Policy For Faculty & Staff
FACULTY & STAFF POLICIES
Establishment of a New Course
Suppose the Director of the Schools Office desires to establish the course as a regular offering (or determines that a new course needs to be created to enhance the curriculum). In that case, the course is established as follows:
- The faculty member proposing the course will develop a catalog description of the course and provide a draft of the syllabus that includes the course description, student learning outcomes and/or objectives, format, proposed schedule, required reading, and grading policy. The faculty member will present this information to the Director of Schools.
- The Director of Schools will review the proposed course and discuss its role in the major, including whether the course would count toward an Honors or AP-level course. If the course is deemed acceptable, the Director of Schools will submit the course title and course description to the Head of School.
- All changes to the course catalog, including new courses, are reviewed by the Head of School. If the Head of School approves the new course, the course will then be considered to be established.
Semester Credits at Xavier Academy
At Xavier Academy, the normal student course load is a minimum of four (4) credit courses per fifteen-week semester. This reflects the practice of many public and private schools and allows for a deep and rigorous learning experience for students. While it is understood that the workload for some courses might exceed these expectations, no more than a total of four (4) credits will be assigned to a single course (where the credit value of any course required to be taken as a corequisite is counted toward this total).
Federal Definition of the Credit Hour:
For purposes of the application of this policy and in accord with federal regulations, a credit hour is 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 one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction, or
- At least an equivalent amount of work as required, outlined in item 1 above for other academic activities established by the Xavier Academy, including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.
Policy on Recording Class Lectures
Xavier Academy did not approve a policy on Recording Class Lectures.
Course Offering Times
Add Schedule with Blocks
Appeal on Grades Procedure
The final responsibility for assigning grades to students in a course rests with the faculty member teaching that course. Furthermore, requirements and specific expectations concerning the level and way in which requirements are to be met are specific to a given course; it is inappropriate to expect that third parties can make evaluations of coursework.
Faculty members are expected to evaluate student performance based on the criteria and requirements outlined in course syllabi. All students are to be treated impartially and fairly in relation to those requirements. There are three bases for a grade appeal:
- Alleged failure of a faculty member to assign the proper weight as stated in the course syllabus to various parts of the assessment elements that contribute to the final grade.
- Alleged prejudicial treatment of a student in relation to the treatment afforded to other students in the course.
- Alleged violation of the Academic Rights for Students as stated in the Student Handbook and the Faculty Handbook.
The student should be prepared to demonstrate a direct link between the circumstances of the awarding of their grade and one of the bases above.
An appeal cannot be based on a challenge to the difficulty of a course or the strictness of grading. Each faculty member is responsible for these standards, and so long as they are applied equitably and fairly, their strict application is not a basis for an appeal.
Should a student have reason to appeal the final grade in a course, the following appeal procedure must be followed in the sequence indicated below, with “Step 3” completed no more than three (3) calendar weeks from the first day of classes of the following regular semester. Students pursuing a grade appeal should work through the Director of Schools, who will appoint a neutral party third party faculty, staff, or administrator to serve as the student’s liaison. The student and the Director of Schools must agree on the neutral third party. In all cases, the neutral third party will be responsible for informing the student, faculty member, and whoever else is involved of the Appeal of Grades Procedure.
Step 1. The student first requests, schedules, and attends a face-to-face conference with the faculty member who taught the course to determine whether the matter can be settled between the student and the faculty member. A face-to-face meeting constitutes a conference; a conversation by voice mail, e-mail, or telephone does not. Suppose a faculty member is no longer employed at Xavier Academy. In that case, the student should proceed to “Step 2,” working with the Director of Schools, who will attempt to facilitate the process with or without the former faculty member.
Step 2. After this conference, should the student continue to believe that fair and equitable treatment has not been given, the student must communicate that in writing to the faculty member, and the student should bring the matter to the Director of Schools. This conversation should be face-to-face, not by telephone, e-mail, or voice mail.
