Academic Policies

Please refer to the Academic Bulletin (catalog) for complete academic information.

Academic Honesty Policy

The faculty of Gustavus Adolphus College expects all students to adhere to the highest standards of academic honesty, and to refrain from any action that impinges upon the academic freedom of other members of the college community. In all academic exercises, examinations, presentations, speeches, papers, and reports, students shall submit their own work. Footnotes or some other acceptable form of citation must accompany any use of another’s words or ideas. Students are especially cautioned that quoting from or paraphrasing from electronic sources without proper citation is as serious a violation as copying from a book or other printed source.

In the case of cheating or plagiarism, the instructor will inform the student and the Office of the Provost of the nature of the offense, the penalty within the course, and the recommendation of the instructor as to whether further disciplinary action is warranted. Another instance of academic dishonesty will result in review of the student’s record by the Academic Probation Committee and may result in the student being placed on academic probation. If a pattern of academic dishonesty continues, the student may be permanently dismissed from the College.
A student may not submit work that is substantially the same in two courses without first gaining permission of both instructors if the courses are taken concurrently, or permission of the current instructor, if the work had been submitted in a previous semester.

The faculty regards the damaging of library materials and failing to sign out or to return them properly, and misuse of computer files and programs as equally serious violations of the ethical standards of courtesy, fairness, and honesty that bind together a community of scholars.
Individuals who use the College’s computer facilities assume the responsibility of seeing that these resources are used in an appropriate manner. Misuse of computer hardware, software, data, and output is a violation of College policy and regulations and may also be a violation of law if data of other computer users are disturbed or the privacy of individuals is violated.
Finally, students who serve the College in positions of responsibility in which they deal with test materials, letters of recommendation, and other matters that must be held in confidence are expected to maintain confidentiality and to adhere to the same high standards of personal integrity.

I. Honor Code
Every Gustavus Adolphus College student is required to sign the following statement before final admittance into the College:

"As a community of scholars, the faculty and students of Gustavus Adolphus College have formulated an academic honesty policy and honor code system, which is printed in the Academic Bulletin and in the Gustavus Guide. As a student at Gustavus Adolphus College I agree to uphold the honor code. This means that I will abide by the academic honesty policy, and abide by decisions of the joint student/faculty Honor Board."

Through information provided in syllabi and/or other means, faculty members will explain to students how the Honor Code will operate in their respective courses. The following statement will be written in full and signed on every examination and graded paper:

"On my honor, I pledge that I have not given, received, or tolerated others’ use of unauthorized aid in completing this work."

A similar statement may be signed by students at the beginning of a course, indicating that their work for that course will comply with the Academic Honesty Policy and the Honor Code.

Gustavus Adolphus College is proud to operate under an honor system. The faculty and students have jointly created an Honor Board to enforce this policy. In signing this statement, a student is promising that his or her work complies fully with the authorized aid as defined by the professor. It is each professor’s responsibility to state course penalties for academic honesty policy violations, and to define the level of authorized aid appropriate to the work in the course or to the particular assignment. However, the student is responsible to ask questions about any reasonable doubt they have regarding the professor’s definition.

Under the Academic Honesty Policy, the instructor informs “…the student and the Office of the Provost of the nature of the offense, the penalty within the course, and the recommendation of the instructor as to whether further disciplinary action is warranted.” The in-course penalties and notification of the Provost’s Office should end the matter in most cases. However, if a student disputes the allegation of academic dishonesty, the student can request an Honor Board hearing.

A six-member Honor Board panel (three students and three faculty members) will investigate and hear the case. Both the accused student and the instructor have the right to submit statements and documents and/or be present for the proceeding. A vote of at least 4–2 is needed to decide that the student is indeed guilty of an academic honesty policy violation. If the Board rules that a violation occurred, all other provisions of the Academic Honesty Policy will apply, including the instructor’s in-course penalties, and possible probation or suspension for repeated offenses. If the student is not found guilty it will be presumed that no violation occurred, and the instructor will not penalize the student for an honesty violation. (Honesty aside, the quality of the student’s work is still subject to the instructor’s professional judgment.) Decisions of the Board are final.

The Honor Board pool comprises six students and six faculty members. From this pool of twelve, three students and three faculty members will be appointed by the Office of the Provost to investigate and adjudicate cases involving the Academic Honesty Policy. Potential student members are required to complete an application, and are interviewed and nominated each spring for the next academic year by the Dean of Students Office. After receiving the nominations, the Student Senate Cabinet appoints the student board members. The faculty members are invited to indicate an interest in serving on the board and are then nominated by the Academic Operations Committee. The Faculty Senate makes the appointment of faculty board members each spring. Each Honor Board member participates in an orientation session and is instructed on the importance of confidentiality and proper investigation procedures.

The proctoring of exams will be at the discretion of the instructor.

