Important Semester Information and Critical Dates

 

Date: January 3, 2018 

Due to weather closures the Spring 2018 calendar was revised on January 19. Please refer to revised calendar for important dates.

To: Southeastern Faculty

From: Tena L. Golding, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

RE: Spring Semester Informational Memo

Happy New Year! I am writing to help ensure you include required information on your course syllabi, are aware of major Spring 2018 deadlines, and to remind you of some of the university policies relevant to the management of your courses.

 

IMPORTANT DATES

The Spring 2018 Academic Calendar is available at http://www.southeastern.edu/admin/rec_reg/calendar/index.html#spring2018. Please ensure that your course syllabi correspond to the pertinent dates listed in the Academic Calendar (first and last day of classes; drop/add period; withdrawal and resignation deadlines; holidays; final examination day and time see: http://www.southeastern.edu/admin//rec_reg/exam_sch/#spring2018; rental textbook return deadline). 

 

The important dates listed below are also provided in the Course Information tab of your Moodle course. You should include deadlines specific to the type of class you are teaching (Term I, Regular Session or Term II) on course syllabi.  

For Term I Classes

  1. Wednesday, January 17: First day of class
  2. Wednesday, January 17 – Thursday, January 18: Drop/Add Period until 5:00 p.m. on Thursday
  3. Friday, January 26: ACADEMIC CHECKPOINT I
  4. Thursday, February 8: ACADEMIC CHECKPOINT II
  5. Monday, February 19 at 5:00 pm: Last day to withdraw from Term I classes
  6. Wednesday, March 7: Term I classes end.
  7. Monday, May 14: Last day to return rental textbooks without a fine
  8. Friday, May 18: Student accounts will be charged for any rental books not returned by 12:30 p.m.

 

For Regular Session Classes

  1. Wednesday, January 17: First day of class
  2. Wednesday, January 17 – Thursday, January 18: Drop/Add Period until 5:00 p.m. on Thursday
  3. Thursday, February 8: ACADEMIC CHECKPOINT I
  4. Friday, March 9: ACADEMIC CHECKPOINT II and Mid-term grades due for selected courses*
  5. Monday, March 26 at 5:00 pm: Last day to withdraw from classes or resign from the University
  6. Friday, May 4: Last day of classes
  7. Monday, May 14: Last day to return rental textbooks without a fine
  8. Friday, May 18: Student accounts will be charged for any rental books not returned by 12:30 p.m.

 

For Term II Classes

  1. Wednesday, March 14: First day of Term II classes.
  2. Friday, March 23: ACADEMIC CHECKPOINT I
  3. Thursday, April 12: ACADEMIC CHECKPOINT II
  4. Thursday, April 26 at 5:00 pm: Last day to withdraw from Term II classes
  5. Friday, May 4: Term II classes end
  6. Monday, May 14: Last day to return rental textbooks without a fine
  7. Friday, May 18: Student accounts will be charged for any rental books not returned by 12:30 p.m.

 

Academic Checkpoints

As a reminder, Academic Checkpoints were implemented last summer to help students monitor their academic progress.

For undergraduate courses, instructors must provide some type of evaluation and notification of standing in the course on or before these checkpoints-- around the 25% and 50% date of term and regular classes. These checkpoints will ensure that undergraduate students have at least two graded assignments before the last day to withdraw from a class.

For graduate courses, instructors must provide some type of evaluation and notification of standing in the course on or before the 50% checkpoint (Academic Checkpoint II). This will ensure that graduate students have at least one graded assignment before the last day to withdraw from a class.

Please note that these checkpoints are the minimum. Students should have sufficient feedback (i.e., graded homework, assignments, tests, etc.) throughout the entire semester to know how they are progressing in the course. The more, the better.

 

*Mid-Term Grades – (occur at Academic Checkpoint II for selected courses)

While Academic Checkpoints are required in all courses (including dual enrollment), mid-term grades must be entered into LeoNet for students in the following courses (including dual enrollment):

  1. All 100-level courses
  2. COMM 211
  3. ENGL 230, ENGL 231, ENGL 232
  4. HIST 201, HIST 202
  5. MATH 200, MATH 201, MATH 241
  6. POLI 201, POLI 202

The mid-term grade deadline and other related information will be explained in a later memo from the Records Office.

