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Student Handbook

Academic Issues

Academic Appeals Procedure

  1. The student must exhaust all appeal requirements of the academic department from which the appeal is made before the student may file an appeal with the Academic Appeals Committee. Any appeal made by a student to the committee will be denied by the committee if the student has not exhausted all departmental appeal procedures.
  2. With the exception of a Request to Change a Grade to a Withdrawal (W), the student must exhaust the following university administrative remedies before filing a written Application for Academic Appeal of a course grade unless they are included in the departmental appeals procedure:
    • The student must discuss the issue with the course instructor. If the issue is not resolved to the satisfaction of the student, the student must proceed to the next step.
    • The student must discuss the issue with the chair of the appropriate department. If the instructor assigning the grade has left the university before the start of the appeal, the department chairperson shall represent the instructor in the appeal process. If the chair of the department is directly involved in the matter, or if the issue is not resolved to the satisfaction of the student, the student must proceed to the next step.
    • The student must discuss the issue with the associate dean/dean of the school in which the course is taught. If the dean is directly involved in the matter, or if the issue is not resolved to the satisfaction of the student, the student may file a written Application for Academic Appeal.

The policy in its entirety may be found online in the Academic Appeals Procedure.

Academic Dishonesty

All forms of dishonesty such as cheating, plagiarism, knowingly furnishing false information to the institution, alteration or misuse of institution records or documents, including university identification cards, constitute violations of university regulations for which students are subject to disciplinary action. Disciplinary actions may include penalties which range from an unsatisfactory grade on a particular assignment, examination, or course, to dismissal from the university. These actions shall be determined by the instructor of record or appropriate university official. The student may appeal an assigned grade through the normal Academic Appeals Committee process. The student may appeal sanctions including temporary suspension, suspension, indefinite suspension, or expulsion through the Committee on Student Conduct.

Academic Forgiveness Provisions

Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education policy provides for ways that, under certain circumstances, enable students to recover from academic problems. Students may seek academic forgiveness by utilizing the following institutional procedures:

  1. Repeated Courses Students may repeat courses and have only the second grade earned, even if lower than the first grade, count in the calculation of the retention/graduation grade point average (GPA). Students may repeat up to a maximum of four courses, not to exceed 18 hours, in which the original grade earned was a "D" or "F."
  2. Academic Reprieve Academic reprieve is a provision allowing students who have experienced extraordinary circumstances to disregard up to two semesters in the calculation of the retention/graduation GPA. Students may request academic reprieve from Oklahoma State System of Higher Education (public) institutions with academic reprieve policies consistent with these guidelines.
  3. Academic Renewal Academic renewal is a provision allowing students who have had academic trouble in the past and who have been out of higher education for a number of years to recover without penalty and have a fresh start. Under academic renewal, coursework taken prior to a date specified by the institution is not counted in the retention/graduation GPA.

Although the academic transcript will continue to be a full and accurate reflection of the student's academic performance, the academic forgiveness provision will be reflected in such matters as how the retention and graduation grade-point average is calculated.

If you are currently enrolled and believe the academic forgiveness provisions outlined below will assist you in meeting academic goals, please contact the Registrar’s Office for application forms and additional information.

Note: Academic Forgiveness Provisions do not apply to graduate courses. See the College of Professional and Graduate Studies for provisions.

Academic Renewal

  1. The semester(s) work to be considered for a renewal may have been completed at any accredited college or university.
  2. At least five years must have elapsed between the period in which the semester(s) being requested renewed was/were completed and the renewal request.
  3. Prior to requesting Academic Renewal, the student must have earned a GPA of 2.00 or higher with no grade lower than a "C" in all regularly graded course work (minimum of 12 hours excluding activity and performance courses) completed since the renewed semester(s).
  4. The Academic Renewal removes all grades earned during the renewed semester(s) from the retention and graduation GPA. All work in the renewed semester(s) will be counted in the cumulative GPA.
  5. Credit earned during a renewed semester(s) will not count as hours earned or credit towards graduation. A minimum of 124 semester hours is required for graduation excluding the renewed semester(s). Beginning in the Fall 2004 Semester, a minimum of 120 semester hours is required for graduation.

Note: Honors standing at the time of graduation is determined by calculating the GPA using all hours attempted. Academic Forgiveness Provisions do not apply to Graduate courses.

Admission

All permanent academic records for each student are established and maintained in the Office of Admissions and Registrar. Students enrolling at SWOSU for the first time are required to have on file in the Registrar's Office (prior to enrollment) the following: an application for admission, a high school transcript and ACT scores (freshmen only), official transcripts from all colleges previously attended, and any special admission requirements specified in the application. First time entering freshmen are also required to attend New Student Orientation to enroll prior to the fall semester.

