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Academic procedures in this section spell out policies related to the student's academic program, from course selection and registration to exams and grades to issuance of transcripts. Topics include:
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 and on the registrar's website as "Critical Dates."
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 College website.
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 a first-year writing (W1) course, 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 departments in 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.
Selection of Courses
Each semester students select programs of study for the following semester. Students select courses via the Web after consultation with academic advisors. Selections are confirmed or denied following review of courses against academic departments' criteria for course limits and priorities, after which students may add or drop courses via the Web, subject to rules stated for each course.
Deadlines for voluntary changes—adding, dropping, or withdrawing from a course, changing sections within a course, declaring or revoking the satisfactory/unsatisfactory option, augmenting or decreasing credit in courses offered for variable credit—appear in "Critical Dates" published annually by the registrar and available online.
No student may register for more than 20 credit hours in any semester without special permission from the faculty advisor(s) and the dean of students.
Ordinarily, a student can neither repeat a course for additional credit nor register for two courses scheduled to meet concurrently.
Prior to registration, each student must complete payment of fees as specified by the treasurer, who is not authorized to defer such payment. New students must also provide the required health certificate prior to the first day of classes (see Health Records in the section titled Student Affairs and Campus Life).
Forms for declaring satisfactory/unsatisfactory options can be obtained from the Registrar's Office. The form must be completed and returned by the end of the add period in the term in which the course is taken. A satisfactory/unsatisfactory election may be voluntarily revoked by a deadline established for each term. Letter grades submitted by instructors will be converted to S (for grades A through C-) or U before being posted on permanent records; any grade below C- is unsatisfactory and will be recorded as a U on the grade record. The Registrar's Office cannot release more specific information on the quality of the S, even upon request of the student who earned it.
Students' schedules are available on the Web. It is each student's responsibility to ensure that his or her registrations are accurate and total at least 12 credits, the minimum for full-time status (see Student's Program above). "Dropped" courses will not appear on the student's permanent record or transcript. Students may not drop a course simply by absenting themselves from its meetings. Absence without formally dropping a course subjects the student to a mark of F in the course.
Withdrawal from Courses
Attendance, Religious Holidays
It is reasonable to consider major religious holidays for the Colby student body as a whole to be the following: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, the first full day of Passover, Good Friday, and Easter. Quizzes or exams will not be scheduled and assigned papers will not be due on any of these holidays. In addition, no student will be required to participate in major College events such as athletic contests, major lectures, or concerts on these holidays.
Students whose conscientious religious observance requires their absence on days other than or in addition to those named above can make use of the following procedure prior to the holiday. If written notification is delivered to the course instructor at least one week before the holiday, the student's absence on the holiday will be regarded as an authorized one, and the student will be excused from quizzes and exams for that day. Under these circumstances the student will be permitted to take the exam or a make-up exam without penalty. A similar option exists with respect to papers: if proper notification is delivered to the course instructor before the holiday, the student will be excused from submitting a paper due on that holiday.
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 six years after graduation or the last date of attendance. 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.
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 approval of all the instructors involved, registration for two or more courses scheduled to meet concurrently is a form of academic dishonesty.
Hour Exams and Quizzes
A postponed exam may be taken during the designated make-up period or at another time subsequent to the scheduled exam agreeable to both the student and the instructor. There is no make-up for failed exams.
The mark for the exam may constitute up to half of the total course mark.
In graded courses: Marks are ordinarily posted as A, B, C, D, and F, with + or - appended to grades A through D. A mark below D- means failure.
In nongraded courses: For semester courses, CR indicates credit is earned; NC is recorded if credit is not earned. For January courses, CR indicates credit for program; F is recorded if no credit is earned.
Courses offered for January Program credit only (i.e., which fulfill the January Program requirement but carry no credit hours toward graduation) are graded credit or fail.
Incomplete Grades: A mark of I indicates a course not finished for some reason, including failure to take the final examination. An incomplete is not appropriate unless the student has made prior arrangements with the instructor. Work to make up a grade of I must be submitted within limits set by the instructor, but not later than January 15 for first semester, the Tuesday following spring break for January credit courses, or July 1 for the second semester. After these dates any remaining marks of I will be changed to F. The dean of students may give limited extensions for the completion of work without penalty but only for excuses similar to those acceptable for missing a final examination. A student with any mark of I (except in the case of illness or critical emergency) is not eligible for Dean's List.
Changes in Grades: An instructor who wishes to change a semester grade (except I) after the grade reporting deadline must secure approval of such change from the dean of faculty. Any change must be demonstrated to be necessitated by discovery of an error in recording or reporting or must result from a bona fide medical problem as verified by the dean of students.
Marks of W, WF, and WU indicate withdrawal from a course and represent the student's standing at the time of withdrawal. W indicates either passing or no basis for judgment. WF indicates failing. WU indicates that the grade would be below C- in a course being taken on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. These marks are excluded from computation of all averages.
F indicates failure or abandonment of a course without formal withdrawal.
Academic Review, Academic Standing, and Exemption by Examination
A student who is on probation must earn 12 credits and a C (2.00) average in the subsequent semester to avoid dismissal. The January term will be considered 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).
Any student on academic probation is required to consult with his/her academic advisor, advising dean, and any extracurricular advisor, such as a coach, to discuss whether the student should continue participation in extracurricular activities.
Students who have been dismissed may, after one year, apply to the committee for reinstatement. Before requesting readmission, the student must earn a B or better in at least two preapproved courses taken at an accredited institution. It is the responsibility of the student to initiate the readmission process by submitting to return to their advising dean a written request, by December 1 for spring semester and by May 1 for a fall semester return. The committee will take favorable action on readmission applications only when satisfied that the factors that led to failure have been adequately addressed and that the student has ample motivation and capacity to earn the degree. Readmission is a privilege, not a right.
Upon a student’s return to the College, his or her records from study elsewhere are subject to review and action by the Committee on Academic Standing. A readmitted student will be on academic probation during the first semester back. A second dismissal is final.
A student's class standing is determined primarily by the number of full-time semesters completed, but also by credit hours earned.
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. Students will be warned if they are not making adequate progress toward the 128 credits needed to graduate.
Exemption by Examination
Transferred Credits for Newly Admitted Students
Transferred Credits for Currently Enrolled (Matriculated) Students
Repeated Courses, Auditing Courses
An auditor is not permitted to submit papers or perform any other function for which course credit is usually given. For this reason, auditing is seldom permitted in courses where the method of instruction involves significant individual attention and criticism. Under no circumstances can academic credit be given an auditor, nor can an audited course later be converted into an accredited course. The decision whether the course is to be audited or taken for credit must be made at entry.
Individuals who are not matriculated Colby students may register to audit courses at the College. Application to audit must be made with the dean of admissions; if approval is granted, forms for registering to audit specific courses must be filed with the Registrar's Office. Permission to audit will be withheld if the class is already too large and if auditing applications for it are numerous.
Leave of Absence, Transcripts
Withdrawal from College, Leave of Absence
Students taking a leave of absence must notify the College by the date when course preregistrations are due for the following term.
Students who leave to participate in College-approved student programs elsewhere, or who leave at the end of a semester for a specified period, may take a leave of absence and are not required to obtain special permission in order to return.
All withdrawals and leaves of absence must be effected officially by filing a form with the dean of students. The proper exit procedure, which includes the surrendering of residence hall and post office keys, must be followed to be eligible for any refunds that may be due (see Refunds in the section titled Student Fees). A student who leaves without official notification is not eligible for refunds, which are calculated from the date the withdrawal is approved by the dean of students.