Nov 17, 2019  
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog 
    
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog

Academic Policies



Matriculation

The Office of the Registrar directs and coordinates matriculation of all students, but the courses selected by the student are conditioned by academic programs and regulations.

Criminal Background Check Policy

Students who will have experiential learning components required as part of their degree programs must authorize, submit to and pay for a criminal background check prior to entering the program, and in some circumstances, on an annual schedule after admission. Details are available from each school/division dean/director.

Email Policy

Email is considered an official method of communication at Shenandoah University. Students are issued an SU email account upon enrollment at the university. Students are responsible for reading and responding to their email on a frequent and consistent basis to stay current with university-related communications. Student communications via email may include, but are not limited to, the following: registration/course changes, student account information, appeal results, university emergencies, university deadlines, etc. All communications from students to SU staff and faculty should be through the student’s issued SU email account.

Academic Advising

Academic advising is required for all degree-seeking students before registration each term. Academic advisors are provided to assist students in planning their academic programs. Academic advisors are not authorized to change established policy for the university. The student is solely responsible for assuring that his academic program complies with the policies and requirements of Shenandoah University. Any advice that is at variance with established policy must be confirmed in writing by the school or division dean or director and the provost.

Registration

General dates and times for registration are published in advance by Hornet Central.

Inaccurate Registration

Shenandoah University reserves the right to make void the registration of any student who fails to comply with registration instructions or fails to pay the prescribed tuition and fees.

Course Prerequisites

Before beginning a course, a student is expected to have fulfilled the appropriate prerequisites. A student who has not met the prerequisites may be denied registration or be un-enrolled.

Change in Registration

Students wishing to drop or add a course may do so either online or by completing a Course Schedule Adjustment Form available from Hornet Central. The effective date for any change in registration is the date completed online or noted on the Course Schedule Adjustment Form received in Hornet Central.

Adding a Course

Courses scheduled for an entire term of 14 or more weeks: Students may add individual courses for the first six business days after the beginning of the term.

Courses scheduled for less than 14 weeks: Students may add individual courses up to the point at which 10 percent of the total class meeting time occurred.

Dropping a Course

For courses scheduled for an entire term of 14 or more weeks: Students may drop individual courses without record for the first six business days after the beginning of the term.

For courses scheduled for less than 14 weeks: Students may drop individual courses without record up to the point at which 10 percent of the total class meeting time has occurred.

A student may drop a course during the drop/add period without any reference on the transcript.

Withdrawal from a Course

Students may withdraw from individual classes with the permission of the advisor and receive a grade of “W” that will appear on the student’s transcript but will not be computed in the quality point average. The withdrawal period will end 28 calendar days prior the beginning of the final examination period.

After the withdrawal period, the student may not withdraw from a course for any reason related to academic performance. This Withdrawal from a Course policy appears in the Academics Policies section of the university’s catalogs and the Faculty Handbook.

Dates of the withdrawal period will appear in the university’s Academic Calendar and Registration Schedule and Calendar.

This policy should be implemented in conjunction with the progression policies of individual schools and divisions within the university.

Drop and Withdrawal Policy for Summer Terms

Due to the varying length of summer term courses, the following Drop and Withdrawal policies shall apply to summer terms.

Dropping a Summer Term Course

  • Courses meeting less than one and up to two weeks: Any drop must be prior to the first day of class.
  • Courses meeting three to four weeks: First day of class and the following business day.
  • Courses meeting five to six weeks: First day of class and the following two business days.
  • Courses meeting seven to eight weeks: First day of class and the following three business days.
  • Courses meeting nine or more weeks: First day of class and the following four business days.

Withdrawal from a Summer Term Course

A summer course withdrawal is based on the length of the course. For courses running less than two weeks, the withdrawal period is the first day of class and the following business day.

For courses running longer than two weeks, a student is able to withdraw from a summer course prior to 60 percent of course completion. A student is entitled to a full refund on a course when it is dropped prior to the published drop date for the specific course.

After the drop date, a student is entitled to a prorated refund based on the course dates only if they withdraw from all of their courses for the same summer term and it is within the first 60 percent of the term. However, if a student is registered for two or more courses and withdraws from only one course, no proration of tuition occurs.

Repeating Courses

A student may repeat a course a maximum of two times. A student who does not satisfactorily complete a required course after three attempts may be subject to academic dismissal. Students are advised to check the policies applicable to each specific program. Individual programs can further limit the number of attempts a student may make. Students receiving financial aid may also be subject to limitations on financial aid coverage of repeated courses and should consult the Financial Aid office for further information. Not all courses may be repeated.

All course grades will be recorded on the student’s permanent record. The credits and quality points resulting from the student’s most recent attempt will be used to compute the student’s cumulative grade point average.

Students may not repeat a course after the applicable degree has been awarded.

Auditing a Course

Students may enroll in courses as auditors on a space available basis during the time period beginning the week prior to the start of term through the sixth calendar day of a semester (last day of add/drop period). A change in status cannot be made after the sixth calendar day of a semester.

Students may not enroll in classes at audit fee levels when the class is offered on a special fee basis.

The audited course will not be used in determining the student’s full-time or part-time enrollment status for the semester.

Auditing students may attend class; engage in discussion at a reasonable level; participate in field trips, concerts, etc.; submit work for evaluation and take examinations. Auditing students must meet course prerequisites. Auditing students do not receive background instruction in prerequisite areas, outside coaching or project advising.

Students may not enroll as auditors in applied music or any other form of independent or individual instruction.

Independent Study

Independent study involves student pursuit of a specialized topic under the guidance of a faculty member. The content of the study is determined by the student and approved by the faculty member. Registration for independent study occurs on a special form available at Hornet Central, and credits are included in the normal student load.

Independent study may be used as elective credit, but does not substitute for specific course requirements. Independent study is variously titled as individual directed research, seminar, workshop, research, directed study, comprehensive seminar and/or independent readings.

Private Instruction in Classes

When required by special conditions, a student may register for a specific class required in the curriculum through private instruction. The content of the instruction is the same as the content when offered as a class. Registration for private instruction in a class occurs on a form available from Hornet Central. Costs associated with private instruction are charged separately from full-time tuition rates.

Dual-listed Courses

Students cannot earn credit for the course at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. If a student has taken the course at the undergraduate level and later is required to take the same course in a graduate program, the program must provide an alternative course for the student to complete in order to meet the graduate requirement.
  • Exceptions can be made but must be approved by the Dean/Director of the respective school.
  • Accelerated programs are considered exclusions.

If a graduate student must take a dual listed course to complete a degree requirement, they must enroll in the graduate version of the course.

Withdrawal from the University

Students who withdraw from Shenandoah University must complete a Withdrawal Form in the Office of Student Success. Students must settle unpaid accounts in Hornet Central, return materials and pay fines to the library, and, if a residential student, leave the residence hall room in acceptable condition and return the residence hall room key to the Office of Residence Life.

Students in good social and academic standing who withdraw from the university for no more than two consecutive semesters are not required to reapply through Admissions, but may register for courses following normal procedures after first contacting the Registrar’s Office to have their program reactivated. Students are considered “in attendance” the semester of withdrawal provided they actually did attend classes beyond the add/drop period of that semester before withdrawing.

Students may withdraw from the university up to 14 calendar days before the end of a regular (fall/spring) semester and will receive grades of W for their courses.

Students who withdraw from the university and do not attend class at Shenandoah for three consecutive semesters and wish to return must apply for readmission through the Office of Admissions.

Course Numbering System

Course descriptions are arranged alphabetically by subject prefix description. Courses are identified by a course prefix up to four letters and a course number that indicates suggested level and/or type of course.

Courses are numbered as follows:

000-099 Non-credit review, preparatory or remedial classes

100-299 Undergraduate, lower division

300-499 Undergraduate, upper division

500-899 Graduate, Doctoral and First Professional

Credit Hour

A credit hour is an amount of work represented by intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that reasonably approximates:

1. For a traditional, face-to-face lecture class, not less than one contact hour (50 minutes) of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work, including but not limited to reading, studying, conducting research, writing, performance practicing, rehearsals and other learning activities each week for approximately 15 weeks for one semester or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time, or

2. At least an equivalent amount of work as required outlined in item 1 above for other academic activities as established by the institution including distance education, lab and lecture/lab, tutorial, seminar, independent study, thesis, studio, internships/practica, student teaching, clinical, physical education, discussion/quiz/recitation and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours. For face-to-face lecture classes, this shall equate to a minimum of 750 minutes of classroom contact, including final exams, per credit per semester.

Academic Terms

Shenandoah University offers courses and programs of various lengths throughout the year. These include fall, spring and summer terms, as well as short-term programs. In order that courses are identified clearly on official records, the academic calendar is divided into three terms of equal length. Specific dates are published in the academic calendar.

A course or program is identified with one of these terms depending on the start date of the course. Any course or program that begins on or after the first date of each term and up through and including the last date of that term is said to belong to that term. The end date is not considered in designating the term.

All credits are expressed as semester hours, regardless of length of term or dates of beginning and ending of a course or program.

Academic Student Load

A full-time undergraduate student is one who carries a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester. The maximum load is 18 credit hours per semester, except for Conservatory students whose maximum load is 18.5 credit hours per semester. A part-time undergraduate student is one who carries fewer than 12 credit hours per semester. Approval to carry a course load beyond the maximum will be reviewed by the dean/director of the student’s school/division and granted only for compelling reasons.

