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Academic Policies and Procedures

Advisers
Upon entrance to the graduate degree program, the candidate will be assigned a faculty adviser appropriate for the concentration area selected. It is the responsibility of the student to initiate contact with the adviser to develop and maintain the program of study. It is the responsibility of the adviser to provide sound academic counseling concerning degree requirements and the student’s personal and professional goals.

Graduate Grading Policy
The grading system for graduate coursework is provided below, with the grade point equivalents listed in parentheses.

A+                  – exceptional performance in all aspects of the course (calculated as a 4.0)
A         (4.0)     – outstanding performance in all aspects of the course
B+       (3.5)     – very good, above-average work
B         (3.0)     – good performance, which completely satisfies the requirements of the course
C+       (2.5)     – adequate quality work, but below the average required for graduation
C         (2.0)     – marginal performance, which does not meet requirements for graduation
F          (0.0)     – failure; no graduate credit given
I – Incomplete; course requirements not completed (see additional information below)
W – Withdrawal; used when course is dropped in accordance with written policies

The grade of Incomplete indicates that the student’s work is satisfactory but that completion of some course requirement has been prevented by circumstances beyond the student’s control. The responsibility for communicating to an instructor the reasons for not completing a course in time rests with the student, and when no such communication occurs, the instructor is expected to give the final grade most appropriate to the work actually completed. When the grade of Incomplete has been given, the student is expected to complete the required work within one calendar month after the last day of class. Failure to complete the work within this one-month time period will result in an automatic F for the course. Any extension of an Incomplete beyond this time must be requested in writing by the student and have both the recommendation of the instructor and the approval of the graduate dean. All Incomplete grades must be removed before registration for future classes can occur.

Matriculation Status

Conditions
It is the student’s responsibility to apply for degree candidacy. In order to apply for degree candidacy, the student must:

  • Have completed the application packet for the graduate degree program.
  • Have completed, with a cumulative average of 3.0 or better, 15 credit hours of graduate credit taken as approved
    graduate credit from Albright College.
  • Have completed the MAT or GRE.
  • Have removed all course deficiencies, if any are listed on the student’s study plan.

Determination of M.S. or M.A. Degree Program in Education
Concentrators in early childhood education, elementary education, or special education will take the M.S. degree.
Concentrators in general education may elect to take the M.A. degree if it is more appropriate to their area of expertise.

Requirements for the Conferring of the Albright College M.S. or M.A. Degree
In order to graduate from Albright College with a master’s degree, the student must meet all of the following requirements:

  1. The student must have been admitted into a degree program.
  2. The student must have been admitted to matriculation status.
  3. The student must complete all courses indicated on the program advising form.
  4. The student must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0. The grade point average is determined by all courses taken (excluding repeated ones, where the most recent grade is used in the computation), passed courses where no grade is given, and transferred courses.
  5. All of the student’s course work for the degree must be completed within five years of entrance to the program, unless an exception is granted.
  6. The student must have submitted an Application for Graduation to the Office of Graduate Studies.
  7. All tuition fees and other financial obligations to Albright College must have been satisfied prior to graduation.
  8. The student’s entire degree program of study must not be less than 39 credit hours.
  9. The student must successfully complete a capstone research project (EDU 700 or EDU 701).

Thesis/Research Project
All candidates for the Albright College master’s degree in education must complete a graduate research project. In order to complete the capstone research piece, the student will enroll in EDU 700: Research Project.

All policy documents and explanation of requirements for completing the graduate research project are available in the Graduate Office. Rules for deadlines, application for graduation, and satisfactory completion of the graduate project must be strictly observed.

While the nature and adequacy of the content of the proposal of the thesis or master’s research paper/project are matters for the students and their committee to determine, it is suggested that the proposal include, at a minimum, the following elements:

  • Date
  • Names of student and all committee members
  • Proposed title of study
  • Subject area and primary research questions
  • Expected contribution of the study
  • Methods, techniques, materials, etc.
  • Expected completion date
  • Literature cited

EDU 510: Statistics and Research Design is a prerequisite to and preparation for developing the graduate research project. The Office of Graduate Studies will appoint a first reader for each project. The final step in completing the project will be the presentation of the project to and obtaining approval of the Graduate Research Committee.

Graduate Research Committee
This committee consists of five persons including the graduate dean and Albright College faculty who are interested in reviewing and assessing graduate-level research. They should represent departments other than education. The Graduate Research Committee is charged with the final approval of all graduate research projects for EDU 700.

First Reader
The graduate dean will appoint a first reader for each candidate enrolled in EDU 700 and EDU 701. This faculty member will have expertise in the project content area and will be responsible for mentoring the candidate’s research and writing. The first reader will work regularly on a weekly basis with the candidate to ensure that all deadlines are met.

Time Limit
Students are required to complete all degree requirements within five years from the time of completion of the first graduate course counted toward the degree. In unusual circumstances, a student may request an extension of this time limit. The request must:

  1. Be made in writing to the Office of Graduate Studies.
  2. Have the approval of the student’s adviser.
  3. Include a study plan showing a time line for completion of the program.

Withdrawing From a Course
With the adviser’s approval, a student may drop one course at any time throughout the semester. Withdrawal without penalty is allowed up to one week after mid-term. The designation in this case is W (Withdrawn) and is so noted on the student’s record. Withdrawal from a course after mid-term and three weeks prior to the end of the course will result in the student’s receiving a W or WF (Withdrawn Failing) at the discretion of the instructor. Any student withdrawing from a course in the last three weeks of a semester automatically receives a WF, except for reasons of illness or other dire
circumstances as determined by the graduate dean.

