Academic Resources—The Learning Commons
The Maytum Learning Commons, located in Pelletier Library, houses academic support and advising services to create a “one-stop shop” for all students. It is dedicated to helping students thrive at all stages of their college careers.
The Learning Commons’ professional staff consult individually with students on study strategies such as time management, effective reading, and test taking; facilitate summer entrance advising; support the academic advising program with four-year course planning and help declaring a major/minor; and arrange accommodations for students with disabilities. Trained peer consultants assist students with writing, public speaking, and study in a variety of academic subjects.
For more information about the Learning Commons, to pick up a tutoring schedule, or to make an appointment, stop by in person, call 814-332-2898, or visit the Learning Commons Website: http://sites.allegheny.edu/learningcommons/.
Academic Regulations and Policies
The Semester Calendar
Allegheny divides the academic year into two semesters of 15 weeks each. A month-long break, beginning in late December, separates the semesters. Vacations occur during October, over Thanksgiving, and in March.
During semesters, classes typically meet two or three times per week for periods of 75 or 50 minutes, respectively. Associated laboratories are usually scheduled separately, although they may be scheduled at the regular class time if appropriate. Prior to registration, information about class times and examination periods for all courses to be offered is made available electronically to all students via WebAdvisor.
The Credit System
Most courses receive four semester credit hours, and, for a student enrolled for the usual full-time courseload of 16 credits, four-credit courses are designed to require no more than one-fourth of the time devoted by the student to academics. Some courses may receive one, two, or three semester credit hours.
Courses taught as Module (7-week) or as “short” (less than 7-week) courses should not generally exceed two semester credit hours. Matriculated, degree-seeking students must already be enrolled in order to add a Module (7-week) or “short” (less than 7-week) course. Students must not have voluntarily withdrawn nor been dismissed or suspended from the College at the time at which they wish to add such a course.
The usual academic load is 16 semester credit hours in each semester and 32 semester hours for the academic year. Students may take up to 20 semester hours per semester without special permission.
A student is considered to be a first-year student from the date of matriculation until the semester following completion of the 28th semester hour, when the student becomes a sophomore. A student becomes a junior in the semester following completion of the 60th semester hour, and a senior in the semester following completion of the 92nd semester hour.
Class Attendance Policy
Students are expected to attend class regularly and communicate with their instructors about absences in a timely fashion. The following guidelines govern class attendance at Allegheny College.
- With the exception of official medical excuses (described in section 6 below), students are permitted to be absent from class only with the approval of the instructor. Unauthorized absences may result in grade penalty or other consequences at the discretion of the instructor. Course instructors are required to state their attendance policy at the outset of the course. Religious holidays and illness or death of a family member are generally recognized as legitimate reasons to miss class, although students should be prepared to provide documentation.
- On occasion, college-related activities will conflict with class meetings. Faculty are not required to excuse students for these activities; however, many faculty are willing to make reasonable alternative arrangements for students who provide advance notice of anticipated absences, take responsibility for completing missed work, and make every effort possible to reduce disruption to the course as the result of their absences.
- Sponsors of college-related activities should make every reasonable effort to avoid planning events that will conflict with class schedules. In addition, sponsors of these activities should provide notice to student participants and to faculty of anticipated absences at the earliest possible date. These notices will typically come from coaches in case of athletic conflict and from the Dean of Students Office in all other cases.
- Students should take responsibility for providing advance notice of absences, for acquiring information or course materials distributed during the missed class meeting(s), and for completing make-up assignments.
- Students should discuss potential conflicts with faculty advisors when planning for course registration and attempt to schedule class times that will not interfere with legitimate college activities whenever possible, keeping in mind that completing required courses is always the most important consideration.
- Official medical excuses from academic requirements such as tests, examinations, quizzes, laboratories, reports, papers, and other assignments are governed by the following policy.
- The illness or injury must be one which has been determined by medical authority to require bed rest for a period not less than 24 hours, immobilization, or treatment that can only be scheduled in conflict with class or laboratory work.
- Excuses for courses requiring physical activity are issued for medical problems which will prohibit participation.