Alternative Means of Earning Credit

Transfer Credit

Shenandoah University may award transfer credit for successfully completing coursework with a grade of “C-” or better. This includes:

  1. Credits from an institution of higher education that has been fully accredited by one of the six regional accrediting agencies, such as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, or at an institution that is a “Recognized Candidate for Accreditation.” Students who transfer from an institution that is on the quarter system should note that one quarter hour is equal to two-thirds of a semester hour. For example, a student transferring 36 quarter hours of work to Shenandoah would receive 2/3 x 36 or 24 semester hours of credit.
  2. Credits for courses taken at foreign tertiary-level institutions, which are chartered and authorized by their respective national governments and that are recognized by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. The amount of credit granted will correspond to that given for comparable Shenandoah University courses. Official documentation of course evaluation of international transcripts must be submitted through a current member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES). See www.naces.org/members.htm
  3. Credit for non-collegiate sponsored instruction, such as the armed services, business and industry, health care, or government agencies, recognized by the American Council on Education (ACE) or the National Program on Non-Collegiate Sponsored Instruction. Those submitting armed services instruction are encouraged to review ACE’s “A Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Forces.” Official documentation for such credit must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office, which will make a determination, in consultation with the appropriate dean or director, on the credit to be awarded.
  4. Credits for secondary school advanced standing and credit by examination. Such options include Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and College Level Examination Program (CLEP). Please see below for test score requirements and Shenandoah equivalencies. Official documentation for such credit must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office.
  5. Upon appeal to the Office of the Provost, credits earned at non-accredited institutions or by any means not described above will be considered on the basis of the content of the course and the credentials of the instructor for the course. The appeal must include a copy of the course description, course syllabus and documentation related to the instructor’s academic credentials for each course to be evaluated. In considering such courses for transfer, the official designated by the chief academic officer will consult with the appropriate dean or director.

Transfer credit evaluation is completed by the Registrar’s Office upon receipt of official documentation as specified above. The following procedures guide transfer credit consideration:

  1. Shenandoah University requires that a student complete at least 30 credits in residence and at least 30 credits at the 300-level or above. Accordingly, no more than 90 credits total will be accepted for transfer.
  2. Courses for which there is a direct Shenandoah University equivalency and/or which apply to general education, the student’s major and/or minor program or general electives will be considered for transfer.
  3. Credits from institutions on the quarter-hour system will be converted to semester hours using the formula of one quarter hour equals two-thirds of a semester hour.
  4. Courses completed more than ten years ago are subject to case-by-case review which may limit their applicability toward a degree program.
  5. Shenandoah University awards credit for the courses transferred, but grades do not transfer nor have any effect on the student’s cumulative grade point average (GPA) at this institution.

Those students who wish to transfer credits to Shenandoah University after matriculation are encouraged to complete the “Permission to Study Elsewhere” form to insure that the completed course will transfer. The above guidelines for initial evaluation apply.

Advanced Standing

Shenandoah University accepts several alternative options that provide for credit toward a degree. Such credits are also treated as transfer work. No grades are awarded for advanced standing credit.

Advanced Placement (AP)

Shenandoah University participates in the Advanced Placement Program of the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB). Students must submit official copies of the test results to the Registrar’s Office in order to earn the credits and course equivalencies listed below.

Advanced Placement (AP)

  Test Score Course Credits
  2-D Art and Design 3 ART 101   2
  2-D Art and Design 4, 5 ART 101 , ART elective 2, 2
  3-D Art and Design 3 ART 101   2
  3-D Art and Design 4, 5 ART 101 , ART elective 2, 2
  Art History 3, 4, 5 ART 200   3
  Art Drawing 3 ART 101   2
  Art Drawing 4, 5 ART 101 , ART 102   2, 2
  Biology 3 BIO elective  4
  Biology 4 BIO 121   or BIO 122   4
  Biology 5 BIO 121 , BIO 122   4, 4
  Chemistry 3 CHEM 105   4
  Chemistry 4 CHEM 121   4
  Chemistry 5 CHEM 121 , CHEM 122   4, 4
  Chinese Lang-Culture 3, 4, 5 Meets CAS language requirement 6
  Computer Sci A series 5 IST 204   3
  AP Computer Science Principles 5 IST 204  or IST 307   3
  Economics-Macro 4, 5 EC 211   3
  Economics-Micro 4, 5 EC 212   3
  English Lang-Comp 3, 4, 5 ENG 101   3
  English Lit-Comp 3, 4, 5 Oral and Communicative Literacies Region - Written area elective 3
  Environmental Sci 3 ES 101  or ES 105   3
  Environmental Sci 4, 5 ES 101 , ES 105   3, 4
  Government, Am 3 PSCI 201   3
  Government, Am 4, 5 PSCI 201 , PSCI elective 3, 3
  Government, Comparative 3, 4, 5 PSCI elective 3
  United States History 3 HIST 104   3
  United States History 4, 5 HIST 103 , HIST 104   3, 3
  European History 3 HIST elective 3
  European History 4, 5 HIST 371   3
  French 3, 4, 5 FR 201 , FR 202   3, 3
  French Literature 3 FR elective 3*
  French Literature 4, 5 FR elective 6*
  German 3, 4, 5 GER 201 , GER 202   3, 3
  Italian Lang-Culture 3, 4, 5 Meets CAS language requirement 6
  Japanese Lang-Culture 3, 4, 5 Meets CAS language requirement 6
  Latin 3 Meets CAS language requirement 3
  Latin 4, 5 Meets CAS language requirement 6
  Research 3, 4, 5 FREE elective 3
  Spanish 3, 4, 5 SPAN 201 , SPAN 202   3, 3
  Spanish Literature 3 SPAN elective 3*
  Spanish Literature 4, 5 SPAN elective 6*
  Human Geography 3 GEO Elective 3
  Human Geography 4, 5 GEO 202   3
  Math-Calc AB 3, 4, 5 MATH 201   4
  Math Calc BC 3, 4, 5 MATH 201 , MATH 202   4, 4
  Music Theory 4, 5 Take and pass final for MUTC 101   3
  Physics 1 4, 5 PHYS 111   4
  Physics 2 4, 5 PHYS 112   4
  Physics C, Mechanics 3, 4, 5 PHYS 121   4
  Physics C, Elec-Magnetism 3, 4, 5 PHYS 122   4
  Psychology 3 PSY 101   3
  Psychology 4, 5 PSY 101 , PSY elective 3, 3
  Seminar 3, 4, 5 FREE elective 3
  Statistics 3, 4, 5 MATH 207   3
  Statistics (Business) 4, 5 BA 203   3
  World History 3 HIST 102   3
  World History 4, 5 HIST 101 , HIST 102   3, 3

*Meets CAS language requirement.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

Shenandoah University accepts individual higher level International Baccalaureate Degree Programme courses. Students must submit official copies of the IB test results in order to earn the credits and course equivalencies listed below:

  IB Course Score Shenandoah University Equivalent
  English A1 5, 6, 7 ENG 101  3 credits
  Language A2 5, 6, 7 second year competency in language
  Language B 5, 6, 7 second year competency in language
  Classical Languages 5, 6, 7 second year competency in language
  Business and Management 5, 6, 7 BA elective 3 credits
  Economics 5, 6, 7 EC elective 3 credits
  Geography 5, 6, 7 GEO elective 3 credits
  History 5, 6, 7 HIST 102  
  History Americas 5, 6, 7 HIST elective
  Islamic History 5, 6, 7 HIST elective 3 credits
  Information Technology 5, 6, 7 IST 204  
  Philosophy 5, 6, 7 PHIL 101
  Psychology 5, 6, 7 PSY 101  
  Anthropology 5, 6, 7 FREE elective 3 credits
  Biology 5, 6, 7 Biology elective 
  Chemistry 5, 6, 7 CHEM 105  
  Physics 5, 6, 7 PHYS 105  
  Design Technology   no credit
  Environmental Systems   no credit
  Mathematics 5, 6, 7 MATH 100  
  Computer Science   no credit
  Visual Arts 5, 6, 7 FREE elective 3 credits
  Music   no credit
  Theatre Arts   no credit

Credit by Examination

Students may also earn credit through a variety of examinations. A student may not attempt credit by examination for a course in which they previously received college level credit, received a failing grade, or for a basic course in an area in which college-level credit has been earned for a more advanced course.

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

Shenandoah University accepts the full range of CLEP tests, which measure the mastery of college-level introductory course content in a wide range of disciplines. CLEP tests are administered on campus. Students should contact the Transfer Evaluation Coordinator prior to taking a CLEP to verify how the CLEP will transfer into Shenandoah University. Students must submit official copies of the test results to the Office of the Registrar in order to earn the credits and course equivalencies listed below.

Shenandoah University does not award grades for CLEP.

Students meeting the credit-granting score standard will earn the credits and course exemptions listed below.

CLEP Exam Credit-granting Score Credit Earned Equivalent Course
Composition and Literature      
American Literature 50 6 ENG elective
Analyzing and Interpreting      
  Literature 50 6 ENG elective
College Comp 50 6 ENG 101 , ENG elective
English Literature 50 6 ENG elective
       
Social Sciences and History      
American Government 50 3 PSCI 201  
U.S. History I 50 3 HIST 103  
U.S. History II 50 3 HIST 104  
Human Growth and Development 50 3 PSY HGD elective 
Humanities 50 6 Free elective
Educational Psychology 50 3 PSY elective
Introduction to Psychology 50 3 PSY 101  
Introduction to Sociology 50 3 SOC 101  
Western Civ I 50 3 HIST elective
Western Civ II 50 3 HIST elective
       
Foreign Languages      
French, Level 1 50 6 FR 101 , FR 102  
French, Level 2 59 6 FR 201 , FR 202  
German, Level 1 50 6 GER 101 , GER 102  
German, Level 2 60 6 GER 201 , GER 202  
Spanish, Level 1 50 6 SPAN 101 , SPAN 102  
Spanish, Level 2 63 6 SPAN 201 , SPAN 202  
       
Science and Math      
Biology 50 4 BIO elective 
Precalculus 50 3 MATH 102  
Calculus 50 4 MATH 201  
Chemistry 50 4 CHEM 121  
College Algebra 50 3 MATH 101  
College Math 50 3 MATH 100  
Natural Sciences 50 4 Natural Sciences Region elective
Trigonometry+ 50 3 MATH 102  
       
Business      
Financial Accounting 50 3 BA 211  
Principles of Accounting I 50 6 BA 211 ,* BA 212 *
Introductory Business Law 50 3 BA 303  
IS and Computer Apps 50 3 IST elective
Principles of Macroeconomics 50 3 EC 211  
Principles of Microeconomics 50 3 EC 212  
Principles of Management 50 3 BA elective
Principles of Marketing 50 3 BA elective

*This does not apply to Accounting majors. This exam replaced by Financial Accounting.

+Replaced by precalculus in 2006.

Challenge Examinations

Challenge Examinations, which allow a student to earn credit for a course by passing a comprehensive examination on the content of the course, are available for some courses, subject to the approval of the faculty member responsible for the course, the dean/director of the academic unit in which the course is taught, and the provost. Challenge exams are not given if a comparable CLEP or other approved standardized test is available for the course.