Step 3. If a settlement is not reached after the conversation referenced in “Step 2,” the student should take the complaint to the Director of Schools. The Director of Schools will confirm the circumstances of the appeal, and they will review the grade appeal process with the student, providing feedback on the appropriateness of the appeal. An official form detailing the completed steps and timeline of the grade appeal process will be filled out by the Director of Schools and the student. A copy of this form will be forwarded to the faculty member and the Principal regardless of the outcome of this conversation. Should the student choose to continue the grade appeal process, they will sign a statement indicating the intent on the form. This step should be completed within three (3) calendar weeks from the first day of classes of the semester immediately following the one in which the course was taught.
Step 4. Should the student wish to continue the grade appeal process, the Director of Schools will ask the student to provide a written statement outlining the basis for the appeal, to be forwarded to the faculty member. This statement must be submitted within six (6) calendar weeks from the first day of classes of the semester immediately following the one in which the course was taught. The Director of Schools will then ask the faculty member to provide a written response. A copy of the faculty member’s response will be given to the student. In addition, the student may elect to provide a reply to the faculty member’s response which is shared with the faculty member. The Director of Schools will then review these documents and other relevant materials.
Step 5. The Director of Schools is charged with evaluating such complaints and the evidence on which they are based. Should the Director of Schools conclude that there are insufficient grounds for a student’s claim of prejudicial or unfair treatment, it will be reported to the student and the faculty member in writing, and the matter will be closed. On the other hand, should the Director of Schools determine that there is a basis for this claim, its recommendation will be reported in writing to the Head of School.
Step 6. The Head of School is then responsible for discussing the findings and recommendations of the Director of Schools with the faculty member involved. The faculty member will then develop a solution to resolve the complaint. Should the grade be changed, such change is reported by the faculty member to the Office of the Registrar on a Change of Grade Form. The Head of School will report this to the student in writing.
Step 7. In cases where a faculty member refuses to accept the recommendation of the Head of School, and there is a reason to believe that the faculty member’s behavior was prejudicial or unfair, the Principal may authorize that the grade in the course be changed to a grade satisfactory to the Director of Schools. The Head of School will report this to the student in writing.
Evaluations, Examinations, and Grades
Final evaluations are required in all courses. The Registrar and the Director of Schools Office set the dates for final examinations and should be scrupulously followed. No faculty member is authorized to change the time or place of a scheduled class or final examination without the approval of the Director of Schools. Problems with the class or final examination schedule should be reported to the Director of the Schools Office. If a situation causes special difficulties in scheduling an examination, the matter should be discussed with the Registrar and the Director of Schools. It is understood that final examinations will not be changed merely to move from a late date to an early date, as this usually creates more problems than it solves.
Re-examination or special projects to raise grades are prohibited for students who have failed the course or the final examination except in exceptional cases as approved by the Director of Schools.
Students who, for a good reason, must take a final examination at a time different from that of the regular section must obtain the consent of the instructor. Students who have three final examinations in one day have the right to reschedule the middle examination in consultation with the faculty member at least one week before the final exams start.
Students who are candidates for graduation in May should arrange any required final examinations during the five (5) day period that begins with the last day of classes and ends with the first day of exams for the Spring semester. No student must take more than two examinations in one day. Final semester grades for May candidates must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar by 5:00 p.m. on the Monday of final exam week.
The grades of A, B, C, and D may be awarded with a plus or minus. The instructor’s course syllabus must indicate the grading system employed to yield the semester grade for the course and what weight is given to each component of the course in computing the semester grade.
Procedure for Changing Grades
Every effort should be taken to secure accurate and complete grade records reporting to the Office of the Registrar. Under unusual circumstances, a faculty member may change a grade after the grade reports have been filed by completing the form provided by the Office of the Registrar. After approval signatures have been secured, the changed grade will be entered on the student’s permanent record. The grade change form is filed permanently with the Grade Request Form previously submitted by the Director of the Schools Office.
