Policies

Academic Honesty
Attendance and Absence
Continuation in College
Deficiency Notices
Final Exam Change
Notre Dame Co-Exchange Program
Students with Disabilities
Transfer Credit Policy for First Year Students
Withdrawal from a Course

ACADEMIC POLICIES

Attendance and Absence

A student is expected to attend every meeting of a class for which she is registered. The responsibility for attendance rests with the student. Excused absences may be granted to students who must miss class(es) for legitimate and documentable reasons of personal health, family concerns (illness, funeral, wedding), or participation in varsity athletics or other officially recognized activities. However, every absence carries the penalty of the loss of instruction given during absence, which may result in a lower grade for the course. Limited excused absences for personal health or family concerns are granted by the Advising Office. It is at the discretion of the faculty as to how missed work is accounted for – please consult the course syllabus for details. It may be necessary to withdraw from courses in the event of prolonged absence.

Deficiency Notices

Instructors send deficiency notices to all students whose work is not satisfactory at midterm. Failure to receive a midterm deficiency notice does not preclude the possibility that the student may still fail the course nor does it imply that the student will automatically pass the course. A deficiency notice does not become part of a student’s permanent record. Deficiency notices are available online through PRISM. Notices are not sent via mail.

Final Exam Change

The final exam schedule is published at the beginning of the semester, and students are responsible for knowing the dates and times of their exams; transportation should be planned accordingly. Students should request a final exam change if they are scheduled for three exams in one day or three consecutive exam periods. 

Notre Dame Co-Exchange Program

Saint Mary’s College and the University of Notre Dame maintain a cooperative program permitting students to take courses at the neighboring institution. First-year students do not participate in co-exchange courses, except in unusual circumstances, and only with approval from the the Advising Office.

Transfer Credit for First Year Students

Students may receive credit for college courses taken before entering Saint Mary’s College under the following conditions:

  1. All credit must be earned at a regionally accredited college or university (community and junior colleges are included).
  2. Sophia Program requirements may not be fulfilled by transfer credit. Transfer credit is elective credit only.
  3. Work must be in a curricular area generally recognized for credit at Saint Mary’s.
  4. Credit will be granted only for a grade of C or better. The grade will not be averaged as part of the Saint Mary’s grade point average.
  5. No credit will be granted for courses that the student enrolls in again at Saint Mary’s.
  6. No transfer credit will be accepted by Saint Mary’s for courses the student took before she completed her 10th year of school.

Approval of courses is based on official transcripts and course descriptions, to be provided by the student.

Withdrawal from a Course

After five weeks a first-year student may withdraw from a course with the permission of her instructor and the Advising Office. If a student withdraws from a course with a passing grade, the grade recorded is a W. If she is not passing, the grade is recorded as an F. With permission, a student may withdraw from a course up to the last class day. However, in most cases, a late withdrawal is not advisable.

CONTINUATION IN COLLEGE

Academic Good Standing

The standard for continuance (good standing) in the College is a 1.80 cumulative GPA for students completing the first semester of the first year; 1.90 cumulative GPA for students completing the second semester of the first year; and 2.00 cumulative GPA thereafter.

Academic Probation

The record of a student whose GPA falls below these figures is reported to the Academic Standards Committee at the end of each semester. If, in the opinion of this committee, the record offers little or no promise of successful completion of work for a degree, the student is subject to dismissal. Otherwise, she is placed on academic probation for one semester. Students on academic probation are not allowed to participate in major co-curricular activities, may not hold a major student leadership position, or participate in varsity athletics. The notation “academic probation” appears on the student’s permanent record.

Academic Dismissal

A student is subject to dismissal under the following circumstances: academic probation for two consecutive semesters or for three non-consecutive semesters; first academic probation with little or no promise of academic success; or unsuccessful in two majors. Dismissal will be recorded as part of the student’s permanent record. If a student is dismissed for poor scholarship, she may reapply after one year, provided she can present evidence of potential academic success to assist the Academic Standards Committee in making this decision.

