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Academic Matters

Students should refer to the College Catalog for detailed information regarding academic policies such as grading, academic records, degree requirements and special programs. This section of the student handbook provides academic information commonly referenced by students. Questions regarding academic policies and procedures may be discussed with personnel at the Academic Affairs Office, 116 Founders Hall.

  1. Augustana Honor Code
  2. Honor Council
  3. Academic Requirements for Extracurricular Activities
  4. Student Records
  5. Hometown News Releases

Augustana Honor Code

The Augustana Honor Code was written and accepted by a majority of Augustana students and ratified by the faculty in the spring of 2006. The goal of the Honor Code is to set a foundation and boundary to ensure academic excellence at the college. Therefore, it is the responsibility of each individual to take pride in his or her work, uphold the Honor Code, and encourage others to do the same. Every member of the Augustana community has the obligation to report violations of the Honor Code to the Honor Council.

Upon or prior to entering Augustana College students will sign the following Honor Pledge stating that they understand and support the Honor Code: My name, below, signifies that I have read and understand the Honor Code of Augustana College. By signing this pledge, I am accepting the Honor Code and acknowledge that it is my responsibility to uphold its principles. In addition, at the discretion of the professor the following pledge shall be discussed and accompany all academic work, or be signed once at the beginning of the term, "In compliance with the Augustana Honor Code, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this piece of work."

The Honor Code holds each individual accountable to the community of Augustana College for academic dishonesty, including cheating, lying, stealing and plagiarism. To cheat on an exam is: to use books, notes or other materials not explicitly permitted by the instructor in taking the exam; to copy other students' work in taking an exam; to use copies of examination material (whether stolen or accidentally obtained) in preparing for an examination when the instructor has not made these materials public by prior distribution; to assist a student in cheating in any of the aforementioned three ways. To cheat on an assignment is: to use materials or sources explicitly forbidden by the instructor in completing the assignment (including the ideas and work of other students when forbidden); to assist students in cheating as defined above. Lying is any falsification committed with the intent of gaining an unfair academic advantage. A falsification is: the manifestation of untruth with the intent to mislead; disregard for the truth; false representation of one's self; or intentionally creating false data. Stealing is the deliberate taking of another individual or group's property without consent, permission or acknowledgement with the intent of gaining an unfair academic advantage. Plagiarism is the misrepresentation of someone else’s research, thought or writing as one’s own. Plagiarism occurs when a student uses the ideas or phrasing of another individual or group and presents the information as their own without crediting the original source. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the following: use of direct wording, artistic creations and/or expressions (written or musical) without proper acknowledgements; false citation: incorrect or inadequate citation of sources; purchasing, downloading or using papers written by another individual. Additional definitions of plagiarism as well as resources for avoiding plagiarism can be found at the following web page:http://www.augustana.edu/library/Services/citingsources.html.

Reporting Academic Dishonesty

If an Augustana student has reason to believe someone has violated the Honor Code, he or she should report the incident to the Honor Council. Forms will be available in the Academic Affairs Office and online. For the form to be valid, the reporter must include his/her ID number. The form will ask who committed the alleged violation and when and where it occurred, and for a detailed description of what was witnessed. Students may also go to the faculty member and report the incident. Reports of academic dishonesty must be made to the Honor Council in a timely fashion following the incident, or at the discretion of the Honor Council. In the case in which a student reports another student, a letter will be sent to the accused student’s campus mailbox, and an e-mail sent to the accused’s Augustana e-mail account. The letter will inform the student of the act of academic misconduct being brought against him or her, the procedures that will take place and the date of the hearing.

If a faculty member reports a student, the faculty member will handle informing the student of the incident and the grade received. In addition, the student will receive a letter and e-mail from the Honor Council stating that the incident has been recorded. If further action is necessary, the Honor Council will inform the individual. When academic dishonesty is observed or deduced from an evaluation of submitted work, faculty will not give credit for the test, examination, paper or assignment, and will not permit retaking or resubmitting the work. The faculty has agreed that the penalty for academic misconduct may, at the discretion of the faculty member, be an F in the course, but must be an F for that piece of work. If the incident is a first offense that is considered a minor violation of the Honor Code, a faculty member may recommend not sending the case on to the Honor Council. In this circumstance, a Minor Violation form is signed by the student and instructor, and the faculty member then submits the material and form to the Associate Dean. These materials are stored in a "first-instance" file in the Academic Affairs Office and checked against future cases.  Second infractions result in a hearing with the Honor Council. A more serious violation of the Honor Code warrantes immediate referral to the Honor Council, so that it can be recorded and added to the student's file. The faculty member must fill out a form that describes the incident, the individual(s) involved, and the action taken, but does not include the grade given. Forms are available on the Augustana intranet at the following web address: http://www.augustana.edu/x2777.xml

