John Cabot University: the Academic Experience

Academic Policies

Academic Advising
All students are assigned an academic advisor drawn from the faculty teaching within their major or a related discipline. Students confer with their advisors on a regular basis to plan their course schedules and discuss their academic progress. Students are however expected to monitor their own academic progress at John Cabot University. They are responsible for knowing their graduation requirements, and for making appropriate course selections, to best facilitate the attainment of their educational goals.

Academic Complaints
Students should try to resolve academic complaints directly with their instructor. Failing agreement, they are entitled to have, in turn, the Department Chair, Dean, and the Academic Council examine the issue and make a final disposition of the matter. Academic complaints will be processed as expeditiously as possible.

As a general principle, academic complaints will be reviewed to assess whether the instructor’s grade determination conflicted with law, University or department policy, or the instructor’s own policy, as stated in the syllabus. The University privileges the instructor’s academic freedom, which includes the freedom to assign grades. Academic complaints may be resolved in the student’s favor if the underlying discrepancy resulted in the student getting a lower grade than s/he effectively deserved. Such review may also reveal that the student’s initial grade determination was too high, and students pursuing an academic complaint do run the risk that their grade may be lowered. 

Students seeking to appeal their grade for a course must follow this procedure:

1. The student must first ask the instructor to reconsider the grade, within a month of the learning of it or the end of the semester, whichever is earlier.

2. If the complaint is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction, he or she may appeal in writing to the Chair of the Department with which the relevant course is associated. The student should provide the Department Chair with all documentation necessary to review the contested grade (e.g., course syllabus; the original, graded papers; tests; copies of presentations). Following receipt of a properly documented appeal, the Chair will meet with both the student and the instructor to try to mediate the dispute. If the instructor concerned is also the Chair, the student should appeal directly to the Dean of Academic Affairs.

3. If the complaint is still not resolved to the student’s satisfaction, the student may appeal in writing to the Dean of Academic Affairs. The Dean will notify the instructor (cc’ing the Chair), and the instructor will be expected to respond to the student and the Dean within a reasonable time, attaching any additional relevant documents. The Dean will then consider the positions of both the student and the instructor and make a final determination. If the instructor concerned is also the Dean, the student should appeal to the Department Chair and then to the Academic Council.

4. The Dean's decision may be appealed, by either the student or the instructor, to the Academic Council.

Academic Honesty
The academic community is founded on a belief in the free exchange of ideas. An integral part of this free exchange is recognition of the intellectual work of others, and respect for the instructor and fellow students. All members of the John Cabot community are expected to maintain the highest standards of academic honesty in all aspects of the University’s academic programs.

A student who commits an act of academic dishonesty is subject to disciplinary action. Two reported acts of academic dishonestly could result in dismissal from the University.

1. Definition

Academic dishonesty is taking credit for academic work (including papers, reports, quizzes, examinations, etc.) that is not one's own or has not been originally produced for the course in which it has been submitted. Assisting another student in submitting work not his or her own may also constitute academic dishonesty.

One form of academic dishonesty is plagiarism, which includes direct copying, as well as any use of another's ideas, words or created product, without properly crediting the source. Although individual instructors may suggest their own guidelines for avoiding plagiarism in papers and reports, the following rules should generally be observed:

a. Any sequence of words appearing in a student essay or report that does not originate from the student should be enclosed in quotation marks, and its source fully and accurately identified in a note or in the text. Great care must be taken that quoted material is quoted accurately.

b. A paraphrase should not be enclosed in quotation marks, but should be marked with an asterisk or a note number, and the source should be given in a note.

c. An interpretation or idea based on a book or other source of information must be identified in a bibliographic note.

Another form of academic dishonesty is cheating, which includes giving or receiving assistance on a quiz, examination or other assignments in any way not specifically authorized by the instructor. Cheating also includes the unauthorized possession or use of calculators, notes, formulas, dictionaries, tables, graphs, charts or other memory aids on a quiz or examination. Students are responsible for making sure that all unauthorized materials are completely put away, and may be sanctioned for mere negligence in appearing to possess unauthorized materials. 

A third form of academic dishonesty consists in submitting the same work in more than one course, without the explicit approval of both instructors.

2. Penalties

A student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course.

Instructors must report instances of academic dishonesty to the Dean of Academic Affairs. The Dean’s Office may notify a student’s other instructors, present and future, that he or she has been reported for academic dishonesty. A student who is reported twice for material acts of academic dishonesty is subject to dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Dean will ask the Academic Council to make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.

