The Academic Appeals Committee will hear academic grievances from and about students enrolled in the undergraduate program. It will also serve as a hearing board for students charged with academic dishonesty.
II. PROCEDURES FOR COURSE GRADE APPEAL:
A. In the event a student wishes to appeal an instructor’s grade, the process for filing an appeal:
1. The student will bring a written statement to the instructor explaining in detail all the facts relevant to the appeal. This must be discussed with the instructor. If a decision or resolution acceptable to the student is not reached:
2. The instructor shall give the student a written statement of their decision, explaining in detail their reasons for that decision within one week of meeting with the student.
3. The student will then bring both statements to the chair of the academic department sponsoring the course. The chair will read and discuss the statements with the student and consult with the faculty member as appropriate.
4. The chair will provide the student with a written statement of their decision, recommending support or denial of the case decision within one week of meeting with the student. If a decision or resolution acceptable to the student is not reached:
5. All materials will be forwarded to the Dean of Academic Studies who will read and discuss all the statements with the student and other parties.
6. The Dean will forward all information to the Registrar. Meetings of the Academic Appeals Committee will be called as needed by the Registrar. Requests for a hearing before the Academic Appeals Committee must include written statements from all parties as outlined above. Such requests must be made to the Registrar within thirty days of initiating the appeal.
B. In cases involving appeals of a course grade a student has one month into the following semester to initiate an appeal relating to grades earned in the regular Fall or Spring semesters. In all other cases (e.g., summer) the student has one month after receipt of the grade to initiate an appeal through the aforementioned channels. No grade appeals can be made after the above deadlines.
III. PROCEDURES FOR ACADEMIC SUSPENSION:
A. In cases involving academic suspension, students wishing to be readmitted must appeal in writing by the date specified in the student’s suspension notice. Forms explaining suspension appeal will be sent to the student at the time of notification.
1. Students will submit WRITTEN appeals ONLY. Any documents found not to be truthful and accurate to the best of the student’s knowledge will result in a referral to the Student Conduct Program.
2. The Academic Appeals Committee has the authority over enrollment conditions, including, but not limited to, mandating course selection for students and mandating the number of credits taken per semester.
B. All students academically suspended from the college must minimally meet the following conditions for readmission:
1. At least six credits of transferable credit from another institution or six credits from MCLA earned as a non-matriculated student during the suspension period with a GPA of at least 2.0.
2. A Readmission Approval Form must be completed by the student and approved by the Office of Academic Affairs or its designate, prior to enrolling in classes. Courses must be taken at an accredited institution other than MCLA or at MCLA as a non-matriculated student.
3. Students must sit out the following academic semester from MCLA. Students will be allowed to finish any courses in which they are attending classes at the time of suspension. However, such courses will not count for purposes of readmission.
4. Other conditions may be imposed by the Academic Appeals Committee or the Office of Academic Affairs or its designate, based on the student’s overall record.
C. A student academically suspended from MCLA more than twice may appeal and may be eligible for readmission at the discretion of the Academic Appeals Committee.
IV. APPEAL PROCEDURES - ACADEMIC HONESTY:
A. Upon an occurrence of alleged academic dishonesty, the instructor may exercise their discretion in imposing a sanction. The instructor may further file charges with the Academic Appeals Committee against the student if they believe that additional sanctions would be appropriate.
B. The instructor must notify the Registrar in writing of any occurrence of academic dishonesty whenever they have imposed sanctions. Such notification shall include the student’s name, course title, date of occurrence, type of dishonesty, sanction (s) being imposed, and any further action requested. This notification shall be affected within 14 days after discovery of the incident. A copy of said notice shall be sent to the student involved, including the charges made against the student and the grounds, if proven, that would justify failure or other academic sanctions.
C. The Registrar maintains a log of reports of academic dishonesty. The Registrar must refer reports of second and/or subsequent offenses of academic dishonesty for committee action.
D. If the student wishes to appeal the sanction imposed by the instructor, the student must initiate an appeal within 14 days after receipt of notification.
E. The Academic Appeals Committee shall consider as a basis for a hearing that:
1. The student claims not to have been academically dishonest.
2. The student claims the instructor imposed an inappropriate sanction.
3. The nature of the offense merits further action.
F. In academic dishonesty cases, the committee may receive requests for hearings from students, individual faculty, staff members, or the Registrar.
1. A hearing is requested by notifying the Registrar in writing. The Registrar is the chairperson of the Academic Appeals Committee.
2. A faculty or staff member may bring charges against a student when sanctions of grading do not appear appropriate to the faculty or staff member, in light of the academic dishonesty.
3. The Registrar must refer cases of second and/or subsequent offenses of academic dishonesty for committee action.
G. If occurrence does not concern work performed for direct academic credit, the member of the faculty, staff, or administration filing charges shall maintain all supporting documentation and shall notify the Registrar of the suspected violation(s). The Registrar will then institute the established college procedure for dealing with violations of academic ethics.
H. Upon request for a hearing, it is the duty of the Registrar as chairperson of the appeals committee, to schedule such a hearing within 30 days if school is in session. All parties to the case shall receive written notification of the hearing 7 days in advance, including date, time, and place. The student should be given the names of witnesses and an oral or written report on the facts to which each witness shall testify, so that the student may prepare a defense.
I. The student may elect to waive their right to a hearing before the Appeals Committee, and admit to the charge(s) addressed. In such cases the committee will then proceed to the assessment of the appropriate sanction.
J. The Appeals Committee may recommend the following sanctions for cases involving Academic Dishonesty:
1. Academic Reprimand, which consists of a notice placed in the official file in the Registrar’s Office. The Academic Appeals Committee may recommend that such notice remain on file for up to five years.
2. Current semester dismissal for the semester in which the offense was committed. Grades of “WX” will be recorded on the courses no matter when the sanction is imposed; however, the instructor of the course in which the academic dishonesty occurred may exercise their option of assigning an “F” in that course.
3. Semester dismissal both for the semester in which the academic dishonesty occurred and the following semester.
4. A student who has been dismissed or suspended from classes may not enroll in any course offered by the college.
K. If a student is dismissed for academic dishonesty, the student’s transcript will state that the student was dismissed for academic dishonesty and will indicate the date on which the student was dismissed. The student may petition the Vice President of Academic Affairs five years after the date of dismissal to have this statement removed from their academic transcript.
L. Students will be informed in writing of any sanction imposed on them, by the Academic Appeals Committee.
M. A student who has been dismissed from the college for academic dishonesty may appeal for readmission. The Office of Academic Affairs or its designate, may determine additional conditions of readmission.
N. If a student has been academically dismissed from MCLA more than twice for repeated violation of the academic honesty policy, the student is ineligible for readmission.
V. HEARING PROCEDURES:
A. Appeal hearings will be closed to all but the student and/or faculty involved. Either party involved in the case may petition the committee in writing, within 24 hours prior to the hearing, to allow students and/or faculty members involved in the case to participate in or sit-in during the hearing. Petitions will be approved at the discretion of the Academic Appeals Committee.
B. Either party to a grade or academic honesty appeal may testify on their own behalf.
C. The Committee reserves the right to allow the faculty member involved to hear the student’s testimony.
D. The student has the option to stay and hear the testimony of the faculty member and any other witnesses. The student will then be given an opportunity to respond to the testimony of those witnesses.
E. The committee will entertain a written petition for rehearing only in exceptional instances in which either party can demonstrate significant new factual information.
F. The Academic Appeals Committee reserves the right not to hear an appeal in any case where data is not sufficient, the necessary steps have not been followed or when jurisdiction is not clear.