Reports of academic dishonesty must be made to the Honor Council in a timely fashion following the incident. If the incident is grievous and disciplinary action beyond the grade is necessary, or if it is not the first incident a student has had with academic dishonesty, then the accused individual shall be brought before the Honor Council. Any individual may turn himself or herself in to the Honor Council if he/she has violated the Honor Code.

A student accused of academic dishonesty in a class will not be permitted to drop the course involved until he/she has been cleared of the allegation or has the permission of both the instructor and the Honor Council.

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Honor Council

The purpose of the Honor Council shall be to govern and interpret the Honor Code. The Honor Council shall consist of 13 members: four members of the senior class, three members of the junior class, three members of the sophomore class and three members of the faculty. If the individual chooses to take responsibility for the incident it will not be necessary for the Honor Council to investigate the report and hold a hearing. The accused will come before the Honor Council and the Honor Council will discuss the punishment. Members of the Honor Council will have the responsibility to investigate reported incidents, unless it is a situation in which the faculty member is handling the grade and no further actions are necessary. The investigation will consist of speaking with the following individuals: the reporter, the accused and the faculty member, as well as any other member of the community with relevant information.

Honor Council Hearings

The report for the accused will be given to the members of the Honor Council before the hearing. The following guidelines will be followed:

  1. The charged student shall receive a fair hearing before a duly constituted, impartial hearing committee; the student shall be given the opportunity to respond to the charge, state observations and understandings of the circumstances upon which the charge is based, and present evidence and witnesses.
  2. The charged student may be assisted during the hearing by an advisor of choice from among the current full-time students, faculty, administration or staff, but may not be assisted during the hearing by anyone else.
  3. The charged student shall be present when witnesses appear. Following statements by witnesses, the charged student shall have the right to question them.
  4. The charged student shall have the right to present information and witnesses on his/her own behalf.
  5. The charged student has the right to be present throughout the entire hearing. However, the decision of the hearing committee shall be deliberated upon in private session.
  6. The hearing committee shall base its decision only upon facts presented during the hearing.
  7. All proceedings and testimony shall be regarded as confidential except when the charged student requests in writing that the hearing be public. The chair of the hearing committee may respond to inquiries if a student misrepresents the basis for the decision. The chair cannot disclose specific details about the case, but may state that the proper rules were followed. The chair should be careful in making statements and consult with the administration first.
  8. All records of the hearing shall be regarded as confidential except when information is released for academic or counseling purposes by the Dean or Associate Dean of Students, or when the charged student chooses to make the records public.
  9. The charged student shall be provided a record of the hearing upon request.

At the end of the hearing, the Honor Council will discuss the evidence presented and vote as to whether the accused individual should or should not receive further sanctions. A two-thirds vote is needed to find an individual warranted of further sanctions. In instances where no further sanctions are warranted the individual's name will be removed from all records pertaining to the incident. In instances where the individual should receive further sanctions, the Honor Council will discuss the punishment. Punishment will vary based on the severity of the incident and whether it is a first, second or third offense. The faculty member will be allowed to be present for this portion of the hearing.

Each case brought before the Honor Council will be handled on an individual basis. The Honor Council has the power to interpret the seriousness of an offense and decide on a proper punishment. In instances where academic dishonesty was undetected by the faculty member, the Honor Council will recommend that the faculty member award an F for the assignment, and in more egregious situations, an F for the course.

A second offense or a more extreme first offense usually will result in dismissal for academic misconduct (for one or more terms). The Honor Council has the authority to expel a student from the Augustana community if the academic offense is grievous, regardless of the student's record.

All reports filed will be kept in the Dean of Students Office. The administration and members of the Honor Council will have the authority to view the reports. Information in a student's file will be reported to graduate schools and employers who require such disclosure as a condition of admission or employment.

Appeal of Grades

Students who believe there has been an error in reporting a grade, or who have a question or complaint about a grade, should first contact the instructor. Should it be necessary to carry the inquiry further, the department or division chair and then the Dean of the College, should be consulted.

