Students also should review related information found in the Student Handbook, which is published by the Division of Student Affairs, also available in the Student Handbook section of this catalog.
Academic Freedom And Responsibility
The Board of Trustees and the Massachusetts Teachers Association/NEA endorse the principles and standards of academic freedom and academic responsibility as generally and traditionally accepted in institutions of higher education. They agree to promote public understanding and support of academic freedom and agreement upon procedures to assure academic freedom in colleges and universities. Institutions of higher education are conducted for the common good and not to further the interest of either the individual teacher or the institution as a whole. The common good depends upon the free search for truth and its free exposition. Academic freedom is essential to these purposes and applies to both teaching and research.
Academic freedom is the right of scholars in institutions of higher education to study, discuss, investigate, teach, exhibit, perform, and publish. Freedom in research is fundamental to the advancement of truth. Academic freedom in its teaching aspect is fundamental for the protection of the rights of the teacher in teaching and of the student in learning.
The teacher is entitled to full freedom in research and in the exhibition, performance, and publication of the results of his/her research, to full freedom in the classroom in discussing his/her subject, and most specifically in the selection of classroom materials including selection of texts. The teacher is entitled to discuss controversial issues. As both a teacher and scholar, he/she recognizes a professional obligation to present various scholarly opinions and to avoid presenting totally unrelated materials.
Academic Honesty Policy
The purpose of the Academic Honesty Policy is to provide a clear statement of expectations on academic integrity and a fair process to handle alleged violations.
1. Underlying Principles
A. Academic honesty, a necessary foundation of a learning community, is expected of all members of the university community. Academic freedom depends on honesty and integrity. The university makes academic integrity a priority and the administration must provide support services to address issues of academic honesty.
B. Maintaining the standards of academic honesty requires the mutual cooperation of all members of the campus community. Both students and faculty/librarians are called upon to promote the pursuit of truth and learning, and respect for the intellectual accomplishment of others. Students are responsible for understanding the principles of academic integrity and for the academic integrity of all work submitted for credit. All members of the academic community also are expected to report incidents of academic dishonesty to the faculty member teaching the course or the department chair. In addition to the entire community’s responsibility, faculty will promote academic integrity through clear expectations on syllabi for homework, collaborative assignments, research papers, exams, use of the internet, and so on. If any member of the academic community finds evidence of academic dishonesty, she/he is expected to report it promptly (see process and deadlines below).
C. Violations of the Academic Honesty Policy are unacceptable and are subject to academic penalties, including reduced grade, failure of the course, and suspension or dismissal from the university.
D. Violations of academic honesty include, but are not limited to, cheating on examinations, plagiarism, submission of papers for credit in two or more courses, interference with the ability of other students to make use of permitted course materials, facilitating academic dishonesty, engaging in research on human or animal subjects without permission from the appropriate campus committee, and failure to report academic dishonesty.
E. Once a student has been charged with a violation of this policy, no sanctions will be applied until the conclusion of Academic Honesty Committee proceedings, but no degree will be awarded until the matter is resolved. Withdrawal from the course or the university may not be used to avoid a sanction for academic dishonesty or a formal charge of academic dishonesty.
F. Parties involved in this process, including the student, faculty member, department chair, appropriate dean, vice president for academic affairs, and the Academic Honesty Committee shall maintain strict confidentiality during and after this process.
A. Cheating on Examinations
Violations of academic honesty with regard to examinations may include the following:
1. Receiving unauthorized assistance or assisting others while the examination is in progress.
2. Obtaining or attempting to obtain prior to an examination, copies of the examination or the questions to appear on the examination.
3. Disseminating any written or verbal information regarding the contents of an examination to students who have not yet completed or taken the examination.
4. Using or consulting any unauthorized information, electronic devices, notes, books, etc. during an examination.
Plagiarism is the act of presenting the intellectual work of others (works, ideas, artwork, computer programming code, etc.) as if it were one’s own work. Some common forms of plagiarism are submitting someone else’s paper as one’s own, copying a passage from another source without citing the source, and expressing a published idea or theory in different words without crediting the source of the idea. Plagiarism constitutes intellectual dishonesty and a theft of intellectual property. Plagiarism is a very serious charge in academia, for it undermines the integrity of academic inquiry and scholarship. All students and professional scholars are to be held to the same standards. Issues of plagiarism may be subtle; therefore, students are encouraged to discuss any questions they have with the faculty member teaching the course and other support services on campus.
A student may not fabricate - that is, falsify or invent - information or citation in an academic assignment. This includes information used in laboratory experiments or reports, and reproduction of a quote from a book review or other secondary source while indicating that the quotation was obtained from the book itself.
D. Multiple Submissions of a Single Paper
A student may not submit the same paper, presentation, or other work for credit in more than one course without prior written consent from the instructors of the courses involved.
E. Interference with Use of Materials
A student may not interfere with the ability of other students to make use of permitted course materials. This includes denying others access to scholarly resources or deliberately interfering with the progress of another student or scholar such as by giving false or misleading information, making library materials unavailable by stealing or defacing books or journals, deliberately misplacing or destroying reserve materials, or altering computer files that belong to another.
F. Facilitating Academic Dishonesty
A student may not knowingly or negligently allow their work to be used by another student or otherwise help others violate any aspect of the Academic Honesty Policy. Students who help others in this way are guilty of academic dishonesty even if they do not personally benefit from the dishonest act.
G. Improper use of Human and Animal Subjects
Research involving human beings requires review and approval of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the Protection of Human Subjects. Such research requires informed written consent. Students and faculty engaged in research involving animals requires review and approval by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).
H. Failure to Report Academic Dishonesty
Students failing to report incidents of academic dishonesty to the faculty member teaching the course or the department chair is an example of academic dishonesty and is liable to the same sanctions.
3. Recommended syllabus text
It is recommended that instructors discuss academic honesty on the first day of class, and that they include the following text in their syllabus:
Academic honesty is expected of all members of the academic community. Academic dishonesty includes cheating on examinations, plagiarism, fabrication, multiple submissions of a single paper, interference with use of materials, facilitating academic dishonesty, improper use of human and animal subjects, and failure to report incidents of academic dishonesty. Violations may result in failure of the assignment, failure of the course, or suspension or dismissal from the university.
4. Establishment and Role of the Academic Honesty Committee
A. The Academic Honesty Committee (AHC) will be comprised of four (4) faculty members/librarians and two (2) student members. Faculty members/librarians shall be selected or appointed by the MSCA. It is recommended that no more than one faculty member/librarian from a department serve on the AHC. The student members will be selected by SGA.
B. The AHC is charged with evaluating evidence, determining responsibility, and deciding sanctions. All evidence and deliberations before the AHC are confidential.
5. Process for Charges of Academic Dishonesty
A. The faculty member will notify the student of the alleged violation within five (5) business days of the discovery. Notification should be by campus mail or email. The notification must include documentation of the date of discovery, and must set a deadline for the student to meet with the faculty member. This deadline must be no fewer than five (5) and no more than ten (10) business days from the notification. Either the student or the faculty member may invite the department chair or another appropriate senior faculty member to attend the meeting, but neither is required to do so. If the department chair is the faculty member involved, the student may invite another faculty member to attend the meeting. If the violation is discovered after the end of classes for the semester, except in the case of graduating seniors, this deadline must be within the first two weeks of the following semester. In the case of graduating seniors, every effort should be made to resolve the issue by the date that senior grades are due. If a hearing is required for a graduating senior, it must be convened by May 31st. In either case, if the issue is not resolved by the date grades are due, the faculty member must notify the registrar that a grade of NR should be recorded for that student.
B. A student may not avoid the charge by refusing to respond to the notification in 5A. Withdrawal from the course or the university may not be used to avoid a sanction for academic dishonesty or a formal charge of academic dishonesty.
C. Faculty members are encouraged to resolve the violation with the student, documenting the violation as in 5A. There are 3 options for resolution: 1) Warning - An agreement that the violation does not merit a formal charge (described in 5D below); 2) Formal Charge No Hearing - An agreement by the faculty member and student that academic dishonesty did occur, resulting in a formal charge but no hearing (described in 5E below); or 3) Formal Charge with Hearing - A disagreement by the faculty member and student, resulting in filing of a formal charge and a hearing with the Academic Honesty Committee (described in 5F-L below).
D. If the faculty member and the student agree during their discussions that the violation does not rise to the level of a formal charge of academic dishonesty, the matter is ended when the student receives a documented Warning. Along with a Warning, the faculty member discusses the Academic Honesty Policy with the student and may elect a course of action that could include repeating the assignment, completing additional work, a grade penalty for the assignment or the course, or some other settlement. The Warning will be filed with the Dean of Undergraduate Studies for day students or the Dean of Graduate & Continuing Education for CGCE students and filed with Academic Affairs who will maintain all such records. If the Warning also includes a subsequent course of action, this should be noted on the form included at the end of this policy.
