Academic Freedom and Responsibility*
This statement summarizes the understanding between the faculty and administration of Berea College on the principles and practices of academic freedom at this institution. Although both faculty and administration recognize the value of these principles, it is important to state the nature of the policies and the specific arrangements by which they are implemented. By having known principles and practices on these matters, the welfare of the entire College is promoted and safe-guarded.
* The substance and the wording of this statement are drawn in part from the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, developed by the Association of American Colleges and the American Association of University Professors.
Academic freedom is essential to quality education. It promotes strength in the educational program and protects faculty members in their responsibilities. All the constituent groups of the College share concern for the protection of academic freedom.
Freedom in Teaching
The faculty member is expected to be in sympathy with the aims of the College which should be stated clearly in writing at the time of appointment. The faculty member is entitled to freedom in the classroom and should be supported by the College administration and colleagues in its exercise. Academic freedom, however, carries with it duties correlative with rights. In exercising freedom in discussion of the subject matter, the faculty member should be careful not to introduce controversial matter which has no relation to the subject. This should not be narrowly construed, but the faculty member has a responsibility to the entire College community to refrain from habitually substituting extraneous materials for the proper subject matter of the course.
Freedom of Research
This freedom is fundamental to the advancement of truth. The faculty member is entitled to full freedom in ordering and recommending library materials, presenting a variety of perspectives, and in research and in the publication of the results. Such research and publications should not detract from the adequate performance of one’s other academic duties. Research for pecuniary return should be based on a written agreement with the administrative authority of the College.
Freedom as a Citizen
The faculty member is a citizen, a member of a learned profession, and a member of an educational institution. The faculty member enjoys the Constitutional rights which belong equally to all citizens. When the faculty member speaks or writes as a citizen, one should be free from institutional censorship or discipline. But professional membership in the community imposes special obligations. As a person of learning and as a member of a college faculty, one should remember that the public may judge the institution by one’s utterance. Hence the faculty member should at all times seek accuracy, exercise appropriate restraint, show respect for others, and indicate that faculty member is not an institutional spokesperson.
Scope of Academic Freedom
Academic freedom, as described above, applies to all teaching faculty, whether they are tenured, on probationary appointment, or under special agreement.
Academic Freedom for Students
The student is entitled to academic freedom in learning. Faculty members should recognize the student’s right to free speech in the classroom and the right to disagree.
Berea operates on a 4-4 calendar for the academic year. This provides for a fall term beginning in late August or early September and lasting for about 15 weeks, and a spring term of similar length. The academic year for students ends with Commencement exercises. Four-week and seven-week summer sessions are offered. The specific calendar for each year is developed by the Enrollment Policies Committee and approved by the Executive Council.
Several features of the fall and spring terms are worthy of special note. Toward the end of each term a three-day Reading Period is scheduled. This time, which includes either a Friday or a Monday and the adjacent weekend, is set aside for students to review course materials in preparation for final examinations. No classes or other course meetings are held during this time. Reading Period is followed by four days of examinations. The schedule is developed so that most students will have no more than two examinations each day. To protect that situation for students, scheduled examination dates may be changed only in rare circumstances; approval of the Registrar is required well in advance.
There are several vacation, holiday periods, and special events during the year. During one week in October classes are not scheduled for two days to provide a Mid-Term Reading Period. The observance of Thanksgiving begins on Wednesday and extends through Sunday. The break between the fall and spring terms lasts two weeks or somewhat longer. Spring Break occupies one week in mid-March. The College also observes other special days of celebration when no classes are held. On Mountain Day, in October, faculty, students, and staff join to enjoy outdoor activities and the heritage of the Appalachian region. On Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, recognized on the date of the national holiday in January, faculty, students, and staff join in various activities to celebrate and learn about those who sacrificed for Civil Rights. The College reserves a day in the spring term for the purpose of exploring labor, academic, and co-curricular opportunities (known as Labor Day).