Grades (either for a particular assignment/exam or for the course) assigned by the faculty in instances of academic dishonesty may be appealed to the Associate Dean of the College, Dr. Margaret Farrar. The Honor Council will not have the authority to change the assigned grade. The appeal must be made within 12 days of the date the decision is sent to the student.

Honor Council Decision Appeals

A student may appeal the Honor Council's decision to the President of the College, but must do so within 10 academic days of the date the decision of punishment is sent to the student. The student does not have a right to a second hearing; the appeals should be made in writing. The president may confer with the members of the hearing committee before making a decision. The president will look over the case using the following criteria:

  1. Were the college's policies and procedures followed in all material respects? If not, did the error cause a material disadvantage to the student?
  2. Is there significant newly discovered evidence that could not have reasonably been discovered at the time of hearing? If so, the president resubmits the matter to the hearing panel.
  3. Is the determination of guilt a result of an abuse of the hearing panel's discretion (that is, no reasonable hearing panel would make the same conclusion)?
  4. Is the determination of a penalty without a reasonable basis? A student dismissed from the college may make a written appeal to the Board of Trustees, whose decision shall be final.

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Academic Requirement for Extra-curricular Activities

To be eligible for extra-curricular activities, a student must be enrolled in eight semester credits or more unless he/she is a senior registered for sufficient credits to graduate at the end of the current term. In addition, eligibility for the following requires that a student not be on Academic Probation:

  1. Homecoming Co-Chair; Major All-Campus (such as Mock Political Conventions and Symposia) Chair; Observer Editor, Business Manager, all other editors, and Executive Secretary, Photography Coordinator, Business Manager; Student Government officers, representatives and executive board members; WAUG General Manager, Program Director, News Director, Sports Director or Business Manager, Production Manager, Sales Manager and any other positions designated by the organization's advisor.
  2. Membership on the following committees: Advanced Standing and Degrees Committee; Educational Policies Committee; Student Judiciary; Student Policy Committee.
  3. Joining any campus organization which requires participation in a pledging process. Students who are not eligible to pledge during the designated spring term pledge period are prohibited from participating in all activities of these groups except those which are open to the public. Once a student has been pledged and initiated, active membership in the group does not require a 2.0 grade average.

There is no grade-point average requirement for participation in extra-curricular activities other than those listed above. However, individual organizations or groups may establish their own requirements for membership.

A student need not be enrolled full-time, taking eight credits or more, to participate in credit activities such as music ensembles, theatre productions, and student radio. However, in order for a student to enroll for non-credit participation in any of the activities listed above, he or she must be registered for a minimum of .67 credits.

To be eligible for participation in intramural sports, a student must be registered for at least eight credits unless he/she is a senior graduating at the end of the current term. However, students who register for less than eight credits may jeopardize their financial assistance and athletic eligibility. A student on Academic Probation may participate in intramural athletics.

It is the policy of Augustana College to determine each student's eligibility for participation in intercollegiate competition. Within the limits prescribed by law, the college reserves the right to set standards more strict than those mandated by the National Collegiate Athletic Association or by the Athletic Conference.  Augustana College adheres to the philosophy and is governed by the regulations of both the NCAA and the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin.

In order to participate in intercollegiate athletics students must be enrolled in eight credits or more. They may retain their eligibility during their twelfth term, provided the number of credits carried will enable them to graduate at the end of the term. However, students who register for less than eight credits may jeopardize their financial assistance and athletic eligibility. Except for the first term, first-year students must have passed eight credits of their previous term's work in which they were enrolled as a full-time student. However, if during the previous term the student drops below eight credits, he/she will be defined as a part-time student for purposes of eligibility. In addition, first-year students must maintain a 1.50 cumulative grade-point after their first term of enrollment, sophomores must maintain a 1.75 cumulative grade-point average and juniors or seniors a 2.0 to remain eligible. To be eligible to compete in the next season, an athlete must have completed 24 credits for the second season, 48 credits for the third season and 72 credits for the fourth season. NOTE: Athletes adding or dropping classes during the term should be alert to the impact this might have on eligibility.

Due to the complexity of NCAA rules, transfer students must be considered for eligibility on an individual basis.

For reasons of health and safety, there are certain health conditions that may have an effect on a student's participation in athletics. Of special concern is the absence or non-functioning of one of a set of paired organs. In this special situation, as part of the waiver process, the following are to be considered:

  1. The probability of injury to the remaining organ;
  2. The state of the art in protective equipment and the capability of such equipment to prevent injury to the remaining organ. Such protective equipment must be arranged for and purchased by the student. The school assumes no liability or responsibility relative to the equipment regarding procurement, fitting, maintenance, etc.