E. If the faculty member and the student agree that academic dishonesty did occur, at this point formal charges are filed. The student must sign the form included at the end of this policy that admits the violation of the policy and must accept the sanction stated on the form. The faculty member and department chair also must sign the form. The form will be filed with the Dean of Undergraduate Studies for day students or the Dean of Graduate & Continuing Education for CGCE students and filed with Academic Affairs who will maintain all such records.
F. If the student and faculty member do not agree, the faculty member must file a formal charge of academic dishonesty with the Dean of the division that hosts the class within fifteen (15) business days from the date the student and faculty member reached an impasse, which sets in motion the hearing process. The faculty member may not issue sanctions without admission of a violation by the student or a finding that academic dishonesty did occur by the AHC. Included in the charges will be a letter of explanation and all case materials that document or led to the charges. Charges may be filed against students who facilitate academic dishonesty even if they are not enrolled in the class in which the academic dishonesty takes place.
G. The Dean will schedule a hearing to take place within fifteen (15) business days of the formal filing of the charge. Except in the case of graduating seniors, if the charge occurs with fewer than twenty-one (21) calendar days remaining before the final day of classes in the academic semester, the case will be carried over to the next semester. If a hearing is required for a graduating senior, it must be convened by May 31st. No hearings will be held between June 1 and August 31, or between the Fall and Spring semesters. At any point in the process the student may admit the violation as charged, or the faculty member may withdraw the charges.
H. The student charged will receive notification from the Dean of the date, time and place of the hearing; the source and nature of the charge; a list of the Academic Honesty Committee members; and the possible sanctions. Evidence to be submitted at the hearing by the faculty member bringing the charge must be available at least five (5) business days prior to the hearing for review by the student in the Office of Academic Affairs.
I. At the hearing, at least four (4) members of the committee, including a student member, must be present to establish a quorum. The hearing will be a closed meeting, and may be attended by the hearing committee, the faculty member, the student charged, and the Dean. In the case of team taught classes, one or all faculty members may attend the hearing. The student and presenting faculty member (described in 5.J below) may each be accompanied by one person of his or her choice. This person may be present to advise and counsel his or her respective party, but may not represent said party to the AHC. If the student charged or the faculty member making the charge chooses not to participate, the hearing will proceed as scheduled.
J. The Dean will convene the hearing. The charge will be presented, along with relevant evidence and witnesses. In the case of team taught classes, the teaching faculty members should designate one of said faculty to be responsible for presenting charges. The student has an opportunity to respond to the charge and present evidence. The student, faculty member making the charge, and hearing committee members may ask questions. The hearing will conclude with optional closing statements by the faculty member bringing the charge and then by the student charged if both parties are present.
K. Immediately following the hearing, the AHC and the Dean will meet privately. The AHC will deliberate and determine the outcome by a majority vote through secret ballot. The Dean will be present to answer questions and to count the votes. Committee members may not abstain from voting. In the case of a tie vote, the committee members will deliberate further and then take another vote. If the tie continues, the decision will favor the student who will be found not responsible for academic dishonesty. Once the finding is reached, the AHC will then decide by majority vote the sanction appropriate to the case. The Dean will mail written notification of the decision and any sanction within five (5) business days to the student and the faculty member involved.
L. Appeals may be based only on procedural error or sanction imposed, and they must be filed within five (5) business days of the notification of the decision. The appeal must be in writing and submitted to the Vice President for Academic Affairs for adjudication. In appeal decisions, the Vice President’s decision is final.
Recommended sanctions after a finding of academic dishonesty follow. Committee members are urged to take into account the seriousness of the offense and to seek the recommendation of the faculty member making the charge.
A. First Offense: failure of the course, or a one-year suspension from the university, or both.
B. Second Offense: two to five-year suspension or dismissal from the university.
If a student receives a reduced or failing grade for a course because of an admission or finding of academic dishonesty, he or she may repeat that course but the grade substitution policy will not apply. The grade submitted for the course in question will continue to be counted in the student’s cumulative grade point average.
No sanctions will be imposed until all aspects of the case are concluded.
7. Official Records
The Office of Academic Affairs will maintain official records of disciplinary action. Records will not be released to individuals outside the university except by the written authorization of the student involved or under the conditions specified in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Access to the official records of disciplinary action must be authorized by the Vice President of Academic Affairs, or the Dean of Undergraduate Studies or Graduate and Continuing Education.
A. DEAN’S LIST CALCULATION
The Dean’s List represents both a qualitative and quantitative evaluation of a student’s semester performance (minimum GPA during the prescribed length of a semester).
In order to be cited by the Registrar for academic honors known as the Dean’s List, a student must have:
1. A semester GPA “B+” (3.3) or above,
2. No grade below “C” (2.0),
3. A semester of at least 12 graded semester hours (not including Pass/Fail courses), and
4. No grade of Incomplete.
Dean’s List will be calculated once at the end of each semester after all grades have been received and calculated by the Registrar’s Office (typically one to two weeks after final exams). Dean’s List will also be awarded for enrolled students studying outside of Westfield State’s campus through University approved domestic and/or international exchange programs. Future grade changes after the initial production of the Dean’s List will not allow students to become eligible unless the faculty member can certify the grade change is a result of miscalculation of the final grade and that no additional work was received and/or additional time granted to complete work. This policy also applies to the converting of Incomplete grades to passing grades. Special consideration will be given to late delivery of grades due to travel requirements of a University sponsored course and/or exchange program.
B. GRADUATION HONORS
1. Cum Laude 3.30 to 3.59
2. Magna Cum Laude 3.60 to 3.79
3. Summa Cum Laude 3.80 or better.
4. Students must have completed a minimum of 45 credit hours at Westfield State University, to be eligible for graduation honors.
5. For purposes of determining honors eligibility, only the institutional GPA is used to determining graduation honors.
6. Appropriate Latin Honors will be announced at graduation for all students qualified to walk (minimum 114 credits) with appropriate disclosure noted in the program.
C. VALEDICTORIAN AND SALUTATORIAN / DEAN’S AWARD
1. Valedictorian/Salutatorian: Highest and second highest grade point average in the Day Division with all coursework completed at Westfield (exclusive of AP credits).
2. Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence: Highest institutional grade point average in the Evening College (CGCE) with a minimum if 60 credits completed at Westfield.
The Academic Major
Declaring A Major
All students should be accepted into a major by the end of the semester in which they have completed 54 credits, or they may be denied permission to register for courses. In accepting students the University has an obligation to provide a complete program of study, including a major. However, the University may not be able to guarantee that there will be space available in all majors. Departments may establish specific requirements for entrance and retention in a major. Day students should consult the intended department, or the Office of Academic Affairs.
Changing A Major
Students wishing to change their majors must secure a Change of Major Form from the Registrar’s Office or the College of Graduate and Continuing Education, as appropriate. This form requires the approval of the Chair of the new department and notification of the Chair of the original department, as indicated by their signature.
Adding A Major
A student may complete the requirements for the major in more than one academic areas. To add an additional major, students must secure a “Double Major Form” from the Registrar’s Office, or the College of Graduate and Continuing Education, as appropriate. This form requires the approval of the Chair of the department the student is adding as the second major.
It is the practice of the University to only award one undergraduate degree at a time, regardless of the number of major requirements that have been successfully completed. If you are interested in earning more than one undergraduate degree, please refer to the Second Bachelors Degree Program requirements in the Graduation Requirements and Procedures sections.
Definition Of A Minor
A student may include a minor in an academic area different from the major as part of his/her course of study. An academic minor at Westfield State University requires a minimum of 18 credit hours of study; a minimum of six (6) credit hours for a minor must be earned here at Westfield State University; and a minimum GPA of 2.0 must be attained for the coursework fulfilling a minor’s requirements. A student shall be allowed to undertake, complete, and be granted any number of minors. Any other standards, definitions, or requirements for academic minors shall be left to the discretion of the faculty in the individual disciplines, subject to the approval of governance. Details about specific minors and their requirements are included in the departmental listings.
Declaring A Minor
Students must officially declare their intent to complete a minor(s) in order for that information to appear on the official academic transcript. Students must submit the “Declaration of Minor” form to either the Registrar’s Office (day students) or to the College of Graduate and Continuing Education (CGCE students) along with the appropriate signatures. Minors, along with majors and all other graduation requirements, will be certified by the department and/or Registrar upon graduation. An uncompleted declared minor will prevent students from graduating. Students may also use the “Declaration of Minor” form to remove a minor from their record.
Internal Transfer, Day Division And Continuing Education
Enrolled full-time day students who wish to change their matriculation status to part-time or evening enrollment may do so without formally applying to the College of Graduate and Continuing Education. Student must have earned a minimum 2.0 institutional GPA. Requests to transfer academic records from the Office of the Registrar to Continuing Education will be processed within specific time periods. Admittance is on a space-available basis. Day students should fill out an “internal transfer” application in the Office of the Registrar.