Student Course Load
Using a course-credit system, Berea does not count credit-hours. Graduation requirements are expressed in terms of 32 course credits for all major fields except nursing, which generally requires 36. (One credit is equivalent to four semester credit-hours.) Due to the eight-term limit at Berea, the normal student load is four credits each term. A student must enroll and remain in at least three credits each term to qualify for full-time status. Degree-seeking students must have prior formal approval from the Office of Academic Services to enroll in less than three credits during a regular term.
Classes are scheduled Monday through Friday, with the majority of one-credit courses meeting three times a week for a seventy-minute period. Classes meeting two days per week meet for one hour and fifty minutes for each class period. A class scheduling grid is published each year, and classes are expected to meet within established meeting times as published. Courses carrying less than one-course credit usually meet less often. Some one-credit courses—notably those with laboratories, studios, or seminar formats—vary from the common pattern. Classes are not scheduled between 2:50 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Tuesdays to accommodate Labor meetings; classes are not scheduled on Thursdays between 2:50 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. to accommodate College and General Faculty Assembly meetings and Convocations which occur on most Thursdays from 3:00 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. Labor meetings are held on most Tuesdays at 4:00 p.m. The Convocation and Labor meeting times are to be kept free of private lessons, tutorial sessions, required labor, and student conferences.
The class scheduling grid is published by the Office of Academic Affairs after extensive consultation with the Academic Program Council, Division Council, and the Labor Program. The Associate Vice President and Dean of Curriculum and Student Success works directly with the Division Council to ensure the scheduling grid is maintained over time. Maintenance refers to both: (a) enforcement of schedule rules, but also (b) flexibility in considering and adopting, where appropriate, modifications to the schedule grid. Berea College’s class scheduling grid will maintain the following principles:
- It will facilitate the scheduling of all one-credit courses to meet for a minimum of 200 minutes per week.
- It will seek to preserve time for meetings that facilitate the business of the College and facilitate student, faculty, and staff interaction.
- In order to enhance student learning and meet students’ diverse interests, it will seek to minimize undesirable course overlaps and be published with corresponding guidelines as necessary.
- It will seek to ensure that a full slate of classes is scheduled across the full day and the full week.
- It will facilitate late afternoon extra and co-curricular experiences by requiring that single-section required courses meet between the hours of 8:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays and 8:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.
- It will facilitate the meeting of Labor Program goals.
Requests for exemptions to scheduling classes according to the published grid for an upcoming term must be submitted to the Associate Vice President and Dean of Curriculum and Student Success. Requests for formal modifications to the published grid must be submitted to the Division Council.
Requests to meet for less than the expected 200 minutes per week for a full-credit course must be submitted by the Department Chair to the Division Chair, who will then forward the request to the Associate Vice President and Dean of Curriculum and Student Success for consideration. The following guidelines for requesting a waiver are based on similar guidelines developed at Georgetown University.
Requests should demonstrate that:
- the course requires academic activity outside class meetings sufficiently in excess of the normal expectation (two hours per credit hour per week) to compensate for the reduced time in class; and
- the rationale for the requirements stated above is included in the course syllabus and clearly shown to be relevant to the course’s learning goals. Such courses will typically be research-intensive (where students are undertaking an independent course of research over and above assigned reading) or have an experiential or service-learning component or be designed with a significant tutorial experience; in any case, such courses will require close monitoring of the nature, quality, and quantity of the work done outside scheduled classroom hours.
 One credit courses meeting less than 200 minutes per week and which have a waiver from the 200-minute requirement would still meet within a standard block as published on grid.
The planning and process of registration for each term is the responsibility of the Registrar, who is assisted by various other offices, Department Chairs, Division Chairs, and faculty advisors. For continuing students, registration for the fall term is held in April each year; spring registration takes place in November; seven-week summer registration is in the fall term; and four-week summer registration is in the spring. At these times, students plan a program of study with their advisors and, after the advisor approves and gives the student an alternate PIN, the student registers on-line. Overloads require the signature of the advisor and the approval of the Registrar and are added to the student’s schedule at the beginning of the term by the Office of the Registrar.