3. Appeals

A student may appeal an instructor’s determination of academic dishonesty by submitting a written statement to the Dean, setting forth the relevant facts and interpretations.  The statement must be received by the Dean within seven working days of the student’s summons from the Dean’s Office. The instructor will be given a copy of the student’s statement, and the chance to respond to it. 

The Dean will review the various submissions and make a decision. If this appeal is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction, s/he may ask the Dean to refer the matter to the Academic Council. When an academic honesty determination is resolved in the student’s favor, the Dean will delete the report of academic dishonesty, and direct the instructor to grade the disputed material on its merits. 

Academic Probation and Dismissal
A student whose cumulative grade point average at the University falls below 2.00 will be placed on academic probation. Students placed on academic probation then have two regular semesters to remove themselves from probation (or just one semester, in the case of conditional admits). If they fail to do so, they will be dismissed from the University. Students who are dismissed can appeal the dismissal. Their appeal will be evaluated by the Academic Council and Admissions Committee. Students on academic probation are not eligible to hold office in student organizations, nor to represent the University in any official capacity.

Academic Support
John Cabot provides faculty-staffed tutoring centers free-of-charge for all John Cabot students.

Writing Center: The Writing Center provides support for students who would like to strengthen their writing skills. The focus is on both the form and mechanics of writing, i.e., spelling, punctuation, and grammar, as well as on the more subtle, yet equally important issues of usage, tone, and register. The parameters of academic honesty are also dealt with when appropriate, in order to recognize and clarify differences in cultural expectations. Students may work individually with a tutor, or in small groups according to areas of difficulty. Days and times vary and are scheduled with the tutor.

Math Center:
The Math Center provides assistance to students who would like to improve their math skills as well as tutoring for specific mathematics courses at the University.

Foreign Language Resource Center: Students of all levels of Italian, French, Spanish, and German who need further explanation or review are welcome to visit the center.

Attendance Policy
Specific requirements for attendance in any given course, except as described below, are the prerogative of the instructor and will be stated in the course syllabus distributed by the instructor at the beginning of the term. 

The Dean’s Office may grant exemptions from specific attendance policies in the case of a chronic medical condition or other serious problem. Students seeking such an exemption must ask a Dean as soon as they are aware of a situation impeding their required attendance. Students who cannot meet the attendance requirements for a particular class may be advised to withdraw from it.

Absences from major examinations require a Dean’s Office excuse, insofar as the student may seek to take a make-up exam, submit a make-up assignment, or count another assessment more so as to cover the missed exam. Likewise, students need the permission of the Dean's office in order to take exams early, or reschedule them in any way. The Dean’s Office will only excuse such absences when they are caused by serious impediments, such as a student’s own illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which the student is attending the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences or rescheduling requests due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students seeking such an excuse must notify their instructor and the Dean’s Office, as soon as possible, and no later than the beginning of the exam. 

Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday must notify their instructors by the end of the Add/Drop period (during the first week of classes). Students missing a class for this reason also must make prior arrangements with their instructor to make up any work missed. 

Auditing Courses
It is possible for students to audit courses if space is available. If the tuition costs of taking the course(s) for credit would be covered by the general tuition payment for 12-17 credits, the course(s) may be audited for no additional fee. In all other cases, there is an auditing fee of €900 or  $1150 or per course. Students must declare that they wish to audit a course by the end of the drop/add period.

Classification of Students

Students are classified at the end of each semester according to the number of credit hours they have completed, including advanced standing credits and transfer credits, as follows:

0-29 Freshman
30-59 Sophomore
60-89 Junior
90 or more Senior

Course Load
The normal course load at the University is 15 credits per semester, and 30 credits per year. The minimum full time course load is 12 credits per regular semester. Students with strong academic credentials may petition the Dean for permission to take more than 15 credits in one semester. A maximum of six credits may be taken during each summer session.

Credits
Credits are expressed in semester hours. Most courses at John Cabot carry three semester-hours of credit and meet twice a week for 75-minute sessions.

Dean's List
Students who achieve a 3.50 grade point average in a semester earned in a program of not fewer than 13 completed semester hours are recognized at the end of the semester on a list published by the Office of the Dean of Academic Affairs.

Declaring a Major
Students must declare their major by the time that they have completed 45 credit hours. Transfer students who bring 45 or more hours of transfer credit must declare their major upon entry. Once declared, majors can be changed by notifying the Registrar’s Office. Students considering a change of major should meet with their advisor to discuss the implications of such change.

Double Degrees
Students who want to receive an additional degree from John Cabot University, after having completed the requirements for their first degree, must complete an additional 30 semester credits (one-year additional residency). 