Similarly, students enrolled in undergraduate degree programs through the College of Graduate and Continuing Education who wish to change their status to full-time day enrollment may do so without formally applying to the Day Division. Students must have successfully earned a minimum of 24 Westfield State University credits with a 2.5 institutional GPA or greater. Academic departments reserve the right to have higher admission standards. Admittance is on a space-available basis. Requests to transfer academic records from Continuing Education to the Office of the Registrar will be processed within specific time periods. Evening students should fill out an “internal transfer” application available in the College of Graduate and Continuing Education office.
Both divisions use the same standards for the evaluation of courses to be accepted in transfer. For students switching divisions, both the offer of acceptance and the awarding of any transferable credits toward a degree program granted by one division become binding upon the other division. Students will be officially notified in writing by their new division that their transfer was approved and what steps are necessary to register for classes.
Students who leave Westfield State University because of academic failure are readmitted through the Office of the Registrar. Eligibility to return is determined by the Chair of the Committee on Academic Standing. In order to return, students must take enough courses at another accredited college to raise their cumulative grade point average to the level required for the number of credits they have attempted (see Academic Standing).
Students who withdraw from the University in good academic, financial, and disciplinary standing also may be readmitted through the Office of the Registrar depending upon their choice of major, either former or new, and the availability of space. Students absent five years or more will be subject to current course and other applicable requirements for their intended major, former or new, as well as current Common Core requirements, and space availability, as determined by the Registrar.
Students who have been withdrawn or dismissed by the University for disciplinary, financial, or other non-academic reasons may not reenter until the readmission conditions established at the time of withdrawal have been met.
Students who have been involuntarily withdrawn for medical reasons, for either physical or mental health reasons, may be required to provide documentation from appropriate medical or mental health personnel to substantiate the student’s readiness to return to active study at the University (see full policy under the Student Handbook by clicking here ).
Students who are seeking readmission should inform the Office of the Registrar as early as possible prior to their return in order to facilitate course placement.
For students seeking readmission to the College of Graduate and Continuing Education (CGCE), the policy remains as stated above; however, readmission is handled by the CGCE.
Academic Standing - Academic Warning, Dismissal, & Suspension
The policy states the academic standing criteria for the University
ACADEMIC STANDING POLICY
Academic standing for all undergraduate students is based upon a student’s number of overall attempted credit hours and institutional grade point average (GPA) according to the chart below.
||Academic Warning GPA
||1.750 and above
||1.749 and below
|24- and above
||2.000 and above
||1.999 and below
The GPA is based on quality points received at Westfield State University while the number of attempted credits is the combination of Westfield State University credits and all transfer credits that have been awarded. Academic standing will be evaluated at three points during the academic year; after Fall, after Spring, and once after all Summer terms. Students will not be evaluated until they have attempted twelve credits, regardless of the number of semesters it takes to complete those twelve credits.
Regardless of GPA, students who receive 3 or more “F” grades in a given semester (or in the span of attempting twelve credits) will be placed on academic warning for the next semester.
ACADEMIC WARNING POLICY
Students placed on academic warning will be limited to enrolling in thirteen credits during the semester they are on warning. Students within the College of Mathematics and Sciences may increase the number of credits with written approval from their Department Chair. In addition, academic warning requires the student to be in contact with an academic advisor and may include 1) frequent meetings between the student and the professional advisor to check students’ academic progress, 2) a requirement that certain courses be taken to improve the student’s GPA, 3) possible restriction of students co-curricular activities depending on course progress (varsity student athletes will be permitted to participate in their sport during the first term they are placed on academic warning, but will be restricted if warning status continues for any additional semesters), and 4) other support activities recommended by the student’s advisor (faculty or professional advisor).
ACADEMIC DISMISSAL & SUSPENSION POLICY
Students who fail to improve their GPA and return to good standing after two consecutive traditional semesters (fall and spring) will be academically dismissed from the University and required to separate from attending the University as a matriculated degree-seeking student for one traditional semester. Students may attempt to be readmitted upon successful completion of twelve credits with at least a 2.5 GPA through the College of Graduate and Continuing Education or at another accredited institution.
Should a student be re-admitted and then academically dismissed for a second time, they will be suspended from the University for a period of two years and must show evidence of at least twelve college level credits at a 2.5 GPA in order to return.
Students have the ability to appeal their academic dismissal or suspension in writing to the Committee on Academic Standing. The Committee shall include at least five members with at least one faculty member and one professional advisor. Written appeals and any supplemental documentation must be submitted to the chair of the committee within ten days of the date of their academic dismissal/suspension notification. If the decision of the committee is to grant the appeal, the student will be placed on academic warning (see above) for one traditional semester. The decision made by the Committee on Academic Standing is final.
Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid
In order to maintain financial aid eligibility, students must meet a qualitative measure (grade point average) and quantitative measure (credits attempted) during the course of the academic year. For a complete statement of the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy, see section on Financial Aid Policies and Criteria .
Students may add courses to their schedules during the first week of each semester, or during the dates specified by the Office of the Registrar for adding second eight-week (Session B) courses. Students will not be permitted to add evening courses after the second class meeting has begun.
Calculating GPA for Student Teaching
To establish a mechanism to re-calculate the entering GPA for student teaching
1. Only grades that were credited toward a baccalaureate degree will be considered when calculating the GPA.
2. If a student elects to retake a course or takes an equivalent course, then the higher grade will be used in the calculation of the required student teaching GPA.
3. The cumulative GPA required for student teaching will be 2.8.
NOTE: Reference to GPA reflects the student teaching GPA (not the university GPA as indicated on university transcripts) as calculated according to the guidelines below.
Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Certification Program Students:
4. Students wishing to enter the Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Certificate Program will need a 2.8 cumulative GPA.
5. Graduate credits included in the calculation of the GPA will be at the discretion of the Dean of Education, Health and Human Services subject to written Department guidelines.
6. Students with a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 to 2.79 will be conditionally accepted; however, students must attain a cumulative 2.8 GPA prior to student teaching.
7. Students whose cumulative grade point average falls below 2.5 and wish to repair their GPA may, in consultation with an advisor, develop an appropriate course of study (xx credits of A work or xx credits of B work) that could results in the student’s achieving a minimum 2.5 for conditional acceptance. Course of study will respond to the level and area of certification.
8. Only students matriculated in a program may enroll in practicum. Students must also have completed a minimum of nine credits in the program area of the practicum at Westfield State University. (Six of these credits potentially could be taken at the graduate level).
The student classroom attendance regulations shall be determined individually by each member of the faculty who is responsible and accountable for stating these regulations clearly in writing at the beginning of each course of instruction. Students are expected to attend all classes from the beginning of the semester. Student who are enrolled in a course and miss the equivalent of the entire first week’s classes in that course may be refused continued enrollment in the course by the instructor. Students may not be counted absent during the add/drop period before the date and time that they enroll in a course.
Examinations And Finals
All students are required to take each and every examination assigned by their instructors at the designated time and place. A final examination schedule for day classes is posted each semester. When a student misses a final examination with a valid reason, but has met all the other requirements of the course, the Incomplete grade (I) may be assigned. If a student misses an examination, the instructor may offer a “make‑up” examination at his/her discretion.
Absence Due To Religious Beliefs
(Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 151C, 2B)
Any student in an educational or vocational training institution, other than a religious or denominational educational or vocational training institution, who is unable, because of her/his religious beliefs, to attend classes or to participate in any examination, study, or work requirement on a particular day shall be excused from such examination or study or work requirement, and shall be provided with an opportunity to make up such examination, study, or work requirement which he/she may have missed because of such absence on any particular day; provided, however, that such makeup examination or work shall not create an unreasonable burden upon such school. No fees of any kind shall be charged by the institution for making available to said student such an opportunity. No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any student because of his/her availing him/herself to the provisions of this section.
Class standing is calculated automatically whenever there is a change in a student’s number of completed credits. Therefore, a student’s class standing may change in the middle of a semester or in the middle of an academic year.
Day Division registration and housing priorities are based upon a student’s anticipated class standing at the end of the current semester. This is calculated by adding the number of credits in which the student is currently enrolled to the number of earned hours the student has already completed. For some students this calculation may advance them to the next class level; for others it may not.
Students who expect to graduate in four years should plan to complete 30 credits each academic year; students who fall more than 6 credits behind are moved to the next lower class. The following table lists the class status of students as determined by the number of credits they have completed.
Classroom Student Conduct Policy
Westfield State University students are prohibited from engaging in behavior or activity that causes the disruption of teaching, learning, research, and other academic activities recognized as necessary to the fulfillment of the University mission.
Examples of potentially disruptive behavior may include but are not limited to, using inappropriate language directed at an individual or group, unsolicited talking in class, sleeping in class, using or activating unapproved mobile devices, arriving at or leaving the classroom while class is in session, and/or failing to comply with the reasonable request of a University faculty member.
When disruptive behavior occurs in the classroom, a faculty member has the right to remove the student from the classroom for one session and with continued disruption request that the student be removed permanently. The following procedures must be observed:
- The faculty will communicate to the student the disruptive behavior that prompted the removal and indicate the expected appropriate conduct.
