Academic Procedures

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Student’s Responsibility
Each student must be aware constantly of progress in meeting requirements for graduation. If there is any question about an individual record, the Registrar’s Office should be consulted. Each student must also be aware of deadlines set within each academic year that pertain to academic actions; these are available from the Registrar’s Office as “Critical Dates and Deadlines.” The College’s official means of communication is electronic. Students are expected to activate their Colby e-mail accounts and to check them regularly, as many official notices from the administration and the faculty are sent only as electronic mail. Academic records, including courses a student has taken and the student’s status with respect to fulfillment of academic requirements, are available in a password-protected environment through the registrar’s Web site.
Student’s Program
The student at Colby normally takes from 12 to 18 credit hours in each semester and one offering during the January term. Full-time standing during a semester requires a minimum of 12 credit hours. A student may carry fewer than 12 credit hours only with the explicit approval of the dean of students. In so doing, a student will be subject to review by the Committee on Academic Standing. Varsity athletes must consult with the director of athletics, the associate dean of students for academic affairs, and their academic advisor regarding how the reduced course load may affect athletic eligibility.

Each first-year student has a faculty advisor to assist in planning the academic program. A new faculty advisor is assigned when the student has selected a major. Approval of the faculty advisor(s) is required for all procedures affecting a student’s academic program.

Prospective students frequently ask what subjects they will study—especially in the first year. It would be misleading to present any specific pattern of courses for either of the first two years. The programs of individual students may vary widely because there is considerable latitude within the requirements. To prepare for their lives in an increasingly complex society, students are encouraged to learn quantitative skills, to learn to write well, and to take courses that expose them to cultures other than their own.

To ensure distribution among the divisions, first-year students must include English composition, a foreign language (unless exempted by examination), and courses to meet area requirements. Students are urged to complete all distribution requirements by the end of their sophomore year. Students are encouraged to elect subject areas that are new to them and are advised to avoid over-concentration in any department or division.

Students considering a scientific career or the study of medicine should begin electing scientific subjects at once. Many major departments in both the natural and social sciences recommend mathematics in the first year. The student and assigned advisor should discuss a prospective program, noting carefully the recommendations and requirements in areas of major study. The initial selection of a major is by no means final; students are encouraged to explore alternative options throughout their sophomore year. ^Top

Academic Standing
A student’s class standing is determined by the number of credit hours earned and full-time semesters completed.
  • First-year standing: fewer than 26 credit hours or fewer than two semesters.
  • Sophomore standing: 26 to 57 credit hours and two or three semesters.
  • Junior standing: 58 to 89 credit hours and four or five semesters.
  • Senior standing: 90 or more credit hours and six or more semesters.
Class standing is not automatically changed to a higher level upon the posting of additional credits; students who believe themselves eligible for a change of class year should consult the registrar.
Academic Review
The Committee on Academic Standing reviews all current student records at the end of each semester to determine that all enrolled students are making satisfactory progress toward the degree. Students who earn fewer than 12 credits or less than a 2.00 grade point average in any semester, exclusive of the January Program, are subject to probation or dismissal from the College. Only when there are compelling extenuating circumstances (e.g., illness, unusual personal problems) is it advisable for a student to carry fewer than 12 credits; such a reduced program must be approved by the dean of students.

A student who is on probation must earn 12 credits and a C (2.00) average in the subsequent semester. The January term will be considered as part of the full year’s performance in evaluations made by the committee at the end of the second semester. A student placed on probation in the major must regain or change that major in the subsequent semester (refer to the section “Major Requirement” in this catalogue).

Students who have been dismissed may, after one year, apply to the committee for reinstatement; during the required interview the student must be prepared to demonstrate an improved commitment to scholarship. A second dismissal is final.

Any student on academic probation is required to consult with his/her advisor and with any extracurricular advisor, such as a coach, to discuss whether the student should continue participation in extracurricular activities. A student on academic probation for a second or subsequent semester will be declared ineligible to participate in any College-sponsored extracurricular activities unless, in consultation with the academic and extracurricular advisors and with the approval of the associate dean of students, the student develops a plan for allocating time to course work and extracurricular activities.

Upon a student’s return to the College, his or her records on study programs elsewhere are subject to review and action by the Committee on Academic Standing.^Top
Academic Honesty
Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are serious offenses. For the first offense, the instructor may dismiss the offender from the course with a mark of F (which is a permanent entry on the student’s academic record) and will report the case to the department chair and the dean of students, who may impose other or additional penalties including suspension or expulsion. This report becomes part of the student’s confidential file and is destroyed upon graduation. A second offense automatically leads to suspension or expulsion. Students may not withdraw passing from a course in which they have been found guilty of academic dishonesty. A student is entitled to appeal charges of academic dishonesty to the Appeals Board. The decision of the board shall be final and binding unless overruled by the president of the College, who has final authority and responsibility.

The College also views misrepresentations to faculty within the context of a course as a form of academic dishonesty. Students lying to or otherwise deceiving faculty are subject to dismissal from the course with a mark of F and possible additional disciplinary action.

Student accountability for academic dishonesty extends beyond the end of a semester and even after graduation. If Colby determines following the completion of a course or after the awarding of a Colby degree that academic dishonesty has occurred, the College may change the student’s grade in the course, issue a failing grade, and rescind credit for the course and/or revoke the Colby degree.

Without the explicit, written approval of the instructors involved, registration for two or more courses scheduled to meet concurrently is a form of academic dishonesty.
Transcripts are available from the Registrar’s Office upon receipt of a signed request (mailed or faxed) of the student or former student. There is no charge for the transcript itself; fees will be assessed for special requests such as immediate delivery or transmission by overnight courier or fax. (Note that a transcript sent via fax is not official.) Transcripts will not be issued for anyone whose financial obligations to the College have not been met.