Double Majors
Students may complete the requirements for more than one major at the same time, as long as the requirements of the individuals majors are satisfied. Students may, therefore, simultaneously use a course to satisfy requirements in multiple majors.  Students who complete multiple majors receive only one degree.

Drop/Add
During the Fall and Spring semesters, the Drop/Add period lasts until the Monday of the second week of classes.  During summer sessions, Drop/Add takes place during the first three days of classes. The specific deadline for Drop/Add period is posted on the Academic Calendar. Courses may be added or dropped freely, subject to availability, during this period. Degree seeking and Study Abroad students follow the online procedures. After the Drop/Add period, no courses may be added and withdrawal penalties will apply (see Withdrawal from a Course). No refunds will be issued for courses dropped after the Drop/Add period. A student who for any reason does not wish to attend a course for which he/she has registered must follow the usual Drop/Add or withdrawal procedures.

Exams- Absences and Makeups
Instructors may, at their discretion, allow students to make-up missed quizzes or other, less important, graded work to students absent without an official excuse. Major examinations (midterms, finals) may only be re-administered, or otherwise excused or accommodated, with the permission of the Dean’s Office. 

A student absent from a major examination, who wishes to make-up that exam or be otherwise accommodated, must ask the Dean’s Office for an official excuse. Such absence will be excused only if the student: 

  • has notified the Dean’s Office or his or her instructor of his or her inability to attend before the beginning of the class meeting in which the examination was scheduled
  • presents the Dean’s Office with documented evidence of a serious difficulty preventing attendance. 

A serious difficulty entitling a student to be excused from a major exam includes a student’s own illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which the student is attending the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Missed exams owing to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel plans or difficulties, student misunderstandings, alarm clock failure, or personal convenience, will not be excused.

Final Exams
Students with more than two FINAL exams scheduled on the same day during the FINAL EXAM PERIOD may submit the Form for Rescheduling a Final Exam, available in the Registrar’s Office or on the MyJCU Intranet Resources Students’ page, with the Registrar by the course withdrawal deadline found on the JCU Academic Calendar. Requests received after the deadline may not be honored.

The final exam schedule will be posted by the end of the Drop/Add period. Until this time, students should assume that they may have exams as late as the last exam period and not make other plans.

The University will not reschedule final exams to accommodate travel plans or anything less than a serious difficulty preventing attendance.


Grading Policies
The following interpretations and numerical equivalents are associated with each letter grade. The grade F means failing work. A failed course must be repeated in order for the student to receive credit.

The grade of INC (Incomplete) may be assigned only in cases where illnesses, hospitalization, death in the family, or other situations of similar gravity temporarily prevent completion of the required course work. Grades of INC will normally be granted only to students who have completed the majority of the course work with a grade of C- or better.  Students seeking an INC must contact the Dean’s Office, which will decide whether an INC would be appropriate in the particular case. If so, the Dean’s Office will then ask the instructor to submit an INC form, describing the reasons for the non-completion and the work remaining to be completed, signed by the student, to the Registrar.  Incomplete work must be completed by the end of the first regular semester (excluding summer sessions) immediately following that in which the INC was assigned. After that time, the grade will be administratively converted to an F.

Students who withdraw by the withdrawal deadline (and after the Add\Drop period) will have a W recorded on their transcript. This does not affect their GPA.

For purposes of computing the GPA on a student's transcript, the following metric is used:

Designation Interpretation Numerical Value
A Excellent 4.00
A-   3.67
B+   3.33
B Good 3.00
B-   2.67
C+   2.33
C Satisfactory 2.00
C-   1.67
D+   1.33
D Poor but Passing 1.00
D-   0.67
F Failing 0.00
INC Incomplete  
P Passing (C or above)  
NP Not passing (C or below)  
W Official withdrawal  

The quality points for each course are calculated by multiplying the numerical value of the grade by the number of credit hours of the course. The total of the quality points earned is divided by the total number of credit hours earned. Thus, a student who has taken 30 hours of work and has earned B’s (3.0) in all courses would have 90 quality points and would have a grade point average of 3.00. In the case of repeated courses, the number of quality points and hours includes only the grade from the most recent course taken. Courses in which grades of INC, P, NP or W are assigned are not included in the quality point computation.

Guidelines for What Grades Mean at JCU
These guidelines are presented to provide students with a general idea regarding how letter grades are assigned at JCU. While each individual course may have different assessment criteria for each grade depending upon the material being taught, the general sense of academic expectations remains.