End-of-Semester Grades. Semester grades are due in the Office of the Registrar by the Monday following the end of final exams. Faculty use Canvas by Instructure to enter their grades online. Once entered, students may view their final grades via RenWeb by FACTS Management, so there is no need for faculty to post grades on paper lists.
Incomplete Grades. The grade of “Incomplete” shall be given only in the case of a medical emergency or another emergency situation beyond the student’s control. The grade of “Incomplete” may not be given for the sole reason of permitting additional time to complete assigned coursework or because a student does not attend a final exam. Students must request the grade of “Incomplete” by submitting a request to the Director of the Schools Office, which explains the emergency situation surrounding the request. The Director of Schools must acknowledge this request at the time the grade of “Incomplete” is assigned. When the “Incomplete” is given, it must be posted when final grades are due. All “Incomplete” grades are changed to “F” after the deadline unless the student has filed a written petition for an extension, approved by the Director of the Schools Office. The petition must establish a new deadline for removing the “Incomplete.” If the student cannot request an Incomplete from the Director of the Schools Office, the Head of the School may request one on the student’s behalf.
X Grade Symbol. The X grade symbol is to be assigned by the instructor only in cases of suspected academic dishonesty or where the grade cannot be assigned due to physical inability to access some existing but missing piece of required work. The Registrar may use it if grades cannot be collected from the instructor before grade reports are issued. The X grade symbol is considered very temporary, and the faculty should report the replacement grade as soon as possible – generally within two weeks. When the instructor submits the X grade symbol, it must be accompanied by a form explaining the nature of the problem and agreeing to submit the grade in a timely manner. If X grade symbols persist to the deadline for reporting “I” grades, they will revert to an “F” grade, except in cases where judicial review is pending.
If a student fails to appear for the final exam or submit a required project, neither “X” nor “I” is appropriate. The grade should be calculated with a zero for the missing work. If circumstances justify, the instructor can change the grade later via the grade change form.
Student Attendance and Excused Absences
Students are expected to attend all regularly scheduled classes for which credit is granted. Individual faculty members establish specific attendance policies, which appear in the syllabus for each course. Official excuses are not normally issued except as described below. In the case of extended illness or other emergency, the Attendance office and the Director of the Schools Office notify faculty members by e-mail, voice mail, or writing. The faculty members then decide whether the situation justifies an excused absence for the student involved.
Whenever an excused absence is granted, the faculty member is expected to offer students an opportunity to complete missed examinations or other required work. However, it is the student’s responsibility to contact the teacher about missed assignments, etc.
Students who are absent from class because they are participating in interscholastic athletics, class-related field trips, ensemble tours, interviews at colleges and universities, or faculty-sponsored attendance at professional conferences will be excused from classes as follows:
- A student’s excused absence from class does not excuse any work missed during the absence but does excuse the student from any penalty that a teacher’s attendance policy would otherwise impose.
- The student and the teacher will devise an appropriate means for the student to complete assignments, class work, examinations, labs, etc. scheduled during the absence. The responsibility to complete missed work lies solely with the student, who must discuss the absence with the teacher as far in advance as possible to work out a satisfactory schedule for submitting work due, taking exams, making up labs, etc. This schedule may involve the student’s completing certain items before rather than after the absence.
- Coaches, sponsors, and teachers should make every effort to schedule approved activities held off-campus so as to produce the least conflict with scheduled classes.
- Teachers whose courses require field trips should include and indicate the scheduled dates of the trip in the course syllabus to allow students time to resolve schedule conflicts or drop/add courses, if necessary and possible.
