconsideration of the grade in question is appropriate, a panel of tenured faculty who have not been involved in the process described above is formed from the department in question. The panel must be formed within ten days of the dean’s decision. If the department does not have a minimum of four members, it will be expanded to include all the tenured members of the departments within the division (Natural Science, Social Science, Humanities, Business or Education) of which the department in question is a member.

A three-member panel will be selected as follows:

  • The dean, faculty member and student involved will each select one member of the panel from the designated pool.

The panel will review all appropriate material and make a determination about the grade change. This review must be completed within thirty days of the formation of the panel. The panel has the authority to assign a grade for the course in question. That grade may be the same grade as assigned by the instructor or a higher or lower grade, according to the panel’s judgment. The student and the instructor will be informed of the panel’s decision and, when applicable, the authorized grade change will be submitted to the registrar.

The decision of the panel may be appealed by the original instructor or the student to the vice president for academic affairs only in the following extraordinary circumstances:

  1. The grade grievance procedure was not followed.
  2. Prejudice was manifested against either the student or the instructor.
  3. New, relevant information was introduced.

The appeal must be brought within thirty days of the panel’s decision. The burden of proof for the appeal rests with the individual bringing the appeal.

If the Vice President for Academic Affairs believes that the decision of the panel should be reviewed, a three-member appeal panel will be appointed from the pool of tenured faculty as described in Part B: the vice president, the faculty member and the student involved will each select one member. No member of the original panel may serve on the appeal panel. The appeal panel will follow the procedure in Part B-3, including completion of its task within thirty days of the formation of the panel. The decision of the appeal panel is final.

Probation and Academic Dismissal

The regulations regarding probation and academic dismissal vary from one program to another. Specific information may be obtained from the associate deans or program directors.

  • Mission and Pledge

The Canisius College community is dedicated to academic excellence and is, therefore, committed to establishing and maintaining an atmosphere of trust. All members of the community agree and pledge to exercise complete integrity in their academic work. Academic integrity is the foundation of true intellectual growth; it demonstrates respect for oneself and for others.
The students, faculty and administration of Canisius College understand their responsibility for maintaining academic integrity to be both individual and collective. Fulfilling this responsibility requires us to uphold high standards in our own conduct and to exercise fairness towards each other. All instances of academic dishonesty are a breach of community standards. Students, administrators and staff, course instructors and their representatives are expected to report violations of the Code of Academic Integrity.

All members of the Canisius College community are committed to administering the Code of Academic Integrity in a manner consistent with our mission: to teach responsibility, to foster learning and to care for the intellectual and ethical development of the whole person.

Violations of the Code of Academic Integrity shall be dealt with in a manner which is just to all parties and contributes to the learning process. Sanctions shall be shaped by the belief that infractions are not simply occasions for punishment, but are opportunities for learning and for improving the ethical standards of the individual and the community.
All Canisius College students are automatically bound by the Code of Academic Integrity. As a reminder and reinforcement of the ideals this code embodies, course instructors are asked to place a pledge on scheduled tests and assignments, as well as in the course syllabus. Students, in turn, are asked to carefully consider and sign the pledge, which reads:
“As a member of the Canisius College Community I understand and will uphold the standards for academic behavior as stated in the Code of Academic Integrity.”

  • Standards for Academic Behavior

  1. Prescriptions

Academic integrity requires a commitment to five fundamental values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility.

