Academic Policies

Information presented from the 2021 - 2022 Academic Catalog.

Statement of Petition Policy

On the advice of the Registrar, students may petition the Academic Standing Board for exceptions to rules concerning academic policies and procedures. However, the Board will consider only those petitions submitted sufficiently far in advance so that, if denied, the petitioner will still have time to remedy the deficiency by suitable re-scheduling or other appropriate action.

Attendance Policy

A hallmark of a Denison education is the small, interactive, and participatory classroom, situated on a residential campus. Therefore, it is essential that students be present on campus and be active participants in their courses. Attendance policies are designed to promote the success and well-being of the individual students as well as the community of learners in each class and each co-curricular undertaking. For oneself and one’s peers, attendance and presence on campus are vital to the Denison education.

It is expected that all students will attend and participate in regularly scheduled classes. If a class is missed, for any reason, the student is responsible for determining what occurred in the missed class. Absence from a class will not be accepted as an excuse for not knowing class material. Students are responsible for all information, discussion, and conceptual analysis that takes place during classes.

Final exam week is part of the regular schedule of classes.  Students are required to be present on campus for all scheduled finals as indicated in the final exam schedule provided by the Registrar each semester at the time of course registration.

Attendance policy is set by the instructor. It is the responsibility of the instructor to establish

  1. a policy on class attendance,
  2. any criteria for excused absences when attendance is required, and
  3. a policy for makeup of missed work.

The latter is particularly important because class absence is a loss of opportunity for learning. It is vitally important that each faculty member review these points in class early in the semester. The course syllabus is the contractual agreement between instructor and student. It is important that the instructor outline clearly the expectations and all other factors that determine grades and penalties.

It is the student's responsibility to provide any needed documentation for class absences, including medical excuses. At the student's request, Whisler Health Center will issue a dated documentation of visit in the event of a situation requiring class absence.

Each semester, students must be on campus and attend the first meeting of their registered classes. If circumstances prevent a student from arriving on campus for the first day of classes, the student must notify the Dean of Students. Students who miss class for an extended period of time during a semester because of personal, medical, or psychological reasons must also notify the Dean of Students. Without prior notification and approval for these types of absences, the student may be withdrawn or be required to take a leave of absence by the Dean of Students in consultation with the Associate Provost and relevant campus offices and individuals (including faculty).

Denison's orientation programs are designed to welcome and introduce new students to our campus resources, community, and culture. All students attending Denison for their first semester (new First-Year Students and Transfer Students) are required to attend Denison's mandatory orientation programs. Failure to attend and/or complete the required orientation activities may result in a student being withdrawn or having their offer of admission revoked.

Absence Policy

Students at Denison University are expected to give the highest priority to their academic commitments. However, sometimes conflicts arise among various academic pursuits. At these times, students, faculty, staff, and administrators all share the responsibility of recognizing, minimizing, and resolving these conflicts.

Legitimate Conflicts: Courses and activities that earn academic credit at Denison may place legitimate demands on a student’s time outside of the regularly scheduled meeting times for that course or activity. This may give rise to potential conflicts to regularly scheduled classroom/lab hours. Such activities might include, but not be limited to, course-related field trips, fine arts performances (but not rehearsals), and varsity sports contests (both regular season and all post-season contests, but not scrimmages or practices).

When the demands of one course or credit-bearing activity impinge upon another, the student and the faculty or staff members are encouraged to work together to achieve a reasonable accommodation that resolves the conflict without sacrificing the academic integrity and rigor of the course or activity. Moreover, all parties (students, faculty, staff, and administrators) have the following specific responsibilities when dealing with legitimate conflicts.

Scheduling responsibilities of all faculty, staff, and students:

a) to confine course instruction and examinations to the time slots for the course, following the course grid and final examination assigned times, unless specific exception has been granted for the course by the Provost’s Office;

b) to indicate clearly on the course syllabus the policies and expectations for class attendance, assignments, and examinations, and, if attendance at a supplemental event (such as a lecture, field trip, or performance) is expected and that event occurs at a time outside of the regularly scheduled meeting times, to inform students of the event as soon as possible;

c) to provide students alternative means of meeting the requirements of the course when attendance at a supplemental event for that course is scheduled for a time outside of the course’s regularly scheduled meeting times;

d) to avoid scheduling any supplemental events in the Monday-Friday 4:30- 6:30 p.m. time period;

e) if a scheduling conflict arises (that is, if a student is asked to attend a supplemental event, an athletic competition, or a similar university activity at a time in which they are required to attend another class).

i. the student should inform both faculty or staff members immediately and seek a mutually agreed upon resolution;

ii. the faculty members should work with the student to resolve legitimate conflicts without sacrificing the academic integrity and rigor of the course;

iii. faculty and staff members should provide an alternative way for students to meet course requirements or the expectations of creditbearing activities;

iv. in situations when the student, faculty, and/or staff member cannot reach an acceptable resolution to the conflict, the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs will be asked to provide consultation to all parties. 