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Student Records

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 is a federal law which states (a) that a written institutional policy must be established, and (b) that a statement of adopted procedures covering the privacy rights of students be made available. The law provides that the institution will maintain the confidentiality of student education records.

Access to Student Records

No one outside the college shall have access to any students' education records nor will the college disclose any information from such records without the written consent of students except:

  1. to personnel within the institution;
  2. to officials of other institutions in which students seek to enroll;
  3. to persons or organizations providing student financial assistance;
  4. to accrediting agencies carrying out their functions;
  5. to persons in compliance with a Judicial order;
  6. to persons or organizations seeking to determine eligibility for membership in honorary organizations or for special awards sanctioned by the college;
  7. to persons or organizations conducting studies sanctioned by the college which will not permit the personal identification of students and their parents by persons other than those conducting the studies;
  8. to government representatives seeking information in connection with the audit and evaluation of federally and state-supported educational programs;
  9. to persons in an emergency in order to protect the health or safety of students or other persons.

FERPA AMENDMENT OF 2011

As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education's FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which your education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records - including your Social Security Number, grades, or other private information - may be accessed without your consent. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorites ("Federal and State Authorities") may allow access to your records and PII without your consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is "principally engaged in the provision of education," such as early childgood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution. Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to your education records and PII without your consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when we object to or do not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive your PII, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without your consent PII from your education records, and they may track your participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about you that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.

Student Records Maintained on Augustana's Campus

Within the Augustana community, only those members, individually or collectively, acting in students' educational interest are allowed access to student education records. These college officials include personnel in each office where the education records are maintained, and academic personnel within the limitations of their need to know. The Dean of Students Office, in addition to the Security Office, has access to student schedules for security and emergency purposes. Separate education records are maintained in each of the offices listed below. The title of the individual responsible for each record also is listed.

  1. Academic Records and Supporting Documents Registrar, Room 109, Founders Hall.
  2. Admissions Records Vice President of Enrollment, Founders Hall East.
  3. Disciplinary Records Dean of Students, Room 104, Founders Hall.
  4. Financial Aid Records Vice President of Enrollment, Founders Hall East.
  5. Student Information Card Director of Public Relations, Founders Hall.
  6. Career Planning and Placement Records Director of Career Center, Sorensen Hall.
  7. Student Accounts Receivable Records Controller, Business Office, Sorensen Hall.
  8. Student Personnel Records for all Students Dean of Students, Room 104, Founders Hall.

It is college policy to destroy certain records after five years on file. If you wish access to records in college files after this five-year limit, it is your responsibility to advise the office charged with maintaining those records.

Directory Information

At its discretion, the college may provide directory information in accordance with provisions of the Act. The following student information has been designated public and may be disclosed by the college for any purpose, at its discretion: student name, student ID number, local and home address, mailbox and telephone numbers; parents' or guardians' names, addresses and telephone numbers; date and place of birth; dates of attendance; major field of study; faculty advisor's name; academic classification; previous institution(s) attended, and awards, honors and degrees conferred (including dates); past and present participation in officially recognized sports and activities; and physical factors (height and weight of athletes).

Students are required to report and keep current their local and home addresses. Changes in residence hall addresses are automatically kept current by the Residential Life Office. Off-campus students must provide local address information as a condition of living off campus. Failure to provide accurate and current off-campus address information can result in disciplinary action or restriction from registration.

Students may withhold from public access any of the above information by notifying the Dean of Students Office in writing at any time during the year. Because the college directory and possibly a few other college publications are published at the beginning of each school year, the college cannot limit access to information contained in those documents. However, subsequent publications will honor requests for non-disclosure.

Requests for non-disclosure must be renewed each academic year. Failure on the part of any student to request in writing that information be withheld will indicate approval for disclosure.

Students' Rights Concerning Education Records

Annually, all students will be informed that Augustana provides students with the following rights concerning their education records:

  1. the right to inspect and review information contained in education records;
  2. the right to obtain copies of those records with the exception that a copy of the official academic record will not be provided to students on restriction. Copies are made at the student's expense at the prevailing rates listed in the student handbook, Inside Augustana;
  3. the right to response from the college to reasonable requests for explanations and interpretations of those records;
  4. the right to challenge the contents of his or her education records;
  5. the right to a hearing if the outcome of the challenge is unsatisfactory;
  6. the right to submit an explanatory statement for inclusion in the education record if the outcome of the hearing is unsatisfactory;
  7. the right to prevent disclosure, with certain exceptions, of personally identifiable information;
  8. the right to secure a copy of the institutional policy, which includes the location of all education records;
  9. the right to file complaints with the Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Augustana College to comply with the Act.