- Illness or injuries are to be diagnosed and/or treated either by the College physician or at a recognized medical facility off-campus. The staff of the Winslow Health Center will confirm diagnosis or treatment within 24 hours following, but not at a later time.
- If students receive treatment off campus and believe that a medical excuse may appropriately be given, they should request written confirmation of the treatment before leaving the facility where it is given.
- The Winslow Health Center does not provide official medical excuses for common complaints such as simple respiratory infections or colds, pulled muscles, headaches, and the like. Students should communicate directly with faculty about situations where classes are missed due to a minor illness.
- Section 1 above permits faculty the discretion to set a more permissive medical excuse policy for their individual course.
- Questions about this policy should be referred to the Office of the Registrar.
This policy is under the purview of the Academic Standards Committee. Changes are subject to a vote of the Faculty.
Tests, Papers, and Examinations Policy
A. General Principles Governing Culminating Assignments
- All regularly scheduled classes must include a culminating assignment in the form of a final written exam, written assignment, oral exam, or comparable activity. Exceptions are permitted only with the approval of the Provost.
- The exam time for a course is designated by letter code in the course information posted on WebAdvisor. The schedule of final examinations for the ensuing academic year is included in the Academic Calendar published online by the Registrar’s Office.
- Examination periods are three hours in length. Students shall be given the full three hours to complete a final exam unless the syllabus specifies a shorter time period. However, students granted extra time for accommodations shall receive any additional time to which they are entitled.
- The time and date that an alternative final assessment, such as a term paper or take-home final, is due should be stated in the syllabus and must be no earlier than the starting time of the scheduled final for the course.
B. Principles Governing the Timing of Tests and Examinations
- All hour-tests should be scheduled as soon as possible in the semester; they should be announced to classes at least a week before they are given.
- No hour-test or final written examination may be given during the last five weekdays before classes end in any semester. Hour-tests and final examinations may not be given on study days.
- If a written assignment is used in place of a final examination, in no case should an instructor require a student to hand in the written assignment before the time period originally scheduled for the final examination of that course. If no final examination period has been scheduled for a course, the written assignment may not be due prior to noon on the second day of examinations.
- After an hour-test or examination has been taken by a student, no re-examination is permitted. This regulation should not be construed as prohibiting the retaking of hurdle examinations under self-paced instructional systems such as the Keller method.
C. Principles Governing Take-Home Examinations
- Instructors should make clear the ground-rules for take-home tests given during and at the end of the semester: the amount of time allowed for the writing of the examination, whether the examinations are to be taken with open or closed books, whether or not students are allowed to collaborate and the nature of that collaboration, and when the examinations are due.
- Out of fairness to students who must allocate study time among several courses, the time required for students to prepare and complete take-home examinations should be comparable to the time spent studying for and taking in-class examinations.
- Take-home finals may be handed out during the last week of classes. In no case should an instructor require a student to hand in a take-home examination before the time period originally scheduled for the final examination of that course. If no final examination period has been scheduled for a course, the exam may not be due prior to noon on the second day of examinations.
D. Principles Governing Culminating Assignments for Module A and Module B courses
- Module A courses shall follow the principles outlined here to the maximum extent possible, recognizing that many of the principles assume a final examination period at the end of the full semester.
- Final examinations in Module A courses shall be scheduled in advance by the instructor to take place in the eighth week of the semester. As this overlaps with both full semester courses and Module B courses, it is not possible to centrally schedule exam times. Given this, Module A instructors may need to schedule several final examinations to accommodate complex student schedules, but every effort should be made to find one, common final exam period.
- For Module A courses, ONLY final written exams, written assignments, oral exams, or comparable activity may be scheduled in the eighth week of the semester; regular class sessions may not.
- Module B courses are subject to all the principles outlined for full semester courses.
E. Principles Governing Exceptions to Final Examination Schedules
Students are required to arrange travel and vacation plans to allow them to take all exams at the scheduled time.
Exceptions are permitted only in the following circumstances:
- Three final exams scheduled for the same day.
- A documented disability for which the appropriate accommodation requires a change in exam time.
- A required religious observance that might limit a student’s ability to perform on a final examination.
- Extraordinary extenuating circumstances.
