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 an experiential learning component 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. Some programs also require a urine drug screen in order to participate in field work, clinical experiences or internships. Details are available from each school/division and dean/director.
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 to read and respond 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 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/her 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 dean/director of the school/division and the provost.
General dates and times for registration are published online in advance by the registrar. Shenandoah University reserves the right to void the registration of any student who fails to comply with registration instructions or fails to pay the prescribed tuition and fees.
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.
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
For courses scheduled for an entire term of 14 or more weeks: Students may add individual courses for the first six calendar days after the beginning of the term.
For 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 has occurred.
A student may drop a course during the drop/add period without any reference on the transcript.
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 calendar 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.
Continuous Enrollment in Graduate Curricula
Culminating Project Phase
- Once the student reaches the final project phase of the curriculum, identified as the first registration in dissertation, thesis or other culminating project (referenced hereafter as thesis), the student is subject to continuous registration with credit.
- After the initial registration for dissertation or thesis, the student must register and pay for at least one semester credit of dissertation, or thesis every fall and spring semester until the thesis is completed.
- The student normally does this registration under the guidance of the advisor. If the student does not register him/herself, the registration is automatically entered in the Office of the Registrar by the dean/director (or designee) of each school/division. The student is billed.
- The student receives a grade of “IR” indicating “incomplete research” or “research in progress.” When the thesis is completed, grades of “IR” are replaced with the final grade up to the number of credits for thesis required in the curriculum.
- Grades for credits in addition to the curriculum maximum will be replaced with an “S” and not computed in the grade point average.
- The student who does not plan to finish the project must officially withdraw from Shenandoah University to avoid future registrations (and subsequent billing).
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 university’s catalogs and the Faculty Handbook.
Dates of the withdrawal period will appear in the university’s Academic Calendar and Registration Schedule.
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 his/her 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.
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 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 the Registrar’s Office, 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, special topics, topics, comprehensive seminar and/or independent readings.
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 come up with 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.
A credit hour is an amount of work represented by intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that reasonably approximates:
- 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 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
- 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.
Shenandoah University’s academic calendar is divided into three terms (Summer, Fall, Spring) of approximately equal length. Specific starting and ending dates are published in the academic calendar. The Fall and Spring terms include semesters that meet for a minimum 15 weeks, including a final examination period. Courses of various lengths may be offered throughout the year.
A course is identified with one of the three terms depending on the start date of the course. Any course 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.
Regardless of length of term or dates of beginning and ending of a course, credit hours awarded must meet requirements under the definition of a credit hour above.
Academic Student Load
A full-time student is one who carries a minimum of nine credit hours per semester. A part-time student is one who carries fewer than nine hours per semester. The maximum load is 12 hours per semester with the following exceptions:
- For students in the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (PA), Master of Science in Athletic Training (MSAT) and Master of Science in Occupational Therapy programs (MSOT), the maximum load is 18 credit hours per semester. Students who are dual enrolled in the MSAT/DPT or PA/Master of Public Health (MPH) programs are exempt from this maximum.
- For students in the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program the maximum load is 18.5 credit hours per semester. Students who are dual enrolled in the PharmD and the Master of Business Administration, Master of Public Health, or Master of Science in Pharmacogenomics and Personalized Medicine are exempt from this maximum.
Approval to carry a course load beyond the maximum will be granted by the dean/director of the student’s division only for compelling reasons.
Shenandoah University grants transfer credit based on the content of the courses taken, the applicability of the courses to the student’s intended degree and major program, and the quality of performance in the courses.
Only credit granted at an institution of higher education that has been fully accredited by one of the six regional accrediting agencies, such as Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, or at an institution that is a recognized candidate for accreditation will be considered for transfer credit.
Courses will be considered for transfer only if they are applicable to a student’s degree program as a requirement or an elective.
Transfer credit will be considered for courses applicable to Shenandoah University programs and in which a grade of “B-” or better has been earned.
A maximum of six semester hours may be accepted in transfer to most master level programs. Exceptions include: 15 semester hour transfer maximum for the Master of Fine Arts program which is a 60 semester credit degree; and 12 hours of transfer credit into the MSN program. All master’s degree programs in the School of Education and Leadership accept nine hours of transfer credit.
A maximum of 15 semester hours may be transferred into most doctoral programs. For the Conservatory, the maximum is 10 hours for the DMA in Performance and 12 hours for the DMA in Pedagogy. Twelve hours of transfer credit are allowed for the DNP program. These semester hours are beyond the master’s degree program upon which the doctorate is based.
A student who enrolls for the first time at Shenandoah receives credit for courses transferred, but grades do not transfer nor have any effect on the student’s cumulative grade point average at this institution.
Credits for courses taken at other accredited institutions while a student is matriculated at Shenandoah University will transfer so long as they meet the normal criteria for transfer work (“B-” grade or better).