An integral part of the Honor Code is non-tolerance of violations. This non-tolerance policy recognizes that we are not only responsible for our own ethical conduct but are also members of a vital community with obligations to contribute to its ethical climate. Under this code students are not expected to police others’ actions. Rather, students agree to report violations of which they become aware and for which failure to do so would constitute an honor code violation. Maliciously making a false accusation will be considered a violation of the honor code.

Passed by faculty on 10/23/02; revised 11/10/06; revised 4/20/12.

II. Use of Computer Facilities
Users are expected to abide by the following rules:

  1. Files, sign-ons, usernames, passwords, and computer output belonging to an individual or to the institution are considered to be personal property. Users will not examine, change, or use another person’s or institutional files, output, or usernames for which they do not have explicit authorization. Attempts to circumvent the protective mechanisms in the computer system will be considered violations of the right to privacy.
  2. Users will not deliberately attempt to degrade system performance or capability. Loopholes in the computer system, knowledge, or special passwords will not be used to damage the system, to change information in the system and files, to take resources from another user, or to violate privacy rights.
  3. Unauthorized copies of copyrighted material will not be created, distributed, or knowingly utilized.
  4. The College’s computers will not be used for commercial or nonacademic purposes without written authorization from the director of the appropriate facility.

More specific information can be obtained through Gustavus Technology Services and by referring to the Technology Acceptable Use Policy.

Acceptable Use Policy

Technology resources provided by Gustavus Adolphus College are privileges made available to students, faculty, staff, and approved guests of the College to facilitate and enhance their work, teaching, learning, and scholarly research. These resources include College-owned hardware, software, accompanying network resources, and technology support personnel. All constituents are expected to exercise responsibility, use technology resources ethically, respect the rights and privacy of others, and operate within the bounds of state and federal law, as well as the educational mission of the College.

Intended Use of Technology

The intended use of the College’s technology resources is to support teaching, learning, research, and campus services. All use of technology must be consistent with this purpose. Activities that are not in keeping with the intended use will not be tolerated and may result in revocation of privileges. Such activities may include, but are not limited to:

  • Activities that interfere with or deny access to other users.
  • Activities that jeopardize the security or integrity of the system.
  • Activities that are harassing, fraudulent, or threatening.
  • Activities that significantly diminish or impede the educational use of these resources or flow of network traffic to other users, such as e-mail spamming, file sharing, or game playing.
  • Activities that alter the configuration of College-owned equipment in campus labs and other public areas, including the installation of software.
  • Activities that are commercial in nature.
  • Activities that create a hostile or offensive work environment.
  • Activities that violate copyright laws or other federal and state statutes.

Copyright

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code) to the authors of original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works. You should assume materials you find on the Internet are copyrighted unless a disclaimer or waiver is expressly stated. Some examples of copyright violations would include:

  • Displaying pictures or graphics you have not created yourself.
  • Offering sound recordings you have not produced yourself.
  • Using programs to distribute copyrighted files.
  • Placing any materials owned by others on your Web page (or any other medium) without the expressed permission of the original owner.

Fair Use

Educational institutions enjoy special exemptions from copyright protection called “fair use,” whereby reasonable portions of copyrighted material may be distributed by instructors to students in a class. For further information, see the Library of Congress’s Copyright Office Circular 21: “Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians.”

Violations

The College strives to direct its efforts to the enhancement of technology resources and not the policing of the use of those resources. Engaging in any activity that violates the intended use of campus technology will result in the disabling of the offender’s technology privileges and will be referred to the appropriate college judicial organization for review and any disciplinary recourse. Violations of state or federal law may be reported to the appropriate authorities.

Academic Schedule Conflicts

I. Policy
The heart of Gustavus Adolphus College is its academic program. Regular class attendance is expected and takes priority over other College activities. Because the College offers diverse activities that carry varying degrees of academic credit, students participating in sports, music, debate, and similar activities will inevitably encounter conflicts. Difficult choices must be made.
The College has developed a daily schedule that is designed to minimize conflicts between the many curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular activities that are offered. Faculty members are responsible for making their attendance policy clear, in writing, at the beginning of the term. Faculty members who require attendance at activities outside of the scheduled class times (such as evening examinations, special lectures or performances, field trips, rehearsals, practices, or conferences) should notify students as far in advance as possible, so that in the event of conflicts, alternative ways of meeting these requirements can be negotiated. Each student is accountable for all work missed because of absences from class, and instructors are not required to make special arrangements for students who have been absent.

Class absences will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis by the instructor. If a student is going to miss class for any reason, the student should discuss this with the instructor as early as possible. Students choosing to be absent should recognize that their lack of participation may affect their final grade negatively. Absences for any reason may be taken into account in the evaluation of a student’s work, and a student may be dropped from the class if the student misses more classes than allowed by the professor.