Challenge Examinations must be completed before the end of the drop/add period for fall or spring semester. The student must be registered for the course in which the Challenge Examination is being taken, and the course is counted in the student’s workload for purposes of assessing tuition and fees. Grades are awarded in courses completed by Challenge Examination.

Students interested in Challenge Examinations should use the Request for Challenge Examination online form.

Additional Examinations

Each academic unit may determine, subject to the approval of the provost, which, if any, other examinations are accepted. Each unit also determines the minimum passing score for such examinations and the credit, if any, to be awarded.

Non-Collegiate-Sponsored Instruction

Students may be awarded credit for satisfactory completion of coursework in the armed services, business and industry, or government agencies as recognized by the American Council on Education or the National Program on Non-Collegiate Sponsored Instruction.

Catalog of Record

Students are subject to the curricular and graduation requirements contained in the academic catalog in effect upon their enrollment at Shenandoah University. If a student chooses to add a specialization, minor, or certificate after they are enrolled, the student’s original academic catalog year will remain unchanged, but the specialization, minor, or certificate requirements will be those specified in the academic catalog in effect at the time of the change.

If a Conservatory student chooses to change a specialization (applied instrument) after they are enrolled, the student will be placed on the next available academic catalog. For any Conservatory student choosing to complete a change of curriculum or add a minor, certificate or second degree, the approved changes will become effective at the beginning of the first academic term after the form is received by the Office of the Registrar. The student will be placed on the next available academic catalog.

Degree candidates who have been continuously enrolled (allowing absences no longer than 12 consecutive months) may choose to graduate under the terms of any catalog in effect at or after their admission. Any change in a student’s catalog of record requires approval of the student’s academic dean or director. Students who leave and re-enter the university after an absence of more than 12 consecutive months will be subject to the catalog in effect at the time of their re-admission. Students may not elect to graduate under a catalog in effect prior to their entrance or re-admission.

Requirements for Degrees

Candidates for degrees at Shenandoah University must complete all of the following in order to graduate:

  1. The minimum number of credit hours required for a baccalaureate degree is 120.
    1. Candidates for baccalaureate degrees must earn a minimum of 25% of the required credit hours for their degree at Shenandoah University.
    2. Twenty-four of the last 30 credit hours required in a baccalaureate degree program must be earned at Shenandoah University. Credits earned at institutions with specific program articulation agreements with Shenandoah University will be considered as Shenandoah University credits for this requirement. 
  2. Within the minimum 120 credit hour requirement for the baccalaureate:
    1. The university-wide general education curriculum
      The university-mandated general education domain requirements will be considered to have been fulfilled for a transfer student who holds an Associate of Arts, Associate of Sciences, Associate of Arts and Sciences, and/or an Associate of Arts and Teaching degree. The core requirements of the individual academic unit will be considered on a case-by-case basis, as will all other associate degree-holding students.
    2. Any academic unit core curriculum requirements.
    3. All courses required for a major/degree program and any additional elective program of study such as minor or concentration.
    4. At least 30 credit hours at or above the 300-level.
  3. The certificate residency minimum requirement is one half of the credits of the certificate program or 30 credit hours, whichever is less. Schools may raise these requirements. Students should refer to the individual school or division sections of the academic catalog for additional information.
  4. Candidates for certificates and baccalaureate degrees must fulfill the specific requirements of their curricula with a cumulative grade point average of 2.000. Some programs require a higher grade point average in the major. Consult the descriptions of individual majors/degree programs to determine other requirements.
  5. Complete all necessary assessment measures and surveys as deemed appropriate by the university or school.
  6. To be eligible for graduation, students must submit an online application to graduate by the publicized deadline.

A student may complete the requirements for the initial degree under the provisions of any catalog between the year in which they matriculate into the university and the year in which they graduate from the university.

Consult degree requirements in each school for further restrictions.

Multiple Credentials

Students may elect multiple major/degree programs (see degree requirements section of catalog) but these may not overlap by more than nine credit hours, or in the case of four-credit courses, by more than 12-credit hours.

Minors may not overlap a major/degree program or additional minors by more than nine credit hours, or in the case of four-credit courses, by more than 12-credit hours.

ShenEd General Education Curriculum

Amy Sarch, Associate Provost
Gregory Hall, Room 157, (540) 542-6534, [email protected]

The ShenEd general education program is required of all students entering Shenandoah University as first-year students. This requirement is in addition to the college/school requirements and the major/program of study requirements. Transfer students should consult with their advisor and/or the director of general education concerning their general education requirements.

Students should direct all questions regarding general education to their college/school/program dean or director, and/or the director of general education at [email protected].

Mission Statement

The mission of the ShenEd Curriculum is to provide students with the integrated knowledge, skills and opportunities to be active, ethical, and creative citizens in a dynamic, diverse global community.

Program Objectives

The ShenEd program is organized around four broad interrelated competency areas – literacies, inquiry, expression, and difference – with specific goals that include critical thinking for each.  In addition to these four “spheres of learning,” the ShenEd program features the Going Global First Year Seminar (FYS), a multi-disciplinary program that provides a gateway into the curriculum. The general education requirements are enhanced by a focus on integrative learning across disciplines and co-curricular experiences.  

Upon completion of the ShenEd program, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate awareness of a global problem or issue.
  2. Acquire perspective taking within a global context.
  3. Cultivate a sense of social responsibility to people and situations both inside and outside their own communities.
  4. Develop basic oral, written and quantitative reasoning skills. 
  5. Understand artistic modes of human expression. 
  6. Demonstrate knowledge of scientific principles within the natural and social or behavioral sciences. 
  7. Develop an ability to think ethically within the context of understanding cultural differences.

Critical thinking is infused throughout the ShenEd program. Students who complete ShenEd will demonstrate the following critical thinking skills:

  1. Analyze and synthesize information about a problem or issue.
  2. Select and apply information to investigate and discuss a problem or issue.
  3. Describe how context can influence assumptions about a problem or issue.
  4. Formulate a thesis/perspective for a problem/issue while recognizing different or opposing sides of the problem/issue. 
  5. Recognize the consequences and implications of a thesis/perspective.

Program Overview

The ShenEd Curriculum includes courses and co-curricular experiences that are shared by Shenandoah University’s four undergraduate schools.  ShenEd pairs liberal learning with professional skills to provide a critical and reflective lens that furthers Shenandoah University’s mission and sets up students to be lifelong learners. The four spheres of learning combine professional skills with liberal arts-based critical inquiry. Courses in each sphere of learning will use interdisciplinary, experiential approaches to connect learning to other spheres. In ShenEd, students learn to navigate difference as citizens of our dynamic and diverse world through scientific inquiry, the development of communicative and quantitative literacies and the study of creative expression. This academic emphasis on the interconnectedness of literacies, inquiry, expression and difference contributes to the broader framework of Shenandoah University as a unique place to learn.

ShenEd is organized around a Going Global First Year Seminar and four interrelated spheres of learning that faculty identify as central to active, ethical and creative citizenry: communicative & quantitative literacies, scientific inquiry, creative expression, and navigating difference.

The Going Global First Year Seminar

The Going Global First Year Seminar is a three-credit, multi-disciplinary first semester seminar – the initial step in developing a sense of community among all first time, first year Shenandoah students.  This community begins within the borders of the University, but the goal of the seminar is to expand these borders and deepen students’ feeling of belonging to the global community, helping Shenandoah students to realize they can make a difference in that global community. FYS courses emphasize critical thinking and perspective taking on global issues so that students begin to recognize that their individual intervention in a global social problem is both possible and consequential.  The FYS program is organized around three goals: global awareness, multiple perspectives and social responsibility.

Students who complete FYS will demonstrate the ability to:

  • Analyze and synthesize information about a global problem or issue. 
  • Select and apply information to investigate and discuss a global problem or issue.
  • Describe how context can influence assumptions about a global problem or issue.
  • Synthesize their own perspective on a global problem/issue while recognizing different or opposing sides of the problem/issue.
  • Recognize the consequences and implications of the thesis/hypothesis or perspective.
  • Enhance a set of individual skills and/or develop a belief that their individual intervention in a global social problem is both possible and consequential.
  • Identify obligations to people situated both inside and outside their own local community.

Spheres of Learning

Communicative and Quantitative Literacies Sphere: Oral and Written Communication & Quantitative Literacy

Definition: Students need to develop foundational literacies in oral and written communication and quantitative reasoning. In order to communicate clearly and effectively, express ideas, and interpret information, individuals must (i) understand the operations of language in the context of social, cultural, and discipline-specific norms, (ii) identify and understand the roles that quantitative reasoning and quantitative analysis play in the world, and (iii) use information resources and technology to articulate learned and new ideas. 

Oral and Communicative Literacies Region: 

Students who complete the Communicative and Quantitative Literacies Region shall demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Adapt presentations to fit a specific audience or context.
  2. Use the composing process (brainstorming, drafting, feedback, revising and editing) to develop written and/or oral texts/presentations.
  3. Use evidence ethically and appropriately to inform or persuade 
  4. Distill a primary purpose into a single, central idea.
  5. Develop and present major points in a reasonable, organized, and convincing manner.
  6. Communicate using appropriate conventions (e.g., grammar, usage, mechanics, delivery) for audience or context. 

Quantitative Literacy Region: 

Students who complete the Quantitative Literacies Region shall demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Apply mathematical methods to solve problems.
  2. Analyze information with an appropriate mathematical model and interpret the result.
  3. Organize mathematical information using multiple representations and understand the applicability of each.
Scientific Inquiry Sphere: Natural Science & Social or Behavioral Science

Definition: The goal of science is to seek an understanding of social and/or natural phenomena by the rational acquisition, analysis, and application of information. In these courses students will have the opportunity to understand the multiple perspectives required for studying the world around them. Students will also become familiar with a variety of methodologies used to examine social and natural phenomena. Courses in this sphere include the social, behavioral, and natural sciences.  Students must choose one natural science and either a social or behavioral science.  

Natural Sciences Region

Students who complete the Natural Sciences Region shall demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Describe how scientific knowledge is acquired through the active interplay between conceptual knowledge and scientific investigation processes. They will also demonstrate an understanding of the core concepts of a discipline within the natural sciences (e.g. biology, chemistry, environmental science, earth science or physics).
  2. Select and apply appropriate scientific knowledge in order to pose scientific questions, make and record observations, interpret data and form valid conclusions.  
  3. Select and apply appropriate scientific knowledge to evaluate scientific scenarios, data sets, or claims.