SWOSU takes into account the following non-academic criteria in admitting first-time, transfer or readmission students: (a) whether applicants have been expelled, suspended, or denied admission or denied readmission by any other educational institution; (b) whether the applicants have been convicted of a felony or convicted of a lesser crime involving moral turpitude; and (c) whether the applicant's conduct has been such that if the applicant had been a student at the time of the conduct in question, the conduct would have been grounds for expulsion, suspension, dismissal, or denial of readmission at the university. The existence of such previous activity does not automatically disqualify an applicant.

Students should check with their advisors each semester to make certain they are progressing satisfactorily toward the intended degree. Students should feel free to check in the Registrar's Office concerning any special problems with courses. Every junior should request an official degree check to be used with the advisor's assistance in planning the remaining courses for the degree.

Advisement

Academic advisement for freshmen with no previous university attendance occurs during New Student Orientation. Advisement of other students occurs during pre-enrollment and enrollment periods. Assigned faculty advisors assist students in planning academic programs of study. Students who have decided on a major are assigned advisors from the major area of study. Students who have not declared a major are assigned a general faculty advisor who will help them with general education requirements.

Advisor Assignment

  • Entering Freshmen who have selected a major
    • Students are directed to the College of their choice during Freshman Clinic.
    • The Dean of the College directs those students who have selected a major to the Associate Dean/Chair or their designee of the School or Department offering the major.
      • The Chair or their designee assigns an advisor, identifies that individual to the student, and provides counseling for the initial enrollment. (In some instances, the Dean or Associate Dean of the College or School or his/her designee may assign the advisor and provide for the initial enrollment.)
      • Upon completion of the schedule construction process, the faculty member assisting the student retains the advisement folder and provides the student with name, office number, email address, and phone number of his/her advisor. The faculty member then assures that the folder is forwarded to the assigned advisor.
  • Entering Freshmen who have not decided upon a major.
    Those students indicating an interest in a particular school but have not determined a major are
    • provided counseling for the initial enrollment by the Dean/Associate Dean of the College/School or his/her designee.
    • assigned an advisor and provided with the name, office number, email address, and phone number of his/her advisor by the Dean/Associate Dean of the College/School or his/her designee.
    • Once a schedule has been completed, the faculty member assisting the student retains the advisement folder and assures that the folder is forwarded to the assigned advisor.
  • Transfer students
    • The student is directed to the Dean/Associate Dean or Chair of the College/School or department of his/her interest, normally by the Registrar’s Office.
    • Undeclared students are directed to the Office of the Dean/Associate Dean of their College/School of interest. Undeclared students are directed to the Office of the Dean of their school of interest. (In the School of Arts and Sciences, students are directed to the Dean.)

From this point the process is the same as that for entering Freshmen.

Assessment Center

The Assessment Center administers and/or coordinates many testing and survey programs pertaining to students, including the American College Test (ACT), Advanced Placement Testing, Course Placement Testing, Academic Certification Examinations, Course/Instructor Evaluations, Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), and many others. Visit the Assessment Center website for a full listing and contact information.

Attendance

The administration and faculty of SWOSU expect students to regularly attend the classes in which they are enrolled. Individual instructors shall determine the degree to which student absences shall affect class grades. Students will be notified of this policy in each of their courses. If the instructor does not mention attendance policies, students should ask for specific guidelines. Students may be withdrawn from a course for excessive absences upon the request of the instructor.

The University does not excuse students from class attendance for participation in school activities such as athletics, music groups, speech events, field trips, etc. In the event that a student will miss three or more days of classes due to illness, students may provide medical documentation to the Dean of Students and request that notification be made to their instructors.

Computers

Information Technology Services provides information technology services and support for the academic and administrative communities.

Email

All students are automatically assigned a student email account. SWOSU uses the student email address as the primary means of contact.

Computer Labs

A number of computer labs are available in facilities across campus. Equipment varies in the different labs from Microsoft Windows computers to Apple Macintosh computers. All computer lab/classrooms have printers available without charge to SWOSU students.

Labs, including specialty labs, are currently located in the following buildings: Stafford, Art, Assessment, Education, Science, Technology, Campbell, Stewart, Music, Chemistry/Pharmacy/Physics, and the Library. The mission of each lab varies, as well as the hours of operation, and assistance available.The main computer lab in Stafford 128 is open approximately 80 hours a week during the fall and spring semesters and 60 hours a week during the summer. It is closed during interims and holidays.

Wireless Access

Access to wireless internet is currently available across campus.