 

COURSE INFORMATION

The Course Information tab of the Academic Course Template used in Moodle now contains a Course Syllabus AND a Policy Statement section for each course. Students are required to complete the Course Syllabus and Policy Statements Validation in Moodle.

 

Course Syllabus

Instructors should post the course syllabus in Moodle by the first day of class.  The following elements are required.

  1. Instructor's name, office, and office hours
  2. Course schedule, including course objectives, a week-by-week outline of course topics, activities, exams, etc.
  3. For hybrid courses (25-49% online; 50-99% online), the specific dates of face-to-face class meetings
  4. Method of grading and/or grading scale
  5. Approximate number and type of major examinations, papers, and projects
  6. Other factors influencing the student's grade
  7. Class attendance policy**, including the faculty member’s policy on withdrawing students for excessive unexcused absences
  8. Additional information required for courses with an Online Learning component, as per Southeastern’s Distance Education Policy.
    • Technology requirements for the course including any special software requirements
    • Procedure for resolving technical complaints, including contact information for technical support
    • Preferred method for contacting instructor, e.g., email, phone, text message
    • Netiquette expectations
    • Instructor's response time for student communications [Faculty engaged in 100% online courses are required to maintain a 48 hour maximum response time (excluding weekends, holidays, or extenuating circumstances) for returning student emails]
    • Procedure for determining attendance
    • Student participation/interaction requirements
    • Information on Distance Learning Library Services

Additionally, a current knowledge base for each course (i.e., a reference list of books, journals, manuscripts, and other scholarly materials used as the foundation in teaching a course) needs to be on file in the office of the department head.

 

** Class Attendance: Regular and punctual class attendance should be expected. Faculty may base students’ grades partly on activities and assignments that require the students’ presence in class but keep in mind that a component of a course grade based solely on student attendance and not on the quality of work performed while in attendance is problematic. Also, keep in mind it is difficult to defend policies that fail to provide students with opportunities to make up missed assignments or exams when feasible and when a student’s absence results from a valid reason (e.g., documented illness, death of a family member). If valid student absences are so numerous that it is not feasible to make up the work or exams, students should be advised of any available and appropriate alternatives given their particular circumstances (e.g., request to resign from the university for serious medical reasons). In addition, please note the following.

  1. In accordance with University policy and federal financial aid legal requirements, each faculty member shall keep a permanent attendance record through the 14thclass day. Please understand this is a federal requirement; it is not an individual choice. Failure to maintain a class attendance record through the 14thclass day can result in legal difficulties for the university.
  2. Throughout the semester, each instructor should keep a record of attendance to encourage students’ attendance, participation, and retention.
  3. When a student receives excessive unexcused absences (e.g., 10% of the total classes) in any class prior to the established withdrawal date, the instructor may withdraw the student with a grade of “W.”

When a student withdraws from a class or resigns from the University on or before the designated withdrawal deadline, the appropriate grade shall be “W”. Students who remain in the course after the deadline will receive the appropriate grade as assigned by the instructor based on work done in the course.

 

Policy Statements

As indicated above, the Course Information tab of the Academic Course Template used in Moodle now contains a Policy Statement section for each course. The Policy Statement section of the Course Information tab contains the following required statements.  