  1. Honesty
    As an academic community of integrity, Canisius College requires intellectual and personal honesty in learning, teaching, research, and service. Honesty is the prerequisite for full realization of trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. The policies of Canisius College discourage dishonesty in the forms of cheating, lying, fraud, theft, and other behaviors that jeopardize the rights and welfare of the college community and diminish the worth of its academic degrees. All members of the community subscribe to the principle of observing basic honesty in their work, words, ideas, and actions.
  2. Trust
    As an academic community of integrity, Canisius College seeks to foster a climate of mutual trust, encourage the free exchange of ideas, and enable all members of the community to reach their highest potential. Trust creates an environment in which collaboration is valued and information and ideas can be shared without fear of one’s work being stolen. It also allows us to believe in the social value of our scholarship and the degrees that are achieved here.
  3. Fairness
    As an academic community of integrity, Canisius College seeks to set clear standards, practices and procedures, and expects fairness in the interactions of all members of the community.
  4. Respect
    As an academic community of integrity, Canisius College recognizes the participatory nature of the learning process and honors and respects a wide range of opinions and ideas. If they are to be rewarding, teaching and learning demand both active engagement and mutual respect among all members of the community. Respect is shown by attending class, being on time, paying attention, listening to other points of view, valuing the aspirations and goals of others and recognizing them as individuals, being prepared and contributing to discussions, meeting academic deadlines and performing to the best of one’s ability.
  5. Responsibility
    As an academic community of integrity, Canisius College upholds personal accountability and depends upon action in the face of wrongdoing. Every member of the academic community is responsible for upholding the integrity of the scholarship and research carried out here. Such shared responsibility leads to personal investments in upholding our academic integrity standards. Being responsible means taking action against wrongdoing, discouraging and seeking to prevent misconduct by others. One primary responsibility is to discourage violations of the Code of Academic Integrity by others.
  1. Proscriptions

All students of the college are expected to understand the meaning of the Code of Academic Integrity. Ignorance of the code is not a valid reason for committing an act of academic dishonesty. Students should realize that their actions may affect other students. In general, students may not obstruct or interfere with other students’ academic work or otherwise undertake an activity with the purpose of creating or obtaining an unfair academic advantage over other students. Each of the following behaviors violates all of the principles of honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility explained above and is thus prohibited.

  1. Plagiarism — what about copying from the Internet and citing someone else?
    Plagiarism is using someone else’s work without citing the source. Of course, common sense as well as ethics should determine what you document. For example, you rarely need to give sources for familiar proverbs (‘You can’t judge a book by its cover’), well-known quotations (‘We shall overcome’), or common knowledge (‘George Washington was the first president of the United States’). But you must indicate the source of any appropriated material that readers might otherwise mistake for your own (5th Edition, pp. 30, 33). Plagiarism may range from isolated formulas, sentences, or paragraphs to entire articles copied from books, periodicals, websites, speeches, or the writings of other students. Honesty requires that any work or materials taken from another source, for either written or oral use, must be acknowledged. Any student who fails to give credit for ideas or materials obtained from another source is guilty of plagiarism. Plagiarism, in any of its forms, whether intentional or unintentional, violates standards of academic integrity. Examples of plagiarism include, but are not limited to:
    • Direct quotation of any source material whether published or unpublished without giving proper credit through the use of quotation marks, footnotes and other customary means of identifying sources. This includes complete sentences or paragraphs, or an entire piece of written work.
    • Paraphrasing another person’s ideas, opinions, or theories from books, articles, websites, etc., without identifying and crediting sources.
    • Borrowing facts, statistics, graphs, diagrams, photographs, or other illustrative or visual materials that are not clearly common knowledge without identifying and crediting sources.
    • Copying another student’s essay test answers.
    • Submitting papers written by another person or persons. This includes copying, or allowing another student to copy, a computer file that contains another student’s assignment and submitting it, in part or in its entirety, as one’s own.
    • Working together on an assignment, sharing the computer files and programs involved, and then submitting individual copies of the assignment as one’s own individual work without course instructor approval.
    • Buying or selling, or exchanging term papers, examinations, or other written assignments, or any part of them.
    • Offering false, fabricated, or fictitious sources for papers, reports, or other assignments.
  2. Cheating
    Cheating includes, but is not limited to: using unauthorized notes, study aids, or information on an examination, test, etc.; altering a graded work after it has been returned, then submitting the work for regrading; or allowing another person to do one’s work and submitting that work under one’s own name. Cheating also includes the possession, without authorization, of copies of tests, answer sheets, or other materials, however obtained, that could interfere with fair, accurate testing, as well as retaining, possessing, using or circulating previously given examination materials without authorization.
  3. Duplicate Submission of the Same Work
    Submitting the same work for more than one course is a violation unless the professor(s) assigning the work gives consent in advance. This includes work first produced in connection with classes at either Canisius College or other institutions attended by the student.
  4. Collusion
    Collusion includes cooperation that results in the work or ideas of others being presented as one’s own (e.g., rather than as a group effort). However, ordinary consultation of faculty, library staff, tutors or others is legitimate unless the instructor has imposed stricter limits for a particular assignment.
  5. False Information and Lying
    This includes consciously furnishing false information to other students, faculty members and their representatives, advisors, administrators or representatives of the college offices with the intent to mislead. Instances would include but are not limited to misrepresenting activity outside of the classroom (reports on field work, internships, etc.) or improperly seeking special consideration or privilege (e.g., for postponement of an examination or assignment deadline, etc.).
  6. Falsifying Academic Documentation and Forgery
    This includes any attempt to forge or alter academic documentation (including transcripts, letters of recommendation, certificates of enrollment or good standing, registration forms, drop/add forms, withdrawal forms, and medical certification of absence) or to falsify other writing in academic matters (e.g., any documentation provided to instructors) concerning oneself or others.
  7. Theft, Abuse, and Destruction of Academic Property
    This comprises unauthorized removal, retention, mutilation, or destruction of common property of the college that deprives others of equal access to these materials. Such property includes but is not limited to library materials, laboratory materials, computers and computer software, etc. This includes also sequestering library materials for the use of an individual or group; a willful or repeated failure to respond to recall notices from the library; and the removal or attempt to remove library materials from the library without authorization. The theft, mutilation, or destruction of another student’s academic work, including books, notes, computer programs, papers, reports, laboratory experiments, etc. also falls under this type of violation.
  8. Unauthorized Use of Information Technologies
    In the context of the completion of a course and/or assignments (contained within a course), the unauthorized use of computers or the college’s computer network (e.g., the unauthorized use of software, access codes, computing accounts, electronic mail, and files) or other electronic devices (calculators, smart phones, iPods/iPads, tablets etc.) is prohibited.
  9. Aiding and Abetting Academic Dishonesty
    This includes intentionally: (a) providing material, information, or other assistance to another person with knowledge that such aid could be used to commit any of the proscribed acts noted above; or (b) providing false information in connection with any inquiry regarding academic integrity.