Appeal

A student has the right to appeal a dismissal. Her appeal must include new information that was not taken into consideration at the time of her dismissal and a plan for future success. The student must submit this appeal to the chair of the Academic Standards Committee within 10 working days upon receipt of notification. The dean of faculty and two committee members will hear the appeal.

STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

Saint Mary’s College is committed to providing a supportive, community environment for students with disabilities. We assist students who self-identify as persons with a disability and determine their eligibility for services. Through an interactive process of dialogue and materials review, we will implement reasonable accommodations for equal access purposes. Accommodations are considered and assigned on a case-by-case basis.

We comply with the applicable provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADAAA as amended) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. As defined by these Acts, an “individual with a disability” is any person who:

  1. has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities,
  2. has a record of impairment,
  3. is regarded as having such an impairment.

Documentation should be provided by an appropriately credentialed professional (non-family member) and should be sent to the Disabilities Resource Office. The specific content of the documentation will vary with the nature of the student’s disability, but in all cases it should include a diagnosis, recommendations, and a clear rationale for the recommendations. Documentation may include:

  1. A full and current psychological-educational/diagnostic report based preferably on adult norms and supplied by a qualified professional in the respective field. This comprehensive report with scores and test data provides the richest information and is most helpful in determining requested accommodations. It is the preferred type of documentation to support the requests of a student with a learning disability, the diagnosis of which must be clearly stated.
  2. IEP/504 plans, which should include a summary of performance and teacher observations. This document should reflect an individual’s education and accommodation history, and the diagnosis by a relevant qualified professional should be clearly stated. Descriptions of functional limitations and impact are necessary. This kind of documentation may or may not be sufficient.
  3. Accommodation letters and documents from a previously attended secondary institution for transfer students. Verification should include the dates when the accommodations were used by the student.
  4. Healthcare professionals in the field relevant to a mental health diagnosis may submit a letter that provides information on the diagnosis, severity of the condition, length and medication involved in the prescribed treatment, and recommended accommodations that may assist the student in minimizing impact in the academic setting. (Copies of a physician’s prescriptions for ADD or ADHD medications will not suffice.)

Inadequate or incomplete information may involve follow-up contact for clarification by the Disabilities Resource Office.

The student will sign a release allowing the Disabilities Resource Office to inform her faculty of the accommodations to which she is approved and to discuss their implementation. The student is responsible for reviewing and arranging for accommodations with the Disabilities Resource Office and her faculty each semester. Faculty should consult with the Disabilities Resource Office before making any accommodations requested by students.

ACADEMIC HONESTY

Statement on Academic Honesty

Each student shall be honest in her academic work and shall support the honesty of others. She shall, moreover, guard against any appearance of dishonesty. Faculty members have a responsibility to refer to the College policy on academic honesty at the beginning of each course. Teachers shall foster the honesty of their students by conducting each course in a manner that discourages cheating or plagiarism. They shall, moreover, thoroughly investigate any evidence of cheating in their classes. Course instructors who have evidence of cheating or plagiarism shall make the charge and any subsequent action known to the student. Only then shall an appropriate penalty be imposed. It is recommended that the instructor submit in writing the name of any student found guilty of academic dishonesty serious enough to have been penalized, along with a description of the penalty imposed, to the Dean of Student Academic Services. Such reports will be kept in confidence, except in the case of continued violations by a student, in which case the reports may be presented to the Academic Standards Committee.

The instructor of the course in which a violation of academic honesty occurs will determine an appropriate penalty. Penalties may range from a refusal of credit for an individual assignment to failure in the course, depending on the seriousness of the offense. In cases recommended to it for further consideration, the Academic Standards Committee may also recommend other penalties, including academic dismissal from the College.