Grade             Description of Academic Work
A Work of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
B This is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised. There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluate theory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student's own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture and reference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
C This is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings. This level of performance demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.
D Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included. In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
F This work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

 
Graduation Honors
Graduation Honors are awarded to bachelor’s degree recipients whose cumulative grade point average at the University represents superior academic achievement. Students may graduate summa cum laude with a grade point average of 3.90 or above, magna cum laude with a grade point average of 3.70 to 3.89, or cum laude with a grade point average of 3.50 to 3.69.

The Valedictorian is the bachelor’s degree recipient with the highest cumulative grade point average among those who have completed at least 60 semester hours at the University and who are attending the commencement exercises. The Valedictorian participates in the commencement ceremony by giving the valedictory address.

Graduation Requirements
Degrees are awarded to candidates who meet the following requirements:
The B.A. degree

1. Completion of a minimum of 120 credits distributed according to the general requirements of the University and the requirements of the major. At least 60 credits, including the last 30, must be earned in residence at the University. Subject to the approval of the Academic Council, students who are studying abroad in their penultimate semester will normally be awarded a 15-credit exemption.

2. An overall minimum grade point average of 2.00 in all courses taken at the University with no more than two grades lower than C- in core courses required for the major.

3. Payment of all financial obligations to the University.

The A.A. degree

1. Completion of a minimum of 60 credits, distributed according to the general requirements of the University and the major requirements. At least 30 credits, including the last 15, must be earned in residence at the University.
2. A minimum grade point average of 2.00 with no more than one grade lower than C- in core courses required for the major.
3. Payment of all financial obligations to the University.

A B.A. degree may be completed after the granting of an A.A. degree once all of the additional B.A. degree requirements have been met, and on the condition that at least two additional semesters of coursework have been completed following the completion of the A.A. degree in question.

Candidates for graduation must satisfy the general University and major requirements in effect at the time of their entry to the University. Students who are absent from the University for a period of one year or more may be required to resume under different graduation requirements upon their return. Students who require more than five years to complete their graduation requirements must meet the requirements in effect at the beginning of the fourth academic year prior to their graduation.

The commencement ceremony at the close of the spring semester in May is the University’s public celebration of the accomplishments of its students. Only students who have completed all graduation requirements, or who have completed all but two courses of their graduation requirements and will complete those two courses by the end of the following summer sessions, will be allowed to participate in the ceremony. Students who complete graduation requirements at a time other than the end of a spring semester or the following summer sessions are encouraged to return to the University the following May to participate in the commencement ceremony.

Honors Courses
Students with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.5 are eligible to register for Honors Courses, which are selected 3-credit courses that students may take for four academic credits instead. To earn this extra Honors credit, Honors students must complete additional assignments (e.g., research papers or portfolios) in which they delve more deeply into the subject matter in question. The additional Honors credit is awarded to students who earn a B or above on the honors assignments, and is noted on the transcript as “grant of Honors credit/no grant of Honors credit.” It is not calculated into the final grade for the 3-credit course nor in the student’s cumulative gpa. Students taking courses for Honors credit enjoy additional mentoring time with their instructors, who are chosen by the Dean of Academic Affairs in conjunction with the Department Chair, based on their expertise and teaching excellence.

Independent Study/Research Policy
With the approval of the sponsoring professor, the Department Chair, and the Dean of Academic Affairs, students may register for independent study/research options that allow them to receive credit for academic work, supervised by a member of the Faculty in a non-classroom setting. The Application for Independent Study or Independent Research Form is available on MyJCU, and must be submitted during the normal registration period. Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 and have earned a minimum of 60 credit hours (junior status) to apply for Independent Study or Independent Research credit.

Students may earn up to three credit hours through independent study/research, depending on the nature and extent of the project(s). One-credit will be awarded for each 37.5 hours of projected work over the course of the semester, on the basis of documentation of the amount of work a typical student is expected to complete within a specified amount of academically engaged time. Factors considered in the calculation of academic credit can include the number of subjects covered, the depth of the examination, the scope of reading and writing assignments and meetings with faculty supervisor in furtherance of specific educational objectives.

Whether a project will be coded as Independent Study 281 or 381 or Independent Research 481 depends upon the level of the study to be undertaken, as determined by the sponsoring professor and the Dean.

Independent study/research may not be taken to satisfy core requirements in degree programs or other specifically- designated requirements. Courses offered regularly in the curriculum cannot normally be taken as independent study.

Independent study courses must be completed within one semester.