- If the student continues to engage in disruptive behavior during future class sessions, the faculty member will forward written documentation of the student’s inappropriate behavior to the respective department chairperson before the next class meetings. The chairperson will subsequently meet the student to review the matter, determine, and document an appropriate course of action as soon as possible but no more than 2 class meetings after the event.
- If the student continues to demonstrate disruptive behavior or does not comply with the documented course of action, the student may be permanently removed from the course after a review conducted by the Dean of Faculty.
Students who exhibit behavior that immediately endangers or more seriously disrupts the establishment or maintenance of an appropriate learning environment in the classroom are subject to an immediate review by the Dean of Faculty, Student Threat Assessment Team (STAT), or by student judicial procedures.
In applying this policy, faculty and academic administrators shall give due regard to the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), providing for reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities.
The Vice President for Academic Affairs will act as the sole and final appeal for any decisions made by the Dean of Faculty.
In some cases, the student may also be subject to Student Conduct action as determined by the University.
This policy will be reviewed annually by the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Copying Computer Software
The software installed on College computers is protected by copyright laws, and the University has purchased the right to run this software. It does not have the right to make unlimited copies of this software. Making unauthorized personal copies of installed software is against the law.
Course Audit Policy, Undergraduate
The University course audit policy allows individuals (community members or matriculated/non-matriculated Day or CGCE students) to attend in-person, credit-bearing, undergraduate courses offered on Westfield’s main campus without earning credit for the purpose of personal enrichment. Students are limited to one audit per semester. Individuals who have registered to audit a course are expected to attend class. They may participate in class discussion and class activities at the discretion of the instructor. Students who are auditing a course are not allowed to submit assignments, take exams or receive any type of evaluation from the instructor. Students may not convert a course from audit to credit or credit to audit after the add/drop period is over. Note that online/hybrid courses, performance based instruction, certain laboratories, travel courses, and remote offerings are not auditable. In addition, it is the instructor’s prerogative as to whether or not to make any particular course available for audit.
A Request to Audit form, with the approval signatures of the instructor and the dean of the division offering the course, must be submitted during the add/drop period. However, enrollment into the course will not be finalized until the end of the add/drop period (typically the first week of the term) when the University can ensure an open seat is still available. If no seat is available, the request to audit will not be approved unless the instructor has given special permission. Audited courses will not be used in determining financial aid enrollment status. Audited courses will appear on a student transcript.
All students who are auditing, with the exception of matriculated day students, must pay the appropriate fee to the College of Graduate and Continuing Education. For day division students, fees will apply if the audited course credits bring the student over 18 credits. All students must pay class materials fees.
Course Load, Continuing Education Students
Undergraduate Continuing Education students may take up to three courses per term. Students with full-time employment ordinarily should limit themselves to two courses. Students with PELL grants must take a minimum of two courses in order to receive their award. Students needing assistance in order to determine an appropriate course load should consult with an academic advisor. Undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students need signed permission to take 12 or more credits per term. Permission may be obtained from the Dean of Graduate and Continuing Education, who will make this decision after reviewing the student’s academic progress.
Course Load, Day Division Students
Fifteen (15) credit hours per semester is the normal academic course load of students at Westfield State University.
Students may enroll for up to eighteen (18) credit hours without special permission. Students wishing to enroll in more than eighteen credit hours must secure the permission of their advisor, Department Chair, and the Dean of Undergraduate Studies. Credit overload permission forms are available at the Office of the Registrar.
As a guideline from the Academic Policies Committee, the maximum course load a student may carry in a given semester is 21 credit hours including both day and evening courses and programs. A student should have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.50 to carry 19‑20 credit hours and a minimum GPA of 3.00 in order to carry 21 credit hours. Students are charged for credit hours above 18. Please see Cost of Attending section for current fees.
Twelve (12) credit hours a semester is the minimum load for full-time day students. Graduating seniors carrying fewer than 12 credit hours are considered full-time during their last semester provided that they are carrying the number of credits needed to complete all their degree requirements. However, students carrying fewer than 12 credit hours are subject to adjustments in their financial aid awards. Graduating seniors should consult the Financial Aid Office prior to deciding to reduce their course load to fewer than 12 credit hours.
Students carrying fewer than 12 credit hours lose their full-time status. Eligibility for residence hall space and financial aid may be affected. Students carrying fewer than 12 credit hours cannot represent the University in co-curricular activities. A student’s eligibility for medical insurance coverage under a parent’s policy may also be affected.
Course Repeat Policy
The course repeat policy was designed to provide students with an opportunity to repeat courses for which they wish to earn an improved grade. Unless otherwise specified, courses cannot be repeated for credits. Students may apply this policy to a maximum of five (5) courses and students may only repeat Westfield State courses with the same Westfield State course. Students must file a completed course repeat form with the Office of the Registrar (day students) or Undergraduate Records Coordinator (CGCE) prior to taking any course as a repeat.
Subject to the following conditions, students may repeat courses regardless of the original grade earned. Students who originally earned a passing grade in a course may repeat that course only once. Students who have failed a course may repeat the course until a successful grade has been earned. Regardless of the amount of times repeated to earn a passing grade this will only count as one invocation of the policy. In either case however, grades and records of both the original course and the repeated course will remain on the student’s transcript and only the most recent grade, whether it is higher or lower than the original grade earned, will be computed in the student’s GPA. Additionally if the student is repeating a course that originally received a passing grade, only the credits of the subsequent attempt(s) will be counted in the student’s cumulative credits earned.
While the original grade no longer will be used in the calculation of the cumulative grade point average, original notations of the student’s academic status based on the earlier cumulative grade point average (e.g., probation, academic suspension, dean’s list) will not be changed and will remain a part of the student’s academic record.
If a student receives a grade sanction for the course because of an admission or finding of academic dishonesty, he or she may repeat that course but the grade substitution policy will not fully apply. The original grade submitted for the course in question will continue to be counted in the student’s cumulative grade point average however, only the credits of the repeated course will apply to the student’s cumulative credits earned.
Federal Financial Aid regulations will only allow repeated courses to count toward a student’s full-time status if it is the first repeat of a previously passed course or if the repeat is of a previously failed course.
This policy is effective starting September 1, 2012 and will apply only to courses repeated after this date. Courses repeated prior to that date are subject to course repeat policies in effect at the time of the repeat. This policy will be reviewed by the Dean of Undergraduate Studies every two years.
Course Withdrawal & The Notation of “W”
The notation of “W” is an administrative action, since it is a record of action taken by the student or administration and is not a reflection of the student’s performance in the course. Withdrawals will be noted as follows.
- Students may drop a course without notation on their academic record during the published add/drop period or before the second scheduled class meeting, whichever occurs later. For the purposes of this policy, online and hybrid courses are deemed to begin meeting on the first day of the semester at 9a.m., unless otherwise noted They will be considered meeting as other in-person courses in a given term (i.e. two-three times per week for 14-15 week terms, twice per week for 6-7 week terms, daily for winter session terms). The calendar dates for this process will be published in the Course Offerings Booklet. In traditional semesters, all day student withdrawals must be made through the Office of the Registrar and Continuing Education (CGCE) student withdrawals must be made through the Office of Continuing Education. In winter and summer sessions, all withdrawals must be made through the Office of CGCE.
- Students may withdraw up to three weeks prior to the last day of classes for traditional semester courses and before 75% of a course is complete for courses in shortened sessions (i.e. two weeks prior to the last day of classes for eight week courses) by completing a Withdrawal From. The notation of “W” will be placed on the student’s record for the course(s) dropped during this period. This form requires the professor’s signature and the signature of the student’s advisor. This procedure is designed to inform the teaching faculty of the student’s intent and action to leave the course and to discuss the impact of the withdrawal with the faculty advisor. In neither case should this process be interpreted as seeking permission. The calendar dates for this process will be published in the Course Offering Booklet. Withdrawal forms must be signed and returned to the Office of the Registrar or CGCE office, depending on the student’s division, by the due date. Acknowledgment from the faculty member and/or advisor via email is permitted. Choosing to withdraw is a serious matter, and it should be known that withdrawing from a course can affect a student’s class standing, full-time status, financial aid, etc. A student should consider speaking with the instructor, a faculty advisor, or an advisor in the Academic Advising Center before dropping a course.
- Administrative offices can withdraw students for cause. Reasons for administrative withdrawal may include non-payment of tuition and fees, lack of health form information, academic failure or probation, exceeding the permissible number of credits in a single semester, and/or disciplinary action. The notation of “AW” is made on the student’s record for all courses dropped administratively. Please note, that withdrawal for non-payment should not be assumed.
- Students who enroll in a course before the first day of class and miss all scheduled class meetings during the first week (five class days) of the semester may be withdrawn from that course at the discretion of the professor. Students who are enrolled in shortened session courses or courses that meet only once a week may be withdrawn after missing the first two scheduled class meetings. For purposes of this policy, online and hybrid courses are deemed to begin meeting on the first day of the semester at 9a.m., unless otherwise noted. They will be considered meeting as other in-person courses in a given term (i.e. first week of the semester for full-term courses, twice per week for shortened terms). Professors are asked to justify such a decision at the time of the recommended withdrawal. Beginning with the third week of classes (or with the third class meeting in shortened sessions), a professor may not submit a “W.”