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. For example, a student transferring 36 quarter hours of work to Shenandoah would receive 2/3 x 36 or 24 semester hours of credit.
Shenandoah University grants credits for courses taken at recognized foreign tertiary-level institutions. Foreign institutions that are chartered and authorized by their respectivenational governments and that are recognized by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers are recognized. Credit will be awarded for courses judged to be at the “B-” grade level or above. The amount of credit granted will correspond to that given for the comparable Shenandoah University course.
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. Such credit will be regarded as transfer work and will count toward the nine-hour maximum for transfer credit at the master’s degree level, 15-hour maximum at the doctoral level, except in the Conservatory where the maximum varies by program (10 hours for the DMA in Performance and 12 hours for the DMA in Pedagogy).
Challenge Examinations and Credit by Examination
Challenge examinations and credit by examination are not offered for graduate level courses.
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 or certificate after they are enrolled, the student’s original academic catalog year will remain unchanged, but the specialization 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 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 under 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 readmission.
Requirements for Degrees
In addition to completing all the courses required for a certificate or degree program, all students must fulfill the following requirements:
- Candidates for graduate degrees must fulfill the specific requirements of their curricula with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Professional programs vary; see specific program requirements.
- Master’s degrees: The minimum number of credit hours required for a master’s degree is 30 credits over the bachelor’s degree. Some programs, however, require more. Students must complete all required courses in addition to this minimum credit hour requirement. See program requirements for specifics.
- Doctoral degrees: The minimum number of credit hours for a doctoral degree is 30 credit hours over the master’s degree (or 60 credits over the bachelor’s degree). Some programs, however, require more. See program requirements for specifics.
- Candidates for most master’s degrees must earn a minimum of 21 credit hours at Shenandoah University. Most doctoral programs require a minimum of 45 credit hours earned at SU. 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. See program requirements for specifics.
- A graduate student who fails two required courses may be academically dismissed from Shenandoah University.
- No more than six credits of “C+,” “C” or “C-” grades may be applied to curricular requirements at the master’s level. This rule does not apply to the School of Health Professions programs. For the Conservatory, this rule also applies at the doctoral level. Conservatory graduate work below “C-” is not acceptable and will not be applied to curricular requirements.
- To be eligible for graduation, students must submit an application to graduate by the publicized deadline.
Consult degree requirements in each school for further restrictions.
Students who have not completed a baccalaureate degree but who 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 program 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 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
Students should complete the master’s degree requirements within six years and the doctoral degree within eight years of initial registration at Shenandoah. Stand-alone graduate certificate requirements (not taken with a graduate program) should be completed within four years of initial registration at Shenandoah. Some programs may require degrees to be completed in shorter amounts of time. Consult degree requirements in each school for further restrictions. Time extensions may be granted when approved by the dean/director of the student’s school/division.
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, certificates and concentrations) with the approval of the new curricular 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.
Students who change curriculum will have all previously-earned graduate-level credit reevaluated for applicability to the new curriculum.
Not more than 15 graduate semester hours earned as a visiting student may be applied toward a graduate certificate or graduate degree program. A different standard with a maximum of six semester hours earned as a visiting student applies to students in the School of Nursing.
If a student wishes to change to a program with different admission requirements or an applicant is not yet enrolled and wishes to change programs, please contact the Office of Admissions at 540-665-4581 or firstname.lastname@example.org for next steps.
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.
|Credits Included in GPA
||Remediated C (Pharm)
||No Credit Course
||Passed with Honors
Students must officially withdraw from a class or from school to receive a grade of “W.”
The grade of “P” or “PH” is available only in approved internship, dissertation and practicum classes.
Incomplete Grades “I” and “IR”
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).
The incomplete notation “IR” is only allowed for graduate student dissertations, thesis, research projects, or clinicals. An IR notation does not require the contractual arrangement necessary for students receiving an incomplete “I”.
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 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.
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 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.
The nature of the examination is determined by the faculty member.
Examinations in private music lessons are commonly termed “achievements” or “juries” and are conducted before juries of faculty members. All music students enrolled in curriculumrequired applied study for graded credit must complete the jury examination. By prior arrangement in some departments, a student may be evaluated on a non-credit solo recital in lieu of an achievement examination.
Recitals for credit are evaluated by a committee which gives a composite grade.
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:
- 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.
- Faculty may reorganize their syllabus to absorb content and classroom work through regularly scheduled classes.
- 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.
- 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:
- Faculty may offer the 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 deans/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.
- Faculty may offer the exam as a take-home exam or use distance-learning means to have the students submit their final work (i.e. online exams through Canvas, podcasts of performance or presentations, web page creations, power point presentations, etc.).