All incoming (new and transfer) students are registered for their first term classes through a centralized process, managed by the Associate Vice President and Dean of Curriculum and Student Success, based on course preferences gathered through an on-line orientation portal in May and June.
Courses can be dropped and added during any official registration period without charge. After the first week of classes, or the equivalent during summer term, no course may be added to a student’s schedule. All other changes require the approval of the advisor and the Registrar.
Dropping a Course
In order to drop a course, students must have the permission of their advisor. All courses for which the student is registered after the first week of classes appear on the student’s academic record. If the student withdraws from a course before the end of the term, the student receives a grade, which depends on the time and circumstances of withdrawal. If withdrawal occurs during the second through fifth weeks of classes in a regular term, the grade of “W” (Withdrawn) is given. If withdrawal occurs during the sixth through the tenth week of classes the grade will be “WP” (Withdrawn Passing), or “WF” (Withdrawn Failing), depending on the student’s standing in the course. Withdrawal from a course is not permitted during the last four weeks of classes. Withdrawal from a course during a summer term involves the same grading pattern but shorter time frames, reflecting the compressed nature of those terms.
Class Rolls and Grade Sheets
The Office of the Registrar provides each instructor with on-line access to official class lists shortly after registration. Instructors are expected to check these lists against the students actually attending the class, and to report any discrepancies via the on-line process or to the Registrar. Grades are entered on-line by instructors at mid-term and at the end of the term.
Each faculty member is responsible for establishing a clear policy on class attendance for each course, which should be included in the course syllabus.
The name of any student who has been excessively absent, or who seems to not be functioning in class, should be reported to the Office of Academic Services or through the Performance Check System. The student’s attendance and performance in other courses and labor positions will be checked, the instructor and the student’s advisor will be informed of the circumstances, and an appropriate intervention strategy will be developed. If a student is confined by illness or called away for family emergency, the Student Life Office informs the student's teachers and labor supervisor.
If a student is going to miss class due to participation in a College-sponsored trip, it is the student’s responsibility to confer with each instructor about the impending absence and, within the instructor’s attendance policy, to arrange to complete any course work missed. If the absence is likely to have a significantly adverse effect on course performance, the instructor is free to decide if the student should not be released from class.
First class day attendance
Instructors may request that students who do not attend the first class session are dropped from the course.1 Students who add a course after the first day of class must attend the next class session after their enrollment or they may be dropped. Instructors should submit the request through the roster check system in the Faculty Feedback link in myBerea.
As always, the student's course schedule is the student's responsibility. Therefore, students must not assume that they will automatically be dropped from a course if they are absent for a class period. Students who do not attend a class in which they are registered will receive a failing grade for that class if they do not withdraw following College policies and procedures.
Students should contact their instructors directly if they are going to miss a class session to request that they not be dropped from the course. How any absence is handled is at the discretion of the individual instructor and it is the student's responsibility to be aware of each course's attendance policy as outlined in the course syllabus.
1Instructors are encouraged to exercise discretion with the use of this policy and primarily for courses that are full and have a waiting list. If this policy is going to be invoked, it is preferred that it be used immediately following the first day of class. This allows dropped students the possibility of finding an alternative course during the add/drop period.
Classroom Removal and Administrative Course Withdrawal Policy
Instructors are responsible for ensuring a positive learning environment for all students enrolled in their courses (including travel courses). An instructor has the right to make decisions regarding one’s own daily classroom dynamics and define disruptive classroom behavior.
In cases where an individual student’s behavior significantly and negatively inhibits the learning of other students or creates an unsafe environment, the instructor may ask a student to leave the classroom immediately. The professor should document the incident in writing either by emailing a Department or Division Chair, or by using the performance checks system. A one-time removal from a classroom may or may not eventually lead to administrative course withdrawal depending on the circumstances.
If a particular student’s disruptive behavior is either ongoing or particularly egregious, the instructor may request approval for the student to be withdrawn from the course, after other measures have been exhausted, from the Associate Vice President and Dean of Curriculum and Student Success. The student’s behavior may also be referred to the Vice President for Student Life under the Student Judicial Code for further review and action as necessary.
