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2008-2009 CLA Catalog

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Willamette University

900 State Street
Salem, Oregon 97301

503-370-6300 voice

Academic Policies and Procedures


Students whose applications for admission have been accepted pre-register by sending a list of preferred courses to the Registrar's Office prior to the beginning of the semester, and finalize their registration schedule during an individual appointment with the faculty advisor during orientation.

In the second half of each semester, pre-registration is held for returning students. Academic advising takes place in the two weeks prior to the pre-registration and students then make their course selections (using Web technology) for the following semester.

Registration Changes

Students who wish to make changes in their course schedules after the registration or preregistration period may do so by completing an Enrollment Change (Add/Drop) card. Enrollment Change cards may be obtained from the Registrar's Office and require signatures from the academic advisor and the professor of the affected courses. Deadlines for adding and dropping courses are listed in the academic calendar. Students are urged to note the deadlines carefully.

Students with disabilities are encouraged to request assistance from the Director of Disability Services prior to course selection/registration if they need accommodations on the day of registration or in the classroom thereafter. Relocation of scheduled classes to more accessible rooms and other reasonable accommodations are available per documented need.

The normal program at Willamette includes four credits per semester. Each credit is equivalent to four semester hours or six quarter hours. A student may register for up to 4.5 credits without extra charge. A student is considered full time if registered for 3.0 or more credits. A student is considered in good academic standing if he or she is not on academic probation.

Any undergraduate student in good academic standing, who is making normal progress toward an undergraduate degree, is eligible to register for more than 4.5 credits with the concurrence of an advisor. Students not meeting these criteria must petition the Academic Status Committee for approval of an overload. Petition forms are available in the Registrar's Office.

The University reserves the right to discontinue any class for which the enrollment is insufficient.

Class Attendance Policy

Class attendance is subject to the following guidelines:

  • Students are expected to attend classes. Any student not attending the first class session forfeits his/her place on the roster. Students remain responsible for officially dropping the class.
  • Instructors set the specific attendance standards for their own classes.
  • Irregular attendance may impair students' progress and therefore be reflected in their grades. Faculty members should inform students about attendance requirements at the beginning of each semester. If this is not done, students should feel obliged to request this information from their instructors.

Final Examination Policy


This policy seeks to promote effective preparation for final examinations and optimal conditions for the synthesis and assimilation of course materials by designating and safeguarding specific days at the end of the semester to be devoted exclusively to study. This policy further seeks to assure that the full semester is available to complete course work by reaffirming that a semester does not end until the last day of final examinations. To enhance student learning and performance and to provide an environment for the fair and positive conclusion of work undertaken in all classes, the faculty of the College of Liberal Arts agrees to adhere rigorously to it.


The maximum length of a final examination is three hours. Faculty members may schedule shorter examinations if they wish.

Faculty members are to give their written final examinations during the times indicated in the published schedule. Students are permitted to take early examinations by obtaining the instructor's approval. The last written examination for a course is to be administered on the day scheduled for the course final examination. No evaluative instrument for a course, including an oral examination, is to be administered or due during the four calendar days prior to the beginning of final examinations. Final oral classroom presentations may extend into those four days but only during the regularly scheduled class times. Finally, a final examination and an additional evaluative instrument are not both to be administered and due on the scheduled day of the final examination.

No classes or formal class activities are to be held during the Study Days that intervene between the end of classes and the beginning of final examinations or the Study Days that are scheduled during the week of final examinations. Faculty members are to be available for consultation with students during these times.

Final examinations for first half-semester courses are to be administered during the last regular class period. Final examinations for second half-semester courses are to be administered during the scheduled final examination time for that class period as in full-semester courses.

Faculty members are to make separate arrangements with each student to administer final examinations in courses not covered in the published schedule.

All faculty members in the College of Liberal Arts are to have on file in the library a representative sample final examination for each class taught, except in the case of a class that is being taught for the first time.

Grading Policy

The following symbols are used for grades included in the calculation of the grade point average (g.p.a.):

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)
F (0.0)

where the following terms are used:

  • A = Excellent
  • B = Good
  • C = Satisfactory
  • D = Below Standard, and
  • F = Failing

The grade of AUD (audit) is used when a student chooses to take a course for no credit. The grade of CR (credit), used in those courses designated by the faculty or those courses selected by students on the Credit/No Credit option, will be granted credit toward the degree but will not be computed in the g.p.a. The grade of NC (no credit) will not be granted credit and will not be computed in the g.p.a. In those cases where students select this option, reported final grades of C-minus or better will be converted to CR and grades of D-plus or lower will be converted to NC.