- Faculty may change the final exam assignment to something that can be done through digital means, such as a paper or a podcast.
- Faculty may offer their classes 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.
Graduate programs at Shenandoah have varying minimum requirements for maintaining good academic standing. Students should work closely with their advisors and programs to ensure they are making satisfactory academic progress and to address any academic areas of concern.
The chart below provides minimum requirements under which a student may continue their education, by program.
|Most Degree Programs2
||30 and above
1 Credit hours graded includes transfer credit hours transferred in to a student’s program of study.
2 Conservatory students should review the Graduate Policies and Procedures Manual for details regarding academic standing an academic probation policy.
3 The Pharmacy School has an Academic Committee that works with students who earn less than a 2.0 cumulative GPA but who are deemed eligible to continue with help.
4 Includes three credits from elective pool. See Degree Requirements section for the Division of Physician Assistant Studies for more information.
Students should review each program’s Student Handbook for details regarding academic standing, progression and retention policies.
Students are placed on academic probation when their GPA does not meet the minimum standards. Students on academic probation are advised to work closely with their departments and the Office of Learning Resources.
Students remaining on probation for two consecutive terms may be subject to academic suspension.
Academic Suspension and Dismissal from the University
- After two semesters on probation, students may be academically suspended from the university.
- 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 apply for readmission.
- After that semester, a student can petition for reinstatement through the dean or director of the school or division and the provost.
- If reinstated, the student must achieve at least a 3.0 GPA in the returning semester and must be a full-time student. Failure to meet this condition shall result in academic dismissal.
Students should refer to the individual school or division sections of the academic catalog for additional information.
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.”
Student Participation in Commencement Ceremony
Recognizing that there are times when certain students are unable to complete all degree requirements in time for commencement, 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:
- Shenandoah University’s commencement ceremony is scheduled in May.
- 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. If applicable, doctoral and masters students must have completed their dissertation, thesis or other culminating event to be eligible to participate in commencement ceremonies. A student may also participate in commencement ceremonies upon the recommendation of his/her academic dean or director and the approval of the provost.
- “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.
- 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.
- 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 re-apply for graduation in the subsequent term.
Diplomas will be mailed to the address provided by the student on his/her 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 Non-Academic Policies section.
Shenandoah University accords all the rights under the law to students. 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, to persons or organizations providing student financial aid, to accrediting agencies carrying out their accreditation function, to persons in compliance with a judicial order, and to 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 university catalogs, the Office of the Registrar and the Office of Student Life.
Official transcripts of a student’s record may be released to a third party only upon receipt of written authorization from the student. 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 Shenandoah Conservatory.
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.
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 of student success, the dean of students, the director of residence life, director of public safety or the president. 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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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 him/her.
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 his/her 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.
- 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:
- 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 his/her privacy or other rights.
- 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 him/her of his/her right to a hearing to challenge the information believed to be inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student’s rights.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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/Office of Student Life/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 annually.
- 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.
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.
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 Disabilities Services office is a resource for students, faculty and staff. Any individual who believes they have a disability covered under disability laws can provide the requisite documentation and request accommodations and resources from Disability Services, 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 Grievance Procedure is designed to address disagreements or denials regarding requested services, accommodations, or modifications to university academic practices or requirements.
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.
- 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:
- a clear statement of the university rule, regulation, policy and/or action of which the student complains;
- the date of any action which the student is appealing;
- a summary of the action(s) which the student has taken to resolve the matter informally;
- documentation which supports the grievance.
The director will forward this to the appropriate administrator as designated by the president.
- The appropriate administrator shall meet with the student within five class days of the receipt of the grievance to gather data and attempt resolution.
- 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.
- The appropriate administrator shall furnish a written response to the grievance no later than 15 class days after the meeting with the student. The written response shall be mailed to the student by certified mail, return receipt requested.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The director of disabilities services shall maintain the files and records relating to the complaints filed.
- 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.
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.
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.
Religious Observances Policy
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If dissatisfied, the student should schedule an appointment with the appropriate department or division chair to seek a resolution.
If dissatisfied, the student should schedule an appointment with the appropriate dean or director to seek a resolution.
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 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.”
Student Conduct in Class
Classes are conducted in a manner which provides academic freedom of expression for the student. However, 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.
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 his/her 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.
Academic Appeals Policy
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.
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.”
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.
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 his/her 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.
The student should make an appointment with the faculty of record to discuss the grievance and to seek resolution.
If dissatisfied, the student should schedule an appointment with the appropriate department or division chair to seek a resolution.
If dissatisfied, the student should schedule an appointment with the appropriate dean or director of the school to seek a resolution.
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, she will assemble the Academic Review Board for a hearing. If there is no merit, the student will be notified that this ruling is final.
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.
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 his/her 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 his/her 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.