“Withdrawn” refers to the removal of a student from the course and the assignment of a W, WP/WF, or final grade on their academic transcript. The specific grade received will be based on the date the formal request for withdrawal is initiated. If the action is taken after the last day to withdraw from an individual course, the student will receive a final grade as reported by the instructor.
“Student behavior significantly, negatively inhibiting the learning of other students” is intentionally left to the instructor’s prerogative to be defined within the context of the course. Instructors are encouraged but not required to include statements about behavioral expectations in their syllabus and to make use of campus resources, including the Associate Vice President and Dean of Curriculum and Student Success, the Office of Student Life, the Office of Academic Services, the Title IX Office, and the Center for Teaching and Learning to proactively address behaviors prior to reaching the point of requesting a student’s withdrawal.
Berea College will provide reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities in order to make all learning experiences accessible.
Approved by the College Faculty Assembly, April 23, 2019
Except for general education core courses in which common evaluation measures have been adopted, the individual faculty member is free to decide what means are most appropriate for assessing student achievement in a course—quizzes scheduled whenever useful, term papers, oral and/or written reports, discussion assignments, course projects, examinations, etc. The instructor may also weight these elements in any fashion that is fair.
The last week of each regular term is an examination period. During this period, the usual daily schedule is not followed. Instead, each course meets once at a designated time for end-of-term examinations. These times are set by the Office of the Registrar, with an attempt to minimize conflicts and testing overloads for students. If a final examination is to be given, it is to be administered at the time specified. Since the Reading Period is intended to allow students to concentrate on preparing for exams, it may not be used for taking exams. In the event highly unusual circumstances seem to justify a change in time, an instructor may ask the Associate Vice President and Dean of Curriculum and Student Success for permission to reschedule an examination. If the final examination time will not be used for exam administration, then the two-hour period can be used for other course activities.
Students who have more than three exams in a given day or have other extraordinary circumstances may obtain a "Request to Change Final Examination Dates" form from the Registrar's website (https://www.berea.edu/registrar/forms/) and request to have one or more of their exams rescheduled by gaining signatures from the instructors impacted and final approval from the Registrar.
The quality of a student’s academic achievement in each Berea College course is reported through final course grades in a grading scale adopted by the College Faculty in November 2007, as follows:
||Poor work that is still worthy of credit
Raises serious concern about the readiness of a student to continue in related course work.
||Failing work that is unworthy of credit
||The required minimum of 7 Convocation credits were earned
||The required minimum of 7 Convocation credits were not earned
||Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory, Satisfactorily Completed
Given in developmental mathematics courses and in other non-credit courses and projects. These grades are not used in determining the GPA.
Given for courses which do not affect GPA, but for which credit is earned.
Given when a student is enrolled in a class that continues into the next term.
For an incomplete grade to be assigned, the student should provide a written request to the instructor of the course for the incomplete grade using the Request for Incomplete Grade form at least one week before the last day of class for the term, or as soon as reasonably possible in extenuating circumstances. When approved by the instructor, an incomplete grade may be assigned when at least 70% of the course has been completed but, for good and sufficient reason, a portion of the course cannot be completed by the end of the current term. Courses in which “I” grades are assigned must be completed by the deadline agreed upon by the student and the instructor as indicated on the form (usually no later than midterm of the next regular term in which the student is enrolled) or the grade will be recorded on the permanent academic record as “F” or “U” or as the grade indicated on the Request for Incomplete Grade form. Note that instructors may set an earlier deadline for completion of incomplete work than that set by the College.
A grade temporarily assigned 1) when extenuating circumstances prevent an instructor from submitting grades at the time grades are due or 2) when the specific requirements of the course prevent the student from completing all graded material in the course at the time grades are due. The second scenario usually occurs with Internship courses. A change of grade is required for 1) no later than 10 days following the assignment of the N grade and 2) as soon as all course work is completed and graded, but no later than the 12th week of the term after the Internship course is taken. No student may graduate with a N grade on their record.