The grade of I will stand for Incomplete. This grade can be given only in cases of illness or for certain other exigencies verified by a health professional and the Academic Status Committee, or in those cases where the instructor determines there are legitimate reasons to grant the student an extension of time. The grade of I must be made up during the next 30 days of residence or within three years of the date on which the I is recorded, whichever comes first. These deadlines may be extended only if the student successfully petitions the Academic Status Committee. All grades of I will be accompanied by a contingency grade, in the computation of which the instrctor has considered work not completed as a zero or an F. The contingency grade will not be recorded on the permanent record (transcript) and will not be used in g.p.a. computation or in determinations of academic status unless the Registrar does not receive a new final grade from the instructor by the I grade deadline. At that time the contingency grade will be retained as the final grade.

The grade of NGR (No Grade Received) is used on a temporary basis if an instructor's grade has not been received by the grade deadline.

The grade of Q will denote those rare cases (usually in advanced seminars and independent study) when a continuing project for legitimate reasons must be extended beyond the end of the semester and perhaps through the following semester. Prior to the assignment of the Q grade, the instructor must submit written notification to the Dean of the College indicating the reason for use of this grade.

The grade of W will stand for Withdrawal and is given at the request of the student concerned within the stated deadlines. No credit will be granted toward a degree and the W grade will not be computed in the g.p.a. The final date to drop a class in order to receive a grade of W, at the instigation of the student, will be the tenth Friday of the semester for full-semester courses. Withdrawal after these dates will be possible only if the student successfully petitions the Academic Status Committee. A student is required to attend class until he/she is officially dropped. Forms for withdrawal may be secured from the Registrar's Office. If a student fails to withdraw officially, the grade in any course which he or she discontinues becomes an F.

Grade Changes

Once recorded, a grade of A through F can be changed only in the case of clerical or computational error. Written notification must be submitted to the Dean of the College explaining the reason(s) for the change. No changes will be permitted one year after the grade has been recorded. Exceptions to this procedure must be appealed to the Academic Status Committee. The instructor who assigned the grade must be involved in any appeal procedure concerning grade changes.

Credit/No Credit

To be eligible to take courses on a Credit/No Credit basis, a student must be a full-time student in good academic standing and must have successfully completed three credits at Willamette during the previous semester. An eligible student may declare a total of three credits to be recorded on a Credit/No Credit basis. Under no circumstances may a letter grade that has been recorded Credit/No Credit be revealed, even by petition. (Courses which have been designated exclusively for Credit/No Credit grading are not included among those courses a student may elect to declare.) Credit (CR) is equivalent to grades of A through C-minus. No Credit (NC) is equivalent to grades of D-plus and below. CR grades will count as part of the 31 satisfactory credits required for graduation, but CR grades are not computed in the grade point average.

After signing up for courses in the regular manner, students desiring to take a course on a Credit/No Credit basis will file the appropriate form in the Registrar's Office before the following deadlines: (1) for full-semester courses, 30 class days after the first day of classes; (2) for first-half semester courses, 15 class days after the first day of classes; (3) for second-half semester courses, 15 class days after the first day of second-half courses. Once filed, this form may not be withdrawn or amended.

After the Credit/No Credit forms are filed and for the remainder of the semester, they shall be considered as privileged information. The Registrar may not reveal their existence to the instructor concerned or to anyone else. At the end of the semester, instructors will turn in letter grades in the usual fashion. The Registrar will then change the grade to CR or NC in the appropriate cases.

Retaking Courses

Students may retake once any course in which they received a grade of C minus or below. Although both grades will appear on the transcript, only the higher grade will be computed in the g.p.a. Students seeking any deviation from this policy must petition the Academic Status Committee.


One official transcript or record will be issued without charge by the Registrar. Subsequent requests require a fee of $5 for each transcript unless more than one is ordered at a time, in which case a charge of $2 for each additional transcript will be made. All requests must be confirmed in writing by the student.

Course Listings and Numbering

The faculty reserves the right to add and delete courses, to make changes in course content and to make other curricular changes at any time.

Course numbers are an indication of the relationship of the course to the total College of Liberal Arts curriculum. Courses are numbered according to this scheme:

010X-099X Exercise science, forensics, Model United Nations, theatre, and music activities courses. No extra fees charged if addition of one of these courses constitutes an overload. Note also that credit may be earned for only one exercise science activity course in any given semester.
100-299 Courses generally suitable for freshmen and sophomores
300-495 Courses generally suitable for juniors and seniors
496-499 Senior year experiences
W Writing-Centered
AR Analyzing Arguments, Reasons, and Values
CA Creating in the Arts
TH Thinking Historically
IT Interpreting Texts
NW Understanding the Natural World
US Understanding Society
QA Quantitative and Analytical Reasoning

Honors Policies

A student may graduate with University Honors as determined by the College of Liberal Arts faculty. These are designated as summa cum laude (with highest honors), magna cum laude (with high honors) and cum laude (with honors).