For the kinds of absences described above to be excused, a statement of the nature and purpose of the activity, a list of names of the students and faculty members participating in the activity, and the dates and hours during which these participants will be off campus must be submitted in writing by the sponsor of the activity to the Director of the Schools Office, depending on the nature of the activity. The Director of the Schools Office will distribute information about the scheduled activity and the names of the students whose absences will be excused to all faculty members and the Business Office (to confirm insurance coverage). The Head of School may restrict participation in off-campus activities of students who are on academic or disciplinary probation.
Student Records and Privacy
The faculty are reminded that there are legal standards regarding keeping student records, disclosing confidential information, giving reference letters, etc. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, prescribes the conditions under which information about students can be released and has opened many once-confidential internal records to review by students.
Certain directory information is available via the myX-Files portal. Other directory information which may be published in appropriate forms includes the student’s name, local residence address, mailing address, local telephone number, date and place of birth, major field of study, photographs or other personal imagery, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight, and height of members of athletic teams, and any recent previous educational institution attended by the student. Because of legal considerations and Xavier Academy’s respect for students’ privacy, only those student employees in the Office of the Registrar are permitted to work with any documents containing student grades. In conformity with the policy, faculty members and administrative staff are requested not to send departmental student employees/volunteers to work with student records in the Office of the Registrar, nor may student permanent records be removed from the Office of the Registrar.
Faculty members are well advised to handle all records as confidential and to avoid the release of materials about a student to anyone other than the student unless it is known that the person requesting the information has a legal right to it or the student (if 18 years old or older) has granted permission, in writing, to release such materials to a third party.
Further, faculty members should not discuss academic or personal matters relating to students with other students or outsiders (such as news media representatives) without a signed release from the student (if 18 years old or older) or by the parent or legal guardian of the student explicitly granting permission to do so.
Absences Due to Religious and Cultural Traditions
Xavier Academy recognizes that it has students from various religious and cultural traditions with particular days of observance or celebration that may take students out of their regular activities on certain days during the school year. Since the academic calendar does not always coincide with these days, the following policy is to be followed to facilitate student absences due to cultural and religious observances.
- As far in advance as possible, the student is expected to notify the teachers(s) or instructor(s) of the class(es) to be missed.
- The student is expected to learn what assignments or exams are due or will be assigned on those dates and negotiate with the teacher(s) or instructor(s) alternate times for fulfilling those requirements. Students should be prepared to fulfill the requirements before the class(es) are missing.
Plagiarism is the submission of another’s work as one’s own without acknowledgment in written work.
There are four ways in which work papers use or incorporate written materials, and each of these requires footnoting.
- Direct Quotations should be marked off with quotation marks, with a footnote to indicate the source. It is not necessary to place in quotation marks every word in your work paper that appears in a source you are using. For example, if your work paper concerns Napoleon, you need not place “Napoleon” in quotation marks merely because your sources use the name. Similarly, there are phrases of some length, such as “on the other hand” or “it is evident that,” which are common property and act in effect as single words.
- Paraphrase. Where your own language follows the language of a written source closely, or where your line of argument follows a source, you need not use quotation marks, but you are obliged to indicate the source in a footnote.
- General Indebtedness. Where the ideas in your work paper closely resembled and were suggested by ideas in a source, a footnote should be used to indicate this.
- Background Information. In any area of inquiry, there are matters of fact commonly known to everyone with a serious interest. Such information can be shared only one fact at a time. Instead, a general footnote is sufficient toward the beginning of the working paper, naming the sources where such information was obtained.
Retention of Examination Papers and Work Papers
Examination papers and work papers that are not returned to the student by the end of the semester should be retained for at least one additional semester.
Study Days & Final Exams
Fall and Spring Study Days consist of the weekend following the last day of class and preceding the start of finals week. No activities (curricular or extracurricular, including tests, finals, make-up work, etc.) requiring student participation are scheduled during this time, except for final preparations or “Clean-Slate Saturdays.” Exceptions to this restriction must be approved in advance by the Director of the Schools Office. Spring semester final examinations for seniors graduating in May and August may be scheduled during the last three days of the spring semester or during study days.