In addition, the course grades of A, B, C, and D may be modified by a plus (+) or minus (-) suffix, indicating achievement which is respectively at the higher or lower segment of each of these grade ranges.
* Please note that a C- does not count for sequenced courses requiring a C or higher in a previous course (e.g., FRN 102 requires a C or higher in FRN 101).
Additional Information for Faculty regarding Grades
Grade Point Average: For purposes of computing the Grade Point Average (GPA), the following weights are used: A+/A/CA-=4.0; A-=3.7; B+=3.3; B=3.0; B-=2.7; C+=2.3; C=2.0; C-=1.7; D+=1.3; D=1.0; D-= 0.7, and F=0.0. S, SC, I, and U grades are not used in calculating GPA.
Faculty members may elect to use, or not to use, plus or minus grades. Whichever system an individual faculty member elects to use for a given course should be made clear to the students. Faculty members are urged to reflect on the definitions in the context of individual courses and incorporate the definitions into grading policies and course syllabi to be shared with students at the beginning of the term in a manner that seems appropriate to each instructor.
Some courses are designed to use an alternative grading system. For example, in developmental mathematics and non-credit courses, “S” (Satisfactory) and “U” (Unsatisfactory) grades are given.
The “I” (Incomplete) is a temporary grade, given only when a student is unable to complete a course for reasons beyond the student’s control. The deadline should be clearly understood by the student. Failure to complete course work by the prescribed time results in the grade being changed to “F”, or if appropriate, “U”. Faculty who will be on leave of absence or sabbatical leave in the term or year following the term in which an “I” grade would be assigned; faculty who hold single year or term appointments; faculty who do not plan to return as an employee of the College at the conclusion of a term or academic year in which an “I” grade would be assigned; or faculty who have received notification that their employment with the College will be terminated (for reasons of tenure review decisions, probationary term non-renewal, etc.), must work with the Dean of Faculty to make arrangements for the review of the student's work and assignment of the final grade.
Submission of Grades
Course grades are submitted on-line by instructors. Grades for each course are expected within two working days after the time designated for the final examination in the course. Grades for all members of the class should be submitted at that time. If an individual student has permission to complete course work after the end of the term, the instructor should submit a grade of “I” at the proper time, and then change the grade when course requirements have been satisfied. After grades have been recorded, any request for a change of a grade by a faculty member must be made in writing to the Student Admissions and Academic Standing Committee through the Office of Academic Services following the policy outlined in the Berea College Catalog.
As a means of identifying students having academic difficulty, a system of mid-term grading is used. Toward the middle of each term instructors receive notification that the on-line grading system is ready for them to post mid-term grades using the regular grading scale. These grades are not included in the student’s GPA or transcript record. This information enables the institution to develop intervention strategies to promote student success.
It is recognized that instructors must have the primary responsibility of assessing the quality of academic performance, advancement, and achievement of students in their classes. However, instructors are subject to human frailties; these frailties can cause errors in calculation or judgment that may affect assessment of a student’s performance. Instructors may appear to be capricious or inconsistent in their grading of a particular student. Consequently, students may feel rightly or wrongly, a need to appeal that assessment. Except in the most unusual circumstances, grades will be changed only upon the recommendation of the faculty member involved and then only with the consent of the Student Admissions and Academic Standing (SAAS) Committee. The following procedures, designed to protect both the student and the faculty member, are to be followed such that the issue is resolved fairly and expeditiously:
- Within 30 days of the start of the next regular term after assignment of the grade, the student must make a formal written appeal to the instructor involved explaining why the student believes the grade should be changed. If the instructor finds an error has been made, the instructor will request that the SAAS Committee approve a grade change and notify the student in writing of the request. If the instructor finds the grade to be correct, the instructor will notify the student in writing of the decision not to change the grade, specifically addressing the student’s stated reason for the appeal. The instructor’s response must take place within 30 days of receipt of the appeal, or—for reasons of college-related travel, sabbatical, or other extenuating circumstances such as sick leave—within 30 days of the start of the next regular term when the faculty member returns.