In addition:

  • Any member of the College community is encouraged to report to the instructor of the course any violation of academic honesty of which he or she has evidence.
  • Any member of the College community has the right to refer a violation of academic honesty of which he or she has evidence to the Dean of Student Academic Services for further consideration.
  • Any student has the right to refer an accusation of academic dishonesty or a grade resulting from such an accusation to the Dean of Student Academic Services for further consideration.
  • At the written request of any involved party, the Dean of Student Academic Services shall refer an appeal to the Academic Standards Committee for a wider hearing.
  • Any student taking a course through the Notre Dame Co-Exchange Program or the NICE Consortium shall adhere to and be subject to the host institution’s Academic Code of Honor or Academic Honesty Policy as it applies to that course.
  • At the discretion of the Dean of Student Academic Services, a case involving repeated violations of academic honesty by a student may be referred to the Academic Standards Committee for further consideration and possible disciplinary action. The student involved will be notified before any such referral is made.

Violation of Academic Honesty

When a student submits any work for academic credit, she makes an implicit claim that the work is wholly her own, done without the assistance of any person or source not explicitly noted, and that the work has not previously been submitted for academic credit in any other area. Students are free to study and work together on homework assignments unless specifically asked not to by the instructor. In the case of examinations (tests, quizzes, etc.), the student also implicitly claims that she has obtained no prior unauthorized information about the examination, and that she will neither give nor obtain any assistance during the examination. Moreover, a student shall not prevent others from completing their work.

Examples of violation include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Supplying or receiving completed papers, outlines, or research or submission by any person other than the author;
  2. Submitting the same, or essentially the same, paper or report for credit on two different occasions;
  3. Supplying or receiving unauthorized information about the form or content of an examination prior to its administration — specifically including unauthorized exam material prior to the exam;
  4. Supplying or receiving partial or complete answers, or suggestions for answers, assistance in the interpretation of questions on any examination from any source not explicitly authorized, including copying or reading another student’s work or consulting notes or other sources during examinations;
  5. Copying or allowing the copying of assigned work or the falsification of information;
  6. Removing study or research materials or equipment intended for common use in assigned work without authorization;
  7. Altering any materials or apparatus and, thereby, interfering with another student’s work; and
  8. Plagiarism (see the following statement in which plagiarism is defined).

Any exception to the above must be explicitly stated by the person giving academic credit for the work.

A Note on Plagiarism1

Plagiarism means presenting, as one’s own, the works, the work, or the opinions of someone else. It is dishonest, since the plagiarist offers, as her own, for credit, language, information, or thought for which she deserves no credit.

Plagiarism occurs when one uses the exact language of someone else without putting the quoted material in quotation marks and giving its source (exceptions are well-known quotations — from the Bible or Shakespeare, for example). In formal papers, the source is acknowledged in a footnote; in informal papers, it may be put in parentheses or made a part of the text: “Robert Sherwood says...” This first type of plagiarism, using without acknowledgment the language of someone else, is easy to understand and to avoid. When a writer uses the exact words of another writer or speaker, she must enclose those words in quotation marks and give their source.

A second type of plagiarism is more complex. It occurs when the writer presents, as her own, the sequence of ideas, the arrangement of material, and/or the pattern of thought of someone else, even though she expresses it in her own words. The language may be hers, but she is presenting and taking credit for the work of another. She is, therefore, guilty of plagiarism if she fails to give credit to the original author of the pattern of ideas.

Students writing informal theses, in which they are usually asked to draw on their own experience and information, can guard against plagiarism by a simple test. They should be able to answer no to the following questions:

  1. Am I deliberately recalling any particular source of information as I write this paper?
  2. Am I consulting any source as I write this paper?

If the answer to these questions is no, the writer need have no fear of using sources dishonestly. The material in her mind, which she will transfer to her written paper, is genuinely digested and her own.

The writing of a research paper presents a somewhat different problem; the student is expected to gather material from books and articles read for the purpose of writing the paper. In the careful research paper, however, (and this is true of term papers in all college courses) credit is given in footnotes for every idea, conclusion, or piece of information which is not the writer’s own, and the writer is careful not to follow closely the wording of the sources she has read.

If she wishes to quote, she encloses the passage in quotation marks and gives credit to the author in a footnote, but she writes the bulk of the paper in her own words and in her own style, using footnotes to acknowledge the facts and ideas taken from her reading.