VI. COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP:
A. The membership of the Academic Appeals Committee hearing Academic Suspension Appeals shall consist of:
1. Two faculty members appointed by the President of the Faculty Association for a two year term.
2. One faculty member appointed by the President of the Faculty Association for a three year term.
3. Two MCLA Administrators appointed by the President of the College or their designee.
4. The Dean of Academic Affairs.
5. The Registrar shall act as Chair - voting only in the event of a tie.
6. The Dean of Academic Affairs or the Office of Academic Affairs or its designate, shall act as chairperson in the absence of the Registrar.
B. Membership of the committee hearing Grade Appeals and/or Academic Dishonesty Appeals shall consist of all members listed above as well as two students selected by the Office of Student Affairs. If necessary other appropriate students will be selected by the Registrar.
VII. VOTING PROCEDURES:
A. A quorum shall be at least two faculty, and one administrator for suspension appeals (in addition, one student for grade and dishonesty appeals).
B. In all cases any action requires a majority of those present.
C. Voting will be by secret ballot.
D. Any member of the committee who is involved in a particular case may not participate in that case.
VIII. REPORTS OF THE COMMITTEE DECISIONS:
A. In all cases the committee’s recommendations along with all pertinent documents will be forwarded to the Vice President of Academic Affairs for their recommendation. The committee’s and the Vice President’s recommendations will be forwarded to the President for final approval. If requested, the President will provide written rationale to either party involved in the case.
B. The Registrar shall record all sanctions imposed for academic dishonesty by the instructor and by the President unless there is a finding of acquittal. In the case of acquittal, the record of the charge will be deleted from the files.
1. Such records of sanctions shall be maintained by the Registrar separately from the permanent file, and will
be made available to the Admissions Office should the student apply for readmission.
2. All such records shall be destroyed upon graduation or five years from the last date of attendance.
3. In the specific instance of a student dismissed from the college for academic dishonesty such records shall remain permanently on file, unless petition is made to the Vice President of Academic Affairs.
The Academic Standing Policy is intended to provide early identification of students requiring additional academic or other institutional support and governs the eligibility of all undergraduate students for enrollment.
Undergraduate students are required to meet or exceed the following standards each semester:
I. Failure to Meet Academic Standing Standards
Students who fail to meet the Academic Standing standards for the first time will be placed on Academic Probation. Students on Academic Probation are given one additional semester of enrollment eligibility to meet the Academic Standing standards.
All students on Academic Probation are required to register for and pass the Thriving in College and Beyond course. Students enrolled in the Thriving in College and Beyond course will also be required to work with a Success Coach to develop and sign an Academic Recovery Contract and create an individualized Academic Success Plan to help them meet Academic Standing standards. Students who do not pass Thriving in College and Beyond will be mandated to retake the course in order to maintain enrollment eligibility.
Students in their first or second semester of enrollment (1-24 credits) will also be required to retake any course(s) with a grade of F in the subsequent semester contingent on course offering. The total number of registered credits or these students must not exceed 13 in the subsequent semester.
Any exception to these requirements must be approved by the student’s primary advisor and communicated to the Office of Student Records in writing.
Students on Academic Probation status who continue to fall below the Academic Standing standards after their additional semester of enrollment eligibility will be academically suspended from MCLA.
Students who reach the level of Academic Probation for a second time, excluding Probation after Suspension, are required to retake Thriving in College and Beyond and create an Academic Success Plan with a Success Coach.
Students who reach the level of Academic Probation for a third time or more, excluding Probation after Suspension, will be academically suspended from MCLA.
II. Academic Suspension
Students who do not meet the Academic Standing standards for two consecutive semesters or reach the level of Academic Probation for a third time or more will be academically suspended from MCLA and are ineligible to enroll at MCLA as a matriculated student.
Students may return to MCLA after one semester of suspension provided they have completed the following steps specified on their suspension notice:
1. Completion of 6 or more transfer credits with grades of “C” or higher in all classes at an accredited institution (credits earned before the date of the Academic Suspension notice will not satisfy these requirements); or
2. Completion of 6 or more credits as a non-matriculated student at MCLA with grades of “C” or higher in all classes
III. Right of Appeal
Students placed on Academic Suspension may appeal to the Academic Appeals Committee for enrollment eligibility reinstatement by the date specified in the student’s suspension notice. To be considered, appeals should include circumstances which affected the student’s academic performance, how the student plans to raise their GPA, and what resources the student plans to utilize to meet Academic Standing standards. Optionally, the student may also include a letter of support from a faculty member. The Office of Academic Affairs will provide advocates to guide students through the preparation of their academic appeal and through the appeal process.
If approved, the Academic Appeals Committee will outline any requirements the student must meet in the subsequent semester. Any student who successfully appeals their suspension will be designated by a separate category of Probation after Suspension.
IV. Academic Standing and Financial Aid Eligibility
In order to meet financial aid eligibility, students must make satisfactory progress toward the completion of their degree within 6 years of full-time attendance or 12 years of part-time attendance.
Students in their first year (1-24 credits) are also required to complete 60% of their attempted credits and maintain an overall minimum GPA of 1.75. In subsequent years, students must successfully complete 75% of their attempted credits and maintain an overall GPA of 2.0.
Details of Satisfactory Academic Progress for financial aid eligibility can be found on the Student Financial Services website.
A college is a community of students and faculty interested in the search for knowledge and understanding. Essential to that search is a commitment to honesty and integrity. Honesty on the part of every college student has and always shall be an integral part of the plan of higher education at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Acts of dishonesty conflict with the work and purpose of the entire College and are not merely a private matter between student and instructor.
Violations of academic honesty include but are not limited to:
Plagiarism - The academic departments of the College have varying requirements for reporting the use of sources, but certain fundamental principles for the acknowledgment of sources apply to all fields and levels of work. The use of source materials of any kind and the preparation of essays or laboratory reports must be fully and properly acknowledged. In papers or laboratory reports, students are expected to acknowledge any expression or idea that is not their own. Students submitting papers are implying that the form and content of the essays or reports, in whole and in part, represent their own work, except where clear and specific reference is made to other sources. Even if there is no conscious intention to deceive, the failure to make appropriate acknowledgment may constitute plagiarism. Any quotation - even of a phrase - must be placed in quotation marks and the precise source stated in a note or in the text; any material that is paraphrased or summarized and any ideas that are borrowed must be specifically acknowledged. A thorough reordering or rearrangement of an author's text does not release the student from these responsibilities. All sources that have been consulted in the preparation of the essay or report should be listed in the bibliography.
Upon an occurrence of alleged academic dishonesty instructors may exercise their discretion in imposing a sanction. Instructors may further file charges with the Academic Appeals Committee against students if they believe that additional sanctions would be appropriate. Instructors shall notify the Registrar in writing of any occurrence of academic dishonesty whenever they have imposed sanctions. Such notification shall include the student's name, course title, date of occurrence, type of dishonesty, sanction(s) being imposed, and any further action requested. This notification shall be effected within fourteen days after discovery of the incident. A copy of said notice shall be sent to the student involved, including the charges made against the student and the grounds, if proven, that would justify failure or other academic sanction. If the student involved wishes to appeal the sanction imposed by the instructor, the student must initiate an appeal within two weeks after receipt of this notification. The Academic Appeals Committee shall consider as a basis for a hearing that: a) the student claims not to have been academically dishonest; b) the student claims the instructor imposed an inappropriate sanction; c) the nature of the offense merits further action. In academic dishonesty cases the Committee may receive requests for hearings from students, from individual faculty and staff members, and from the Registrar. The Academic Appeals Committee reserves the right not to hear any appeal in any case where data is not sufficient, the necessary steps have not been followed, and when the committee jurisdiction is not clear.
Further information regarding instructor and student rights and responsibilities and appropriate procedures to be followed in applying this policy may be obtained from the Office of the Dean of Academic Affairs or the Registrar.
Addition of Courses
Students may add courses during the first seven academic days of each semester.
Dropping of a Course
Students have seven academic days to drop from a full semester course with no academic penalty and no notation that they were enrolled in the course on their records. Courses running less than an entire semester will have varying drop dates based on the length of the course.