Procedures for Granting Students Access to Their Records

The Dean of Students, Room 104, Founders Hall, has been designated by the college to coordinate the inspection and review procedures for all student education records on campus. Students wishing to review their education records must make a written request to the Dean of Students listing the item/s of interest. Requests will be honored within a reasonable time, no longer than 45 days after the request has been made.

Records Not Available to Students

The following are not education records and are not accessible to students:

  1. records of instructional, supervisory, administrative and educational personnel which are the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible or revealed to any individual except a temporary substitute;
  2. employment records;
  3. alumni records;
  4. student health and counseling records (can be personally reviewed by physician or other appropriate professional of the students' choosing);

Student files, maintained by Information Technology Services, differ from student education records in that they are maintained as a central "pool" of data, but are not kept for any end or function in themselves. These files contain only information useful in assisting other offices to perform their legitimate functions. Restricted student information is released from these files only to, or with the consent of, administrative departments with general responsibility for the information or request in question. Students may not inspect and review the following as outlined by the Act:

  1. financial information submitted by their parents;
  2. confidential letters and recommendations associated with admissions, employment or job placement, or honors in which they have waived their rights of inspection or review;
  3. education records containing information about more than one student, in which case the college will provide access only to the part of the record which pertains to the inquiring student;
  4. confidential letters and recommendations placed in their files prior to January 1, 1975, provided those letters were collected under established policies of confidentiality and were used only for the purposes for which they were collected.

Hearing Procedures to Challenge Information in Education Records

Students who believe their education records contain information that is inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of their privacy or other rights may discuss their issues informally with the Dean of Students within three terms. If the decisions concerning such information are in agreement with the students' requests, the appropriate records will be amended. If not, the students will be notified within a reasonable period of time that the records will not be amended, and they will be informed by the Dean of Students of their right to a formal hearing.

Student requests for a formal hearing must be made in writing to the Dean of the College, who, within a reasonable period of time after receiving such a request, will inform students of the date, place and the time of the hearing. Students may present evidence relevant to the issues raised and may be assisted or represented at the hearings by one or more persons of their choice, including attorneys, at the students' expense. The hearing panel which will adjudicate such challenges will consist of the Dean of the College, Chair of the Faculty Senate, Associate Dean of the College, and Dean of Students.

Decisions of the hearing panel will be final, will be based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing, will consist of written statements summarizing the evidence and stating the reasons for the decisions, and will be delivered to all parties concerned. The education records will be corrected or amended in accordance with the decisions of the hearing panel, if the decisions are in favor of the students. If the decisions are unsatisfactory to the students, these students may place with the education records their own statements commenting on the information in the records, or setting forth any reasons for disagreeing with the decisions of the hearing panel. The statements will be placed in the education records, maintained as part of the students' records, and released whenever the records in question are disclosed.

Students who believe the adjudication of their challenges was unfair or not in keeping with the provisions of the Act may request assistance in writing from the President of the College. Further, students who believe their rights have been abridged may file complaints with The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Office (FERPA), Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Washington, D.C. 20201, concerning the alleged failures of Augustana College to comply with the Act.

Revisions and clarification of this policy will be published as experience with the law and Augustana's policy warrants. Copies of a detailed policy statement concerning Augustana student records and release of information about students are available in the Dean of Students Office, Room 104, Founders Hall.

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Hometown News Releases

As part of the college media relations program, the Director of Public Relations prepares and distributes news releases on the achievements and activities of Augustana students to their hometown newspapers. Hometown news releases report accomplishments such as the receipt of scholarships and awards, making the Dean's List, election to honorary societies, participation in campus organizations and graduation. The press coverage that results is a source of pride for students' families and is an effective part of institutional public relations efforts.

Hometown news releases are sent for all students unless a written request not to be included in the program is submitted, annually, to the Director of Public Relations. A similar request is necessary for those students who do not wish the college to use their names or images on behalf of the institution, such as in the alumni magazine, general news releases, admissions brochures or the World Wide Web.

Students are always welcome to visit or call the Director of Public Relations, Office of Communication and Marketing, second floor of Founders Hall, campus phone 7473, for more information on the Hometown News Release Program.