General Academic Policies and Procedures 2011-2012
5. General Academic Policies and Procedures
Students are responsible for knowing the academic regulations stated in this catalog. Unfamiliarity does not constitute a valid reason for failure to adhere to them.
Each course has an alphanumeric code (e.g., ENGL 1301). The alpha portion is an abbreviation of the subject area, while the numeric portion provides specific information about the course. The first digit of the numeric portion indicates the level of the course (1=freshman level, 2=sophomore level, 3=junior level, 4=senior level, 5=master's level and 6=doctoral level). The second digit indicates the number of semester credit hours earned by satisfactorily completing the course. The third digit is a sequencing number, or, if it is a 7, the third digit indicates the course is not in the Texas Common Course Numbering System. The fourth digit is a sequencing number.
3. Course Rotations
This catalog indicates when undergraduate courses are normally offered using the following notations: FL=fall, SP=spring, SU=summer, AN=as needed. Students should consult the detailed class schedule for each semester and contact advisors for exact information.
To meet changing educational requirements, the university reserves the right to add, delete or change courses or degree requirements and to change the mode of delivery of any course of program.
5. Semester Hours
The unit of measure for credit purposes is the semester hour. One hour of class meeting (or equivalent in other work) each week usually is equal to one semester credit hour. For each credit hour, at least two hours of additional study and preparation are expected. Two or more hours of laboratory work are counted as the equivalent of one lecture hour.
6. Registration for Classes
Students will be permitted to attend class only when the instructor has received evidence of proper registration. Registration dates and deadlines are listed in the academic calendar found in this catalog and online at http://www.lamar.edu/academic-calendar. Dates for Academic Partnership courses are found below. Students may add courses, make section changes or drop courses only within the periods specified in the calendar. The Records Office prepares and publishes a schedule of classes in advance of each semester. That schedule may be found at the Records Office web site: http://dept.lamar.edu/records
Online programs following compressed 5 or 8 week-sessions follow a somewhat different calendar for admission, enrollment, drop dates, and other activities. Students interested in or enrolled in these programs should consult their advisors and see the calendars provided online.
8. Minimum Class Enrollment
The University reserves the right not to offer any undergraduate course if fewer than 10 students register and pay tuition and fees.
9. Course Auditing by Senior Citizens
Senior citizens, 65 years of age or older, may register for and audit courses without the payment of tuition or fees on a space-available basis. For further information, contact the Registrar at 409.880.2113 or email@example.com.
10. Class Attendance/Participation
Regular class attendance/participation is important to the attainment of educational objectives. Instructors will formulate an attendance/participation policy consistent with departmental policies and suited to the needs of the particular course. The instructor's policy will be explained in detail to the class at the beginning of the semester and will appear in the course syllabus.
11. Student Absences on Religious Holy Days
Under Texas Education Code, Section 51.911, Lamar University shall excuse a student from attending classes or other required activities, including examinations, for the observance of a religious holy day, including travel for that purpose. A student whose absence is excused under this subsection may not be penalized for that absence and shall be allowed to take an exam or complete an assignment from which the student is excused within a reasonable period of time after the absence. Texas Education Code, Section 51.911, defines a religious holy day. If a student and an instructor disagree about the nature of the absence being for the observance of a religious holy day as defined therein, or if there is similar disagreement about whether the student has been given a reasonable time to complete any missed assignments or examinations, either the student or the instructor may request a ruling from the Provost. The student and the instructor shall abide by the decision of the Provost.
12. Dropping Courses
Students may drop a course and receive a grade of "Q" during the penalty-free period of the semester or session. For drops after this penalty-free period, grades are recorded as "Q" or "F," indicating the student was passing or failing at the time of the drop. A grade of "Q" may not be assigned unless an official drop has been processed through the Records Office. Students may drop a course online by logging into their mylamar student account. For additional help contact the academic advisor or the records office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Students may not drop a course during the last 20% of the term. Students should check the academic calendar at http://www.lamar.edu/academic-calendar for specific dates.
13. Instructor-Initiated Drop
When absences or lack of participation seriously interfere with a student's performance, the instructor may recommend to the department chair that the student be dropped from the course. If this action is taken after the penalty-free period of the semester or session, a grade of "F" may be recorded for the course. The student's major department will be notified that the student was dropped. Students remain responsible for initiating drop procedures if they find that they cannot attend or participate in classes. Students can check their status in classes by logging on to their myLamar student accounts, contacting an academic advisor, or contacting the Records office at email@example.com.