Social and Behavioral Science Region 

Students who complete the Social and Behavioral Science Region shall demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Analyze human behavior; social problems or situations; or cultural production using theories or methods of the social or behavioral sciences. 
  2. Examine differences and similarities between social institutions and humans’ interactions with these social institutions.
  3. Discuss the nature of individual values and beliefs and the relationship between oneself and the community.
Creative Expression Sphere

Definition:  The study of creative expression includes literature, music, dance, theater, the visual arts and other artistic mediums. Courses in this sphere help students understand the human capacity for expression as a search for meaning and purpose. Through these creative and interpretive studies, students will comprehend worlds and histories, as well as their own capacities to create and express themselves. 

Creative Expression Sphere:

Students who complete the Creative Expression Sphere shall demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Communicate using the terminology of an arts medium.
  2. Express historical and cultural contexts of the arts. 
  3. Interpret a single medium of art which will function as an introduction to the arts as a whole.
Navigating Difference Sphere: Ethical Reasoning & Cultural Understanding

Definition: The goal of navigating difference is to explore how humans live together in a diverse world. The studies of history, religion, race, gender, literature, language and communication offer unique approaches in their examinations of human difference. While there are multiple methods for understanding otherness, each of the courses in this sphere provides students with the tools to become informed, compassionate, ethical global citizens. In these courses, students will have the opportunity to navigate cultural diversity, explore the power dynamics inherent in intercultural interactions and develop the ability to think ethically in light of difference.

Ethical Reasoning Region: 

Students who complete the Ethical Reasoning Region shall demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Identify ethical principles grounded in philosophical, religious or cultural perspectives.
  2. Analyze an ethical issue with attention to social and cultural difference.
  3. Articulate reasons for an ethical course of action.

Cultural Understanding Region:

Students who complete the Cultural Understanding Region shall demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the student’s own cultural rules and biases. 
  2. Illustrate the complexity of cultural difference in relation to history, economics, politics, communication styles/modes or beliefs.
  3. Examine the power dynamics inherent in intercultural elements and how they impact the world around us today.

ShenEd Requirements

  • Students must complete at least 30 credits across all four spheres of learning as indicated.
  • First-time, first-year students must complete the FYS 101 course.  Transfer students are exempt from FYS 101, but must take an additional 3 credits from the Navigating Difference sphere to complete the 30 ShenEd credits. 
  • First-year students may not repeat FYS 101.  If they fail FYS 101, the F remains on their transcript and students must take 3 credits from the Navigating Difference sphere to complete the 30 ShenEd credits. 
  • Students must complete ENG 101 (this course fulfills 3 writing credits in the Communicative and Quantitative Literacies sphere).
  • Students may substitute one pre-approved class in his/her major discipline for one general education requirement (except for FYS).

Major or Disciplinary Course Substitutions for ShenEd Elective Credit:  All major programs or divisions may apply to the ShenEd Committee to designate courses required for their major that may also be used to satisfy a ShenEd elective requirement. According to SACS, students must complete one course in the humanities/fine arts, natural sciences/mathematics, and social/behavioral sciences.  Additionally, these courses may not narrowly focus on skills, techniques, and procedures specific to a particular occupation or profession.   If the course content focuses on or requires a particular knowledge or skill area, the class may count as a ShenEd elective. Students may take this more specialized course as an additional course in humanities/fine arts, natural sciences/mathematics, and social/behavioral sciences that is specific to a particular occupation or profession and count that additional course as a general education course (if these credits are their remaining 3-4 elective credits).  Students who subsequently declare a different major may use the course already taken to fulfill the ShenEd requirement.  

A Disciplinary Course Substitution must meet the following guidelines:

  • Meet all the ShenEd learning objectives in the designated competency area
  • The instructor of the course being used as a disciplinary course substitution must follow the same ShenEd assessment guidelines as other ShenEd courses and submit their Shen Ed assessment for the students taking their course as the ShenEd elective. 
  • If the course requires alteration of its objectives to fulfill the ShenEd objectives, then the course must also go through UCC for approval. 
  • Courses that meet the above will be listed as “permitted disciplinary course substitutions” in the ShenEd section of the catalogue.

Alternative Learning Substitutions:  Alternative learning substitutions afford Shenandoah University undergraduates with creative opportunities to meet ShenEd objectives through integrated experiences that incorporate high impact learning practices such as study abroad, global experiential learning (GEL) trips, and service learning. Students who choose an Alternative Learning Substitution may be required to satisfy meet any learning outcomes from disciplines that are outside of the scope of ShenEd.

An Alternative Learning Substitution must:

  • Be overseen by a faculty member who reviews student progress toward meeting general education objectives. 
  • Meet all the ShenEd objectives in the designated competency area.
  • Include a capstone/summative experience in which students address the ShenEd objectives listed in the designated competency area.
  • Be described in a plan submitted for approval in advance of the learning experience (or GEL trip). The Office of General Education will review proposals for substitutions and notify the Registrar of approvals.
  • Be verified as completed by the participating faculty member. 

ShenEd Courses  

Earning Graduate Credit as an Undergraduate

Students who have not completed a baccalaureate degree but are within 15 credits of completion, and who have earned a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0, may enroll in graduate classes for which all prerequisites have been met.

Approval may be granted by the dean/director of the school/division in which the instruction is offered when the student files a written plan that projects completion of the baccalaureate degree within 12 months and when the student has applied for admission to a specific graduate program at Shenandoah University. All graduate credits undertaken must apply to the anticipated curriculum. Credits may be applied to either the undergraduate or graduate curriculum, but not to both.

The above policy does not apply to Shenandoah University-approved articulated seamless undergraduate to graduate degree programs.

Program Time Limit

A full-time student should complete all degree requirements within six years of initial registration at Shenandoah. Stand-alone undergraduate certificate requirements (not taken with an undergraduate program) should be completed within four years of initial registration at Shenandoah. Time extensions may be granted when approved by the provost.

Second Degree Policy

A student who already holds a bachelor’s degree from Shenandoah University may complete an additional degree. The student seeking the additional degree must request readmission to the university. There is no minimum credit hour requirement for an additional degree, but all curriculum requirements in effect at the time of re-admission must be completed. Upon completion of the additional degree, the student will receive an additional diploma and will be entitled to participate in commencement ceremonies.

A transfer student (whose bachelor’s or first professional degree was not from Shenandoah University) must complete Shenandoah University’s Requirements for Degrees as well as all major requirements. University-mandated general education requirements will be considered to have been fulfilled, but core requirements of individual academic units will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Requirements mandated by external accrediting agencies must be met.

Program Continuity

Shenandoah University is committed to continuity and stability in its degree and program offerings. However, it may be necessary, from time to time, to modify or terminate program requirements, content or sequence of course offerings for various reasons. These include, but are not limited to, educational (including accreditation and certification) or financial reasons that the institution deems necessary or other reasons or circumstances beyond the control of Shenandoah University.

Change in Curriculum

Students may change curriculum (add/drop majors, minors, certificates, concentrations) with the approval of their academic advising coordinator. Students must complete the online Curriculum Change Form available on the SU Registrar’s webpage at https://sites.google.com/a/su.edu/registrar/resources. Alternately, a paper form may be obtained from academic advising coordinators. The student is advised to complete the form with the advising coordinator. Once approved by the new academic advising coordinator, the former academic advisor will be notified by email and the form will be forwarded to the Office of the Registrar for processing.

Classification of Students

Students are classified academically at the end of each semester. Courses from other institutions that meet the requirements for transfer are included in determining a student’s classification. All students enrolled in certificate programs are classified as freshmen.

Students enrolled in baccalaureate degree programs are classified as follows:

  Classification Credit Hours Earned
  Freshman 0.00 - 23.99
  Sophomore 24.00 - 53.99
  Junior 54.00 - 83.99
  Senior 84.00 or more

Visiting students (those students not formally admitted into a certificate or degree program) are not classified.

Grading Scale and Quality Point System

The chart below shows the standard SU grading system. Individual schools, divisions or professors may elect not to give “+” or “-” grades, but must clearly state their policy in their student materials including course syllabus. Students should refer to the individual school or division sections of the academic catalog for additional information.

      Grade Credits included in GPA Credits
Grade Description Percent Value (Hours Graded) Earned
A+ Excellent ceremonial grade 4.0 Yes Yes
A Excellent 93-100% 4.0 Yes Yes
A- Excellent 90-92% 3.7 Yes Yes
B+ Good 87-89% 3.3 Yes Yes
B Good 83-86% 3.0 Yes Yes
B- Good 80-82% 2.7 Yes Yes
C+ Average 77-79% 2.3 Yes Yes
C Average 73-76% 2.0 Yes Yes
C- Average 70-72% 1.7 Yes Yes
D+ Below Average 67-69% 1.3 Yes Yes
D Below Average 60-66% 1.0 Yes Yes
F Failure <60% 0.0 Yes No
W Withdrew   0.0 No No
S Satisfactory Work   0.0 No No
U Unsatisfactory Work   0.0 No No
I Incomplete   0.0 No No
AU Audit   0.0 No No
NC No Credit Course   0.0 No No
TR Transferred   0.0 No Yes

Students must officially withdraw from a class or from school to receive a grade of “W.”

Incomplete Grades

If, because of illness, emergency or reasonable cause, a student cannot complete the required work for a course, they may request the assignment of an “I” (incomplete) for the course. If the instructor in the course and the student’s school dean approve the request, then the student and the instructor shall enter into a written contract for the completion of the coursework. This contract is available in the Registrar’s Office. The contract shall stipulate what work is required for completion of the course, the date that the work must be completed (in no case later than the drop/add period of the next academic semester after the incomplete is assigned), and the grade to be given if the coursework is not completed. Once a contract is received by the Registrar’s Office, the “I” incomplete grade will be entered by registrar staff. If no grade has been submitted by the drop/add date of the next academic semester, the registrar will change the grade from “I” to “F” (or the grade indicated on the contract).