- Students who can document extenuating circumstances that prevent them from submitting a Withdrawal Form during the published Withdrawal dates may be allowed to drop a course with a “W” notation on their transcript beyond the normal course withdrawal period. These students must complete a form explaining the extenuating circumstances and obtain signatures from the Associate Dean of Academic Achievement a (Day Division), or the Dean of Graduate and Continuing Education (Continuing Education Division) and the professor for the course. Examples of extenuating circumstances may include health, family, or employment issues. Refunds of tuition for courses in the Division of Continuing Education, if any, are made on the basis of the date and time of receipt of withdrawal notification in the Continuing Education Office, and in accordance with the refund schedule in force during the session within which the refund is requested.
Credit Hour Definition
In accordance with Federal Government guidelines, Westfield State University defines the credit hour as:
An amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than:
- One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two additional hours of student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or
- At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.
In accordance with federal guidelines and commonly accepted practices in higher education, Westfield operates on a 50-minute hour for definition (1) as it relates to direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two additional hours per week for definition (2) as it relates to other non-direct instructional activities (laboratory, studio, etc…). Please see the policy on “Internship, Practicum, and Field Placement Policy” which defines the minimum required student participation hours necessary for credit hours to be earned.
The Dean’s List represents both a qualitative and quantitative evaluation of a student’s semester performance (minimum GPA during the prescribed length of the semester). In order to be cited for academic honors known as the Dean’s List, a student must have:
- A semester GPA of “B+” (3.30) or above,
- No grade below “C” (2.0),
- A semester of at least 12 graded credit hours (not including Pass/Fail courses), and
- No grade of Incomplete.
Dean’s List will be calculated once at the end of each semester after all grades have been received and calculated by the Registrar’s Office (typically one to two weeks after final exams). Dean’s List will also be awarded for enrolled students studying outside of Westfield State’s campus through University approved domestic and/or international exchange programs. Future grade changes after the initial production of the Dean’s List will not allow students to become eligible unless the faculty member can certify the grade change is a result of a miscalculation of the final grade and that no additional work was received and/or additional time granted to complete work. This policy also applies to the converting of Incomplete grades to passing grades. Special consideration will be given to the late delivery of grades due to travel requirements of a University sponsored course and/or exchange program.
Directed/Independent Study Courses
Students desiring to enroll in departmental Independent Study projects must register for the course by filing an Independent Study/Course by Special Arrangement form, available at the Office of the Registrar for Day Division students or College of Graduate and Continuing Education for Continuing Education as appropriate. This form requires a description of each project and must be approved by the faculty member, department chairperson, and the appropriate dean. FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS (students with fewer than 24 credits) ARE INELIGIBLE. Students may take only one Independent Study in any given semester and not more than four as part of their undergraduate work at Westfield State University. Students must register for the Independent Study credits by the end of the add/drop period of the semester (typically the first calendar week of the term), students are also allowed to register for Independent Studies during the pre-registration period.
Early College Students under the age of 18
This policy applies to all non-matriculated underage students enrolled in college-credit bearing courses who do not have a high school diploma or GED and are under the age of 18. This policy is not applicable to underage students enrolled in non-college programming, such as College for Kids, or matriculated or non-matriculated students who have obtained a high school diploma or a GED and are under the age of 18. WSU reserves the right to limit or deny enrollment of early college students under the age of 16 based on a case-by-case consideration of factors
Early college students are held to the same standards as degree-seeking students with few exceptions and must take special consideration of the following conditions:
- Early college students and their parent/guardian must sign an early college application prior to enrollment through the College of Graduate and Continuing Education. By doing so, they acknowledge that early college students may be exposed to college course content intended for mature individuals otherwise not suitable for young students under other circumstances.
- Early college students must complete a FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) release form through the College of Graduate and Continuing Education (CGCE). A hold will exist on the student’s account until the FERPA form is received. Once received, any information regarding enrollment and coursework at Westfield State University may be shared with the parent or legal guardian named on the release form until the student turns 18, or matriculates at Westfield State University.
- Early college students have non-matriculated student status, and are to follow campus regulations and procedures found in Westfield State University’s Undergraduate Student Handbook.
- Early college students, like non-matriculated and commuter students, cannot reside in a campus residence hall and must follow all regulations and procedures regarding visitor status in a residence hall found in the WSU Undergraduate Student Handbook.
- Should a course follow an irregular term schedule length, a withdrawal timeline will be determined and published for students prior to the start of the term.
- Early college students should be aware that the grades they receive as an early college student will become part of their permanent academic record as an undergraduate college student. Early college students must follow WSU withdrawal procedures and timelines for regular semester courses. Students at risk of failing a course near the course withdrawal deadline are strongly encouraged to seek guidance about withdrawing from the course.
- Early college high school students are not eligible for most forms of financial aid, because they haven’t yet received a GED or high school diploma. Institutional aid and grant funding may be available, and students should inquire with CGCE about available financial assistance.
- Early college students are held accountable for being familiar with and following the Campus Sexual Violence Policy and Resolution Procedures outlined in the WSU Student Handbook. Student and families should be aware that should a faculty or staff member become aware of any violation of the Campus Sexual Violence Policy and Resolution Procedures involving an early college student, a parent or legal guardian will be immediately notified by campus public safety.
Grades of “F” never can be removed from a student’s academic record, but the courses in which they have been received may be repeated and passed. In the case of electives, different approved courses may be taken and passed either in Summer or Winter Sessions, or when possible, during the regular academic year.
The University course repeat policy allows the grade earned in a repeated course to be substituted for all prior grades earned in that course when calculating a student’s Grade Point Average. However, notation of the original grade(s) earned remains on the student record.
The purpose of the Grade Appeal Policy is to provide the student with a safeguard against receiving an unfair final grade, while respecting the academic judgment of the instructor.
This grade appeal procedure applies only when a student initiates a grade appeal and not when the instructor decides to change a grade on his or her own initiative. This procedure does not cover instances in which students have been assigned grades based on academic dishonesty, which are included in Westfield State’s Academic Honesty Policy. Grade appeals alleging discrimination, harassment or retaliation in violation of Westfield State’s Sexual Harassment Policy should be concurrently referred to the appropriate office at Westfield State as required by law and by Westfield State policy.
- Underlying Principles
- Students and faculty should make every effort to resolve questions about grades without seeking a formal grade appeal. A formal grade appeal is a last resort.
- A grade appeal will be pursued only if there is a valid basis and substantial evidence. The responsibility for developing and presenting the case for changing a grade rests with the student making the appeal.
- Instructors have the responsibility to provide careful evaluation and timely assignment of appropriate grades. Course and project grading methods should be explained to students at the beginning of the term, and instructors should retain grading calculations for a minimum of one semester after the conclusion of a course. Westfield State presumes that the judgment of the instructor of record is authoritative, and the final grades assigned are correct.
- Grades will be changed only on clear evidence of error or manifest injustice in grading.
- If the instructor no longer works at the University or is unavailable, the department chair may represent the instructor in this process.
- Interpretation of this policy is the purview of the Vice President of Academic Affairs or designee.
- The Basis for a Grade Appeal
- Only final course grades may be appealed.
- Grades may be appealed that are alleged to be caused by:
- Unfair and unequal application of grading standards or applying grading criteria to one student or some students in a manner that treats them differently.
- Unfair or unannounced alteration of assignments, grading criteria, or computational processes from the instructor’s previously articulated standards.
- Computation dispute about calculation of a final grade or its transmission to the Registrar.
- Sanctions for academic dishonesty without an admission or finding of academic dishonesty.
- Establishment of the Grade Appeal Committee
The Grade Appeal Committee (GAC) will be comprised of four (4) faculty members and two (2) student members as selected by their representative governing bodies.
- Process for Grade Appeal
- Step One
- Students must initially appeal a grade to the course instructor between the time of grade submission and the first ten (10) business days of the following fall or spring semester, or within ten (10) business days of a notice of a change of grade. It is the student’s responsibility to arrange to meet with the instructor. The deadline to meet with the instructor should be no more than ten (10) business days of initiating the appeal, or in cases between fall and spring semester appeals, within ten (10) business days of the start of the term.
- Within ten (10) days following an unsuccessful appeal to the instructor, the student will discuss the problem with the appropriate department chair. The department chair shall then act as mediator to attempt to bring the matter to a mutually agreed resolution among all three parties within ten (10) days of his/her discussion with the student. If the instructor is the department chair, the College Dean will act as the chair.
- If a mutually agreed resolution is not reached, within ten (10) days of reaching impasse, the department chair may make a recommendation to the instructor.
- If the department chair disagrees with the academic judgment of the instructor, the department chair may recommend a change of grade to the instructor. Within ten (10) business days of receipt of the recommendation from the department chair, the instructor shall make a decision to either a) affirm, or b) change the appealed grade. Within this time frame, the instructor must communicate his/her decision to the department chair.