14. Reinstatement to Class
A student dropped from a course may be reinstated upon written approval by the chair of the major department, the instructor, and the instructor's department chair.
15. Withdrawing from the University
Students wishing to withdraw entirely from the university and drop all Lamar University courses should contact an academic advisor or the Records office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Students must clear all financial obligations and return all university property. If, however, the student is unable at the time of withdrawal to clear financial obligations to the university, the student will be permitted to withdraw with the understanding that transcripts will be withheld and re-entry to Lamar University will not be permitted until all financial obligations are cleared.
For information on possible refunds, see section 3.12 of this catalog.
If a withdrawal is made before the end of the penalty-free period or if the student is passing at the time of withdrawal during the penalty period, a grade of "W" will be issued for each course affected. A grade of "F" may be issued for all courses not being passed at the time of withdrawal after the penalty-free period. A student may not withdraw within the last 20% of the term. A student who leaves without withdrawing officially will receive a grade of "F" in all courses and forfeit all returnable fees. Students should check the academic calendar for specific dates. Students wishing to withdraw after the official withdrawal date should contact their Dean.
16. Enforced Withdrawal Due to Health Reasons
The Director of the Health Center and the Vice President for Student Affairs, on the advice of competent medical personnel, may require withdrawal or deny admission of a student for health reasons (mental or physical).
Students wishing to change majors should contact their academic advisor or the chair of their major department
18. Change of Address or Name
Students are responsible for all communications addressed to them at the address on file in the Records Office. Students who move during a semester must immediately update their contact information in the myLamar student account
Students who legally change their names or wish to correct errors in their name as currently recorded by the university should contact the Records office at email@example.com. All name changes must be accompanied by a copy of the legal document making the name change official. This document will be retained by the university.
19. Simultaneous Enrollment
Students who desire to enroll simultaneously at more than one institution of higher education should be aware that courses taken at other institutions may not apply to Lamar University degree plans. They should contact an academic advisor or the chair of the major department for advance approval of simultaneous enrollment. Such approval will be granted only if all Lamar University academic policies are being followed. For example, academic load restrictions and probation restrictions apply to the total credit hours taken at all institutions.
20. Academic Progress
Classification of Students
Students are classified as freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors, post-baccalaureate and graduate students. Officially enrolled students are classified as follows:
- Freshman: all entrance requirements have been met, but fewer than 30 semester hours have been earned;
- Sophomore: has earned a minimum of 30 semester hours;
- Junior: has earned a minimum of 60 semester hours;
- Senior: has earned a minimum of 90 semester hours;
- Post-baccalaureate: holds a bachelor's degree, but is not enrolled in a degree program or has not been admitted to a graduate program.
- Graduate: has been formally accepted by a graduate program and is pursuing a graduate degree
A full-time student is an undergraduate student taking 12 or more semester hours in the fall or spring semester or 6 or more semester hours in Summer term I or II. A full-time graduate student is one who takes 9 or more semester hours in the fall or spring semester, or 3 or more in a summer term. Some sources of student aid reduce payments to students dropping below full-time status.
A – Excellent
B – Good
C – Satisfactory
D – Passing
F – Failure
I – Incomplete
Q – Course was dropped during penalty-free period or course was dropped later,
QL--Dropped (S.B. 1231--Six drop rule)
S – Satisfactory (credit)
U – Unsatisfactory (no credit)
NG –No grade (Thesis/Dissertation only)
W – Withdrawn from Lamar University
The grade of "W" or "Q" is given if the withdrawal or drop is made during the penalty-free period (see part 10 above) or if the student is passing at the time of withdrawal or drop during the penalty period. To drop or withdraw after "Census Day," the student must contact the Registrar's Office (Room 102, Wimberly Building) 409-880-8542 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The grade of "I" may be given when any requirement of the course, including the final examination, is not completed. Arrangements to complete deficiencies in a course should be made with the instructor. Incomplete work must be finished during the next long semester, or the Records Office will change the "I" grade to the grade of "F". The course must then be repeated if credit is desired. The instructor may record the grade of "F" for a student who is absent from the final examinations and is not passing the course. Semester grades are filed with the Records Office. Except in very unusual situations, no grade may be corrected or changed without the written authorization of the instructor who assigned the grade. The grade change form requires the reason for the change and must be approved and signed by the instructor and department chair. All changes involving "Q" and "W" also require the approval and signature of the dean. If the requested change is for a grade assigned more than one year before the request, the dean also must approve and sign the form. If the requested change is for a grade assigned more than three years before the request, the Senior Associate Provost also must approve and sign the form. After a degree has been conferred, no transcripted grade may be changed except those assigned to graduating seniors in their final semester. Such changes require the approval of the Provost. Since faculty are required to retain academic records for only three years, students should make every effort to submit grade change requests as soon as possible.