- If the student is not satisfied with the written response of the instructor, the student has the right to appeal in writing to the Chair of the Division in which the course is taught within 30 days of the date of the instructor’s written response. The student’s written notice of appeal should be accompanied by all relevant materials; a copy of the original written appeal to the instructor and a copy of the instructor’s written response must be forwarded to the Division Chair. Within 30 days of the student's written appeal to the division, the Division Chair will convene a subcommittee from the division. This committee will consist of the Division Chair and at least four other divisional faculty representing a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives. The student and faculty member may be present for the hearing. If the Division Chair is the faculty member whose grade is being appealed, the Division Chair will appoint another member of the division to chair the appeal hearing. For GST, GSTR and WELL courses, the Associate Vice President and Dean of Curriculum and Student Success serves as the Division Chair and members of the Committee on General Education serve as the division committee. The decision of the designated division committee shall be communicated in writing to the student, the faculty member, and the Registrar within 14 days of the date of the hearing. The letter should address the department’s reason for supporting or denying the student’s appeal. (Also see the “Summary of Grade Appeal Policy” chart for this information presented in chart form.)
- If either the student or the faculty member does not agree with the decision of the designated division committee, either may appeal to the SAAS Committee. Within 30 days of the date of the division committee's written decision on the appeal, the student/faculty member must submit a letter contesting the division committee's decision to the Chairperson of the SAAS Committee. The SAAS Committee will base its decision on the following materials forwarded by the division: the original appeal by the student to the instructor, the instructor's written response, the student's written appeal to the division and all supporting materials, the designated division committee's responses to the student and the instructor, a written summary of the designated division committee's decision (if any), and any paperwork or materials considered by the designated division committee. Both the student and the faculty member may be present when the appeal is heard. The decision of the Committee will be final.
Summary of Grade Appeal Policy
|Student submits written appeal to faculty member.
|Within 30 days after start of the next regular term.
|Instructor finds error was made, requests that SAAS Committee approve a grade change, and notifies student in writing of request for grade change.
Instructor finds the grade to be correct, notifies student in writing, specifically addressing the student's stated reason for the appeal.
|Within 30 days of receipt of written appeal OR--for reasons of travel, sabbatical, or other extenuating circumstances, such as sick leave--within 30 days of the start of the regular term when the instructor returns.
|Student is not satisfied with the written response of the instructor and submits written appeal to Division Chair (or the Associate Vice President and Dean of Curriculum and Student Success for GST, GSTR and WELL courses).
||Within 30 days of date of instructor's written response.
|Division subcommittee holds appeal meeting.
||Within 30 days of student's written appeal.
|Division committee's decision communicated in writing to the student, instructor, and the Registrar.
||Within 14 days of the division committee's decision.
|Either the student or instructor does not agree with the decision of the division's committee and appeals to the SAAS Committee.
||Within 30 days of the date of the division committee's written notification of its decision.
Academic Honesty / Dishonesty*
Students are expected to be scrupulous in their observance of high standards of honesty in regard to tests, assignments, term papers, and all other procedures relating to class work. Academic dishonesty as used here includes, but is not limited to, plagiarism, cheating on examinations, theft of examinations or other materials from an instructor’s files or office or from a room in which these are being copied, copying of an instructor’s test material without the permission of the instructor, theft of computer files from another person, or attributing to one’s self the work of others, with or without the others’ permission. Falsification of an academic record with intent to improve one’s academic standing also shall be construed to be academic dishonesty.
The staff of Hutchins Library has prepared an informative online summary of plagiarism, which is the act of presenting someone else’s work as one’s own.
When Academic Dishonesty is suspected, the following process is followed:
- In the event a student is suspected of being guilty of academic dishonesty, the faculty member in whose course the offense allegedly occurred is responsible for pursuing the matter, making an initial determination, and deciding upon an appropriate course-related sanction up to and including failure of the course. When an instructor is convinced that academic dishonesty has occurred, the instructor will counsel with the student involved in an effort to determine an appropriate course of action. The minimal action is to reject the work in question. The instructor then must report the finding in writing to the Associate Vice President and Dean of Curriculum and Student Success, appending any documentary evidence of the dishonesty, and furnish the student with a copy of the written report. The Associate Vice President and Dean of Curriculum and Student Success then will record the report in a confidential file.** If multiple charges in the student’s confidential file are observed, the Associate Vice President and Dean will report this student to the Student Admissions and Academic Standing (SAAS) Committee for adjudication and possible further sanctions, including suspension. While deliberating to determine appropriate consequences, the SAAS Committee may ask for information from the student’s previous disciplinary or labor records. The student shall be informed of the names of those consulted by the Committee.