Enrollment

Students are responsible for their own enrollment. They should familiarize themselves with the information contained in the official University Catalog available online and in each academic department. General information, general academic regulations, majors, and degrees should be carefully studied. Enrollment occurs at various times throughout the year. Online enrollment is available to most students except for freshmen, first semester transfer students, and some designated professional degrees.

Grade Changes

Students requesting a grade change must submit the request in writing to the instructor of record. The student must state the specific reason(s) for the grade change request. Student grades may be changed within the following criteria:

  1. In the case of instructor computation errors, errors in data entry, other errors by the instructor, and
    courses originally graded with an Incomplete (I), grades may be changed by the instructor in person in the Registrar’s Office. An instructor may change a grade from one traditional grade to another (A, B, C, D, or F), or from an Incomplete (I) to any grade (A, B, C, D, F, or W). No review is required for this
    process.
  2. For each course, the number of grade change requests shall be limited to one (1).
  3. A grade change request shall not be granted after the student graduates from the university.
  4. The time limit for instituting a grade change is normally one semester after the semester in which the grade was assigned (i.e., by the end of the next regular semester). Except under extenuating
    circumstances that prevent the student from completing required coursework, Incomplete (I) grades
    should be changed to a traditional grade (A, B, C, D, or F) within one semester. In the case of an
    Incomplete (I) assigned to a student in a research or independent study course, in which consecutive
    semesters of enrollment in such a course with the same instructor may be required to complete a project, the student must complete any remaining course requirements by the end of the next regular semester after the semester in which the instructor of record deems that the project should have been completed.
  5. If a student requests a change of a traditional (A, B, C, D, or F) grade to a Withdrawal (W), the student must complete the Application for Academic Appeal: Request to Change a Grade to a Withdrawal (W) Grade form and submit the form to the instructor of record. If the instructor of record approves the request to change the grade to a Withdrawal (W), the instructor shall sign the form and forward the request to the Office of the Provost for review by the Academic Appeals Committee to determine compliance with regulations applicable to the particular student (e. g., financial aid, veteran status, or international student status).
  6. If the original instructor of record is no longer available, then the student shall submit the grade change request to the chair of the department.

Grading Systems and Policies

The following system of grading is used at SWOSU:

grading system
Grade Definition Points Earned
A Excellent 4 points per semester hour
B Good 3 points per semester hour
C Average 2 points per semester hour
D Below Average 1 point per semester hour
F Failure 0 points per semester hour
I Incomplete 0 points per semester hour until work is completed. An "I" grade not changed by the instructor will remain a permanent "I" and will not contribute to the grade point average.
W Withdrawal without Failure
S Satisfactory Progress
U Unsatisfactory Progress Failing Grade

Graduate Studies

Two primary objectives of the Graduate School are promoting independent thought and providing advanced declarative and procedural knowledge. Additional elements of each degree program are courses, research, and other learning activities that are designed to accomplish those objectives. A final function of the College of Professional and Graduate Studies is to ensure continued compliance with state boards and accrediting agencies.

The Graduate Office is located in the Hibler Education Center. Graduate degree program applications are available at and should be submitted to the Graduate Office. SWOSU’s Graduate Catalog contains information regarding admission, available programs, requirements, fees, and policies. The catalog is available online.

Honors Degrees

Undergraduate students may graduate with honors degrees. The distinctions awarded are:

Summa Cum Laude: 3.90

Magna Cum Laude: 3.75

Cum Laude: 3.50

Note: Honors standing is determined by calculating the grade point average (GPA) using all credit hours attempted at the time of graduation. The cumulative GPA, not the retention/graduation GPA, is used in the calculation.

Libraries

The Al Harris Library, named in honor of a former University president, is centrally located on SWOSU’s Weatherford campus. The Oscar H. McMahan Library is located on the Sayre Campus. The SWOSU Libraries has over 305,000 bound volumes, over 360,000 electronic books, and subscribes to 47,200 print and electronic periodicals. The collection is expanded by 1,200,000 microforms, over 2,090,000 media materials, and access to 100 online and full text databases available through the SWOSU Libraries website. The Al Harris Library is a partial U.S. Government and Oklahoma state document depository.

The SWOSU Libraries’ collections are supplemented by access to the holdings of other libraries through interlibrary loan, a statewide library card system called OK-Share, and by electronic access to hundreds of specialized resources. Off-campus access to these electronic resources are available by the same login credentials used for student webmail. Librarians also teach instructional sessions on research skills and information literacy throughout the school year. Research assistance is provided by faculty librarians on both campuses, both in person and virtually, by consultation appointment or phone (580) 774-7082 and through our Ask-a-Librarian (https://library.swosu.edu/ask) service (email, text messaging, and instant messaging).