  • Accommodations for Disability: "If you are a qualified student with a disability seeking accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, you are required to self-identify with the Office of Disability Services, Student Union, Room 1304. No accommodations will be granted without documentation from the Office of Disability Services. The deadline for registering or making accommodation changes is two weeks prior to the start of the Final Exam period. Any requests received after the deadline will generally be considered for the following semester.”
  • Victims of Sexual Misconduct: "If you are the victim of a sexually oriented crime, please be aware that the University Policy regarding Victims of Sexual Misconduct is located online at edu/resources/policies/assets/sexual_misconduct.pdf as well as page 75 in the University Student Handbook at http://www.southeastern.edu/admin/stu_affairs/handbook/index.html.  The policy includes definitions of the various sexually oriented offenses prohibited by Southeastern as well as the reporting options for victims and the process of investigation and disciplinary proceedings of the university. For more information, log onto http://www.southeastern.edu/admin/police/victims_soc/index.html."
  • E-Mail Communication: A statement of the instructor’s expectations regarding e-mail communication and that only Southeastern e-mail addresses will be used per University policy.
  • Academic Integrity: A statement reflecting the instructor’s expectations regarding academic integrity. A sample statement is available at http://www.southeastern.edu/admin/provost/assets/sample_statements.pdf
  • Detection of Plagiarism: A statement reflecting the instructor’s expectations regarding the detection of plagiarism through use of VeriCite is available at http://www.southeastern.edu/admin/provost/assets/sample_statements.pdf (This statement is not required if VeriCite will not be used.)
  • Student Behavior and Classroom Decorum: A statement of the instructor’s expectations regarding student behavior/classroom decorum. An example is available at http://www.southeastern.edu/admin/provost/assets/sample_statements.pdf
  • Children in the Classroom: A statement reflecting University policy that the classroom is not a place for children or other family members, and that students are not to bring their family members for day care or babysitting. 

 

Disaster Recovery/Operational Plans for the Continuity of Basic Educational Activities in Academic Courses

To ensure the continuity of courses in the event of a natural disaster of similar emergency, the following course information is required to be posted in the University’s Learning Management System (Moodle) for each course by the first day of class, regardless of the course delivery mode:

  • Course syllabus with a week-by-week outline of course topics, activities, exams, etc.
  • Emergency plans to cover two weeks of instructional assignments (a “holding place” for this is available in the Moodle course template)

 

UNIVERSITY POLICY and IMPORTANT REMINDERS

Fee Payment Deadlines and Drop/Add Period: Please become familiar with the University’s fee payment deadline, which is available at http://www.southeastern.edu/admin/controller/tuition/faq/index.html and the impact of non-payment on students’ enrollments in classes. Students will be removed from classes for non-payment of tuition and/or fees by the relevant deadline. Students are responsible for tuition and fees for any courses that remain on their schedule after the final fee payment deadline and may incur penalties and/or sanctions until the account balance is settled. Any students who need assistance with dropping their classes or canceling their enrollment by the final deadline may contact the Records and Registration Office at 1-800-222-SELU or 985-549-2066. Students may adjust their schedules during the drop/add period January 17-18. During this drop/add period, a student may make schedule adjustments without receiving a "W" grade for each class dropped. However, a student will not be able to drop all of their classes. To drop their last class, the student will need to resign from the university and will receive a "W" grade for the last class left on their schedule. Students may make final schedule adjustments until 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 18. Students will be financially responsible for any classes remaining on their schedule.

 

Class Rosters: Class rosters will be accessible online to department heads and faculty on the first day of classes, Wednesday, January 17. Online rosters are updated as changes are made. Please report all discrepancies early in the enrollment period. Also, because federal regulations now require us to report for students receiving federal aid the date of last attendance, as established by university policy, it is very important that faculty comply with University policy to maintain accurate attendance records throughout the 14th class day.

 

Do not permit students to continue attending a class if they are not listed on the class roster. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that he/she is properly registered to receive credit for the course. The Official Class Roster with instructions will be provided after the 14th class day. 

 

Course Delivery Mode: Classes must be delivered in the format specified in the Schedule of Classes/LeoNet (e.g., face-to-face, 25-49% Internet, 50-99% Internet, 100% Internet, telecourse, lab, and practicum).  The delivery format may not be changed once students have registered for the class. If a class is offered as a 25-49% or 50-99% Internet class, the days of the face-to-face class meetings must be included on the course syllabus and in the Class Notes section of the LeoNet Schedule of Classes.

 

Please note that 100% internet classes never meet, not even for exams. 