Leave of Absence
A leave of absence is a temporary leave from the university. Students may take a leave of absence for such reasons as: independent study abroad, medical treatment, family crises or financial issues.  A leave of absence usually runs for one regular semester or academic year. Students may apply for a leave of absence by submitting the proper paperwork to the Office of the Registrar.  To extend a leave that has already been granted, contact the Registrar.

Matriculation Policy
Students who have obtained an INC in a thesis course, and who are not enrolled in any other courses during the completion of the incomplete thesis course, must maintain their matriculation at the University. To do this, they must pay a matriculation maintenance fee during the semester of completion of the thesis. Students maintaining matriculation in this manner will not be charged student activity fees. A student who fails to complete the thesis in this period would receive an F for the thesis course, and have to re-register for it, paying the regular tuition costs for that course.

Permit to Stay
Students who do not maintain the validity of their Italian Permit to Stay will not be able to register for courses or receive their transcripts.

Petitions
Normally, all students must abide by the various academic and other policies of the University. Occasionally, however, a waiver of these policies may be necessary. In such instances, a written petition seeking an exception to one or more policies must be submitted by the student, with the recommendation of the Advisor, for consideration by the Dean of Academic Affairs and the Academic Council. Forms for such petitions are available from the Registrar.

Placement Examinations
Entering degree-seeking students may be asked to take one or more placement examinations before registering to determine their proficiency in certain subject areas. There are placement examinations for English Composition, Italian, French, Spanish, and Mathematics. These examinations are administered during the orientation session at the beginning of each semester. Students who miss the English and Math placement examinations, and do not have relevant transfer credit, will be automatically placed into the introductory-level course, no matter what their outside experience or other qualifications.

Readmission
Students who have been withdrawn from the University for any reason must apply for readmission. Applications for readmission must be submitted to the Admissions Office before the start of the term. The University catalog in effect at the time of readmission will apply to students who are readmitted to the University.

Registration
The registration dates for each term are listed in the University calendar.  During the Registration period, degree-seeking students meet with their Academic Advisor in order to select their courses for the upcoming semester/summer Session. After the Registration period, continuing students may register, but will be charged a Late Registration Fee. No student will be allowed to register after the drop/add period.

It is the responsibility of the students to ensure that their course schedule corresponds to the classes that they are attending, including the correct section number.

Repeated Courses
Courses in which a student received a final grade of C- or below may be repeated. No grade is removed from the transcript, but only the last grade received in a course is considered in computing a student’s grade point average and credits earned. This pertains only to classes taken and repeated at JCU. If a class is repeated outside JCU, both the initial grade and the subsequent grade will appear on the transcript and will be considered in calculating a student’s grade point average.

Transcripts
Official transcripts for all John Cabot students are issued upon written request to the Office of the Registrar. Transcripts may be issued directly to the student or mailed to the institutions designated by the student. One official transcript is issued free of charge to each student; there is a charge for each additional transcript.

Transcripts cannot be issued for anyone whose record has been blocked (for outstanding University obligations - tuition and fees, library hold, etc.). Transcript requests are processed within two business days. JCU is not financially responsible for transcripts lost in the mail.

Transfer Credit
Upon initial entry or readmission to JCU, academic credit from nationally-accredited institutions may normally be transferred for academic coursework where a grade of C or above (or national equivalent) was earned. The University generally requires an official course description or course syllabus before awarding transfer credit.

Students who are currently matriculated may transfer credit for courses taken at other institutions by submitting a Course Away form to the Registrar before the courses are taken. Transfer credit will be granted for all passing grades earned, and all grades will be registered on JCU transcripts and factored into the JCU GPA. Students receiving U.S. government financial aid should check with the JCU Financial Aid Office before enrolling in courses at other institutions.

Withdrawal from a Course
A course officially dropped after the Drop/Add period but before the last day to withdraw from a course (see Academic Calendar) will be recorded on the transcript with a grade of W.  A student may withdraw from a course by submitting to the Registrar a Withdrawal form signed by the instructor and their Advisor or a Dean. Students are financially responsible for courses for which they are registered after the Drop/Add period, even if they ultimately withdraw from them.

Withdrawal from the University
Students who wish to withdraw from the University should first discuss their plans with their advisor or a Dean, and then can submit an Official Withdrawal form. In order to withdraw from the University, a student must clear all debts with the University.

A grade of W will be recorded for all courses in progress at the time of withdrawal. A student who fails to follow the above procedure, and simply stops going to class, may receive a failing grade for courses not completed.

Students who do not officially withdraw from the university, but fail to register for courses for two consecutive semesters, will be automatically withdrawn from the university.