A student may apply for Alternative Learning Credits for experiences incurred as a matriculated MCLA student for which they have not otherwise been awarded credit, and that either do not reasonably well fit the definitions of Internship, Independent Study, or Independent Research, or for which application for such mechanisms was not a reasonable expectation. To apply for alternative learning credit, students will create and submit a portfolio documenting said learning experiences as they relate to a specific course in the MCLA curriculum. Alternative learning credits awarded will not be included in the 45 MCLA credits required for graduation and will not count towards the final 15 credits needed to be taken at MCLA for graduation. Students at MCLA may earn a total of 15 credits for alternative learning credit, prior learning credit, and/or internships. In the rare event that a student is approved to receive 15 credits of prior learning credit and there are extenuating circumstances when an internship is required for their program of study or is deemed necessary, the Dean of Academic Affairs may grant an exception to the total 15 credit limit. This exception would only be allowed in very rare instances.
Any student seeking credit for alternative learning via portfolio should initiate the application no later than the add-drop deadline of the semester prior to graduation. To initiate the process, the student must consult with a department chair in the department for the course that will be included in the portfolio for the purpose of determining the appropriate faculty sponsor(s). In consultation with the faculty sponsor(s) and department chair (these could be the same individual), the student should draft their portfolio to include a narrative that aligns the learning objectives of the course with documentary evidence from their experience demonstrating the specific skills, abilities, and knowledge gained (examples may include photographs, logs, certifications, and a letter from a supervisor). The chair or faculty sponsor might recommend that the student enroll in ENGL 395 Experiential Credit Portfolio Preparation and Writing.
The student must submit the completed portfolio to the department chair, who will send it to the faculty sponsor. For consideration during the concurrent semester, the submission must be made no later than October 1st for the Fall semester or February 15th for the Spring semester. Submissions received after these deadlines would be considered for credit in the subsequent semester. The department chair will send the portfolio to the faculty sponsor(s), who will write a recommendation on the awarding of credit. The recommendation will be reviewed by the Chair and then forwarded to the Dean of Academic Affairs who will make the final decision. Portfolios will be reviewed, evaluated, and returned within four to six weeks of receipt. Students who do not receive credit, or who receive fewer credits than proposed, may revise their portfolios and resubmit for an additional review.
A per-credit fee will be assessed at the time of portfolio submission. Students are not eligible for financial aid for credits earned through the alternative learning policy. Students will not be charged additional per-credit fees for resubmission of a returned portfolio. Credit for alternative learning is never guaranteed.
A student may audit a course with the approval of the chairperson of the department and the consent of the instructor. Auditors are subject to any conditions established by the department or the instructor. No credit is awarded for audited courses. Such courses are officially reported on the student's transcript with the notation "AU" (Audit-No Credit) when all course conditions are met. Auditor status cannot be changed.
Students register for audit during the first week after the Add Period. A student who wishes to attend class before audit registration may do so with the consent of the instructor. Students are responsible for all course fees when auditing a course. Students who have registered for a grade have enrollment preference over auditing students.
In 2014, the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education called on campuses to make Civic Learning an “expected outcome” for their undergraduates. In adopting this policy, MCLA adopts the Board’s definition of Civic Learning, as outlined in Department of Higher Education memo, Guidance for Designating “Civic Learning” Courses, dated February 12, 2016. In order to achieve this designation, any course must meet the definition set therein, and must demonstrate this through the following process.
Process to assign civic learning designation to a course:
1. Submission directly to the Curriculum Committee of the civic learning designation course form by the department
2. Review and approval of the designation by the Curriculum Committee
3. Notification to the All College Committee of the approval (ACC will not vote on any civic learning designations)
4. The course designation will be entered into inventory
Students are expected to attend all of their classes. They must also be aware of course requirements.
In the event of planned absences, students must notify instructors in advance. In the case of unplanned absences, students should notify their instructors as soon as possible. Students who expect to be absent from classes for more than three class periods should contact the Academic Affairs student support services (formerly Center for Student Success and Engagement (CSSE)) for help notifying their instructors.
A. Excused Absences
A.1 Definition of Excused Absence Any student, who is unable, because of the reasons identified in sections A.2.1 through A.2.4 of this policy, to attend classes or to participate in any examination, study, or work requirement on a particular day shall be excused from any such examination or study or work requirement on that day. The student shall be provided with an opportunity to make up such examination, study, or work requirement, which they may have missed because of such absence on any particular day, if such makeup examination or work shall not be deemed unreasonable by the faculty or the College. To take advantage of the opportunity to make up a missed examination, study, or work requirement, the student must contact their professor/faculty member to initiate this process.
When a student misses a major course assessment or assignment (including, but not limited to, lecture exams, laboratory sessions & exams, class performances, presentations, etc.) due to absence because of the reasons listed in section A.2.1 through A.2.4 of this policy, such makeup assignments may be unreasonable for the faculty member. It is within the discretion of the faculty member to determine what is deemed unreasonable in these situations.
Nursing clinical experience is an integral part of the college’s nursing program. Students are expected to attend all nursing clinical sessions. However, students may need to miss nursing clinical sessions due to illness or serious injury that may compromise their own health and/or the health and safety of clients, peers, and faculty. Students should use their best judgment and resources, such as their clinical instructor, in the event of an illness or injury when making the decision of whether or not to attend a nursing clinical day. All missed time must be made up. Each nursing clinical faculty member will provide instructions to their clinical group regarding the procedure to follow in the event of a clinical absence.
No fees of any kind shall be charged by the College for making available to the student the opportunity to make up work resulting from an excused absence. No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any student because of availing themselves of the provisions of this policy.
A.2 Acceptable Excuses
Excused absences shall be granted for the following:
1. General student well-being, which may include health, mental health, disability-related absences, and/or absence resulting from other extenuating circumstances. Students must inform the faculty member of their absence and request the opportunity to make up missed work according to the excused absence definition listed in section A.1.
If absences total more than the following limits, it will be up to the discretion of the faculty member to allow the absence to be excused.
-For classes meeting three times per week, a student may miss up to three class sessions during the semester.
-For classes meeting two times per week, a student may miss up to two class sessions during the semester.
-For classes meeting one time per week, a student may miss up to one class session during the semester.
If a class meets less than once per week, it will be at the discretion of the faculty member whether the student may be granted an excused absence.
Students with documented disabilities who request additional time for absence should also contact the Disability Resources Office for help notifying their instructors.
If an instructor has concerns or feels unqualified to make a judgment about a student's absence, the Dean of Academic Affairs will make a determination in consultation with student support leadership.
2. Participation as a representative of the College in a scheduled intercollegiate athletic event. It will be the responsibility of the athletic department to notify instructors of the student's participation and absence in advance of the anticipated absence.
3. Participation as a representative of the College in a scheduled intercollegiate club competition or professional/academic conferences, travel courses, or field trips scheduled as part of a course. The club must be a recognized campus club. It will be the responsibility of the club advisor or the sponsoring academic/administrative department to notify the student's instructors of the student's participation and absence in advance of such absence.
4. Any student of the College who is unable, because of his or her religious beliefs, to attend classes or to participate in any examination, study, or work requirement shall be granted an excused absence, and shall be provided with an opportunity to make up missed work, provided that it shall not create an unreasonable burden upon the College. This requirement comes from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts General Law Chapter 151C, Section 2B which states:
"Any student in an educational or vocational training institution, other than a religious or denominational educational or vocational training institution, who is unable, because of his religious beliefs, to attend classes or to participate in any examination, study, or work requirement on a particular day shall be excused from any such examination or study or work requirement, and shall be provided with an opportunity to make up such examination, study, or work requirement which he may have missed because of such absence on any particular day; provided, however, that such makeup examination or work shall not create an unreasonable burden upon such school. No fees of any kind shall be charged by the institution for making available to the said student such opportunity. No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any student because of his availing himself of the provisions of this section."