- The department chair shall inform the student of the decision within ten (10) business days of receiving the instructor’s final decision. The department chair will communicate this decision to the student in writing.
- Step Two
- The student will respond to the department chair and course instructor in writing within ten (10) business days if the student is taking the appeal to Step Two. At that time, the student will also submit a written appeal to the College Dean or Dean of CGCE, as appropriate, explaining the basis and providing the evidence for the formal appeal. The Dean will then transmit copies to the faculty member and to the faculty member’s department chair.
- If the Dean determines that there is a basis for a grade appeal, the Dean will convene the GAC. The student, instructor, and department chair will be given at least ten (10) business days notice of the time and place of the hearing. A copy of the student’s written appeal and accompanying evidence must be available at least five (5) business days prior to the GAC hearing for review by the instructor and department chair in the Office of Academic Affairs or CGCE, as appropriate.
- The student, instructor, and department chair will be encouraged to attend the meeting, but are not required to do so. The meeting will be closed to all other outside participation. The student and instructor may each be accompanied by one person, but that person may not be legal counsel and may not participate in the process in any way.
- At least four (4) members of the GAC, including at least one student member, must be present in order for a hearing to be held.
- The GAC is strongly encouraged to conclude its work no later than the end of the semester in which the appeal is filed. In the event that the student filing a formal grade appeal is a graduating senior, the GAC will make every effort to expedite the process.
- Through its inquiries and deliberations, the GAC is charged to determine whether clear and convincing evidence of unfair treatment such as arbitrariness, prejudice, and/or error might justify changing the grade. The GAC will meet in closed session and make its decision based on a majority vote. In the event of a tie vote, the original grade will stand.
- If the GAC determines that no compelling reason exists for changing the grade, the committee will report its conclusion in writing to the student, instructor, department chair, and Dean within five (5) business days of the hearing, and the matter will be considered closed.
- If the GAC determines that compelling reasons exist for changing the grade, within five (5) business days of the hearing the GAC will request that the instructor make the change, providing the instructor with a written explanation of its reasons. Should the instructor decline, he or she must provide a written explanation for refusing within five (5) business days.
- The GAC, after considering the instructor’s explanation and upon again concluding that it would be unjust to allow the original grade to stand, will then determine what grade is to be assigned (or recommend an administrative withdrawal from the course). In determining what grade is to be assigned, the GAC may obtain records from the course instructor, department chair, and student. A formal, written report of the GAC’s decision must be forwarded to the student, instructor, department chair, Dean, and the Registrar’s Office within ten (10) business days of the receipt of the instructor’s written explanation. Under no circumstances may persons other than the original faculty member or the review committee change a grade.
- Should the GAC determine that the instructor’s written explanation justifies the original grade, the committee will report this in writing to the student, instructor, department chair, and Dean within ten (10) business days of the receipt of the instructor’s written explanation, and the matter will be closed.
- The Office of Academic Affairs will maintain official records of grade appeal hearings. Records will not be released to individuals outside the University except under the conditions specified in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Access to official records must be authorized by the Vice President of Academic Affairs or designee.
Grade Change Policy
The faculty of record for a course may change a student’s grade up to two years after the course has concluded. Changes to grades may occur without permission through the fourth week of the following semester/term for which the grade was originally entered. After the fourth week, the department chair and appropriate divisional dean must also approve the grade change. No grade changes will be allowed after two years from the original entry of the initial grade, except in the case of extenuating circumstances deemed valid by the appropriate divisional Dean. Please refer to the Academic Standing, Incomplete Grades, and Dean’s List policies concerning the impact of grades changed after the end-of-semester procedures have been processed.
Grade Point System
A student’s grade point average (GPA) is computed at the end of each semester. The grade point average is calculated for the semester, and a cumulative grade point average is calculated for all courses taken since the student’s matriculation at Westfield (cumulative institutional GPA). Courses accepted in transfer prior to matriculation at Westfield are not a part of the cumulative average (See policy on Transfer Courses after Matriculation). Westfield State University uses a grade point system of:
Calculating A Grade Point Average
- To determine the number of grade points earned, for each course taken, multiply the numeric value of the grade earned (from the table above) by the number of credits the course carries.
- For example, a C+ (2.3) in a 3 credit course would earn 6.9 (2.3 x 3) grade points; an A- (3.7) in a 4 credit course would earn 14.8 (3.7 x 4) grade points; an F (0.0) in a 3 credit course would earn 0.0 (0.0 x 3) grade points.
- Add all the grade points earned. The grades above (6.9+14.8+0) add up to 21.7 grade points.
- Divide by the total number of credits carried. Note that “F” grades count as credits carried, although they do not earn grade points. The total credits in the example above is 10 (3+4+3), so the student’s GPA is 2.17.
- Pass/Fail courses are not included in the calculation of a GPA.
The grade of “I” (incomplete) is only to be assigned when 80% of the course work has been completed for a specific course. “I” grades become “F” grades unless the course work is completed satisfactorily during the first four weeks of the next semester. Under certain circumstances the deadline to complete “I” grades may be extended or reduced. Special permission forms to extend the deadline to complete the course work for “I” grades can be obtained at the Office of the Registrar for Day Division students and at the Continuing Education Office for students in that division. The University’s Committee on Academic Standing may require students to complete the course work on “I” grades early to determine if they are eligible to return to Westfield State University.
Students placed on academic probation (AP) or academic failure (AF) with incomplete grades on their record must complete the work and a grade must be submitted before the end of the ADD/DROP period of the subsequent semester in order to be removed from AP or AF status.
Internship, Practicum, and Field Placement Policy
Note: The University makes no distinction among Internships, Practica, and Field Placements.
- Students must accumulate 40-50 contact hours (including service hours, on-campus meetings, and classroom hours) per each internship credit hour, except in education practica, where 25 hours are required for each credit awarded. This distinction takes into account the outside of class preparation and grading time that are a component of the education practica. The number of credit hours for an internship course can range from 1 to 15 credit hours, with departmental approval.
- A class may be part of the internship experience, and class time is considered part of the total number of internship credit hours.
- Students are required to submit to the faculty liaison a minimum of one paper, project, portfolio, or presentation that demonstrates the integration of the field experience with course learning.
- A contract specifying the learning goals for the internship will be established by the student, faculty liaison and field supervisor. The faculty liaison will make at least one field visit, if possible, during the semester. If site visits are not possible, the faculty liaison will conduct telephone interviews with the student and field supervisor. The student and faculty liaison will meet a minimum of two additional times during the semester. The additional meetings are not required if there is a regular class component to the internship. The faculty liaison is responsible for assigning the student’s grade for the semester.
- Each academic department offering internships will have policies and procedures to guide the internship process. These will be made available to students and internship agencies.
- Students may be paid for internship work. However, student interns are not expected to carry the same work load as regular employees. They are to be offered opportunities to practice new skills and integrate new knowledge. They will be provided an appropriate level of support and supervision to maintain the integrity of the learning experience. If a student is completing an internship in his/her current work place, the internship must have work assignments that are not part of the student’s current job and be supervised by someone other than the student’s regular supervisor. This requirement does not apply to students doing internships for teacher certification.
- Students may not earn more than a total of 15 credits toward the Bachelor’s degree from any combination of internships, practica, and field experiences.
Students must register for the internship, practicum, and/or field placement by the end of the add/drop period (typically the first calendar week of the term), students are also allowed to register during the preregistration period.
The wording of the policy above is a summary of the policy. The complete policy may be found it the Westfield State University Policies and Procedures Manual.
Laboratory And Classroom Use
The primary use of laboratory and classroom space is for instruction purposes. Consequently, priority for room use will be given to faculty holding classes.
Faculty holding classes in computer labs or other specialized facilities have the right to ask students or staff not enrolled in the class to leave. Faculty reserve the right to allow students or staff to work independently in the room during class time.
To assist in the use of specialized facilities, a classroom use schedule is posted. Please schedule your work accordingly. Any member of the University community who wishes to schedule specialized facilities must make arrangements in accordance with normal classroom scheduling procedures.
Licensure For Teaching
All graduates who satisfactorily complete the requirements of a university-approved program for teacher licensure, including passing the appropriate Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure, are recommended for licensure to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Students receiving licensure through an approved program are covered by the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement.
Under current regulations for teacher licensure in Massachusetts, students must complete a liberal arts or sciences major, or an approved interdisciplinary major, together with their education major or licensure program. Students seeking an education major or licensure in early childhood, elementary, or special education are strongly encouraged to select Liberal Studies or General Science as their Liberal Arts and Sciences major. Completion of all required coursework, including practicum, and passing of the appropriate Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) leads to initial licensure.
The Teacher Education Council at Westfield State University maintains admission and retention criteria for teacher licensure programs. First-year students are accepted into the major provisionally and after completing the following requirements for Advanced Standing they become teacher candidates in the licensure program:
- Overall GPA of 2.8,
- Average of 2.7 in English Composition I and II (6 credits),
- Passing score on MTEL Communication and Literacy Field 01 exam,
- Completion of 57 credits.