Academic Integrity

Every Denison student is expected to know and uphold University standards in matters of academic honesty. Students who practice academic dishonesty assault their own integrity as well as that of the University. Behavior that is in direct violation of these standards is discussed in the student handbook. Each Denison student is expected to be familiar with this policy. Please note that violations may result in suspension or expulsion from the University.  Denison's Code of Academic Integrity is the foundation of the university's commitment to and policies regarding Academic Integrity.

Student Classification

Classification of students is determined by the amount of academic credit earned.

  • First-Year Standing - A student is classified as a first-year student if hours earned are fewer than 26 semester-hours of credit.
  • Sophomore Standing - A student must have earned 26 semester hours of credit.
  • Junior Standing - A student must have earned 60 semester hours of credit.
  • Senior Standing - A student must have earned 90 semester hours of credit.

Eligibility Rule

A regularly enrolled student registered on a full-time basis (normally 12 semester-hours or more) and in good academic standing shall be eligible to participate in all college and intercollegiate activities. The student whose scholastic record falls below a 2.0 average will not be permitted to participate in intercollegiate athletics. First-year students are eligible to participate in intercollegiate athletics during their first semester.

Credit Earned by Advanced Placement Testing

First-Year Students and Transfer Students who score a 4 or 5 on a College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB) Advanced Placement Examination (AP) will usually receive academic credit for their scores. Should results be presented in academic disciplines or areas that are not part of the Denison curriculum, credit will be subject to departmental review and credit hours may or may not be assigned. Two other kinds of advanced placement testing can be considered for credit. A student presenting "A" marks on the British System "A" Level Examination or a score of 6 or 7 on an International Baccalaureate (IB) Higher Level Subject Exam may ask the appropriate Denison department for advanced placement credits. In a few instances positive results from advanced placement examinations can be applied toward general education or major/minor credits but departments reserve the right of review and the final determination of how such credits count.

Recognition of Credit Earned Elsewhere / Transfer Credit

Denison accepts transfer credit for courses that are either equivalent to a course in the Denison catalog or at a level deemed appropriate by the department or program (hereafter called "the Department") in which credit is being sought. Requests to have transfer credit fulfill a major, minor, or concentration requirement are subject to approval by the Department. The determination of the satisfaction of a competency requirement via transfer credit will be made by the General Education Competency Committee (GECC) for the Power & Justice (P), Oral Communication (R), and Quantitative Reasoning (Q) competencies, and by the Writing Committee for the Writing competency.   In the review of transfer credit for incoming transfer students, GECC and the Writing Committee may delegate the determination of fulfillment of a competency requirement to the offices of the Provost and Registrar in consultation with the academic department closest to the discipline in which the transferred course was taught.  Denison will not normally accept credits earned in disciplines other than those in the Denison curriculum. Transfer credit will be honored only if taken at an accredited college or university and only if the student submits an official transcript of credit within 180 days of the course completion. Students considering off-campus work for Denison credit (especially summer school work) must confer with the Registrar, their academic advisor, and the chairperson of the Department (or a designate) prior to enrolling elsewhere. The University has no obligation to award transfer credit for course work that was not approved in advance. The courses must be completed with grades of "C" or better in order to be considered for transfer credit. Course work completed in non-traditional fashions, such as distance learning formats, web-based formats, Post Secondary Enrollment Option, including college courses for which high school credit was also granted, CLEP and other college credit bearing instruments, may be subject to review by the Registrar and the Department.

Grades Earned Elsewhere / Transfer Grades

Grades received at another institution shall not be computed into the Denison quality-point average, or be used to remove Denison quality-point deficiencies. Denison will not award credit for work below "C" on transfer from another institution. Students who have received prior approval of the Denison Off-Campus Study Office will have their grades earned at the program site appear on their Denison record. The grades will not be included in GPA calculations.