B. Student Appeals
If a student believes their grade has been incorrectly penalized as a result of an absence, they may pursue an appeal through the college's existing undergraduate grade appeal policy.
Matriculated students are assigned class status according to the total number of earned credits at the conclusion of each semester.
90 or more
Fifteen (15) credit hours is the normal academic course load at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Students may enroll for up to eighteen (18) credit hours without special permission. Students wishing to enroll for more than eighteen (18) credit hours must secure the permission of their advisors. The Dean of Academic Affairs must approve any request above 21 credits.
A course may be repeated. If the course is required and the student failed the course or did not meet minimum grade requirements, the course must be repeated. The grade earned in a repeated course replaces the original grade in the student's quality point average even if the repeated grade is lower. The grade earned each time the student took the course remains on the student's transcript. The original course will be marked on the student's transcript as "E" excluded. The newest assigned grade will be marked on the student's transcript as "I" included. The originally attempted credit is not calculated in the quality point average.
Students must complete a Repeat Course Form for each course they repeat at the time of registration. Repeat course work taken off campus must be approved prior to the course being taken.
Consistent with MCLA's transfer credit policy, students receive equivalent credit for courses in which a grade of C- or above (for undergraduate courses), or its equivalent in the case of study abroad courses, is earned. Transfer grades are not included in the student's cumulative grade point average at MCLA and do not replace the original grade earned in the course at MCLA. Repeating a course more than once may influence a student's financial aid.
The Tier I, II, or III requirement can be repeated by taking any approved course within that core domain. However, in order to replace the initial grade, a student must repeat these courses with the same initial course taken. In situations with extenuating circumstances, a domain leader and the Dean of Academic Affairs may make an appropriate accommodation (e.g., infrequent course offering).
If a student fails an FSEM course, the base course must be repeated in order to replace the initial grade. In addition, the student will be required to enroll in a FSEM seminar experience.
Students wishing to change their major must secure a Change of Major form from Advising. This form requires the approval of the chairperson of the new department and must be filed with the Registrar's Office before the change of major takes effect.
To designate the third Wednesday of October as MCLA’s Annual Day of Dialogue, on which MCLA students, faculty, and staff, as well as local community members, dedicate themselves to educational dialogue across differences, with an eye toward action to increase equity and inclusion in our community. This day is considered an alternative academic day, with all day classes canceled, to ensure full participation by the campus community. In years when Columbus Day falls in the third week of October, then the Day of Dialogue would be held the fourth Wednesday in October.
Students who are completing the requirements of a minor program must complete a Change of Major/Minor form.
An amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than:
MCLA in accordance with the federal regulations and commonly accepted practices in higher education operates on a 50-minute hour as it relates to direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two additional hours per week as it relates to other non-direct instructional activities (laboratory, internships, etc..)
Each unit of internship requires a minimum of forty-five (45) hours of on-site experience for each credit hour (See Policy on Internships)
Matriculated MCLA students may earn a Bachelor of Arts degree and/or a Bachelor of Science degree. Students completing more than one major within either the BA or BS programs at MCLA will have the additional major(s) noted on their transcript but will not receive another degree and/or another diploma and cannot participate in another graduation ceremony.
This Policy is effective immediately upon the approval of the President and supersedes all previous college policies regarding second degrees and dual degrees.
The All College Committee requests that the implications of this policy be made clear to students by the appropriate institutional offices.
In cases involving appeals of a course grade, a student has one month into the following semester to initiate an appeal relating to grades earned in the regular Fall or Spring semester. In all other cases (e.g. summer) the student has one month after receipt of the grade to initiate an appeal. No grade appeals can be made after these deadlines.
Grading System – Institutional credit is graded on a quality point system based on
the following scale:
A = 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; F,FL = 0.0.
Other Grade Notations That May Appear on Student Transcripts:
Repeated courses are indicated as follows:
E = Course repeated and not included in Term GPA
I = Course repeated and included in Term GPA
Transfer Credit – Credits earned at other accredited institutions and applied toward degree programs at MCLA is awarded based upon equivalency and an earned grade of “C-”, or higher for undergraduate credit; and a grade of “B”, or higher for graduate credit.
Transfer credit, MCLA requirement waivers, and experiential credit/prior learning are indicated on the record with a grade of “T” and are not included in the grade point average.
Grade Point Average - The grade point average is a numerical indication of the student's academic achievement. It is the quotient of the total quality points earned divided by the total credits attempted for all courses in which grades A through F were received. No quality points are assigned to notations AU, I, NR, NP, P, PC, PS, T, U, W or WX.
MCLA requires that students must complete all graduation requirements by the end of the academic year in order to participate in the spring graduation ceremony. In the case of demonstrable extenuating circumstances preventing a student’s timely completion of all requirements for graduation, exceptions may be granted by the Dean of Academic Affairs, on a case-by-case basis, under the following conditions:
The Dean of Academic Affairs may choose to grant the exception, provided the student has demonstrated the ability to complete all remaining coursework by August 31, or by the end of the fall semester in the case of student teaching; in exceedingly limited circumstances and at their discretion, the Dean of Academic Affairs may approve an extension of these deadlines to either the end of the following Fall semester or the next offering of the course(s). If additional courses must be taken, student must submit verification of enrollment in summer courses to the Dean before the exception will be granted. If the unfinished requirements consist of either Incompletes or non-credit bearing requirements, student must submit written completion agreements with the supervising faculty member and/or department chair to the Dean before the exception will be granted.
The grade of Incomplete is a temporary grade which may be reported only when a portion of the course work, as clearly indicated in the course outline or syllabus, has not been completed because of the necessary absence of the student or other reason equally satisfactory to the instructor. Incomplete grades are given at the discretion of an instructor. If an instructor is willing to grant an incomplete, then the student must have completed at least two-thirds (2/3) of the course work with a passing grade in order to be considered for an Incomplete. The grade of Incomplete is never guaranteed, and students should not assume that they will be granted an Incomplete grade for a course unconditionally.
Students wishing to pursue an Incomplete grade must first discuss the option with both their academic advisor and instructor of the course for which they are requesting the incomplete. If the student, academic advisor, and instructor agree that an Incomplete is appropriate, then the instructor will initiate an Incomplete Contract that will be signed by both the student and the instructor. The Contract will specify the nature of the course work to be completed before the deadline agreed upon in the contract (no later than six (6) weeks into the next semester).
Incomplete Contracts must be submitted within semester grading submission deadlines.
The course work must be completed by a date to be determined by the instructor, said date not to exceed six weeks after the start of the following semester. The "I" is then changed to an appropriate permanent letter grade, or a grade of "F".
Any student with a grade of "I" will miss the deadline for Dean's List designation
making that student ineligible for the Dean's List for
Independent Study is advanced-level course work, in a subject area not covered in depth by the normal course offerings of an academic department. It should provide within its own structure a valuable experience of independent research, analysis, and reporting which will enhance the student’s grasp of their subject field, and entail the requisite motivation, skills, and discipline of independent work. Independent Study should provide new and unique objectives consistent with the academic program of the student.
Independent Study proposals are to be developed jointly by the instructor and the student. The learning objectives are to be carefully considered and identified in the proposal. The method by which the student will evaluate the learning experience and by which the instructor will evaluate the student must be indicated. It is imperative that instructors evaluate whether the student is able to work independently and will benefit scholastically from such a study.
Students are limited to a maximum of 12 credit hours of independent study and independent research credit, combined. Independent Studies may be taken for variable credit, and require approval of the Independent Study instructor, Chair of the credit-granting department, student’s advisor, and Dean of Academic Affairs. Application for an Independent Study requires that a student be a matriculated junior or senior, with the exception of freshmen and sophomores whose readiness is specifically demonstrated on the Independent Study Application.