Special examinations shall only be given after careful consideration of the circumstances presented by the student. All requests for exam changes should be made prior to the last week of classes. Requests for exam changes after this date shall only be considered in cases of unforeseen personal or family emergencies.
- Undue strain is placed on the Honor Code when multiple examinations are administered at multiple times.
- Undue pressure is placed on faculty to be available for an additional exam administration and possibly to construct a different version of the exam. In the latter case, consistency in exam difficulty and grading becomes a concern.
- Inconsistency among individual faculty policies creates real and perceived unfairness in how students are treated, and leniency by one faculty member places pressure on other faculty members to do the same.
- Some exams are simply not amenable to multiple administrations. (Example: lab practicums, final presentations).
- Three final exams scheduled for the same day.
Students requesting an exception under #1 above should contact the instructors of ALL of the courses in which they have examinations on the same day AND the Office of the Registrar so that a fair decision may be made as to which examination to reschedule. Both the course instructor and the Registrar would need to agree that an exception is warranted in the particular case. All requests for exam changes should be made prior to the last week of classes. Requests for exam changes after this date shall only be considered in cases of unforeseen personal or family emergencies.
2. A documented disability for which the appropriate accommodation requires a change in exam time.
Students with a documented disability are encouraged to discuss any accommodations to which they are entitled with the course instructor early in the semester. If the need arises to request taking the final examination at a time other than that indicated in the Academic Schedule, students must receive approval from the course instructor. If necessary, the instructor may consult with the Office of Disability Services and/or the chairperson of the department in which the student is requesting the time exception. All requests for exam changes should be made prior to the last week of classes.
3. A required religious observance that might limit a student’s ability to perform on a final examination
Students requesting an examination schedule change due to a required religious observance are encouraged to discuss the matter with the course instructor early in the semester. Students whose required religious observance would impede their ability to perform on a final examination may request faculty to make reasonable accommodations. For example, students who are fasting may request permission to take a final exam at a time when they are well fed and hydrated in order to perform at their best. The Office of Spiritual and Religious Life will annually publish a list of possible conflicts between Module A and semester final examinations and religious observances on its website. If necessary, the instructor may consult with the Office of Spiritual and Religious Life and/or the chairperson of the department in which the student is requesting the time exception. All requests for exam changes should be made prior to the last week of classes.
4. Extraordinary extenuating circumstances.
Students requesting an exception under #4 above should contact the instructors of ALL of the courses in which they wish to request an exception due to extraordinary extenuating circumstances AND the Office of the Registrar so that a consistent decision may be made as to the request. Both the course instructor and the Registrar would need to agree that an exception is warranted in the particular case.
Circumstances Which Are Usually Not Approved:
- Two exams are scheduled for the same day.
- The student is offered a ride home before a scheduled exam time.
- The student claims the need to begin a job or program before a scheduled exam time. In the past, this reason has not been acceptable for the changing of an exam unless the employer wrote or called indicating that the date was a definite factor relative to the employment of the student.
Circumstances Which Have Normally Received Approval:
- Various unique requests relating to physical and mental health. (Example: sickness of mother, father).
This policy is under the purview of the Academic Standards Committee. Changes are subject to a vote of the Faculty.
Student grades are reported on either a letter-grade basis or a Credit/No Credit basis:
||4.00 grade points - Excellent
||3.70 grade points
||3.30 grade points
||3.00 grade points - Good
||2.70 grade points
||2.30 grade points
||2.00 grade points - Fair
||1.70 grade points
||1.30 grade points
||1.00 grade points - Passing
||0.00 grade points - Failure
||Withdrawal from a course under extenuating circumstances
||Student-initiated withdrawal from a course
The following notations are also used in reporting student work:
||Leave of Absence granted during the semester
||Withdrawal from the College during semester
By Faculty vote, changes in course grades are allowed only: (a) in the case of a demonstrable mathematical error in the compilation or recording of a grade; or (b) in the case where documented, extraordinary, extenuating circumstances are brought to the instructor after the deadline for grade submission. Such circumstances brought to the instructor prior to the deadline for grade submission should be evaluated according to the policies for “Grades of Incomplete” or “Withdrawals for Extenuating Circumstances.” All such grade changes must be approved by the Provost.
