Hoyt finalizes policy changes

Last week, Sam Houston State University President Dana G. Hoyt approved the academic policy revisions decided on by the Academic Affairs Council during its bi-annual policy meeting in December.

“What we are doing is taking those policies that are up for review,” Vice Provost Mary Robbins said. “Sometimes they need a little bit of tweaking and sometimes they need some major changes.”

This past fall, 17 policies were due for an audit, and six of these policies directly affect students: Academic Credit for Work Experience, Class Attendance, Courses and Grades Transferred in from other College and Universities, Department/School Academic Distinction Programs policy, Employment of Graduation Assistants, and Use of Tobacco Products in Academic Classrooms and Facilities.

The Academic Credit for Work Experience policy was revised to state that to attain course credit for your work experience, you must ensure that the course learning objectives in the course’s syllabus are met.

“In particular cases, a case can be made that someone’s work experience might match the course material,” Robbins said. “For example, a student who’s been out in the workforce and wants to come back to finish a degree.”

The language in the Class Attendance policy was changed slightly, and the minimum/maximum statement was removed to allow professional programs to have stricter attendance requirements. The revisions make attendance requirements per professor discretion and specify that the attendance requirement must be stated in their syllabus.

“The previous statement, allowed three or fewer hours of absence without penalty,’” Robbins said. “Some of the deans were saying that ‘we have a professional school and we can’t do that, because if you are a nurse or a teacher, you have to be there all the time.’ Of course, if [a student] thinks that something is unreasonable, you would just go to your professor and then, if necessary, the department chair.”

The  wording of Courses and Grades Transferred in from other Colleges and Universities Policy was changed slightly to clarify that just because a courses has successfully transferred and is accepted by SHSU, it may not apply to your degree plan. For example, if you have taken a course at another university, and it is transferred to your transcript at SHSU, the credit hours still apply, but you may still be required to take another course to fulfill that requirement on your degree plan.

Minor changes were also made to the Department/School Academic Distinction Program policy.

“That is one that students are not aware of very much, but we have in policy that if a student would like to graduate with distinction there are certain things [they] would do,” Robbins said.

The only change made to the Employment of Graduation Assistants policy was specifying the differences from the master’s and doctoral level graduate assistants.

“Master’s level student Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, our accrediting institution, requires 18 advanced credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree in order to be eligible to teach undergraduates,  so if you are just starting out in the masters you’re not going to have enough hours, so that’s the differentiation that was made there,” Robbins said.

The Use of Tobacco Products in Academic Classrooms and Facilities policy was revised to include electronic and vaping products on the list of prohibited items on campus.

The other 11 policies that were revised at the AAC meeting included revisions to policies such as Appointment and Evaluations of Chairs, Academic Advisory Council, Consortial and Academic Contractual Agreement Review, Designation of Distinguish Professors, Early Retirement Program for University Faculty, Faculty Absences on Religious Holy Days, Faculty Administrative Leave Program, Faculty Participation in Commencement, Library Use Policy, Members Not Employed by SHSU Serving on SHSU Thesis and Dissertation Committees, Student Absences on Religious Holy days.

According to Robbins, these policies were mostly revised to add clarifying language and were reviewed to alignment with Texas State University System policy and Education Code.

Visit http://www.shsu.edu/dept/academic-affairs/policies.html for the full list of academic policies


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