The amount of credit to be earned in any independent study course is to be determined by the instructor at the time the proposal is submitted, and may vary from one to three credits, depending upon the number of objectives identified in the proposal, and the degree of difficulty, or complexity, as judged by the instructor.
The number of credits is not to be changed at the end of the study period because the student failed to meet all of the objectives which were identified in the proposal. The grading system cited in the college catalog is designed to provide for this.
LEAVE OF ABSENCE POLICY (MCLA Overall Policy)
A leave of absence up to two semesters (see below note regarding nursing students) may only be granted to students who are matriculated, in good academic standing, and in good financial standing. Students taking a leave of absence are expected to discuss this decision with their academic advisor and work with their advisor to determine appropriate steps to complete their degree program.
Students must contact the Office of the Registrar if they are not returning from their leave as anticipated (by December 1 for the spring semester and by August 1 for the fall semester). A student taking a one-semester leave of absence may extend the leave for a second semester through a written request to the Registrar.
Students who do not return within two semesters (two semesters without grades) will be withdrawn from the College and will need to apply for readmission.
Students processing a leave prior to the last day of classes will have a notation of WX on their record for that semester. Students with financial aid who take a leave of absence will be treated as a withdrawn student for financial aid purposes, based on the College Refund policy calculation. Students who have borrowed through a state and/or federal loan program will be required to complete the online exit counseling for the appropriate programs. Student loan repayment will begin six months after the date of the leave from the College. Students should check with their loan servicer for deferment eligibility once they return to school. When a student returns from leave, they may have to complete a satisfactory academic progress appeal for financial aid, depending on when their date of leave occurred. Students will be considered for aid based on the funds available at the time of their return.
Residential students: Please note that the Residency Occupancy Agreement states that a resident who withdraws from the College during the period covered by that Agreement must turn in keys, remove belongings, and arrange for a room inspection within 24 hours from the effective date of the withdrawal/leave. Students processing a leave with an effective date on a weekend will have their meal plan deactivated on the Friday before the effective date.
Students are encouraged to meet with Student Financial Services to address any questions related to the leave of absence.
NURSING SPECIFIC LEAVE OF ABSENCE POLICY (In addition to MCLA Policy): A nursing major seeking a leave of absence is advised to meet with her/his advisor to discuss the implication of a leave on their progression in the nursing curriculum and intentions for returning to the program. Due to the highly structured nature of the nursing program, nursing students will be prohibited from taking a Leave of Absence from the nursing program for a period of less than one academic year. This is necessary to allow nursing students to return from Leave at the same point within the structured curriculum.
A growing number of MCLA students engage in significant independent scholarly work during their undergraduate years with little formal recognition of their achievements. The purpose of this program is to recognize the outstanding work of these students by conferring the MCLA Scholar designation at graduation and on their official college transcripts. This designation will assist students in their future career and educational endeavors. This program will also provide clear standards for independent work and scholarship to which prospective and current students can aspire and work towards.
Faculty will submit grade alerts (“C-” through “F”) on all students enrolled in their courses to the Registrar at the midpoint of each semester as published on the academic calendar. Midterm grade alerts will be posted at least one week before the last day to withdraw without penalty ("W") from courses. The Registrar will provide a list of all students receiving midterm warnings (“D” and “F”) to relevant offices on campus that would provide follow up and support for students as needed (including, but not limited to, Academic Advising & Support, Students Affairs, and Residential Life).
MCLA's Nursing Program will adhere to and embrace the Position Statement on Educational Mobility for Nurses approved by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Office of Health and Human Services as well as the Board of Registration in Nursing listed below:
It is the mission of the Board of Registration in Nursing to protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the Commonwealth through the regulation of nursing education and practice. Consistent with this mission, the Board recognizes the need to ensure an adequate supply of nurses skilled to meet the demands of a rapidly changing health care environment. This position statement supports the development of relationships which promote efficient educational mobility opportunities for nurses in the Commonwealth. Such opportunities ultimately benefit the recipient of nursing care by contributing to the supply of skilled clinicians.
Currently, there are four educational routes which prepare nurses for entry into professional practice in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts - hospital based diploma, Associate Degree, certificate or completion from a post-secondary vocational technical school, a community college, or a hospital based program. Educational mobility recognizes that similarities, as well as differences, exist in the core content of entry level nursing programs. These differences are reflected in the breadth, depth and scope of educational preparation. However, it is the similarities which provide the philosophical basis to support educational mobility in nursing. It is these similarities which prompt the Board to suggest that nursing education programs recognize in their articulation plans, the certified nursing assistant and certified home health aide.
This assumes that:
1. each nursing education program has the responsibility for establishing its unique mission, goals, and standards for admission, progression and graduation.
2. each level of nursing education has a common core of knowledge, as well as cognitive, psychomotor, and affective skills, demonstrating unique competencies as they relate to outcome measures.
3. nurses pursuing advancement in their nursing education are mature adult learners who are motivated, responsible, and most likely employed.
4. the outcome of educational mobility is the educational advancement of nurses prepared at levels on the educational continuum lower than the Baccalaureate degree.
Career decisions and the selection to the program of study necessary to enter nursing are the responsibility of the individual and are based on career goals, abilities and resources. As career goals are revised, and nurses seek to gain competencies not achieved in their basic nursing education program, educational mobility enables an individual to move from one educational level to another with acknowledgment of acquired competencies and minimal repetition of previous learning. The development and implementation of efficient and creative methods for identifying and evaluating prior learning and experience is the responsibility of nurse educators.
NURSING ADMISSION POLICIES (In addition to MCLA Admission Standards):
Students seeking admittance to the MCLA nursing program will follow one of two paths:
• First year students declaring as a pre-nursing major, or
• Matriculated students who meet the following criteria for nursing program admittance
Progression to BSN Nursing Major:
Prior to final acceptance, students must successfully complete the following courses with a final grade of C or higher to be eligible for consideration for the BSN Nursing Major. Acceptance into the BSN Nursing Major is limited, with chances increased by earning grades higher than the minimum in these courses:
· BIOL 150 Intro to Biology I
· CHEM 150 Intro to Chemistry I
· BIOL 342 Anatomy & Physiology I
· MATH 232 Statistics
Applications to the BSN Nursing Major will be opened during the fall semester. Review of applications will begin on March 1st of the spring semester, with conditional notification upon conclusion of the review process. Final acceptance into the BSN Nursing Major takes place at the completion of the spring semester after application.
Final acceptance decisions are based on 1) the highest overall grade point average (GPA) of all student applications received, 2) a personal statement, and a 3) letter of recommendation from an academic or professional reference.
Change of major applicants for a BSN Nursing Major will pertain to matriculated students only.
Pre-nursing students who are not accepted into the Nursing Major will be reclassified as an undeclared (UND) major and directed to meet with an advisor to discuss future steps.
All nursing (NURS) courses must be taken in order of the prescribed curriculum.
Nursing students must achieve a minimum grade of C or higher in each nursing (NURS) course. A final grade must be given for an incomplete grade before the start of the successive semester. Should a student withdraw or receive an insufficient grade in a course, that course can be repeated only one time. The student must achieve a grade of C or higher in the repeated course in order to progress in the nursing program.
Sophomore students must also achieve a grade of C or higher in non-nursing required courses (BIOL 240: Genetics, BIOL 343: Anatomy and Physiology II, BIOL 320: Microbiology, HLTH 210: Human Growth & Development, and PSYC 100: Introduction to Psychology) in order to progress to all junior nursing courses.
Nursing students who receive an insufficient grade (< C) or withdraw from one nursing course will be allowed to repeat the course the next time the course is offered. Failure to achieve a grade of C or higher when the course is repeated will result in dismissal from the major.