Grade Point Average Computation
The grade point average is a measure of the student's overall academic performance and is used in the determination of academic standing, rank in class, eligibility for graduation, program eligibility and honors. To compute grade point averages, grade points are assigned to letter grades as follows: to the grade "A," 4 points; to "B," 3 points; to "C," 2 points; to "D," 1 point, and to "F," "I," "S," "U," "NG," "Q," "W," 0 points. The number of grade points earned in a course is obtained by multiplying the number of semester credit hours by the number of points assigned to the grade made in the course. The grade point average is calculated by dividing the total number of grade points earned by the total number of semester hours attempted in courses for which the grades "A," "B," "C," "D," and "F" are assigned. Thus, for grades, "I," "S," "U," "NG," "W," and "Q," neither semester hours nor grade points are used in the computation of the grade point average. Hours attempted include all work taken, whether passed, failed or repeated. Courses in which a grade of "S" or "U" is assigned are used in calculating a student's semester hour load and to determine full-time/part-time status, but are not included in the grade point average.
21. Academic Records and Transcripts
Academic records are in the permanent custody of the Records Office. Transcripts of academic records may be secured by an individual student personally, or will be released on the student's written authorization. For further information on how to request a transcript, go to http://dept.lamar.edu/records. College transcripts on file from other colleges will not be duplicated by Lamar University's Records Office. Students who owe debts to the university or who have not met entrance requirements may have their official transcripts withheld until the debt is paid or credentials are furnished. Chapter 675, Acts of the 61st Legislature, 1969 Regular Session, provides that "no person may buy, sell, create, duplicate, alter, give or obtain a diploma, certificate, academic record, certificate of enrollment or other instrument which purports to signify merit, or achievement conferred by an institution of education in this state with the intent to use fraudulently such document or to allow the fraudulent use of such document. A person who violates this Act or who aids another in violating this Act is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction, is punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 and/or confinement in the county jail for a period not to exceed one year."
22. Final Grades
Grades are available at the end of each term. Students may see their grades by logging on to their Self-Service Banner student accounts. Students should discuss any alleged error or discrepancy with the course instructor and, as appropriate, with the University Registrar or personnel in the Records Office.
23. Academic Probation and Suspension
Any student whose cumulative grade point average (GPA) falls below satisfactory academic progress (2.00 or higher cumulative grade point average) will be placed on academic probation. This designation indicates the student is not making satisfactory academic progress toward the completion of an associate or baccalaureate degree. All students who are on academic probation must be advised in Student Advising and Retention Services (STARS), except for Individual Approval students and Nursing students who are classified as juniors or seniors and who have been accepted into the Nursing program. Individual Approval students on academic probation must be advised by the Center for College Readiness. Registration of students on academic probation will be blocked by the university until permission is granted by the college, Center for General Studies, STARS, the Center for College Readiness, and/or the Dean. During advising, an academic action plan will be developed. This plan serves as an academic contract between the student and the college or other academic supervision unit for the next semester/term. The student may be required to receive academic counseling and/or support services (e.g. tutoring) as a condition of the contract. A student on probation who demonstrates academic improvement (i.e., a 2.00 or higher semester/term GPA) and complies with all other conditions of the academic action plan during the next semester/term of enrollment, but whose cumulative grade point average does not return to satisfactory academic progress (2.00 cumulative GPA) will remain on probation. A student on probation who does NOT demonstrate academic improvement (i.e., lower than a 2.00 semester/term GPA) and/or fails to comply with any other condition of the action plan during the next semester/term of enrollment will be academically suspended from Lamar University or, with approval from the academic dean, the Center for College Readiness, or STARS, will be placed on continued probation and subject to a new academic action plan. A student subject to his or her first academic suspension must serve a long semester (fall or spring) or entire summer (summer mini, summer sessions I-IV) suspension before returning to Lamar University. Upon return, the student will be placed on probation and will be subject to a new academic action plan. A second suspension will last two consecutive semesters (i.e., fall-spring, spring-summer, summer-fall), and a third suspension will result in expulsion from Lamar University. Any courses completed at other colleges or universities—including the Lamar two-year institutions—during periods of suspension will not be accepted by Lamar University as transfer credit. For advisement or additional information, a student on probation or suspension should contact his/her college, STARS, the College Readiness Center, or Dean.