Academic Probation
Students are required to maintain a 3.0 GPA. If a student falls below a 3.0 GPA, he or she will be placed on academic probation and will be notified by the graduate dean. The student’s continuation as a graduate student is then in jeopardy. The student’s achievement of, at least, a cumulative GPA of 3.0 during the subsequent semester removes the student from academic probation. A student may be placed on academic probation twice at most, and a student may spend no more than a total of two semesters on academic probation. Otherwise, a student is subject to academic dismissal.

Academic Dismissal
If a student has completed six to 15 graded credit hours, has less than a 3.0 GPA, and has served two semesters on academic probation, the student will be dismissed from the program. The Graduate Council will consider appeals if extraordinary circumstances exist. In such appeals, faculty recommendations will be considered, as well as mitigating circumstances. The request for an appeal should be submitted in writing by the student to the Office of Graduate Studies within 30 days of notice of dismissal.

Transfer of Credit
Students may transfer to Albright College a maximum of nine credits of graduate work completed at another institution. Students may transfer work completed within five years prior to their admission to the program or taken concurrently with their enrollment. Transfer credit may not be given for graduate level courses completed in fulfilling baccalaureate degree requirements. Albright graduate degree candidates must obtain preliminary approval from the Office of Graduate Studies to take a course at another institution. Preliminary approval does not guarantee that transfer credit will be granted. Final approval will be granted only if the following criteria are met:

  1. The course must have been graded – neither Pass nor Satisfactory can be accepted.
  2. The student must have earned a grade of B or better in the course.
  3. The course may not include work for a thesis, independent study or research.
  4. The course must form a part of the student’s program in his/her field of concentration.
  5. An official transcript is received from the other institution.

The grades earned in transfer courses will not be counted in the Albright grade point average.

Withdrawal from the College
A student voluntarily withdrawing from the College must notify the Office of Graduate Studies in writing and must complete a withdrawal questionnaire and checklist. Non-attendance in class is not to be assumed as withdrawal. Grades of F are recorded for courses from which there has been no official withdrawal. Grade designation is determined by the policies in effect at the time of the student’s withdrawal. All medical withdrawals must be accompanied by written documentation from a physician. A physician also must attest to the physical and emotional health of the student upon his or her return. 

Grievance Procedures
Student questions or concerns about a course, course work, or grades must be directed to the instructor first, and then to the graduate dean. A student has the right to appeal an instructor’s grade that the student regards as unjustified. If the matter cannot be resolved by discussion between the student and instructor, it should be brought to the graduate dean, who will consult with the instructor. If this procedure does not result in a mutually acceptable solution, the student may present an appeal to the Graduate Council. Final determination of the grade is the instructor’s prerogative.

Academic Honesty
Academic honesty is part of the foundation of an academic community. Any violation of the standards of academic honesty threatens the trust upon which an academic community is built.

Academic dishonesty is a serious breach of the rules of proper academic conduct. The penalty for the first act of academic dishonesty will be a zero on the piece of work involved or an F in the course, at the discretion of the instructor in consultation with the graduate dean. A letter describing the incident and the action taken will be sent to the dean for placement in the student’s file. This academic probation letter will serve as a record of a first offense, but will be removed from the file upon graduation if no second offense occurs. If a student commits a second offense, the mandatory penalty will be an F in the course, a letter in the file, and a notation on the back of the student’s transcript. A student may be dismissed from the College for a second offense at the discretion of the dean.

Academic dishonesty can take many forms. Described simply, it consists of taking another person’s work and presenting it as one’s own. This can result from copying another student’s paper or display on a terminal in an exam or laboratory, using data or information stored in a computer system without explicit authorization by the person who produced it, presenting someone else’s ideas or words as one’s own in a homework assignment or research paper, and so forth. Plagiarism is a distinct form of academic dishonesty in which a person uses the words or ideas of another without proper acknowledgement. But the definition of plagiarism cannot be satisfactorily stated in a few words, and students are encouraged to consult with their instructor or dean if they wish further clarification.

The unauthorized or inappropriate use of College computers or the vandalism, theft or tampering of data files or equipment constitutes academic misconduct. Plagiarism or violation of proprietary agreements with the programs and data of other users will be treated as acts of academic dishonesty. The Policy for Responsible Computing, available through the Computer Center, explains the College’s guidelines with respect to computer ethics.

The College and its faculty will endeavor to inform students about what constitutes plagiarism and academic dishonesty. The faculty recognizes a professional responsibility in this regard and will do its best to make students aware of the problem and to structure exams and assignments so as to reduce the temptations to cheat. But the ultimate responsibility for adhering to accepted standards of academic behavior rests with the student.

Library, instructional materials and laboratory equipment theft and/or damage of books, periodicals and other instructional materials (including laboratory equipment) shall be deemed acts of academic dishonesty. As such, they are subject to monetary penalties as well as the same penalties that apply to other such acts of academic dishonesty. Theft of College property also is subject to criminal prosecution at the discretion of the College.

Harassment Policy
As a place of work and learning for staff, faculty, students and their guests, Albright College nurtures respect for the individual within a communal environment, one that encourages each of its members to develop his or her full potential. To preserve this environment, the College will not tolerate harassment of any kind.

Harassment is defined as verbal or physical conduct that has the intent or effect of interfering with an individual or group’s educational and/or work performance at Albright, or conduct that creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational and/or work environment on or off campus. Such behavior undermines the atmosphere of trust essential to the academic enterprise and represents a failure of professional ethics. Harassment on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or disability includes harassment of an individual in terms of stereotyped group characteristics. In addition to violating the rights of an individual, harassment is inconsistent with the policies and interests of the College, including the preservation of academic freedom, an element at the core of the College’s mission. Any member of the Albright community who believes that he or she has been harassed is encouraged to raise the issue with the affirmative action officer in the Human Resources Office, the appropriate dean, or the president of the College.