Students at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts may enroll in course work at other accredited institutions concurrent with their enrollment at MCLA or during semesters they may be away from the College (e.g., study abroad or domestic study away programs). All such course enrollments must be approved in advance by the student’s major department and the Registrar using the Request for Off-Campus Study Approval form (or the Request for Study Away Course Approval form).
Consistent with MCLA’s transfer credit policy, students receive equivalent credit for courses in which a grade of C- or above, or its equivalent in the case of study abroad courses, is earned. Transfer grades are not included in the student’s cumulative grade point average at MCLA.
This policy also applies to students who plan to take courses off campus while on leave from MCLA or who are withdrawn from the college and are planning to apply for readmission.
I. Definitions of the Online and Hybrid Formats
A. MCLA defines an online (or fully-online) course as one in which all of the following are true:
1. All required actions and interactions of students and faculty occur in the College's learning management system (LMS) ("online");
2. All required resources (texts, media, materials, tools) are accessible through the LMS or other readily accessible format;
3. No in-person or face-to-face ("on-ground") interactions are required or expected.
B. MCLA defines a hybrid course as one in which all of the following are true:
1. The required actions and interactions of students and faculty occur both in physical space ("on-ground") and in the College's learning management system (LMS) ("online");
2. The on-ground and online course components are demonstrably, consistently, and pedagogically integrated;
3. A student is required to spend a meaningful portion of their total instructional time, greater than 0% and less than 100%, engaging with resources and activities in the LMS, as measured by a standard conversion between online activities and on-ground instructional time;
4. The difference between a course's on-ground instructional time and its total minimum instructional time, as outlined by federal and accreditation guidelines, is met by the measured online instructional time, as an alternative to "seat time", as calculated in I.B.3.
C. The Director of Academic Technology or their designee will determine whether the above structural criteria have been met for a given course.
II. Preparation for the Online and Hybrid Formats
A. MCLA recognizes that success in the online and hybrid formats requires both students and faculty to have skills distinct from, and in addition to, those needed for success in on-ground courses.
B. Before a faculty member begins teaching an online or hybrid course at MCLA, they will have completed sufficient training, offered by the Center for Academic Technology, to design and teach online or hybrid courses using specific standards of design and practice. Alternatively, a faculty member may complete a proficiency test to demonstrate meeting these standards, as administered and observed by the Center for Academic Technology. The Director of Academic Technology will ensure that, at minimum, this training or proficiency test will include demonstrated proficiency in:
1. Identifying course and program outcomes and mapping them to online activities;
2. Calculating online workload to ensure credit hour requirements;
3. Meeting baseline standards of accessibility and universal design;
4. Supporting student success in the online environment with resources including:
a. Course description
b. Course outcomes
c. Required resources/texts
d. Course expectations and policies
e. Grading standards and practices
f. Schedule of dates for online activities
g. College policies and resources, including:
i. Academic honesty policy
ii. Disability resources
iii. Technology support resources
5. Sustaining effective online presence and responsiveness.
C. Since technologies change rapidly, in order to ensure that students receive instruction based on current best practices, each successful training or proficiency test will be valid for no longer than 3 calendar years from its date of completion.
1. Once a faculty member has successfully completed a training or proficiency test, they may renew their certification by completing "refresher" training of no more than 5 total hours with the Center for Academic Technology, prior to the end-date of the previous period. Such training may take the form of in-person or online workshop(s), seminar(s), or other professional development, and will address current best practices, LMS tools, and governing technology standards regarding:
b. FERPA and student privacy;
c. Copyright and intellectual property;
2. If a certification has lapsed, a faculty member may, with the agreement of their Chair and the Director of Academic Technology, apply to renew certification by completing "refresher" training within 1 calendar year of the end-date of the lapsed certification.
3. If a certification has lapsed for more than 1 calendar year, a faculty member will re-take the initial training as detailed in II.B before teaching an online or hybrid course.
4. The "date of completion" for faculty who completed certification prior to adoption of this policy will be the date of implementation of the policy. Thenceforward such faculty will renew their certification in accordance with all regular scheduling provisions as articulated in this policy.
5. In the event of replacement or substantial redesign of the LMS, Academic Technology will offer updated training to all faculty within one year of College-wide implementation. Online and hybrid faculty will complete that training within 2 years of College-wide implementation, or by the expiration of their current certification, whichever is earlier. In such an event the Director of Academic Technology will determine and articulate the standards for identifying a redesign as "substantial".
III. Requirements of the Online and Hybrid Formats
A. MCLA has an obligation to ensure that an online or hybrid course equals the educational quality of an on-ground course, in standard and measurable ways. An online or hybrid course will meet at least the following standards:
1. Instructor-posted online content of the course meets federal accessibility standards as articulated in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In online contexts, these standards are met by adherence to the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 level AA, or any successor policy version duly approved by the W3C.
2. Course uses LMS tools and features to support and enhance student learning in the online or hybrid format.
3. Students receive regular and timely contact with instructor, as articulated by the faculty in the syllabus.
4. Graded activities explicitly support course and program outcomes.
5. Students have opportunities and adequate support for substantive and meaningful interactions with instructor and peers online (and, for hybrid courses, on-ground).
6. Course design choices, as far as possible, do not privilege students on the basis of access to specific technology infrastructure (e.g. connectivity, software, or device).
B. An online or hybrid course will be designed, in advance, to do all of the following:
1. Provide online space and content which are equally accessible, coherent, and navigable across devices;
2. Provide space for sustained and consistent student-student and student-instructor engagement;
3. Minimize, as much as possible, technological roadblocks to, or distractions from, curricular engagement;
4. Leverage available and appropriate features of the LMS to support instructor judgment and assessment of student participation with the best and fullest available information;
5. Support structurally MCLA's commitment to access, especially as related to student access to digital infrastructure and connectivity.
C. In addition, a hybrid course will be designed, in advance, to do all of the following:
1. Articulate the proportional weight of both online and on-ground components, and the expectations for student engagement in each component relative to the total course time and grade;
2. Provide the student an expected schedule of all in-person and/or synchronous requirements;
3. Be a functional whole, integrating both components into a coherent educational experience;
4. Articulate how each component addresses the course and/or program outcomes;
5. Give adequate emphasis to both components, taking care that, in practice, neither component is ancillary to the other, and that neither component alone suffices to meet all required course and/or program outcomes.
D. Evaluation of faculty who teach online and hybrid courses is conducted in accordance with the terms of the applicable faculty collective bargaining agreement.
1. This policy recognizes that the Center for Academic Technology has a role to support, facilitate and inform Chairs, or any parties with a responsibility to evaluate, by providing information relevant to the technologies used to deliver online and hybrid format teaching, which information can assist the parties in the effective performance of their responsibilities, but which may fall outside the parties' professional expertise.
2. This policy expects that Chairs, or any parties with a responsibility to evaluate, will seek informational support from the Center for Academic Technology when conducting evaluations in online and hybrid courses, to ensure they have sufficient factual knowledge of the relevant technologies to complete these responsibilities. Such informational support may include fact sheets or similar documentation of the functionality of a technology.
3. Evaluation of individual faculty members is not the responsibility of the Center for Academic Technology.
4. Notwithstanding the aforesaid, nothing in this policy shall be understood to contravene any terms of the applicable faculty collective bargaining agreement.