Application for Graduation
The graduation process consists of the following steps, which must be completed by the student prior to the deadline published in the Academic Calendar. The student must:
- Be properly admitted to the university;
- Submit all transcripts of college coursework from other institutions to the Records Office;
- Request the major department to send an approved degree plan to the Records Office by the due date listed in the Academic Calendar; students in online programs may make these arrangements through their academic advisors.
- Achieve a grade point average of 2.00 on a 4.00 scale (or 2.50 depending on the degree program) on all Lamar University coursework in the degree program;
- Satisfy all requirements set by the major department and college;
- Complete an application for graduation following the instructions found at http://dept.lamar.edu/records and pay necessary fees for cap, gown and diploma by the deadline listed in the Academic Calendar; and
- Clear all financial and property matters by the deadline for submitting degree plans.
If the student does not graduate, the department must submit a new degree plan. The student must reapply and repay fees in the Records Department in order to graduate at a later date. The student is responsible for securing official advisement about remaining course work required for graduation two semesters prior to the event, for making application to graduate and for checking compliance with all degree requirements.
All graduating students are encouraged to participate in Commencement exercises. See the Academic Calendar at http://www.lamar.edu/academic-calendar for dates.
Graduation Under a Particular Catalog
A student is entitled to graduate under the degree provisions of the catalog in effect at the time of the student's first completed semester of enrollment with these exceptions: 1) A catalog more than seven years old shall not be used. 2) The program of the student who interrupts enrollment (for reasons other than involuntary military service) for one calendar year or more shall be governed by the catalog in effect at the time of the student's re-entrance to the University. The student who interrupts enrollment for involuntary military service must re-enroll within one year from the date of separation from military service in order for this provision to apply. For these purposes, enrollment shall be defined as registration for and successful completion of at least one course during an academic term. A student forced to withdraw for adequate cause before completion of a course may petition for a waiver of this provision at the time of withdrawal. The degree program of the student who declares a major or who changes majors shall be the departmental degree requirements in effect at the time the new major becomes effective. General degree requirements shall be those in effect at the time of the student's first completed semester of enrollment, provided neither condition "1" nor "2" applies. Any student transferring from a two-year college to Lamar University can qualify to graduate under the general degree requirements of the catalog in effect when the student entered the two-year college. However, students who interrupt their studies for one calendar year or more before transferring to Lamar University are subject to the general degree requirements of the catalog in effect when they enroll at Lamar University. At the discretion of the appropriate dean, students can be required to comply with all changes in the curriculum made subsequent to the year in which they were initially enrolled. Deletions and additions of courses will be of approximately equal credit, so no student will have an overall appreciable increase of total credits required for graduation.
To be designated an honor graduate, a member of the graduating class must: 1) have completed at least 60 semester hours at Lamar University for a four-year degree or 30 semester hours for a two-year degree, and 2) have a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.50 for all undergraduate course work attempted at Lamar University. Only course work attempted at Lamar University will be included in the grade point average calculation for honors. Transfer course work will not be included in the calculation of GPAs for honors. A GPA of 3.50 to 3.64 qualifies for cum laude (honors), 3.65 to 3.79 for magna cum laude (high honors), and 3.80 to 4.00 for summa cum laude (highest honors). Grades made the semester of graduation are included in the calculation of GPAs for honors. Honor graduates will be recognized during graduation ceremonies.
25. Academic Honesty
Lamar University expects students to maintain high standards of academic integrity in all university work. University policy on academic dishonesty, including plagiarism, cheating, and collusion may be found in the Student Handbook published online at http://dept.lamar.edu/studentaffairs/handbook.htm.
26. Policies Subject to Change
Although every effort is made to provide complete and accurate information in this catalog, changes in academic policies and regulations may occur at any time, without notice.
27. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Annual Notification to Students
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights are:
- The right to inspect and review the student's educational records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access. Students should submit to the registrar, dean or chair of the academic department written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The University official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the University official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
- The right to request the amendment of the student's educational records that the student believes is inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
- The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's educational records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is defined as a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Regents; or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. Upon request, the University discloses educational records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education 400 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20202-5901 Available for download at: http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/index.html
The following items are considered DIRECTORY INFORMATION by the University, and the University may disclose any of these items without prior written consent, unless the student notifies the Registrar in writing to the contrary by September 1 of each fiscal year:
- All addresses, including University issued e-mail address
- All telephone numbers
- Major field of study
- Academic classification
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- Weight and height of members of athletic teams
- Dates of attendance and enrollment status
- Degrees and awards received
- Last educational agency or institution attended
- Class roster (not the student's class schedule)