Major and/or Advisor Change

  1. The student visits their current advisor, informs them of their decision to change majors and/or advisor, and picks up their advisement folder. If the student cannot reach their advisor, they should contact their advisor's department chair.
  2. The student meets with the Associate Dean/Chair/or chair designee of the school in which they seek major and/or advisement and requests advisor assignment.
  3. The Associate Dean/Chair/or chair designee assigns and arranges for the student to meet with the new advisor.
  4. The new advisor receives the advisement folder, counsels with the student, and assures that the advisement and/or major code is changed during the next enrollment process.
  5. If the student is changing majors and has difficulty completing steps one through three above, she/he should contact the Dean/Associate Dean of their College or School of her/his interest.

Undeclared students who are changing advisors should meet with the Dean/Associate Dean of the College or School of their interest to complete steps 2 and 3 above.

Plagiarism

An essential rule in any university class is that all printed and spoken work which a student submits should be entirely his/her own, or properly documented. If it is not, the student is guilty of plagiarism. The following are two types of plagiarism that the student should be aware of:

  • Word for word copying, without acknowledgement, of the language of another person. Obviously, having another person write or dictate all or part of one’s printed or oral work is plagiarism of this kind. In addition, a student should copy NO printed, spoken or electronic passage, no matter how brief, without acknowledging its source. This applies to even the briefest of phrases if they are truly individual and distinctive.
  • Another type of plagiarism is the unacknowledged paraphrasing of another’s ideas. A student should no more take credit for another’s thoughts than for another’s language. Any distinctively original idea taken from another should be credited to its author. If the student does not know whether another’s idea is distinctively original, he/she should incline to believe that it is; no fault attaches to over-acknowledgement, but under-acknowledgement is plagiarism.

Remedial Requirements and Course Placement Guidelines

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education established an ACT score of 19 in determining student readiness for college level course work. Students entering college must score a 19 or above in the four subject areas on the ACT test (Math, English, Reading and Science Reasoning) in order to avoid second level testing and/or remedial courses. Students who score below 19 on any ACT subtest are required to participate in remedial coursework and/or co-requisite courses. Students should contact the Registrar’s Office or the University Assessment Center for full details.

Repeated Course

  1. Students may repeat courses in which original grades were "D" or "F" and have only the second grades count in the retention and graduation GPA. The first four courses (18 hour maximum) repeated are the only hours that can be considered under the Repeated Course Policy.
  2. If a course is repeated more than once, all grades earned, with the exception of the first grade, will be counted in the retention and graduation and cumulative GPA's.
  3. Students may repeat courses above the first four courses (18 hour maximum). However, both the original grade and repeat grade will be included in all GPA's.
  4. In cases where students believe courses to be identical, although the course number or title may differ, validation from the department offering the course is required.
  5. Students should not assume that the retention and graduation GPA will be used for admissions to programs or retention in programs such as Pharmacy, Nursing, and Teacher Education. Students should contact the appropriate department chair or advisor to obtain specific information about admission requirements.
  6. The policy applies to students who are pursuing a baccalaureate degree and students who have earned a baccalaureate degree and are pursuing a second baccalaureate degree.

Retention Standards

Freshmen students with 30 or fewer credit hours, who have a GPA of 1.7 to less than 2.0, will be placed on academic notice. Any student not maintaining satisfactory progress toward an academic objective will be placed on probation for one semester. At the end of that semester, he/she must have a semester GPA of 2.0 on regularly graded course work, not to include activity or performance courses, or meet the minimum retention GPA standard required in order to continue as a student.

Students not meeting either of these criteria will be academically suspended and may not be reinstated until one regular semester (fall or spring) has elapsed. A student suspended from SWOSU a second time may not re-enroll until he/she enrolls in another institution and raises the GPA to the level required for admission as a transfer student.

Suspended students who wish to appeal their status may contact the office of the Dean of Students. Contact must be made no later than one week prior to the beginning of classes. Appeals are heard by the Academic Suspension Appeals Committee.

Retention Management Services

The Office of Retention Management is a resource for students with academic concerns or deficiencies. This office assists committed students in recognizing their strengths while addressing any weaknesses that may be counterproductive to achievement. Department staff focus on helping students attain their collegiate goals and maximize their academic success through advisement, peer mentoring, and programming throughout the year. The office oversees all College Success courses and coordinates services provided to students on Academic Probation. Services provided through this department are available to any student interested in attaining information on University resources.