Grade Changes

The instructor of a course and/or the provost are the only persons authorized to change a grade and may do so only with approval of the school dean/director. Grade change forms are available from the school dean’s/director’s office or the Registrar’s Office. Requests for recalculation of grades must be submitted to the school dean no later than the last day of classes in the semester following completion of the course. In no case may a grade be changed after one calendar year without the permission of the provost.

Calculation of Grade Point Average

Each grade is assigned a numerical grade value (see previous page). This numerical equivalent is used to determine how many “quality points” a student receives for each course. To calculate quality points earned for each course, multiply the number of credit hours for the course times the grade value of the letter grade received. The grade point average (GPA) is then determined by dividing the total number of quality points earned by the total number of attempted credits graded. GPAs are reported to the third decimal point and are not rounded up or down.

Posting of Grades, Mid-Semester Grades and Distribution of Grades

Final course grades will be posted within three business days after the final exam or final class meeting. Should faculty teach multiple sections of the same course, grades may be posted at the end of the third business day after the latest final exam. Mid-semester grades will not be recorded on the student’s permanent academic record and will have no bearing on academic status.

Mid-term and final semester grades and grade point averages are provided to students, faculty advisors and school deans/directors via the online portal. Hard copies of grade reports can be made available in certain circumstances by special request to the Registrar’s Office.

Final Examinations

Final examinations shall be scheduled by the registrar and may not be altered in time or place without permission of the provost. Any requests for exceptions must go first to the dean or director who will make a recommendation to the provost.

The final examination period is part of the instructional time of the semester. If no final examination is administered, the time will be used for other educational activities for the members of the class.

Rescheduling Coursework in the Event of a Campus Closure

In the event of a campus closure, causing faculty to miss contact hours, faculty have several options:

  1. Faculty may hold class during the scheduled time for make-up that appears with the closure notice or within another mutually defined time through consultation with the deans/directors. Faculty should follow their standard attendance policy.
  2. Faculty may reorganize their syllabus to absorb content and classroom work through regularly scheduled classes.
  3. Faculty may use digital means to hold class, either synchronously through teleconferencing, chatting or discussion boards; or asynchronously through Canvas course management system, web pages or some other means. Faculty should follow their standard attendance policy and make allowances to complete work at a later date if students do not have access to the internet.
  4. Faculty may offer an assignment in replacement of the contact hours. These assignments could include quizzes, papers, podcasts, research assignments, etc.

Rescheduling Exams in the Event of a Campus Closure During Finals Week

In the event of a campus closure during the week of finals, faculty have several options:

  1. Faculty may offer students the option to take the final either on the date for make-up that appears in the closure notice or within another mutually defined time through consultation with the dean/director to be no later than the add/drop period of the following semester. The university will follow the schedule as outlined for the day it closed. Faculty will have to coordinate with their department to find exam locations for returning students who wish to take the exam at the beginning of term.
  2. Faculty may offer the exam as a take-home exam or use distance-learning means to have the students submit their final work (e.g., online exams through Canvas, podcasts of performance or presentations, web page creations, Power Point presentations, etc.).
  3. Faculty may change the final exam assignment to something that can be done through digital means, such as a paper or a podcast.
  4. Faculty may offer the option of reassigning different weights to already completed coursework (e.g., quizzes, exams, papers, portfolios, projects, presentations, etc.), thereby forgoing the final. However, if a student wants to take a final exam, faculty must grant that request and offer the student the option to do so within the time specified in #1.

Academic Standing

The minimum graduation requirements for students enrolled in a baccalaureate degree program at Shenandoah University are the completion of 120 credit hours with a minimum grade point average of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale. Assuming that a student wishes to complete a degree in the standard four years, they would need to complete 15 credit hours per semester with a 2.0 cumulative grade point average. As some programs require a student to complete more than 120 credit hours, and some students choose to pursue their education on a less than a full-time basis, students should plan accordingly for this extended period of time.

Students who have difficulties in the initial hours of enrollment at Shenandoah frequently make sufficient improvement in subsequent coursework to overcome their deficit in grades or credit hours or both. For this reason, Shenandoah has set a rising scale of minimum requirements for the successive completed credit hours (shown in the chart below) for determining the conditions under which a student may continue their education.

  Credit Hours Completed* Minimum Cumulative GPA  
  1.00 - 23.99 1.6  
  24.00 - 53.99 1.8  
  54.00 and above 2.0  

*Credit Hours Completed includes transfer credit hours transferred in to student’s program of study.

Academic Probation

Students are placed on academic probation when their cumulative grade point average (GPA) does not meet the minimum standards defined under the previous section Academic Standing. As students are placed on probation, they are referred to the Turning Point Program, which is administered by the Director of Learning Resources.

Turning Point is a program designed to assist students who are on probation with skills and support systems not only to emerge from probation, but also to make consistent and steady progress toward continuing academic success. In Turning Point, customized interventions are developed to meet students’ specific needs for assistance. Elements of the program include assessment of students’ individual challenges, assignment into STSK 103 (Study Skills course for students on probation), individual academic counseling, specific skills workshops and assignment of a designated mentor/coach who will work with the student to develop a plan for improvement, work with tutors and study groups or other customized learning interventions.

Students remaining on probation for two consecutive terms may be subject to academic suspension.

Academic Suspension and Dismissal

  1. After two semesters on probation, students may be academically suspended from the university.
  2. Students suspended from the university shall remain out of school for a period of at least one academic semester and no longer than one year. Students not attending class at Shenandoah for three consecutive semesters will need to re-apply for admission.
  3. After that semester, a student can petition for reinstatement through the dean or director of the school or division and provost.
  4. If reinstated, the student must achieve at least a 2.0 GPA in the returning semester and must be a full-time student. Failure to meet this condition shall result in academic dismissal.

Condition of Dismissal

Only under justifiable conditions shall a petition for reinstatement be considered, and then only after a period of one calendar year from the date of dismissal.

Conduct Suspension or Dismissal

Students suspended or dismissed for student conduct reasons will receive a grade of “W.”

Academic Honors

Dean’s List

Students enrolled full-time in baccalaureate degree programs who have attained a term grade point average of at least 3.500 will be placed on the Dean’s List. The Dean’s List is calculated for fall and spring semesters only.

President’s List

Students enrolled full-time in baccalaureate degree programs who have attained a term grade point average of at least 3.900 will also be placed on the President’s List. The President’s List is calculated for fall and spring semesters only.

Graduation Honors

All candidates for baccalaureate degrees are eligible for honors based on the cumulative grade point average for any credits earned after initial registration at Shenandoah University. The grade point averages required for undergraduate academic honors are:

3.900 — Summa Cum Laude, with highest praise
3.700 — Magna Cum Laude, with great praise
3.500 — Cum Laude, with praise

Gold cords are worn by students graduating with honors. These gold honor cords are distributed during graduate line-up. Honors for the May commencement ceremony are calculated at the end of the fall semester prior to graduation and are listed in the program. Final honors are calculated with the spring semester grades and appear on the transcript and diploma.

Student Participation in Commencement Ceremony

Students may participate in the commencement ceremony at any time after their degree requirements have been met or as specified below. In fulfillment of this policy, the following guidelines apply:

  1. Shenandoah University’s commencement ceremony is scheduled in May.
  2. A student may “walk” in the May ceremony, if they have attempted enough credits required for completion of his/her degree program minus six in the semester of commencement. Exceptions may be approved only by the provost.
  3. “Walking” does not equate to “graduating.” Students designated as “walkers” must sign an eligibility statement within their respective schools/divisions. By signing the statement, students confirm their understanding of the walking policy and acknowledge their responsibility to reapply for graduation in the term in which they complete all requirements.
  4. When outstanding work is not completed within one year, the student will be required to formally reapply for admission to the university and be placed under the newest academic catalog.
  5. Only students who have fulfilled all degree requirements will be eligible for class honors. Honors for the commencement program in May are calculated at the end of the fall semester prior to graduation. For those who complete requirements after the May ceremony, honors are calculated at the end of their final term and will appear on their transcript and diploma.
  6. For each degree earned, students may participate in one commencement ceremony. Accordingly, their name may be printed one time, for each degree earned, in the commencement program.

Degree Conferrals and Diplomas

The degree conferral date is the last day of each term. However, verification of conferral eligibility may be completed within four weeks after the last day of the term. A student’s transcript will not show the degree conferral until this verification has been completed. If a student’s eligibility for conferral cannot be determined within that four-week period, the student will be required to reapply for graduation in the subsequent term.

Diplomas will be mailed to the address provided by the student on their graduation application within six to eight weeks after graduation, as long as all academic requirements have been verified and the student has met all necessary obligations and requirements to the university.

Awarding of Posthumous Credentials

Awarding of a posthumous degree:

A Shenandoah University student who dies before completing degree requirements may be awarded a posthumous degree under the following conditions:

  • The student was in good academic and disciplinary standing at the time of their death.
  • The student was enrolled at Shenandoah University within the previous 12 months.
  • For undergraduate degrees, the student had earned at least 30 credits at Shenandoah University and was within 30 credits of completing the degree. 
  • For graduate degrees, the student had completed at least 75% of the required credits or as determined by the school and program.
Awarding of a posthumous certificate:

A Shenandoah University student who dies before completing degree requirements but does not meet the criteria for the posthumous degree may be awarded a posthumous certificate that recognizes the student’s academic achievement if the student was in good academic and disciplinary standing at the time of their death and had been enrolled at Shenandoah University within the previous 12 months.

In all cases, award of a posthumous degree or certificate must be supported by the chair of the student’s department or program, the dean of the student’s school, the provost and the president. For either the posthumous degree or the posthumous certificate, the student’s name will be listed in the program at the next appropriate commencement ceremony with the notation “awarded posthumously,” at the discretion of the family.  The family may choose to receive the degree or certificate at that ceremony or at another time.  The notation “awarded posthumously” will also be made on the transcript, but not on the diploma or certificate.

Transcripts and Student Records

The transcript is an official record of the student’s academic history, including degree programs, courses taken at Shenandoah, courses accepted for transfer credit, grades, earned credits, GPA, terms of attendance and academic standing.

Pursuant to Va. Code §23-9.2:15 which took effect July 1, 2015, a prominent notation must appear on the academic transcript of each student who has been suspended for, permanently dismissed for, or who withdraws under investigation for an offense involving sexual violence. For more specific details, please refer to “Transcript Notations Concerning Sexual Violence Violations” in the Student Life Policies section.