IV. Attendance in the Online and Hybrid Formats
A. MCLA uses the federal guidelines below to determine student attendance in online and hybrid courses: In a distance education context, documenting that a student has logged into an online class is not sufficient, by itself, to demonstrate academic attendance by the student. A school must demonstrate that a student participated in class or was otherwise engaged in an academically related activity. Examples of acceptable evidence of academic attendance and attendance at an academically related activity in a distance education program include: - student submission of an academic assignment,
- student submission of an exam,
- documented student participation in an interactive tutorial or computer-assisted instruction,
- a posting by the student showing the student's participation in an online study group that is assigned by the institution,
- a posting by the student in a discussion forum showing the student's participation in an online discussion about academic matters, and
- an email from the student or other documentation showing that the student initiated contact with a faculty member to ask a question about the academic subject studied in the course. (source: FSA Handbook 2019-2020, Volume 5, 5-65,66)
B. Attendance in a hybrid course is measured proportionally to the stated percentage weight of both course components. For example, in a course which is 65% online and 35% on-ground, a student with full on-ground attendance but no online attendance would have an overall attendance record of 35%.
V. Scheduling Online and Hybrid Format Courses
A. All materials listing or advertising online or hybrid course offerings will:
1. Label each course offered in the online or hybrid format as such;
2. Provide the College definition of the online or hybrid format, and a hyperlink to this Policy;
3. For hybrid courses, specify the percentages of online and on-ground components in each course;
4. For hybrid courses, specify the schedule of all in-person meeting requirements for each course;
5. For hybrid courses, specify the schedule of all synchronous online requirements, if any, for each course.
B. Recommendations regarding the scheduling of online and hybrid courses falls within the responsibilities of Chairs (or their designees) as per the relevant faculty collective bargaining agreement. To assist the Chair in performing these duties, a faculty member wishing to teach a course in the online or hybrid format will provide to the Chair, at least 14 days in advance of the deadline for submitting courses for scheduling in a term, the following:
1. Evidence of successful completion of training, as detailed in II.B;
2. A rationale for offering the course in the online or hybrid format, which refers to pedagogical, disciplinary, programmatic, or other reasons which align with the mission of the College.
VI. Online and Hybrid Course Design and Intellectual Property
A. MCLA recognizes its obligation to provide students with reliable, accessible, well-designed online course environments.
B. MCLA recognizes that online and hybrid format courses frequently involve the expertise of College staff in designing and creating online resources in collaboration with faculty.
C. To protect both faculty's intellectual property rights and the College's ability to develop and sustain high-quality online and hybrid courses and programs:
1. Chairs should encourage faculty intending to teach online and hybrid courses to investigate whether, and to what degree, any development work necessary to meet the requirements of this policy could be considered "joint work" between faculty and College staff: e.g., "template" content or LMS design structure or metadata.
2. Chairs should articulate any program requirements or expectations relevant to re-use of course structure or content: e.g., future programmatic or departmental re-use of course structure or content.
3. Any arrangements for co-ownership or "joint work" arrangements between faculty and the College should be agreed upon in advance and documented in written form.
4. The College shall not use faculty intellectual property without the express written consent of the faculty member. The written consent should include the scope and duration of the agreed-upon use.
NOTE: Due to the scope of this policy exceeding the charge of the Academic Policies Committee, this policy was drafted by a special committee based on a previous version approved by the Academic Policies Committee. The vote of the special committee is reflected on the first page of this form.
Matriculated students of MCLA may earn up to 15 credits for learning outside of college. To apply for credit for prior learning, students create and submit portfolios documenting life experiences (work, community, military service, etc.). Portfolio content must demonstrate achievement of learning outcomes for specific courses in the MCLA curriculum. All experiences referenced in the portfolio must predate enrollment at MCLA. Credits awarded for prior learning are regarded as transfer credits. Prior learning credits awarded will not be included in the 45 MCLA credits required for graduation.
Any student seeking credit for prior learning via portfolio should initiate planning no later than achieving 60 credits towards graduation at MCLA, and plan to submit the portfolio for credit review no later than achieving 90 credits towards graduations. To initiate the process, the student must contact the Associate Dean of Graduate & Continuing Education (DGCE) for consultation on the application process.
After speaking with the Associate Dean, the student must submit an application outlining the plan for the portfolio, a resume, a list of potential course matches from the MCLA course catalog, and a 2-3-page summary of credit-worthy experiences. The application must be submitted to the Associate Dean of DGCE at MCLA. The student is required to consult with appropriate department chairs to confirm the relevance and to establish the learning objectives of the courses they propose to substitute for their prior learning experiences.
The main elements of the portfolio include the application, narrative, resume, and documentary evidence. The portfolio must include a substantial, reflective narrative describing the experiences, and relevant learning, and show how these match the learning outcomes of courses selected from MCLA’s course catalog. Appropriate documentary evidence is required to support the student’s explanation of the overall value of the experience and the specific skills, abilities, and knowledge gained.
Any student seeking to submit a portfolio for prior learning credit must enroll in MCLA’s Experiential Credit Portfolio Preparation and Writing (ENGL 395) course for support and assistance with portfolio preparation. ENGL 395 is a 3-credit course the student must complete successfully before the student can submit the portfolio for credit review. A student may request waiver from the ENGL 395 requirement if recommended by all department chairs related to the proposed submission. Waiver is based on the determination of the chairs’ assessment of student’s ability to present a successful portfolio, as measured by demonstrating a detailed understanding of how learning was applied later, and the implications of learning in new and novel situations.
The student must submit the completed portfolio to the Associate Dean for DGCE. A per-credit fee is assessed at the time of submission. The Associate Dean transmits the portfolio to the appropriate academic department for faculty review. The final decision on the recommendation for the awarding of credit is made by the Dean of Student Success and Engagement.
The College has established due dates for portfolio submission that are posted on the DGCE website. Portfolios received by the due dates will be reviewed, evaluated, and returned within 8-12 weeks of receipt. Portfolios received after the due dates may take longer than 12 weeks to review and return.
Students who do not receive credit, or who receive fewer credits than proposed, may revise their portfolios and resubmit for an additional review. Finally, credit for prior learning is never guaranteed. Students should work with their advisors to develop alternate degree completion plan in cases where credit awards are lower than for which they applied.
READMISSION (overall MCLA Policy):
All students who previously attended MCLA but did not complete their degree may apply for readmission to the College by submitting an admission application. If the student completed additional course work at another institution after leaving MCLA, an official transcript of this course work must be sent to the Office of Admission. Any outstanding obligations to the College, such as financial commitments, must be reconciled prior to readmission.
Students who have been academically suspended from the College must meet specific criteria and complete six transferable credits, with a GPA of 2.0 or better, outside of MCLA to be considered for readmission.
NURSING SPECIFIC READMISSION POLICY (In addition to MCLA Readmission Policy):
Nursing Majors who withdraw in good academic standing from the Nursing Program must request readmission to the program. Requesting readmission to the nursing program does not guarantee readmission. Readmission is dependent on space availability and may require an additional year of study.
Faculty will complete a student success check-in by the end of the third week of class each semester. For each student this check-in will be part of an integrated, defined mechanism to communicate and document faculty concerns of students to student academic resources (including, but not limited to, the student’s academic advisor, the Office of Academic Advising & Support, and the MCLA CARE team) regarding a student’s academic progress, attendance, and physical and/or mental wellbeing. These alerts can then be used by student support services to reach out and assist students earlier in a semester to promote overall student wellbeing and to ensure successful completion of coursework.
Students who study abroad/study away must meet the following criteria:
- Minimum 30 credits earned (sophomore status)
- Minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA
- No holds on student accounts
- Must complete the International/Domestic Travel Statement of Consent Form (the statement is included below for informational purposes but is not part of the policy)
ON NOVEMBER 19 2015 ACC APPROVED THIS POLICY WITH AN EFFECTIVE DATE OF SPRING 2016. STUDENTS WHO ARE SEEKING TO DO STUDY AWAY OR STUDY ABROAD FOR SUMMER OR FALL 2016 WILL BE SUBJECT TO THESE CRITERIA.