Semester Exam Policies

  1. Students may drop classes with instructor permission up to five days prior to the beginning of finals.
  2. During the regular semesters, the three class days prior to the beginning of finals are considered "dead days" in that no graded assignments or activities are to be scheduled. Extracurricular events (other than unscheduled league play-off events) and required field trips are prohibited. Attendance policies will remain in force.
  3. If students feel that the dead days policy is not being followed, students should speak with the faculty. If no resolution is reached, students should contact the department chair and ask for their help. If that route is unsuccessful, students should speak with the dean of their college.
  4. Departments/Academic Units will schedule room assignments for final exams through the office of the Vice President for Administration & Finance.
  5. Exams for single classes must follow the schedule.
  6. Multi-section exams scheduled by an instructor must have the approval of the Vice President for Student Affairs for both time and room space. These are scheduled on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  7. Multi-section exams must be approved one week before the first final exam and classes notified of the schedule.
  8. In case of conflict between single sections and multi-sections, the single section takes precedence for the student's time.
  9. Occasionally the final exam schedule results in a student having more than three exams on any given day. Students may seek assistance in alleviating this excessive schedule from the Vice President for Student Affairs on the Weatherford campus or from the Dean at the Sayre campus.
  10. No Early Finals. Early finals are any final given prior to 8:30 a.m. on the Monday of finals week. (Lab finals are scheduled prior to finals week.)
  11. Students unable to meet the regular examination schedule will receive an "I" (Incomplete) and will have the next full semester in which they are enrolled to complete their work.

Textbooks

The University Bookstore is available on campus to purchase and sell new and used textbooks as well as supplies. Students can also rent textbooks or purchase textbooks online when they enroll. The University Bookstore is operated by Follett, Inc.

Transcripts

Transcripts can be obtained in the Registrar’s Office, located in the Hays Administration Building. All requests must include a valid photo identification with signature whether at the counter, or by mail, or fax. If a student has an obligation to the University (library fine, parking tickets, documents not turned in, tuition not paid, etc.), transcripts will not be issued until the obligation is fulfilled.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees are due on or before the first day of classes each semester. Total withdrawals are processed through the Office of the Registrar. Refunds are made for approved withdrawals during the first ten days of the regular semester or the first five days of the summer semester. After the tenth class day during the regular semester or fifth day of summer session, there will be no refund. Tuition refunds will not be processed until after the tenth class day of each semester. Questions about refunds should be directed to the Office of the Bursar.

Tutoring

Tutoring is provided through the department in which the course is assigned for some general education and upper division courses. The schedule for online tutoring and on-campus tutoring is located on the university tutoring website.

Veterans' Affairs

The staff of the Registrar’s Office provides service to veterans and dependents who are eligible for Veteran's Administration educational benefits. For information, contact the Registrar’s Office, VA Coordinator, Room 106, Hays Administration Building, or call (580) 774-3008.

Withdrawal

Students may need to withdraw from an individual class or classes during a semester, or they may need to withdraw completely from all of their currently enrolled classes during the semester.

  1. To withdraw from an individual class, students should complete and submit an add/drop form to the Registrar’s Office in the Hays Administration Building during the defined add/drop period. Students that have access to online enrollment may also do so through their self-service account.
  2. A total withdrawal from the University must be processed through the Registrar’s Office. Students should complete and submit a total withdrawal form to the Registrar’s Office. Complete withdrawals also require a signature from Student Financial Services. Students who withdraw from classes or the University after the designated drop period but within the first eleven weeks will have a "W" recorded on their transcript. After the eleventh week, students are either graded with a “W” for courses in which they are passing or “F” for courses in which they are failing at the time of withdrawal. Grades of students leaving the University without officially withdrawing are recorded as "F". Refunds are made for approved total withdrawals according to dates published each semester in the Enrollment Information & Finals Schedule that can be found through the self-service portal or the course schedule. Total withdrawal from the university must be done prior to the first day of classes in order to avoid financial penalties.
  3. The Refund Policy for SWOSU is maintained from past years, but the federal government has made changes related to federal student aid recipients who initiate complete withdrawals from the university. All students who receive federal aid, including the Federal Pell Grant, SEOG Grant, Stafford Loan, Unsubsidized Stafford Loan or Parent PLUS Loan, who withdraw during the first 60% of a semester must repay 60% of their aid back to the federal government. Students are strongly advised to confer with the Office of Student Financial Services before initiating a complete withdrawal so the economic impact of that decision can be clearly understood.

Hardship Withdrawal

A student leaving SWOSU for medical/psychological/hardship reasons should begin this process by meeting with the Dean of Students.

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