Transfer students will be considered for University Honors based on the lower of the following: (1) Willamette University g.p.a.; or (2) g.p.a. for combined Willamette and transfer grades.

A student may graduate with department honors in the major field of study by distinguished completion of a thesis, research project, performance or creative exhibition, by attainment of a departmentally specified cumulative grade point average for courses within the major and by completing other requirements as prescribed by the major program faculty.

A student may be named to the College Honors List for any semester during which the student earns a g.p.a. of 3.75 or better with no fewer than three credits of graded coursework. The Honors List is widely published and a notation of this achievement is made on the student's transcript.

Phi Beta Kappa

Phi Beta Kappa, which was founded at the College of William and Mary in 1776, is the oldest and most prestigious of the national honor societies. The first chapter was founded to promote the ideals of freedom of inquiry within a broad liberal education, and these concerns have remained a hallmark of the organization ever since. Only the top 10% of four-year colleges nationwide have been granted Phi Beta Kappa Chapters.

Student Selection Criteria: Students are nominated for membership in the society primarily on the basis of their scholarly achievement, good character, and broad cultural/academic interests. Our chapter nominates the top 2% of each junior class, and the top 10% of each senior class (including those nominated as juniors). At least three/fourths of a candidate's courses must be liberal arts courses (as opposed to applied or professional courses). Seniors must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.50, and juniors 3.75, in order to be considered for membership. Aside from GPA, weight is given to breadth of academic program (number and variety of courses taken outside the major), faculty recommendations, service to the department or university, good character, academic awards and achievements, and extracurricular activities.

Policy on Academic Achievement

At the conclusion of each semester, the academic records of all students working for undergraduate degrees are reviewed by the Academic Status Committee, a standing committee of the undergraduate faculty. In the cases of students whose work does not meet the University's expectations, the committee determines whether an individual student is: (1) warned about academic progress; (2) placed on academic probation; or (3) dismissed for academic insufficiency.

The criteria used in these determinations include the following academic deficiencies:

  • Semester g.p.a. below 2.00
  • Cumulative g.p.a. below 2.00
  • Completion by a full-time student of fewer than three credits
  • Serious academic difficulty as determined by the Academic Status Committee

Academic Progress Information

Normal progress requires that a student complete a minimum of three credits during the preceding semester and complete sufficient credits toward an undergraduate degree according to the following schedule: three credits completed by the end of the first semester, four credits completed for each subsequent semester for a total of:

  • 7 credits completed by the end of the first year
  • 11 credits completed by the end of the third semester
  • 15 credits completed by the end of the second year
  • 19 credits completed by the end of the fifth semester
  • 23 credits completed by the end of the third year
  • 27 credits completed by the end of the seventh semester
  • 31 credits presented for graduation at the end of the fourth year

A student completing an average of three credits for each full-time semester of attendance at Willamette University is considered to be making satisfactory progress toward a degree.

Academic Probation

If academic performance falls well below expected achievement, a student will be placed on Academic Probation. If placed on probation, the student is:

  • Ineligible to represent Willamette University in any public performance, to include participation in varsity athletics;
  • Ineligible to hold any campus office
  • Subject to review of his/her financial aid status (if receiving aid from the University) by the Director of Financial Aid;
  • Subject to eventual dismissal if the academic record continues to be below expected achievement.

Students placed on probation should see their academic advisors as soon as possible in order to review their curricular, cocurricular and extracurricular activities.

It warrants mention that participation in some activities may be restricted even if students are not placed on academic probation. All students serving in elected or appointed positions of leadership are required to maintain a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA. Various departments in which students serve are responsible for ensuring that students under their supervision are in compliance with this policy, and if students wish to appeal suspension of leadership activities then they should contact the university faculty or staff member to whom they report.

Academic Dismissal

If academic performance warrants academic dismissal, the student is: (1) ineligible to apply for readmission to Willamette for two subsequent semesters (Note: Eligibility to reapply does not guarantee readmission); and (2) encouraged to seek counsel with members of the Willamette faculty or staff to discuss educational goals.

Academic Petitions

Students may occasionally need to petition for clarification of or exceptions to the preceding or other academic regulations. Such petitions should be directed to different places, depending on their specific nature. A list of the most common petitions and their appropriate destinations includes:

Petition forms are available in the Registrar's Office. The Registrar's Office can also answer other questions about the petition process.