A student with questions about their evaluation in a course is expected to consult with the faculty member instructing the course. If further consultation is necessary, the student may address the matter with the chair of the academic department or program in which the course is offered. If the faculty member instructing the course is also the chair of the academic department or program, then the student should consult the Provost and Dean of the College.
Grade changes must be requested within sixty days of the date that the final grade was posted to WebAdvisor. However, grades cannot be changed after a student’s degree has been posted and they have graduated.
This policy is under the purview of the Academic Standards Committee. Changes are subject to a vote of the faculty.
Credit (“CR”)/No Credit (“NC”)
Students may take up to four credit hours per semester on the Credit/No Credit basis, but may not present for graduation more than 16 credit hours of their coursework on this basis.
If students wish to take a course on the Credit/No Credit basis, they must obtain their advisor’s approval and submit a signed CR/NC card to the Registrar’s Office by the end of the second week of classes for 14-week courses or, for seven-week courses only, by the end of the second week of the module. Students are cautioned that some courses may not be taken using this option. Courses not eligible for the Credit/No Credit system are so indicated in their course descriptions.
Credit, “CR,” will be awarded for course performance equivalent to, or higher than, a passing letter grade, “D.” No credit, “NC,” will be awarded for course performance equivalent to a failing letter grade, “F.”
Grades of Incomplete
Faculty stipulate grades of Incomplete (“IN”) when they believe that extenuating circumstances preclude completion of the work on time by the student. The student is responsible for providing evidence for the extenuating circumstances to the satisfaction of the faculty member, who has sole authority to grant the Incomplete. Incompletes are awarded with the expectation that the work will be completed by the student in a timely fashion. When instructors submit a grade of Incomplete, they must also submit the grade that will be awarded should no further work be submitted by the student. The instructor should formulate a plan for timely completion of the incomplete work, and this plan should be addressed in the Academic Performance Report the instructor submits explaining the Incomplete grade and specifying a tentative grade.
Examples of circumstances in which an Incomplete is appropriate include, but are not limited to, serious illnesses or injuries that preclude a student from finishing work for a course; cases where the course grade depends on the outcome of an Honor Code hearing; or death of an immediate family member. An Incomplete should not be assigned when a student simply fails to turn in a final exam or project, nor when there is little likelihood that the student will be able to make up a large quantity of incomplete work (due, for example, to prolonged illness); in the latter case a Withdrawal for Extenuating Circumstances may be more appropriate (see “Withdrawing From a Course ”).
After appropriate consultation with the student, the instructor will determine the date by which incomplete work must be completed. In all cases, the work must be completed no later than 30 days after the first day of classes of the semester or summer session in which the student is next registered. Students who have an “IN,” but do not register in a subsequent semester or summer session, must complete the work within 12 months. Extensions to these deadlines may only be granted by the Provost or designee. If no information is provided by the instructor by the end of the 12 months, the grade that was originally submitted at the time the “IN” was assigned is posted to the transcript.
When the instructor submits the completed grade to the Registrar, this completed grade is posted to the transcript and calculated into the grade point average for the semester in which the student was registered for the course. If no completed grade or other communication is received by the Registrar from the faculty member, the grade that was originally submitted at the time the “IN” was assigned is posted to the transcript and calculated into the grade point average.
With the exception of the First-Year/Sophomore Seminars, students may repeat courses at Allegheny, provided the courses are offered again. Whenever a student repeats a course, the academic record and transcript will reflect all course enrollments and the grade earned for each enrollment. From the time of completion of a repeated course forward, only the credit and grade for the most recent attempt will be counted in computing grade point averages. (However, for those courses that can be repeated for credit—for example, music ensembles—the credits and grades for each enrollment are included in computing the academic average). If a student withdraws from a repeated course, the academic record and transcript will include the withdrawal, and the grade previously earned will continue to be counted in computing grade point averages. Students may repeat a course initially taken on the graded basis for Credit/No Credit; however, Credit (“CR”) must be earned or the grade previously awarded will continue to be counted in computing grade point averages. In the event a student receives a grade of Incomplete (“IN”) for a repeated course, the grade previously earned will continue to be counted in computing grade point averages until such time as the student completes the coursework and a final grade has been submitted.