Procedures for Handling Academic Misconduct

A faculty member may charge a student in his or her course with academic misconduct. After the student has been informed of the charge and the evidence upon which it is based and has been given an opportunity to present a defense or explanation, the faculty member shall issue a finding and impose a penalty within the course.

The student may accept the penalty or choose to appeal. The student may appeal the finding or the penalty to the chair of the faculty member’s department within ten calendar days of the finding. Each party will present his case to the chair, who will then render a decision.

The student and the faculty member may accept the decision of the chair or either of them may appeal the matter to the appropriate associate academic dean or his or her designate within ten calendar days. Each party will present his case to the associate dean or his or her designate, who shall then render a decision.

At either stage of appeal, the chair, the associate dean or his or her designate may dismiss the charge, affirm the charge and penalty, or affirm the charge but change the penalty.

At any time after a student has been charged with academic misconduct, but before the dean or his or her designate has rendered a final decision, the student may request a college ombudsman to facilitate an informal resolution to the problem. The resolution may include a penalty. After a student has been charged with academic misconduct, he or she may request the assistance of another member of the college community in presenting an explanation or defense to the faculty member, chair, dean, or his or her designate.

Penalties

The penalties that may be imposed upon a student found responsible for academic misconduct include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • If consultation with the dean of the student’s school reveals no prior offense.
  • The student’s grade in the assignment or examination in question will be a “F.” At the discretion of the instructor, the assignment or examination may be repeated in a different form.
  • In addition, the student may receive a failing grade in the course.
  • The instructor may devise a penalty appropriate to the circumstances. If a prior offense is on record, the course grade should be an “F.” The student’s dean may impose a penalty outside the course, including the recommendation of suspension or expulsion. The Vice President for Academic Affairs makes all final decisions regarding suspension or expulsion for reasons of academic misconduct.

Record Keeping

In all instances of academic misconduct in which a final penalty has been imposed, the person imposing the penalty shall notify the dean of the student’s school for inclusion of the matter in the student’s confidential file. This file enables the dean to determine when a student has engaged in more than one act of academic misconduct. Academic misconduct files are maintained in the Student Records Office.

After a student graduates, the confidential file concerning the misconduct shall be destroyed. However, if the student is expelled for academic dishonesty, the file will be retained.