Students should note that certain basic requirements for baccalaureate degrees are never waived or modified, including:

  • satisfactory completion of a minimum of 31 credits
  • completion of the General Education requirements
  • completion of the Senior Year Experience
  • cumulative g.p.a. of 2.00 in work taken at Willamette
  • cumulative g.p.a. of 2.00 in the major

The completion of department requirements may be modified or waived by the departments themselves, but not by the Academic Status Committee.

Plagiarism and Cheating Policy

Plagiarism and cheating are offenses against the integrity of the courses in which they occur and against the College community as a whole. Plagiarism and cheating involve intellectual dishonesty, deception, and fraud, which inhibit the honest exchange of ideas. In accordance with Willamette University's Standards of Conduct, students are entitled to notice of what constitutes plagiarism and cheating and the right to appeal penalties. Plagiarism and cheating may be grounds for dismissal from the College.

When appropriate during the semester, such as in conjunction with assignment of a class project or review for an exam, faculty members are encouraged to discuss plagiarism and cheating and how to avoid them.

Definitions and Penalties

Cheating is any form of intellectual dishonesty or misrepresentation of one's knowledge. Plagiarism, a form of cheating, consists of representing someone else's work as one's own. All members of the Willamette University community are expected to be aware of the serious breach of principles involved in plagiarism. Ignorance of what constitutes plagiarism shall not be considered a valid defense. If students are uncertain as to what constitutes plagiarism for a particular assignment, they should consult the instructor for clarification. A faculty member may impose penalties for plagiarism and cheating ranging from a grade reduction on an assignment or an exam to failure in the course. A faculty member also may suggest that the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts initiate further action.

Initial Determination and Penalty

A faculty member who has reason to believe that plagiarism or cheating has occurred shall:

  • Immediately meet with the student(s) involved, provide evidence of cheating or plagiarism, discuss the matter, determine whether an infraction has occurred, and decide on a penalty. If the faculty member suspects plagiarism or cheating during a final exam period and timely resolution is not possible, the professor shall assign the student(s) involved a grade of T and provide the student(s) with a written explanation. The faculty member shall meet with the student(s) no later than the first week of classes the following semester to complete the steps outlined above.
  • Within five working days (excluding holidays) of meeting with the student or students, a confidential file will be submitted to the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts with a form detailing the incident, providing documentation, and indicating the penalty. Upon receiving the form, the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts:
    • Shall provide the student(s) a copy of the form filed by the faculty member, noting on the form the date on which it was delivered to the student. All forms in a student's file shall be destroyed at graduation or after seven years of filing, whichever comes first.
    • May initiate a hearing by the Academic Status Committee if the Dean believes the report of plagiarism or cheating sufficiently egregious to warrant a hearing on whether the student should be suspended or dismissed from the college.
    • Shall, after allowing time for an appeal, determine if there have been multiple violations. If the student's file contains two forms, the Dean shall initiate a hearing by the Academic Status Committee to determine an appropriate penalty, which can include placing the student on academic suspension for a period of time or dismissing the student from the College.

Student Right to Appeal Initial Determination and Penalty

A student has the right to appeal the finding of plagiarism or cheating, or the severity of the penalty imposed by the faculty member, to the Academic Status Committee within five working days of the date on which a copy of the form was delivered by the Dean to the student.

Academic Status Committee Hearing

The Academic Status Committee shall hold a hearing on the appeal by a student or initiative from the Dean within five working days of receipt of the notice of appeal or initiative. The hearing shall be confidential; the student, Dean and faculty member, as appropriate, may testify and present evidence.

If, while hearing an appeal, the Academic Status Committee finds that plagiarism or cheating did not occur, then the Committee shall ask the Dean to remove the form filed by the faculty member from the student's confidential file. If the Academic Status Committee finds that the penalty should be changed, then the Committee shall determine a procedure that is fair to the faculty member and the student for changing the penalty. If the Academic Status Committee upholds the decision of the faculty member, the chair will record the decision on the form and return it to the Dean to be placed in the student's file.

If hearing an initiative, the Academic Status Committee shall determine an appropriate penalty.

The chair of the Academic Status Committee shall provide written notification of its action to the student, faculty member, and Dean. The decision of the Academic Status Committee shall be final.

Nature of Petition Destination
Departmental and major requirements Department or program chair
General education requirements Registrar's Office
Writing program requirements Writing Program Advisory Committee
Special majors Academic Programs Committee (c/o Dean's Office)
Most other petitions Academic Status Committee (c/o Registrar's Office)