Shenandoah University accords to students all rights under the law. No one outside the institution shall have access to, nor will the institution disclose any information from, students’ education records without the written consent of students, except to personnel within the institution, persons or organizations providing student financial aid, accrediting agencies carrying out their accreditation function, persons in compliance with a judicial order and persons in an emergency in order to protect the health or safety of other persons. All these exceptions are permitted under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. School policy explains in detail the procedures to be used by the institution for compliance with the provisions of the Act. Copies of the policy can be found in the Academic Policies section of the university’s catalogs, in the Office of the Registrar and in the Student Life Office.

Official transcripts of a student’s record may be released to a third party only upon the student’s completion of the online transcript request at www.su.edu/transcript. Requests for transcripts, certifications, and other similar information will not be honored unless all financial obligations due the university are satisfied. Financial obligations include, but are not limited to, items of tuition and fees, overdue library materials and unpaid library fines, checks returned to the bookstore and musical instruments that have been loaned and not properly returned to the Conservatory.

SU Policy for Revocation of Admission, Degree or Credit

There may be situations in which a student obtains entry to the university through misrepresentation, or is awarded academic credentials even though they failed to complete the requirements for those credentials, or obtain their academic credentials by deceit, fraud, or other academic misconduct. Such situations may not be discovered until the student has left the university or received a degree or credit. Whether or not the student remains enrolled, the university reserves the right to revoke admission or degrees, decertify credit, and seek return of any Shenandoah University certification that suggests the student successfully completed course work or requirements for a degree.

Sexual Misconduct Policy

Shenandoah University is committed to sustaining an environment in which students, faculty and staff members may pursue their academic careers and assignments without being subject to verbal or physical harassment of any kind. Individuals who are in positions of authority with respect to students or other employees may not use their status to exploit others.

Recognizing that sexual misconduct impedes the educational process, SU is committed to investigating reports of sexual misconduct, to adjudicate them according to the policies of the university and to provide support to those who are involved.

All members of the Shenandoah University community, including guests and visitors, have a reasonable expectation to be free from sexual discrimination in the form of sexual misconduct by any other member of the university community. This policy applies to all Shenandoah University administration, faculty, staff, students, contractors and visitors. This policy is gender-neutral and applies equally to men and women.

Please refer to the Student Life Policies section of this catalog for comprehensive policy and procedures including definitions, the complaint policy and the appeals process.

Non-Discrimination Statement

Shenandoah University values the unique and diverse perspectives of individuals and communities locally and globally and seeks to foster mutual understanding in an inviting community where individuals are welcome and respected. The university does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, veteran’s status or on any other basis protected under applicable law. 

Student Rights

Shenandoah affirms the right of academic freedom for the university community. Freedom of assembly, freedom of the press and freedom of speech are constitutional rights. Shenandoah reserves the right to specify the time, place and manner of the exercise of these rights on university facilities. Shenandoah insists that every member of the university community abide by the laws of the United States, the Commonwealth of Virginia and established institutional rules and regulations.

Members of the university community should be aware of the inherent responsibility of free speech and the possible consequences when free speech is used as a license to disrupt the normal academic activities of the institution. Demonstrations that disrupt normal activities of the institution will not be tolerated at Shenandoah. Any student who participates in any form of disruptive action is subject to immediate interim suspension and lawful prosecution in the courts. Shenandoah does not at any time tolerate and will not permit uninvited persons to remain on campus for the purpose of inciting students to disruptive activity. Any such person on campus will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Students must make themselves aware of the philosophy, standards and rules of Shenandoah as contained in the university catalogs. Criticism and suggestions are always welcomed; however, threats, disturbances or force of any kind by a single student, a minority or majority will not be tolerated. The trustees, administration, faculty and student body all have the obligation to protect the rights of students to the peaceful and orderly use of its resources, personnel and facilities.

Shenandoah affirms the basic constitutional rights for all students and faculty. No student will be summarily dismissed without proof and a hearing. Each person subject to a hearing must be informed of the charges prior to that hearing. 

Shenandoah affirms the right of every person to privacy in their room. A student’s room will only be entered for inspections or if there is reason to believe a school regulation has been violated. Emergency inspections may be made anytime by the vice president for student life, the vice president for student success, the dean of students, the director of residence life, director of public safety or the president (or official designee).

Shenandoah affirms the right of each student to study or practice without undue restriction or disruption. It is the responsibility of Shenandoah to provide an atmosphere within its residence halls, library and practice areas that is conducive to study.

Shenandoah believes all disruptive action should be controlled from within the Shenandoah community without involvement from outside authorities; however, if such instances should occur where outside enforcement of basic laws is necessary, local law enforcement agencies will be contacted.

Protecting Student’s Privacy Rights

Annual FERPA Disclosure

Annually, Shenandoah University provides information to students concerning their rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (FERPA). This act was designed to protect the privacy of education records and afford students certain rights with respect to their education records.

FERPA Annual Notice to Reflect Possible Federal and State Data Collection and Use

As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education’s FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which your education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records — including your Social Security Number, grades or other private information — may be accessed without your 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 your records and PII without your 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 your education records and PII without your 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 your 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 your consent PII from your education records, and they may track your participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about you 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.

Definitions

For the purpose of this policy, Shenandoah University has used the following definitions of terms:

Student – any person who attends or has attended Shenandoah University

Education records – any record (in handwriting, print, tapes, film or other medium) maintained by Shenandoah University, or an agent of the university, which is directly related to the student.

Education records, as defined by FERPA, include, but are not limited to:

  • GPAs, transcripts, and final course grades
  • Admissions materials
  • Financial aid records
  • Disciplinary records
  • Attendance records
  • Academic counseling records

Exceptions to the definition of education record include:

  1. A personal record kept by a staff member if it is kept in the sole possession of the maker of record and is not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of record.
  2. An employment record of an individual, whose employment is not contingent on the fact that they are a student, provided the record is used only in relation to the individual’s employment.
  3. Records maintained by Shenandoah University if the record is maintained solely for law enforcement purposes, is revealed only to law enforcement agencies of the same jurisdiction, and the Unit does not have access to education records maintained by the university.
  4. Records maintained by the Wellness Center if the records are used only for treatment of a student and made available only to those persons providing the treatment.
  5. Alumni records which contain information about a student after they are no longer in attendance at the university and which do not relate to the person as a student.

Under FERPA, students have the following rights:

  1. The right to inspect and review their education records within 45 days of the day the university receives a request for access.

    Procedure to Inspect Education Records
    Students may inspect and review their education records upon request to the appropriate custodian. Students should submit to the record custodian, or an appropriate university staff person, a written request which identifies as precisely as possible the record(s) they wish to inspect. The record custodian, or an appropriate university staff person, will make the needed arrangements for access as promptly as possible and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. Access must be given within 45 days or less from receipt of the request. When a record contains information about more than one student, the student may inspect only the records which relate to them.

    Right of the University to Refuse Access
    Shenandoah University reserves the right to refuse to permit a student to inspect the following records:
    • The financial statement of the student’s parents;
    • Letters and statements of recommendation for which the student has waived their right of access, or which were placed in the file before January 1, 1975;
    • Records connected with an application to attend Shenandoah University, or a component unit of Shenandoah University, if that application was denied;
    • Those records which are excluded from the FERPA definition of education records.

      Refusal to Provide Copies
      Shenandoah University reserves the right to deny transcripts or copies of records not required to be made available by FERPA in any of the following situations: 1) the student has an unpaid financial obligation to Shenandoah University; or 2) there is an unresolved disciplinary action against the student.
  2. The right to request an amendment to any education records the student believes are inaccurate or misleading, and the right to request a hearing if the request to correct an alleged inaccuracy is denied. (This is different from disputing a grade received in a class. Please refer to “Academic Appeals Policy: Grievance of a Grade” further in this section.)

    Correction of Education Records
    Students have the right to ask to have records corrected that they believe are inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of their privacy rights. Following are the procedures for the correction of records:
    1. A student must ask Shenandoah University to amend a record. In so doing, the student should identify the part of the record they want changed and specify why they believe it is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of their privacy or other rights.
    2. Shenandoah University may comply with the request, or it may decide not to comply. If it decides not to comply, the university will notify the student of the decision and advise them of their right to a hearing to challenge the information believed to be inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student’s rights.
    3. Upon request, Shenandoah University will arrange for a hearing and notify the student, reasonably in advance, of the date, place and time of the hearing.
    4. The hearing will be conducted by a hearing officer who is a disinterested party; however, the hearing officer may be an official of the institution. The student shall be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issues raised in the original request to amend the student’s education records. The student may be assisted by one or more individuals.
    5. Shenandoah University will prepare a written decision based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing. The decision will include a summary of the evidence presented and the reasons for the decision.
    6. If the university decides that the challenged information is not inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student’s right of privacy, it will notify the student that they have a right to place in the record a statement commenting on the challenged information and/or a statement setting forth reasons for disagreeing with the decision.
    7. The statement will be maintained as part of the student’s education records as long as the contested portion is maintained. If the university discloses the contested portion of the record, it must also disclose the statement.
    8. If the university decides that the information is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student’s right of privacy, it will amend the record and notify the student, in writing, that the record has been amended. 
  3. The right to provide written consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s educational records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. FERPA allows schools to disclose records, without written consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions:
    • SU school officials who have a legitimate educational interest in the records. A school official is a person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position; or a person employed by or under contract to the university to perform a special task, such as an attorney or auditor. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official is: 1) performing a task that is specified in his/her position description or by a contract agreement; 2) performing a task related to the student’s education; and/or 3) performing a task related to the discipline of a student.
    • Officials of another school, upon request, in which a student seeks or intends to enroll;
    • To certain officials of the U.S. Department of Education, the Comptroller General, and state and local educational authorities, in connection with certain state or federally supported education programs;
    • Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
    • Appropriate parties in connection with a student’s request for or receipt of financial aid, as necessary to determine the eligibility, amount or conditions of the financial aid, or to enforce the terms and conditions of the aid;
    • Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the university;
    • Accrediting organizations to carry out their functions;
    • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
    • Appropriate parties in cases of health and safety emergencies; and
    • State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific state law, or if required by a state law requiring disclosure that was adopted before November 19, 1974;
    • To an alleged victim of any crime of violence of the results of any institutional disciplinary proceeding against the alleged perpetrator of that crime with respect to that crime.
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by SU 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 20202-5920
    Phone: 1-800-USA-LEARN (1-800-872-5327)

Types, Locations and Custodians of Education Records

The following is a list of the types of records that the university maintains, their locations, and their custodians (Type/Location/Custodian):

  • Admission Records/Admissions Office/Executive Director of Admissions
  • Cumulative Academic Records/Registrar’s Office/Registrar
  • Health Records/Wellness Center/Wellness Center Director
  • Financial Records/Hornet Central/Vice President for Administration and Finance
  • Placement Records/Career Activities Center/Director of Student Activities
  • Progress Records/Office of the Dean/Director of each School/Division/Dean or Director
  • Disciplinary Records/Student Programs Office/Vice President for Student Life
  • Occasional Records/The appropriate official will collect such records, direct the student to their location, or otherwise make them available for inspection and review./The university staff person who maintains such occasional systems records. (Student education records not included in the types above such as minutes of faculty committee meetings, copies of correspondence in offices not listed, etc.)