Matriculation Requirement

To be a candidate for a Denison degree, a student who enters Denison as a first-year student must complete at least 64 credit hours of the required 127 at Denison, and a transfer student must complete a minimum of 64 semester hours of the required 127 at Denison. Generally, all students, except those enrolled in recognized preprofessional 3-2 programs, must complete the last two semesters in residence at Denison. A course taken "in residence" is defined as any course scheduled by the Denison registrar and taught on the Denison campus, or any course scheduled by the Denison registrar and taught off-campus by a full-time Denison faculty member. This policy prescribes a university-wide minimum residence requirement; individual departments may have stricter requirements. Exceptions may be made by the Academic Standing Board.

Commencement Exercises

Commencement Exercises are held annually at the conclusion of the spring term. In order to participate in Commencement Exercises, the student must have completed successfully all requirements for graduation. No exceptions are granted to this regulation. Students completing graduation requirements in August or December are eligible and invited to participate in the next May Commencement Exercise.

Withdrawal From the College

Withdrawal from the University at any time is official only upon written notice to the Dean of Students. For more information, see the Dean of Students web page. A request to the Registrar for a transcript or failure to participate in room lottery is not considered withdrawal from the University.

A student who withdraws from school without official permission will receive a grade of F (failure) on his or her permanent record. Petitions for exception must document unusual circumstances, and such petitions are submitted to the Academic Standing Board.

In addition, a student who finds it necessary to leave Denison before the close of the semester must, in order to receive an honorable dismissal, report to the Dean of Students and arrange for an official withdrawal. Students withdrawing completely from school, after week nine of the semester, receive a grade of "W" for all enrolled courses.  Normally the "W" transcript notation would be applied automatically to students who are approved to drop an individual course after week nine.  In cases with extenuating circumstances, the Academic Standing Board may approve petitions to have the "W" removed.

The college may, when in its judgment, such action is in the best interest either of the student or of the student body, dismiss or refuse to enroll or re-enroll any student.

For further information, please consult Refund or Forfeiture of Tuition, Activity Fee, Student Health Fee and Room and Board.

Privacy Policy

Denison University is committed to protecting the privacy of students' personal information. Denison respects students' right to privacy and recognizes its obligation to keep information secure and confidential. For more information, see the University Privacy Policy.

Academic Grievance Policy

The assessment of student academic performance, including the assignment of particular grades, is a faculty responsibility. The faculty member offering the course is responsible for the evaluation of student course work and, under normal circumstances, is the sole judge of the grades received by students in that course.

If a student feels that a course grade was the result of prejudiced, capricious, or in some other way unjust evaluation on the part of the instructor, that student may file a grievance petition with the Academic Standing Board. The petition must be filed within the semester following the awarding of the disputed evaluation, even if the student or faculty member is off-campus and unable to appear until a later date. Petitions should include evidence of prejudiced or capricious academic evaluation and evidence of attempts to deal with the problem at the departmental level, including discussions with the faculty member involved and the relevant department chair. Only after these steps have been taken will the matter become part of the formal academic grievance process. Simple disagreement with the instructor's philosophy in assigning grades, or with the instructor's professional judgment about the quality of the work does not constitute cause for petitioning.

The Academic Standing Board will transmit evidence of the charges to the faculty member. After evaluating the charges and hearing the instructor's explanation, and possibly discussing the situation with other members of the class and/or members of the involved department, the elected teaching faculty of the committee will recommend a solution. Both the student and the faculty member will have the right to appear personally before the committee and to present their views.

If the Academic Standing Board decides there is no basis to alter the grade, the process will terminate at that point. If the Academic Standing Board recommends that the grade should be changed, it will request that the instructor make the change, providing the instructor with a written explanation of its reasons. Should the instructor decline, the instructor should provide an explanation in writing. The entire matter will then be referred to the six elected faculty members of the President's Advisory Board, who will be the final arbiters of the case. This faculty committee will examine all available information on the dispute, meet with the student and the instructor, members of the instructor's academic department if appropriate, and others as it sees fit.

The faculty committee, after considering all the evidence and upon concluding that it would be unjust to allow the original grade to stand, may then recommend to the Provost that the grade be changed. The Provost will provide the instructor with a copy of the recommendation and will ask the instructor to implement it. If the instructor continues to decline, the Provost will then change the grade, notifying the instructor and the student of this action. The Provost, following written instructions of the faculty committee, will effect a change in grade over the objection of the instructor who assigned the original grade. If the student remains dissatisfied with the result of the petitioning process, the student may request that the Registrar insert a letter in the academic record, describing the process and the outcome.

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