 

Final Examinations: Final examinations, i.e., the last exam of the semester, are to be held at the time indicated in the University’s Final Examination Schedule.  The date, start time, and ending time must be the same as indicated in the University’s Final Examination Schedule, including the provisions for graduating seniors and any other exceptions stated on the University’s Final Examination Schedule web page.  A faculty member may not schedule the final exam of a course at a time other than that set in the University’s Final Examination Schedule unless the dean grants permission.  Such permission may be granted for extenuating circumstances only and should be rare.

 

A student who is absent from the scheduled final exam because of illness or other valid reason warranting an excused absence may take a special examination upon approval of the student’s department head.

 

Course Instructional Period: Instruction must occur through the entire semester or term for which the course is scheduled.  Instruction may not end prior to the last day of classes scheduled for the course in accordance with the University’s Academic Calendar.  The Final Exam (i.e., the last exam of the semester) does not constitute instruction.

 

Submission of Course Grades: Grades will be due as indicated in the Academic Calendar and will be submitted according to the procedures described in a later memorandum.

 

Submission of Change of Grade Forms: Please note that Change of Grade forms must be delivered by appropriate University personnel and may not be sent through the mail.

 

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA): All University employees with access to students’ educational records are responsible for being knowledgeable of FERPA and adhering to it.  Individual employees can be held personally liable for violations of this federal law. In addition, violations can result in the loss of federal funds to the University and our students, including student financial aid and funds from federal granting agencies. An overview of FERPA is provided below.

 

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of students’ educational records and to afford the appropriate individuals with access to those records. “These records include but are not limited to grades, transcripts, class lists, student course schedules, health records (at the K-12 level), student financial information (at the postsecondary level), and student discipline files” (https://studentprivacy.ed.gov/faq/what-education-record, FERPA for School Officials, General, What is an Education Record?). “When a student turns 18 years old, or enters a postsecondary institution at any age, the rights under FERPA [as to whom has access to students’ educational records] transfer from the parents to the student” (https://studentprivacy.ed.gov/faq/what-ferpa, FERPA FAQs, Postsecondary School Officials, General, What is FERPA?). “Under FERPA, a school may not generally disclose personally identifiable information from an eligible student’s education records to a third party unless the eligible student has provided written consent” (https://studentprivacy.ed.gov/resources/ferpa-general-guidance-students).  

 

Please read the following pages of the U.S. Department of Education website and learn and abide by the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

 

It is important for faculty to know all aspects of the law that apply to postsecondary education.  It is particularly important for faculty to know that:

  1. FERPA prohibits the public posting of grades in association with student names, social security numbers, or other student identification numbers. This means that individual students’ grades may not be posted in a manner in which anyone other than the individual student can see them – not electronically to the entire class or to a subset of the class electronically or on bulletin boards, doors, or walls or via any means by which others can associate a grade or grades with an individual student’s name or identification number. 
  2. FERPA also prohibits the publication or provision of class lists to third parties, including other students in a class. This includes photo rosters as well as lists of the names and/or W numbers of students in a class, group, or organization.

 

School officials with a legitimate educational need-to-know may have access to individual students’ educational records.  In addition, parents are permitted access to the educational records of their dependent children who are 21 years of age or younger, but proof of the student’s dependent status for tax purposes under IRS rules and age needs to be documented. Otherwise, parents are permitted access to a student’s educational records only with the prior written consent of the student. Spouses are permitted access only with the student’s prior written consent as well.  Students may provide written consent allowing any designated individual access to their educational records.  At Southeastern, the official means by which students provide written consent is through their LeoNet account. 

 

In addition to educational records, FERPA includes references to “directory information.” Unlike the disclosure of educational records, the university may disclose information it has designated as “directory information” without prior consent, unless the student has placed through LeoNet a FERPA hold on such information.  Southeastern has defined directory information as:

  • Student’s name (not connected to student identification number, social security number, student’s grades, student’s photo)
  • Address(es)
  • Telephone number(s)
  • Dates of enrollment
  • College or school
  • Classification
  • Enrollment status
  • Major
  • Degree(s) earned
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Weight and height of members of athletic teams
  • Most recently attended educational agency or school
  • Photo (but not photo rosters as indicated previously)

 

Thank you and have a wonderful Spring semester!