- An instructor has the option of referring any single case of alleged academic dishonesty to the SAAS Committee for adjudication and/or disciplinary action, even in the absence of multiple charges. Also, in any case involving alleged dishonesty, the student has the right to appeal an action taken by the instructor to that Committee. Upon receipt of the written report, the Associate Vice President and Dean of Curriculum and Student Success will inform the student that there is one week in which to initiate an appeal of any part of the instructor’s report. Such appeals are to be sent to the Associate Vice President and Dean of Curriculum and Student Success.
- While functioning as a judicial body to determine guilt or innocence, the SAAS Committee will observe the judicial procedures defined in the Community Judicial Code contained in the Berea College Student Handbook. Cases involving false testimony before the SAAS Committee while that committee is functioning as a judicial body will be heard by the Student Life Council. Students who appear in a hearing before the SAAS Committee shall determine whether student members of the Committee shall participate in the adjudication.
*The principles of this policy and procedure were approved by the College Faculty in 1973.
**The purpose of keeping the confidential file separate from the student’s regular permanent student record is to make it possible for one person, the Associate Vice President and Dean of Curriculum and Student Success, to be aware of multiple violations. Besides calling such occurrences to the attention of the SAAS Committee, the Associate Vice President and Dean of Curriculum and Student Success will furnish information from the file concerning the violations of a particular student upon request by the Campus Conduct Hearing Board, the Student Life Council, the individuals reviewing applications for readmissions, or the Labor Program Council. The purpose of furnishing such information to these bodies is to assist them in their effort to obtain perspective on the student as a whole while deliberating to determine appropriate consequences in a particular case. Except as noted above, no group or other individual will have access to the file.
Each instructor is expected to prepare and distribute to students at the beginning of each term a syllabus for the course in which they are enrolled. The syllabus is to contain the following information:
- Course goals
- Course requirements
- Nature of course content
- Methods of evaluation, including the approved description of the College’s grading system, and how the instructor will determine a student’s grade
- Course attendance policy
- Office hours
- Disability statement
Course goals are expected to center on desired student outcomes. Requirements should be clearly expressed. Material to be covered during the term should be summarized, though a class period-by-period outline need not be provided. The syllabus should make clear the instructor’s expectations regarding class attendance, describe any consequences for excessive absences, and specify any instances in which absences may be excused.
An electronic copy of the syllabus for each course taught that term is to be submitted to the appropriate Department Chair(s) by the end of the first week of the term. In the case of cross-listed courses, syllabi will be sent to all Department Chairs as appropriate. The Department Chair is responsible for collecting syllabi and insuring that they provide essential information. The Department Chair will keep one copy on file, and forward an electronic copy to the Office of the Registrar. Faculty without a departmental appointment should submit their syllabi to their Division Chair. Syllabi will be retained for at least three years, and used for assessment and planning purposes.
Textbooks and Course Materials
Choice of textbooks and other course materials normally rests with the individual instructor. Without compromising the quality of the educational experience, it is appropriate for instructors to consider the cost of course materials when making selections. When there are multiple sections of a course taught by several instructors, the selecting of materials rests with the Department Chair or the appropriate multidisciplinary group. The adoption of books by instructors through the on-line book store by the deadlines requested by the College Store and the Associate Vice President and Dean of Curriculum and Student Success is expected, since doing so helps insure the availability of materials at the beginning of the term and assists the College in meeting federal Higher Education Opportunity Act guidelines since it allows students to know up front at registration what their expenses will be for the term.