Shenandoah University is fully committed to protecting the privacy of student’s education records.

Parental Rights Under FERPA

Parental access rights under FERPA can be summarized as follows: At the postsecondary level, parents have no inherent rights to inspect their student’s educational records; the right to inspect is limited solely to the student. When a student reaches the age of 18 or begins attending a school beyond the high-school level, regardless of age, FERPA rights transfer from the parent to student. SU may release student information to parents only if:

  • The student provides written consent by completing the Consent to Release Education Records form and submitting it to the Registrar’s Office. This form will be kept as part of their permanent record.
  • The student is claimed as a dependent for federal income tax purposes. The parent would need to provide the registrar with a certified copy of their most recent Federal Income Tax Form verifying the student’s dependency status.
  • There is a health or safety emergency.
  • The student is under 21 and has violated an SU rule related to alcohol or controlled substances.

If parents have their student’s written consent for access, or if the student can be claimed as a dependent (as outlined above), questions about registration, final grades received, GPAs, graduation, and similar issues should be directed to the Office of the Registrar. For security purposes, grades cannot be provided over the telephone, by fax, or sent to a non-SU email address, as these processes cannot guarantee a completely secure transmission of the student’s grades to the intended third parties. Also note that requests to discuss information in the student’s educational record will require certain information to be provided for cross-check verification.

Restrictions or permissions related to the sharing of educational records extend to Shenandoah alumni, as well, so any requests a student makes will remain in effect indefinitely, unless the student submits a change, in writing, to the Registrar’s Office.

The information above is only a brief summary of the detailed federal law. For more information, please visit www2.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/finrule/2008-4/120908a.pdf.

Directory Information

Under FERPA, Shenandoah may release “directory information” about students without first obtaining student’s consent. Directory information is defined as information contained in an education record of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. At Shenandoah, directory information includes the following:

  • Student name
  • Date and place of birth
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports; weight and height of members of athletic teams
  • Major field of study, school or division, academic level and year in school, full-time/part-time status
  • Dates of attendance; degrees and awards received
  • Most recent previous school attended
  • Photograph or video clip

The university may disclose any of those items listed above without prior written consent, unless notified in writing to the contrary. Students may opt out of sharing directory information by completing the Request to Withhold Directory Information form in the Registrar’s Office. However, students are urged to think carefully about such a request. If a request to withhold directory information is made, school officials will not be able to publish news releases about student achievements, include student information in articles about sports achievements, print student’s information in the commencement program, or verify student’s degree or status to potential employers, insurers or lenders, for example.

The university’s withholding of directory information may have unexpected or undesirable ramifications. Please contact the Registrar’s Office for more information.

Please understand that restrictions on directory information also extend to Shenandoah alumni, so any requests a student makes will remain in effect until they submit a change, in writing, to the Registrar’s Office. SU assumes no liability for honoring student requests to withhold directory information.

Privacy Policy for Distance Education Students

Shenandoah University will make every attempt to protect student privacy with respect to online activities. Distance Education students must recognize, however, that the university administration uses analytic data (such as “cookies” or usage statistics) to ensure that systems function well and that some student activities in distance courses may be recorded for later use. Some instructional technology systems used by the university provide faculty with student usage information such as page views and time spent engaging in online activities.

In order to keep communications between faculty and students private, the university provides access to a FERPA-compliant encrypted email service. The content of such messages will not be disclosed to parties outside the university except as required by law. Student email accounts are only managed to the extent necessary to ensure adherence to university use policy or as required by law. Analytics are used to track user behavior on university websites, but this information is for internal university use only. Similarly, network traffic is only analyzed for the purposes of keeping systems operational and to ensure compliance with university policy or law. External software vendors that provide services to the university will be required to keep student information secure.

Accommodations of Persons with Disabilities Policy

As part of Shenandoah University’s commitment to upholding the letter and spirit of the laws that ensure equal treatment of people with disabilities, the university recognizes and adheres to the mandates of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. It is the policy of Shenandoah University that no otherwise qualified individual is denied reasonable and appropriate access to or participation in any program or activity of the university because of a disability. Pursuant to this policy, the university’s Office of Learning Resources is a resource for students, faculty and staff. Any individual who believes they have a disability covered under disability laws may provide the requisite documentation and request accommodations and resources from the Office of Learning Resources, located in the Academic Enrichment Center.

Disability Grievance Procedure

Any university student who believes that they have been subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability by being denied academic access or accommodations required by law shall have the right to invoke the grievance procedure. This procedure is designed to address disagreements or denials regarding requested services, accommodations, or modifications to university academic practices or requirements.

Step One

In the event that specific complaints arise regarding the university’s compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the director of disability services will, at the request of students, faculty or staff, review the procedures implemented and seek to resolve the matter informally. To the extent that the complaint(s) cannot be resolved informally, the following procedures shall be employed in order to address the grievance formally.

Step Two

  1. A student wishing to file a complaint shall submit a written grievance to the director of disabilities services within 30 calendar days of the event(s) triggering the grievance. The written grievance must include:
    1. a clear statement of the university rule, regulation, policy, and/or action of which the student complains;
    2. the date of any action which the student is appealing;
    3. a summary of the action(s) which the student has taken to resolve the matter informally; d. documentation which supports the grievance.
      The director will forward this to the appropriate administrator as designated by the
      president.
  2. The appropriate administrator shall meet with the student within five class days of the receipt of the grievance to gather data and attempt resolution.
  3. If this meeting does not resolve the grievance, the appropriate administrator shall conduct an informal investigation of the grievance. In cases where the grievance is about the conduct or requirements of a course or an academic program, the appropriate administrator shall consult with the faculty member responsible for the affected course or academic program, and meet with and seek advice from the Advisory Committee on Disability Issues, consisting of at least one faculty representative from each school and one student. One of the faculty participants must be from the school responsible for the course or academic program from which the grievance originated.
  4. The appropriate administrator shall furnish a written response to the grievance no later than 15 class days of the meeting with the student. The written response shall be mailed to the student by certified mail, return receipt requested.

Step Three

  1. If the student is not satisfied with the written response from the appropriate administrator, they may present the grievance in written form to the provost within 10 class days after the receipt of the response from the appropriate administrator.
  2. The provost or designate shall, within 15 class days after the receipt of the grievance, schedule and conduct a meeting with the student and other persons involved in the grievance.
  3. After the investigation is complete, the provost or designate shall issue a written answer to the complainant within 15 class days from completion of the meeting(s) with the student and other persons.
  4. If the grievance involved conduct or requirements of a course or academic program, a copy of the written decision of the provost or designate shall be provided to the Advisory Committee on Disability Issues, the dean and the department head in the school involved and to the professor of the course.
  5. The director of disabilities services shall maintain the files and records relating to the complaints filed.
  6. The right of a person to prompt and equitable resolution of a grievance shall not be impaired by the person’s pursuit of other remedies such as filing a complaint with a responsible federal department or agency. Although individuals have the right to pursue appeals through external channels, they are encouraged to use internal mechanisms to resolve disagreements.

Step Four

If the provost or designate is unable to offer a satisfactory resolution, the student may appeal to the president of the university, whose decision is final.

Student Behavior

Class Attendance

Instructors will provide students with a written statement of the class attendance requirements governing that course and the consequences for violating these requirements. After the written statement has been made available, consequences of class absences may include, but are not limited to, a reduced or failing grade. Students who are absent from classes are held responsible for all materials covered and assignments regardless of the reason for absences. If a school, college or division has its own attendance policy, instructors must follow that policy. When the student is not in compliance with the course attendance policy, the instructor is encouraged to notify the student.  

Upon recommendation of the instructor to the dean or director of an academic program, a student with excessive absences (defined as five 50-minute, three 75-minute, or two 150- minute classes in succession or 30 percent of all class meetings by mid-term or after) may be administratively withdrawn from a class.

Instructors are encouraged to excuse students officially representing Shenandoah University for events including, but not limited to, participation in a sporting event, concerts and performances. However, it is the student’s responsibility to inform the instructor of the absence in a timely manner and to make arrangements for the information missed in the course. The coach or instructor of the event are encouraged to also notify the course instructor of the absence, but the responsibility lies with the student to inform the instructor. Every effort should be made by the student to avoid excessive absences that may compromise mastery of the course material and successful completion of the course. The instructor retains the right to deny an absence if it is felt the absence would be counterproductive to mastery of the material and successful completion of the course.

Student Conduct in Class

Classes are conducted in a manner that provides academic freedom of expression for the student, but instructors need not tolerate physical or other disturbances that disrupt teaching sessions. For justifiable cause, the instructor may dismiss a student from class for a definite or indefinite period of time. Such action is reported to the provost. The student dismissed from class on disciplinary grounds may appeal to the provost for review of the incident for the purpose of possible readmission to class.

Religious Observances Policy

Purpose

Shenandoah University is committed to nondiscrimination, diversity, inclusiveness, and support for its students, faculty, employees, and staff regardless of religious affiliation or non-affiliation, in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations.  Shenandoah will not permit religious discrimination in accordance with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). As part of this commitment, the University makes good faith efforts to provide reasonable religious accommodations to those whose religious observances conflict with a University policy, procedure, or other academic or employment requirement unless such accommodation would create undue hardship to the faculty, staff, school, program, or the University at large.