In order to be eligible for student teaching (practicum), a student must have a minimum overall GPA of 2.8 (including transfer work), a 3.0 GPA in education pedagogy coursework, a passing grade on the MTEL subject matter test(s), and all mandatory coursework are required for practicum placement.
Required field placements must accommodate a range of characteristics including range of grade level and types of settings. Also teacher candidates must complete either one 30-hour pre-practicum placement or student teaching with students from diverse backgrounds. Placements for student teaching (practicum) are limited to within a 30-mile radius of the University. Every effort is made to place eligible students in a full-year placement (Fall semester: a minimum of 30-hour pre-practicum - Spring semester: practicum in the same school placement).
Students are advised that departmental program requirements are also subject to change to maintain compliance with both state licensure regulations and professional standards. The Education Department at Westfield State University makes every effort to notify students of changes in program requirements and licensure regulations as soon as they are published by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. When it is appropriate to do so, the department advises students of potential changes in advance of formal announcements and implementation. Each student is required to meet with his or her advisor at least once per semester.
For further information, students are encouraged to contact the Associate Dean for Education at (413) 572-5326, or the Chair of the Education Department at (413) 572-5315.
NASDTEC Interstate Agreement
The National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) Interstate Agreement is the legally based teacher certification (licensure) agreement among all 50 U.S. States and the District of Columbia.
MassTransfer - Transferring out of Westfield State to Another Massachusetts State Institution
Students who are transferring out of Westfield State to another Massachusetts state institution of higher education (community college, state college/university or UMASS campus) may request to have their academic transcript reflect completion of the MassTransfer block requirements. All requests for the review of MassTransfer requirements, and the addition of the “MassTransfer Block Complete” notation on the transcript, must be made in writing to the Office of the Registrar located in Parenzo Hall 107. If the student has completed the prescribed 34 credits required of the MassTransfer block with a 2.00 GPA in those courses, they are eligible for special benefits as outlined in “Section II ” of the MassTransfer policy in the Admission section of this Bulletin. To assist students, the following chart of Westfield State University courses have been approved to satisfy the MassTransfer requirements:
||Westfield Course Prefixes
|English Composition (6 cr.)
||ENGL 0101 and (ENGL 0102 or ENGL 0105 /ENGL 0110 as the honors sequence)
|Behavioral and Social Sciences (9 cr.)
||COMM, CRJU, ECON, EDUC, EGST, HIST, MCES, POLS, PSYC, SOCI, SOCW, WSTP
|Humanities and Fine Arts (9 cr.)
||ART, ENGL (not ENGL 0101 or ENGL 0102 ), PHIL, LANG, LLIT, LCUL, All Languages, MUSC, THEA
|Natural or Physical Science (7 credits including 1, 4-credit lab science)
||ASTR, BIOL, CHEM, GARP, GEOL, GNSC, MOVP, PHSC
|Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning (3 cr.)
Note that the Pass/Fail policy is implemented differently for one‑credit, introductory-level courses and for upper-level (0200- and 0300-level) courses.
Pass/Fail For One-Credit (1), 0100-Level Courses
Departments may offer the following grading options for one- credit (1), 0100- level courses: 1) Pass/No Record, 2) Pass/Fail, and/or 3) for a letter grade. Within the first three (3) weeks of the semester, students must agree upon a grading option with the faculty member teaching the course.
No course eligible for common core credit may be designated for this option (even if the course would not be used to satisfy a core requirement).
For Pass/No Record courses, if a student earns a Pass (PS) grade, the credit earned applies towards graduation credits only. If the student fails the course, the Fail (FL) grade and the course notation are removed from the student’s academic record.
For Pass/Fail courses, if a student earns a Pass (PS) grade the credit earned applies towards graduation credits only. If the student fails the course, the Fail (FL) grade appears on the student’s academic record, but is not to be used to calculate the student’s grade point average (GPA).
Pass/Fail For 0200- And 0300-Level Elective Courses
The intent of this policy is to encourage juniors and seniors to take upper-level elective courses outside of their major or the core without concern for lowering their grade point average.
No course in the major (home) department or any required course outside the major department may be taken on a Pass/Fail basis, (even if the course would not be used to satisfy a major requirement). Only elective courses above the 0100‑level are eligible for the Pass/Fail option.
No course eligible for common core credit may be elected for the option, (even if the course would not be used to satisfy a core requirement).
Only students with junior or senior status are eligible for the option.
No more than two courses above the 0100‑level, not to exceed 8 credits, may be taken on a Pass/Fail basis.
Eligible students must apply for Pass/Fail status for 200- and 300-level elective courses with the Office of the Registrar no later than the midpoint of the course.
Faculty must submit a letter grade for each student in the course, thereby making the faculty member unaware of which students are opting for Pass/Fail status. The Registrar will convert the student’s grade to Pass/Fail on the student’s transcript.
Both the Pass “PS” and the Fail “FL” will be noted on the transcript, but neither will affect the student’s cumulative grade point average.
Once the Pass/Fail option is selected, the choice is binding.
Credits awarded for courses taken PASS/FAIL are not counted toward the minimum 12 credits necessary for Dean’s List eligibility.
This policy is implemented similarly for Continuing Education students. To be eligible, students must have completed a minimum of 54 credits. Pass/Fail permission forms must be filed in the Office of Graduate and Continuing Education, in accordance with deadlines established by that Division.
Note: The wording of the above policy has been modified to provide students with additional information about how the policy is applied and/or procedures to follow when applying the policy. The exact wording of the policy may be found in the Westfield State University Policies and Procedures Manual.
Policy on Awarding Posthumous Degrees and Awards: In the event that a student dies prior to him or her completing the course work in his or her major and earning the required credit hours for graduation, the following criteria will be used to determine whether or not the student is eligible for a posthumous degree.
Official Degree: an official degree is a Bachelor’s degree that is awarded to a student who has completed all requirements for his or her major, has earned at least 120 credit hours, has an overall grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.00, and has fulfilled the College’s residency requirement of at least 30 credit hours.
Posthumous Degree: A posthumous degree is a degree that is awarded to a student who had died prior to completing all of the requirements for graduation, provided that the student had satisfied the three (3) criteria for the degree listed below.
- Active Student Status: An active student is one who is currently enrolled at the University, and has successfully completed and earned at least 84 credit hours.
- Satisfactory GPA: A student must have the required 2.00 or greater overall cumulative grade point average.
- Residency: A student must have completed at least 12 credit hours at Westfield State University.
- Active Student Status: An active graduate student is one who has taken a graduate course within eighteen (18) months prior to his or her death, and has earned at least 75 % of the credit hours for the degree within his or her program of study.
- Satisfactory GPA: A graduate student must have the required 3.00 or greater overall cumulative grade point average.
- The Registrar is to be notified of the student’s death. The Registrar will then evaluate the student’s record according to the three (3) criteria for earned credit hours, overall cumulative GPA, and residency.
- The Registrar will then officially withdraw the student from the University using the date of death as the official withdrawal date during that semester. If the student dies between semesters, the last day of the semester that the student last attended shall be the official withdrawal date.
- “W” (withdrawal) grades are to be issued for the in-progress courses.
- If the student dies between semesters, the student’s future pre-registrations for the following semester’s courses will be deleted.
- If the student’s death occurs during the middle of a his or her last semester (fall, winter, spring and summer sessions) in which he or she is completing all of his or her final requirements for his or her major and/or for graduation, the faculty teaching those courses will be asked to assess the student’s performance to that date to determine whether or not the student had a reasonable chance to complete the course work and to pass the class. Faculty will have the option to issue a letter grade or a pass/fail grade for that course.
- If the faculty teaching those courses determine that the student did have a reasonable chance to complete the course work and to pass the class, and if those determinations result in the student completing both major and graduation credit hour, overall cumulative GPA, and University residency (30 credit hours) requirements, the official degree will be awarded, thereby negating the need for any “posthumous” notations on the transcript, diploma, or program as listed below. Otherwise, a posthumous degree may be awarded.
- If the Registrar determines that the earned credit hour, overall cumulative GPA, and residency criteria have been satisfied, the Registrar shall forward the student’s name to the President’s Office with the recommendation that the University award to the student a posthumous degree.
- The student record is to be flagged as deceased.
- If the death of the student is determined by law enforcement officials to be the result of illegal activity by the deceased student(s). or is determined by the College authorities to have been the result of a violation of the WSU Code of Conduct by the deceased student(s), the President shall reserve the right not to award either an official or posthumous degree.
Awarding the Posthumous Degree:
- If criteria are satisfied and the President approves, the posthumous degree will be awarded based on the next possible ceremony date: May, August, or January (degrees will not be pre- or post- dated).
- All majors and formally declared minors will be honored.
- Education licensure certifications will be removed.
- Transcripts will receive the added notation: “Degree Awarded Posthumously.”
- The posthumous degree shall read: “Bachelor of [field] in pursuit of a degree in [major]”. Example: “Bachelor of Arts in pursuit of a degree in English.”