Rooms for classes, along with class periods, are assigned by the Registrar. If a classroom seems inappropriate for some reason, the instructor should ask the Registrar to determine if alternative space is available. To avoid difficulties over space that might not be immediately obvious, the Registrar alone is authorized to make such changes.
Disability and Accessibility Services (DAS) Grievance Policy and Procedures
Disability & Accessibility Services (DAS) is committed to promoting equal access to all programs, services, and activities at Berea College. Students who are concerned that they have been denied equal access as described in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 or the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) are encouraged to follow the procedures outlined below. Please see the U.S. Department of Education website for more information about Auxiliary Aids and Services for Postsecondary Students with Disabilities.
Students have two ways to express their concerns: an informal resolution procedure available through the DAS Director and a more formal grievance procedure through the ADA Compliance Officer. Although students are encouraged to solve disputes at the lowest possible level and to use internal procedures to the fullest extent, a student may choose to initiate a formal grievance at any time.
The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (OCR), encourages individuals first to use internal grievance procedures, and when such procedures meet OCR's investigative standards, OCR will generally defer to the results reached if the process provided for fair consideration of the grievance (http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/prevention.html).
Informal Resolution Procedure
Clear communication between students, faculty/staff, and DAS is vital to utilizing DAS services effectively. Where possible, students are encouraged to first address concerns and problems with the individuals most directly involved in the situation: the DAS Director regarding eligibility for accommodations and specific accommodations; the individual faculty or staff member in the cases of implementation or lack of approved accommodations.
Students are encouraged to express any concerns with the DAS Director, Lisa Ladanyi (859-985-3327, 111 Lincoln Hall, firstname.lastname@example.org). If for a specific reason the grievance cannot be discussed with the DAS Director, or if the complaint is about the DAS Director, contact DAS supervisor, Dwayne Mack (859-985-3369, 301 Lincoln Hall, email@example.com).
Students who are experiencing difficulty in receiving authorized accommodations by a faculty or staff member, department, or program should first address their concerns with the faculty or staff member charged with providing the accommodation.
DAS is available to offer assistance by discussing and exploring options with the student and/or faculty or staff member, contacting the concerned party in an effort to clarify issues, facilitating a meeting with the concerned parties, and/or advocating for the student’s right to receive appropriate and effective accommodations to the extent required under either the Rehabilitation Act or the ADA.
The Kentucky Department of Education State ADA Coordinator is available for consultation in regard to any questions or concern a student may have about one’s accommodations (1-877-423-2933 or www.ada.ky.gov).
A student who is not satisfied with the resolution on this level may choose to file a formal complaint.
Formal Grievance procedure
The student may submit a formal written grievance to the Berea College Section 504/ADA Compliance Coordinator, Joslyn Glover (859-985-3606, 006 Lincoln Hall, Joslyn_Glover@berea.edu). When making a formal complaint, a student should include specific information about the concern or problem (describe the issue(s), incident(s) and the action(s) taken; state the name of the individual(s) or office(s) involved; and show documented efforts to resolve the complaint). The Section 504/ADA Coordinator will meet with the student to discuss the complaint and will conduct any necessary investigation.
The Section 504/ADA Coordinator will issue a written decision including findings and remedial actions, if any, to be taken by Berea College and/or the student. This decision shall be issued to the student and any others deemed appropriate within fifteen (15) calendar days of the Section 504/ADA Coordinator’s receipt of the complaint. Files and records on all formal grievances shall be maintained by the Section 504/ADA Coordinator.
If a student is not satisfied with the formal grievance procedure, the student may appeal to the President for de novo review of the Section 504/ADA Coordinator’s decision. The appeal must be made in writing within five (5) calendar days of the decision. The determination of the President on any such appeal is final.
If the grievance is not resolved internally at the College, the student may choose to file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education (100 Penn Square East, Suite 515, Philadelphia, PA 19107; Tel: (215) 656-8541; Fax: (215) 656-8605; OCR.Philadelphia@ed.gov. How to file a complaint of discrimination with OCR.
Approved by the Administrative Committee, February 2015.