Reason for the Policy

Shenandoah University is a United Methodist Church-affiliated institution of higher education. The United Methodist Church-affiliation of Shenandoah University and the Christian influences on the popular culture of the United States cause the schedule and design of the university to operate on a model that inherently privileges Protestant Christian patterns of life. Because of its United Methodist Church-affiliation and its welcoming spirit, Shenandoah University seeks to be a hospitable and supportive community for students from all religious traditions. The university environment is enriched by the religious diversity of its faculty, staff, and students. For this reason, the university needs a Religious Observance Policy to support all students in requesting accommodations for religious observances.  

Definitions

Religion is a way of being in the world that includes attitudes, practices, beliefs, and social organizations. Religious observances perform ways of being religious that may be personal or communal, private or public, daily or occasional.

A reasonable accommodation is any adjustment to the work environment that will allow an employee or student to practice his or her religion. This may mean any adjustment in attendance requirements and/or the academic environment that will not result in undue hardship to the University.  Regardless of any accommodation that may be a granted, students are responsible for satisfying all academic objectives, requirements and prerequisites as defined by the course coordinator/instructor and by the University.

Examples of reasonable accommodations for student absences may include:  

  • Providing a time and/or place to pray
  • Rescheduling an exam or giving a makeup exam for the student in need of a religious accommodation
  • Altering the time of a student’s presentation
  • Allowing assignments to substitute for missed class work. Note: the alternative work must not be more difficult than the missed class work.

Undue hardship is a request, practice, procedure, or financial cost, which faculty determine unreasonably interferes with academic requirements or essential job functions at the University. Faculty will be required to provide a rationale whenever an undue hardship is determined.

Request Procedure

Below are the steps involved in requesting a religious accommodation. If the instructor/coordinator and/or students have questions about the process, they should contact director/dean of their school.

Step One

Student submits the Religious Observances Request Form located in the academic catalog as a link under the Religious Observances Policy to his/her coordinator/instructor before the end of the drop/add period. Requests submitted after this date will be considered, but approval cannot be guaranteed due to the potential short notice given by the student.  If the student involved is a pharmacy or health professions student, the form must also be shared with whomever approves absences for each respective school. Retroactive accommodations will not be approved.

Step Two

The instructor/coordinator will evaluate the undue hardship of the request.  If the coordinator/instructor has questions about the appropriateness of a request, they must contact the Office of Spiritual Life. It is expected that the coordinator/instructor will respond to the request in a timely manner, normally within ten (10) class days. This is intended to provide sufficient time for thoughtful consideration of all pertinent information. However, this timeframe can be extended by mutual agreement between the student and coordinator/instructor involved.

If a timely response does not occur, the student should contact the appropriate department or division chair.

Step Three

If the instructor/coordinator approves the absence(s), the accommodation granted for any missed work will be added to the Religious Observances Request Form. If instructor/coordinator denies the request, reasoning must be provided and the student may start the appeal process (see below). Students with an approved accommodation must be provided with a reasonable alternative to complete missed work. Students may be required by the course coordinator/instructor to complete and submit assignments prior to the day of absence. Students may also be asked to make up the missed work and are responsible for the material covered on that missed day of class.

Step Four

A copy of the completed written request and its approval status will be maintained by the course coordinator/instructor until the end of the semester at which time it will be destroyed.

Additional Information

Absences due to an approved religious observance will be considered an excused absence and will not result in penalty. For example, absences due to a religious observance will not count against a student’s attendance record in the class. Reasonable accommodations for travel will also be excused for the religious observance. Students engaged in experiential learning (ex. clinical rotations, internships, preceptorships, student teaching, etc.) may not be able to be accommodated. It is expected that the student will follow the policy of the facility or organization where they are completing the rotation/internship.

Appeals Procedure

If a student is denied a religious accommodation and the student believes that this was done in error, the student may start the appeals process. It is expected that each step described below will be completed in a timely manner.  At each step in this process, the student may request to meet directly with the person hearing the appeal. The person hearing the appeal may meet with the student or seek the counsel of faculty members or others who may have pertinent information.

Step One

Within three (3) business days of the notice of denied accommodations, the student should make an appointment with the coordinator/instructor to discuss the grievance and to seek resolution.

Step Two  

If dissatisfied, the student should schedule an appointment with the appropriate department or division chair to seek a resolution.

Step Three  

If dissatisfied, the student should schedule an appointment with the appropriate dean or director to seek a resolution.

Step Four

If dissatisfied, the student should make a written grievance to the provost. The letter must be submitted within three (3) business days of notice of the denied appeal by the student’s dean or director and should be submitted via e-mail. The letter should outline the need for a religious accommodation and include a description of an accommodation the student believes to be reasonable; additional supporting materials may also be included. If the provost sees merit in the grievance, she will review the request. If there is no merit, the student will be notified that this ruling is final.

Faculty Syllabus

Faculty are encouraged to refer to an interfaith calendar when creating their syllabus in order to familiarize themselves with potential dates of conflicts for students. When scheduling course activities that will be unlikely to be able to be adjusted for accommodations, faculty are urged to try to avoid scheduling those activities on major religious holidays, including Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur. It is suggested that faculty include in their syllabus a statement referencing the University’s Religious Observances Policy. A proposed syllabus statement:

“Shenandoah University is committed to nondiscrimination, diversity, inclusiveness and support for its students, faculty, employees and staff, regardless of religious affiliation or non-affiliation, in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations. Shenandoah will not permit religious discrimination in accordance with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). If a student requires an accommodation for a religious observance, please refer to the academic catalog to access the Religious Observances Policy, complete the required paperwork and notify the University (coordinator/instructor) before the end of the drop/add period.”

 

Academic Appeals Policy

Purpose

The purpose of this process is to provide a means to resolve conflicts when students believe they have been treated improperly in a matter related to instruction, evaluation or other academic policy or practice. Misunderstandings or disagreements can often be settled informally. To this end, students are encouraged to attempt to resolve the issue directly with the member of the faculty, staff or administration involved as soon as possible. The appeals process described below is available in the event an informal approach is unsuccessful.

Exclusions

This policy does not cover claims of ADA or Honor Code violations, charges of sexual harassment or an allegation that a student’s record is inaccurate or otherwise violates privacy rights. Any matters concerning ADA must be filed through the ADA officer. Shenandoah University’s Honor Code Policy, Guidelines and Procedures are presented previously in this section. The Student Life Policies section of this catalog and the Faculty Handbook contain detailed information about SU’s sexual misconduct policy. Information concerning correction of academic records believed to be inaccurate, misleading or in violation of privacy rights are also covered earlier in this section under “Protecting Student’s Privacy Rights.”

Guidelines

Charges of procedural violations or claims of illegal, unethical or discriminatory practice must be supported by verifiable evidence. An appeal must state the incident alleged to be improper and what remedial action is requested.

Appeals of Academic Evaluation

Changing grades or otherwise modifying or reversing evaluative decision of the faculty will be done at the level of the provost or Academic Review Board only in unusual circumstances. Evaluation of academic progress is rightly a matter of primary responsibility of the faculty member(s) involved and, at times and in certain programs, their colleagues. Any request to change a grade or other evaluation academic process must be supported by evidence the decision failed to follow proper procedure or was illegal, unethical or discriminatory.

Timely Response

It is in the interest of all concerned that conflicts involving academic issues be resolved quickly and as close to the source of conflict as possible. It is expected that each person involved in the process will expedite the process, normally within 10 class days. This is intended to provide sufficient time for thoughtful consideration of all pertinent information. However, this timeframe can be extended by mutual agreement between the student and the member of the faculty, staff or administration involved. (At each step cited below, if the person to whom the complaint is made is not available, they may designate another appropriate person to act in their stead.) If the matter comes up at the end of the semester, and it is not reasonable to contact the party(ies) involved at that time, the appeal must be presented no later than the end of the drop/add period of the following semester.

Grievance of a Grade

Students may grieve the misapplication of an instructor’s grading policy for a course. Students cannot grieve the evaluation of student work by the instructor.

Formal Academic Appeals Procedure

At each step in this process, the student may request to meet directly with the person hearing the appeal. The person hearing the appeal may meet with the student or seek the counsel of faculty members or others who may have pertinent information.

Step One

The student should make an appointment with the faculty of record to discuss the grievance and to seek resolution.

Step Two

If dissatisfied, the student should schedule an appointment with the appropriate department or division chair to seek a resolution.

Step Three

If dissatisfied, the student should schedule an appointment with the appropriate dean or director of the school to seek a resolution.

Step Four

If dissatisfied, the student should make a written grievance to the provost. The written grievance must state the reason for the request and any other supporting documentation. If the provost sees merit in the grievance, an Academic Review Board will be assembled for a hearing. If there is no merit, the student will be notified that this ruling is final.

Step Five

The Academic Review Board is a judicial hearing and has the ability to summon faculty, students, and staff for its hearing. The Academic Review Board’s decision is final.

Step Six

An appeal to the president can be made on procedural violations only.

Student Complaint Policy

Shenandoah University affirms the right of students to bring forth complaints and is committed to resolving these matters in a fair, equitable and timely manner, so as to protect the rights of both the individual and the community.

This Complaint Policy applies to student complaints that are not addressed by the Academic Appeals Procedure, Americans with Disabilities Act, Honor Code, Student Conduct Code, Sexual Harassment Policy, student records policies, or any other existing formal procedure under which a complaint may fall.

Students are encouraged to attempt to resolve the issue directly with the member of the faculty, staff or administration involved in an informal manner.

If a satisfactory resolution cannot be reached informally, a student complaint will be heard and resolved by, to all extent possible, the senior faculty or staff member responsible for the area under which the complaint falls.

If satisfactory resolution is not reached at that level, a student may submit their complaint in writing to the vice president responsible for the area under which the complaint falls.

If satisfactory resolution is still not reached, a student may submit their complaint in writing to the president of the university, whose decision will be final.

Similarly, those outside of the university wishing to make a complaint against one of Shenandoah’s students should attempt to resolve the issue directly with the student before moving to bring the issue to the attention of the appropriate dean/director or vice president.

Once all institutional processes have been exhausted and the issue is not resolved, students may file a formal complaint with the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV). SCHEV can be contacted at 804-225-2600 or through the SCHEV Complaint Process website: http://www.schev.edu/index/students-and-parents/resources/student-complaints/student-complaint-form.