- Every effort will be made to receive the printed diploma in time for the May graduation ceremony. The University will consult with family members to determine the graduation year in which to award the degree.
- If time permits based on the production/ordering deadlines, the student’s name will appear in the graduation program with the parenthetical notation of “posthumously.”
- The family will have the option to attend the graduation ceremony and receive the student’s diploma. The deceased student’s name will be first called for the major grouping and the family may come forward to receive the degree.
- Questions concerning account balances, charges, and refunds are to be addressed to the Director of Student Accounts. However, no outstanding obligations to the College will prevent the awarding and release of the posthumous degree.
Criteria Not Satisfied for the Posthumous Degree:
- A letter will be sent from the President’s Office on behalf of the University community.
- If the Registrar determines that the deceased student has not satisfied the earned credit hour, overall cumulative GPA, and residency criteria for the posthumous degree, the Registrar shall forward the student’s name to the President’s Office with the recommendation that the College issue a certificate to the student’s family titled “Recognition of Scholarship in pursuit of a Baccalaureate Degree”.
- As with the conditions for awarding posthumous degrees, the President shall reserve the right not to award the certificate based upon any illegal activity or Code of Conduct violations committed by the student that resulted in his or her death.
- Questions concerning account balances, charges, and refunds are to be addressed to the Director of Student Accounts. However, no outstanding obligations to the University will prevent the awarding and release of the Certificate of Attendance.
Prior Learning Portfolio Policy
Westfield State University recognizes college-level learning occurs in both traditional and nontraditional settings. The criteria for evaluation of such learning should take into consideration the educational goals, which are identified by the student, as well as institutional and state requirements. Credit for prior learning is undergraduate academic credit granted for demonstrated college-level and knowledge gained through learning experiences outside of a college classroom. This policy only addresses the use of a portfolio to assess and award prior learned college-level knowledge and skills gained outside the traditional college setting.
A prior learning portfolio (PLP) is a compilation of verifiable artifacts and evidence that demonstrates the student mastery of college-level course competencies, which can then be assessed by subject matter experts. Portfolios are an opportunity for students to reflect critically on how their learning has developed. Evidence may include, but is not limited to, individual skill demonstrations, work based artifacts, and/or narratives documenting learning.
The knowledge and skills assessed shall be college-level and relevant to the student’s program of study and meet current program requirements. All credit for prior learning will be recognized as a two-year institutional level credit, awarded as transfer credit, and will not count towards residency requirements. Credit for prior learning cannot be used for course repeat(s) or to replace an already earned grade at Westfield State University. Prior learning shall be assessed and awarded in accordance with national standards and best practices. Students may be charged a fee for the cost of assessment, as appropriate.
- All students who are interested in submitting a PLP to be considered for college-level credit must first submit a PLP Application form to the Registrar’s Office. An advisor will assist in determining prior learning assessment options and determine eligibility for the PLP.
- If the student is deemed eligible for PLP, the advisor will forward the PLP application to the appropriate academic department chair for review. The student will be notified by the academic department chair or designee if they meet the criteria for continuing in the PLP process.
- Upon approval by the academic department chair, a faculty subject matter expert will be identified to develop a learning contract with the student that specifies the specific course to be addressed, the objectives that must be demonstrated, evidence that must be submitted and manner of assessment of the final portfolio. Portfolio evaluators will have expertise in the discipline in which they are evaluating and should have been trained in assessing portfolios.
- Student will enroll in the required non-credit portfolio development course. The successful completion of the portfolio development course does not guarantee PLP credit(s).
- Upon enrollment in the portfolio development course, students are required to submit payment for the cost of all associated tuition and fees. The fees include a non-refundable portfolio assessment fee for one portfolio. Students may submit subsequent portfolios without being required to take the portfolio development course again. Portfolio fees are non-refundable regardless of the evaluation outcome.
- When the portfolio is complete, the student will submit the final product to the assigned faculty subject matter expert for evaluation. The evaluator will use the method of assessment agreed upon in the learning contract.
- The portfolio evaluator will submit the outcome of the evaluation to the Registrar’s Office. Credit earned through the portfolio process will be entered into the student record as transfer credit under the community college designation with a “PLA” grade. The grade will not affect the student’s GPA and cannot be used towards resident credit.
- Students may appeal the outcome of the PLP evaluation to the College Dean. Students may resubmit the portfolio for evaluation again, but will be held responsible to pay an additional non-refundable portfolio assessment fee.
Procedure For Withdrawing From College, Day Division
Students leaving the University, either during a semester or between semesters, must complete WITHDRAWAL CLEARANCE FORM which may be obtained through the Office of Retention and Engagement. Students withdrawing from the University during the semester will receive a “W” in each course. Students who leave the University during a semester and do not officially withdraw will receive “F” grades in all courses. Students should review the Tuition, Fees, and Refunds before finalizing their intent to withdraw.
When students withdraw completely from the University during the last three weeks of the semester, their instructors are polled to determine whether the students were passing or failing their courses at the time of the withdrawal. Students who were passing a majority of their courses may return to the University for the next academic semester. Students who were failing a majority of their courses may not be permitted to return for the next semester.
Students Called To Active Military Duty
- Students who are currently enrolled in and attending class(es) who receive active duty orders need to provide a copy of their orders to the Veteran & Military Services Office. Under the Valor Act students have the option to complete the course when they return to from Active Duty without penalty. Students who receive active duty orders also have the option to withdraw from the course with a full refund of fees and tuition paid.
- If the academic course is no longer available upon the student’s return from active duty, the student shall be permitted to complete a replacement course for equivalent credit without penalty.
- With respect to any health insurance fee, the refund policy is subject to the concurrence of the carrier.
- Students who have received any form of financial aid including a full or partial scholarship or student loan, or those who expect to receive such aid should contact the Financial Aid office to make appropriate arrangements.
- Students shall receive non-punitive withdrawals in all courses from which they are required to withdraw.
- Students residing in residence halls shall receive refunds on a pro rata basis for the remainder of the semester.
- Verification of the call to service must be provided by providing the Veteran Services Coordinator with a copy of the Order to Active Duty within one week of receipt of the order.
- Also, if the student chooses to withdraw, they will follow the withdrawal procedures. In the event of a short notice/no notice deployment, a student can have someone in their family plan or unit provide Veteran & Military Services a copy of the orders.
- The University’s President may waive or suspend any institutional policy or regulation that negatively impacts the students in their withdrawal or readmission to the institution due to a call to active duty.
- Any student required to withdraw due to being called to active duty shall be given priority in enrollment in the program of his or her choice upon return to the institution for the two semesters immediately following his or her discharge from active duty.
Undergraduate Transfer Courses Taken at Other Institutions After Matriculation
Undergraduate students who have enrolled at Westfield must secure written permission to apply courses taken at other schools to their Westfield degree. This permission, as well as course evaluation for applicability to core or major, may be secured from the chairperson of the Westfield department wherein the course to be taken lies. Westfield State has already made available through the Admission Office course to course articulations from many of our state institutions. Students should use these articulations as guides only and must still seek permission to take these courses to ensure residency policies (program and/or degree) are still being met.
College courses taken without this written permission may be accepted for elective credit, if the course meets college standards for transfer.
Courses will not be applied to core or major requirements until such permission has been granted.
Only grades of “C-” or better are acceptable for transfer credit unless a higher minimum grade is required by the department. Transfer credits and grades will not affect the Westfield State institutional GPA unless they are earned through approved exchange programs where the University still certifies student’s enrollment but will be used in determining “attempted” credits when determining academic standing. In either case the transfer credits and grades will factor into the overall GPA which is a combination of transfer and institutional credits and grade points. No credit will be awarded for remedial courses or coursework that is deemed by Westfield as pre-college work.
Students may transfer in a maximum of 90 credits from regionally accredited institutions, of which no more than 79 (effective fall 2018) credits can come from a two-year institution (including AP, CLEP, and military experience). Credits not originating from a regionally accredited institution may be awarded with the approval of the academic department and/or based on recommendations of the American Council on Education’s College Credit Recommendation Service and will count toward the 79 credits which can be awarded from a two-year institution.
For students enrolled in fall 2012, post-matriculation transfer credit completed prior to September 1, 2012 will be posted as domestic credit according to previous policy and transfer credits completed after September 1, 2012 will be awarded in accordance with the above policy. For students enrolled/re-enrolling for spring 2013, all transfer credit will be awarded in accordance with the above policy regardless of when the credit was completed.
Note: The policy stated above does not apply to courses taken prior to a student’s initial matriculation at Westfield. See the paragraph on Transfer Grade Policy in the section on Transfer Admission for additional information regarding transfer grades.
VALOR Act Academic Credit Evaluation Policy
The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education has found that Westfield State University’s transfer credit policies meet or exceed the criteria established under the VALOR Act Academic Credit Evaluation Policy. The VALOR Act allows for the evaluation of military experience, training and/or coursework to be considered for academic credit. Please review the Alternative Academic Credit policy for more details.