Travel Liability Waiver
Statement of Risk - Study Away and/or participation in a Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA)-sponsored travel course is voluntary and not required by the institution for completion of any major or minor academic program. Students should be aware of the potential risk associated with international and domestic travel. MCLA does not encourage, nor promote, the participation in unsafe activities such as sky diving, off-roading, handling of exotic animals, eating unsafe foods, etc. Students are encouraged to make sure their country of interest is not on the U.S. Department of State Alerts and Warnings list. (see:http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings.html). In addition, students should remain abreast of social, economic, and political issues in their country of interest and should be familiar with the laws governing said country. MCLA assumes no liability for incidents and accidents involving the students studying away from the MCLA campus or participating in a MCLA sponsored Travel Course. Students are encouraged to take precautions when traveling away in terms of preparation for emergencies and unforeseen incidents. The College affiliated student health insurance program does not cover international travel, but covers the United States, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Students who are traveling outside of the coverage area are encouraged to purchase health insurance independently or through one of the college's affiliated third party providers: CISAbroad, International Studies Abroad, Semester at Sea.
Code of Conduct
Since academic credit is awarded upon the successful completion of MCLA sponsored Travel Courses or Study Away programs, students are held to MCLA's code of conduct standards regardless of their location. Students represent MCLA and should act in accordance with the MCLA code of conduct. The following is taken from the MCLA Student Handbook found on the MCLA website under Student Life/Resources.Violations of College policy whenever the conduct in question occurs in any of the following circumstances may be subject to College disciplinary action; - if it occurs while the student who is charged was attending or participating in any college-related activity (such as athletic contests, field trips, study abroad programs or social events).
Assumption of Liability
I am participating in the above captioned study away or MCLA sponsored travel course, and hereby release, waive, indemnify, defend, and hold harmless all MCLA Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, agents, and assignees from and against any and all claims, for bodily injury demands or causes of action of any type whatsoever, including property damage or personal injury, damages, losses and expenses, including but not limited, to attorneys' fees, arising out of or in any way related to participation in this trip with which I choose to participate in. I am aware that there are possible risks and dangers associated with my participation. I assume full responsibility for any injuries or damages I may sustain as a result of my participation, including travel to or from the trip destination. In addition, I assume liability for and agree to indemnify and to hold MCLA Board of Trustees, faculty and staff harmless for all claims or damages caused, in whole or in part, by me and any negligent, intentional, or other act of omission on my part. By signing this waiver of liability and release, I acknowledge that I have read and understood this document and the assumption of liability for students attending MCLA programs. I fully agree and understand all terms and conditions in this document.
The College recognizes the value of Teaching Assistantships as an educational experience. To this end, each academic department may establish Teaching Assistantships in accordance with College policy. A student interested in becoming a Teaching Assistant (TA) must be in good academic standing. The student must also have demonstrated competency in the subject area in which he/she will be assisting. Academic Departments offering Teaching Assistantships may specify additional requirements.
Faculty must then approve the student's involvement in the Teaching Assistantship and the student will then enroll in a department-sponsored course (1 - 3 credits, with one credit defined as 45 hr per semester) specifically designed for the Teaching Assistant experience and approved on a form signed by the student, faculty member, department chair, and Academic Dean. In this course context, a learning agreement will be developed which describes the duties, academic work and authority of the Teaching Assistant; the Office of Academic Affairs will develop a common form for all Teaching Assistantships that will include guidelines for credit and space for detailed description as well as spaces for the appropriate approval signatures. Teaching Assistantships have the option of being either letter graded or taken as pass/fail courses. Students may apply no more than six credits as Teaching Assistants toward graduation. INDIVIDUAL DEPARTMENTS WILL BE ALLOWED TO USE THEIR DISCRETION REGARDING APPROPRIATE CREDIT EARNED AS WELL AS GRADING MODE.
Students enrolled in a credit-bearing Teaching Assistantship will not be eligible for College workstudy funds or any form of remuneration for the conduct of work done as a Teaching Assistant. While Teaching Assistants may be allowed to review student coursework to learn about the grading process, only Faculty shall evaluate student coursework and assign grades.
MCLA Withdrawal from Course and College
WITHDRAWAL FROM COURSE BY THE PUBLISHED DEADLINE (overall MCLA Policy):
A withdrawal from a course may occur after the end of the drop period and up to the weekday following the tenth week of the semester (two-thirds completion mark for a 15-week semester). Courses that do not run the full semester will have withdrawal dates that adhere to a weekday following the two-thirds completion point of the course. While it is the ultimate responsibility of the student to be aware of all deadlines for withdrawal, the college will publicize important academic deadlines (such as the withdrawal deadline) to students.
WITHDRAWAL FROM INDIVIDUAL COURSES AFTER THE PUBLISHED DEADLINE
When extraordinary circumstances arise after the published withdrawal date that prevent a student from continuing enrollment, a student may request a late withdrawal from a course. Such examples might include, but are not limited to, death of an immediate family member, extreme personal financial hardship, military deployment or training, or new information about the student’s academic progress.
In order to request a late withdrawal from a course, the student must meet with their academic advisor (either in-person or remotely) who will inquire about the reasons for withdrawal and will assist the student in completing the required late withdrawal forms. Supporting documentation, including a detailed letter outlining the reasons for the request, should be attached to the late withdrawal forms. The student must present a compelling reason for this exception in the letter. The student will then present the forms to the Dean of Academic Affairs for a decision regarding course withdrawal. Late course withdrawals are not automatically approved. Any decision(s) reached by the Dean of Academic Affairs are considered final.
CONSEQUENCES OF WITHDRAWING FROM INDIVIDUAL COURSES
• Course withdrawals will be indicated on the student’s transcript with a “W” and will not affect the calculation of the student’s grade point average.
• Course withdrawals may extend a student’s time for degree completion. Students should consult with their advisor regarding implications of course withdrawal and any timeline regarding repeating the course.
• Course withdrawals are subject to the college’s refund schedule.
• Course withdrawals may affect eligibility for financial aid, health insurance, participation in extracurricular activities, on-campus housing, and veterans’ benefits.
• Approved withdrawals requested by a student are considered final, and students will not be reenrolled.
NURSING SPECIFIC WITHDRAWAL FROM COURSE POLICY LANGUAGE (In addition to MCLA Withdrawal from Course Policy):
Withdrawal from a nursing (NURS) course may affect progression in the nursing program as all nursing (NURS) courses must be taken in order of the prescribed curriculum. Students considering withdrawing from a nursing (NURS) course must meet with their nursing faculty advisor prior to initiating a course withdrawal.
WITHDRAWAL FROM COLLEGE (overall MCLA Policy):
Students leaving the College must complete a Withdrawal from College form and a brief online survey. Students officially withdrawing before the first day of final examinations will receive a notation of WX in all courses. After this time, students will receive a final grade in all courses. In adherence to best reporting practices, if a student withdraws from all individual courses during a semester, the student's record will reflect that they have withdrawn from college and must apply for readmission. This is necessary due to financial aid implications and National Student Clearinghouse reporting.
Students are encouraged to meet with Student Financial Services to address any questions related to withdrawals.
Residential students: Please note that the Residency Occupancy Agreement states that a resident who withdraws from the College during the period covered by that Agreement must turn in keys, remove belongings, and arrange for a room inspection within 24 hours from the effective date of the withdrawal/leave. Students processing a withdrawal with an effective date on a weekend will have their meal plan deactivated on the Friday before the effective date.
NURSING SPECIFIC WITHDRAWAL FROM COLLEGE POLICY LANGUAGE (In addition to MCLA Withdrawal from College Policy):
Nursing Majors who withdraw in good academic standing (as defined in the College’s Academic Standing Policy) from the Nursing Program must request readmission to the program. Requesting readmission to the nursing program does not guarantee readmission. Readmission is dependent on space availability and may require an additional year of study. Students who have left the Nursing Program or College and are not in good academic standing at the time of departure are not guaranteed readmission to the College or to the Nursing Program. The student must first gain readmission to the College before consideration for readmission to the Nursing Program is given.