No games or activities, with the possible exception of tournaments, may be scheduled during final exams. For students who must miss final examinations because of such tournaments, faculty members will provide reasonable and appropriate alternatives for satisfying the course requirement.

II. Guidelines
Faculty members and others scheduling courses offered by special arrangement, activities associated with courses but not reflected in the Master Course Schedule, or other approved activities, should make every effort to avoid conflicts with the courses listed on the Master Course Schedule. The person scheduling these activities should make the schedule of dates and times for them available to participating students as far in advance as possible in written form. Some flexibility will need to be built into these activities, recognizing that students have already constructed a schedule based on the Master Course Schedule.

Normally, classes and laboratories will be scheduled during the first eight periods of the day and varsity sports, choirs, bands, etc., will be scheduled after the seventh hour. Some exceptions, such as laboratories, are unavoidable, but efforts should be made to minimize conflicts by making other options available to those students affected.

As an increasing number of courses are scheduled to meet in the evening, those who arrange evening events, such as lectures and evening exams, must become more sensitive to the issue of conflicts.

Courses with associated events in the evenings should be indicated as such in the Master Course Schedule. The written syllabi for these courses should list the planned evening events and should indicate possible solutions to conflicts.

Intercollegiate sporting events should be scheduled in order to minimize the number of classes students will miss and to minimize travel as much as possible. Most should be planned for weekends, holidays, and vacations, not weekdays. Neither practice nor dressing and taping time should be acceptable excuses for missing class.

Grade Appeals Policy

Students have the right to be protected against prejudiced or capricious academic evaluation. A student who wishes to appeal a final course grade on these grounds should first appeal to the instructor. This action should end the matter in most cases, but if not, the student should appeal to the department chair (or a senior faculty member in the department if the chair is the person giving the grade). If that does not resolve the issue, the student may appeal to the Office of the Provost, which will convene the Grade Appeals Board to assist in determining an appropriate resolution. If the Grade Appeals Board determines that the grade should be changed, it would provide the instructor with a written explanation of its reasons and would request that the grade be changed. The instructor should either make the recommended change or provide a written explanation to the Grade Appeals Board for not doing so. Only then, the Provost, upon the written recommendation of the Grade Appeals Board, would have the authority to effect a change in grade over the objection of the instructor.

The Grade Appeals Board will consist of five faculty members, one from each division, nominated by the Academic Operations Committee and appointed to staggered three-year terms by the Faculty Senate. A member of the Grade Appeals Board may ask to be recused from hearing an appeal if the member perceives a conflict of interest. The student appellant may also request to disqualify a member perceived as being potentially biased from hearing the appeal. In the event that a member of the Board is recused or removed, that person will be replaced by another faculty member from the same division, to be appointed by an Academic Dean in consultation with the chair of the Academic Operations Committee.

A grade appeal must be initiated within one year after the grade was officially recorded in the Registrar’s Office.

Student Educational Records

Gustavus Adolphus College accords its students all rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and related state laws.

Under FERPA provisions, as amended in December 1974, enrolled students have the right to inspect their education records. Education records do not include personal records of instructional, administrative, and educational personnel; security department records; student health records; employment records; or alumni records.

In addition, under Minnesota law, individuals, whether enrolled students or not, have the right to be informed, upon request, of the content and meaning of their Gustavus student records (except those confidential by statute).

Students may request the amendment of their educational records to ensure that they are not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of their privacy or other rights. Written requests for such amendment should be made directly to the office where the information is maintained.

The College will not disclose information from students’ education records without their written consent except to the extent authorized by law.

At its discretion, the College may provide directory information to any inquirer. Directory information includes: periods of enrollment, degrees awarded, honors, major(s), date of graduation, home and college addresses, e-mail and telephone numbers, and date of birth. Students may prevent directory information about them from being disclosed by formally notifying the Office of the Registrar.

As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education's FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which student education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records—including Social Security Number, grades, or other private information—may be accessed without a student's consent. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities ("Federal and State Authorities") may allow access to student records and PII without 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 childhood 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 education records and PII without prior 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 students' 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 consent PII from the education records, and they may track a student's participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about the student 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.

Students who believe that their rights under FERPA have been abridged may file complaints with the Family Policy Compliance Office, Department of Education, Washington, D.C. 20201.
The Complete College policy on student education records is available to any individual upon request from the Registrar’s and Dean of Students’ offices.

Please see the section in Student Codes titled Student Records for more information on student records and privacy.

Final Exams

A campus-wide final exam schedule is administered by the Office of the Registrar for Fall and Spring semesters. Faculty policy requires that the last test for a course, whether a comprehensive final exam or a partial unit test, shall be given in accordance with this schedule; students are expected to take exams at the scheduled time. Instructors may not reschedule the final test date and/or time for the entire class without permission of the Registrar.