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    Muhlenberg College
   
 
  Sep 23, 2017
 
2017-2018 Academic Catalog 
  
2017-2018 Academic Catalog

Academic Policies



The course offerings, rules, regulations, and fees appearing in this catalog are announcements only and should not be construed as representing contractual obligations of Muhlenberg College.  Muhlenberg College reserves the right to change its academic regulations, courses of instruction, comprehensive fee, charges for room and board or other fees, and degree requirements without notice should it be the judgment of the College that circumstances warrant such changes.  Any changes in federal or state law will supersede College policies and requirements published here.

Admission to and attendance at the College are conditional upon compliance with the rules and regulations of the College as now established or hereafter revised, including the Academic Integrity Code and the Social Code.  Many of the regulations are published in this catalog; others may be found in the Student Policy and Resource Guide.  It is the responsibility of each Muhlenberg College student to know and abide by the regulations of the College.

Academic Integrity Code

The Academic Integrity Code is a communal expression of the importance of academic honesty and integrity.  Violations of the Code are violations of community.  The Code, to which all incoming students subscribe, governs all College activities, including but not limited to methods for evaluating academic achievement such as examinations, quizzes, tests, themes, reports, recitations, and laboratory exercises.  The Academic Integrity Code is printed in full in the Student Policy and Resource Guide and is available on the web; students should familiarize themselves with its provisions.

Academic Difficulty

(Warning, Formal Probation, and Academic Suspension)

The College endeavors to help students avoid academic difficulty.  Historically, the most successful students attend class regularly, complete and submit assignments in a timely fashion, and seek assistance from instructors, advisors, the Academic Resource Center, Student Health Services, or Counseling Services at the first signs of difficulty.  Moreover, students who are successful academically have learned to balance extracurricular activities with academics.

Academic performance is monitored closely by the Dean of Academic Life each semester.  The Dean will contact students at the conclusion of each semester whose academic performance indicates a cause for concern.  Academic warning may be triggered by any combination of two or more failing grades, incomplete grades, unsatisfactory grades, or course withdrawals in a semester; a semester grade point average below 1.80; or a cumulative grade point average less than the standards described in the table that follows.

Formal academic probation indicates that the quality of the student’s work is below the level that might reasonably be expected to lead to graduation.  A semester grade point average below 1.00 or a cumulative grade point average less than the standards described on the chart below identify those students eligible for formal probation.  All student performance indicating an eligibility for formal probation will be reviewed by the Dean of Academic Life.  After that review, students experiencing serious academic difficulties will be placed on formal probation.  Students placed on formal academic probation will be strongly encouraged to meet periodically with the Dean of Academic Life to review their academic progress.

If, at the end of the first semester (five or fewer units), a first-year student has less than a 1.50 grade point average (GPA), there are two alternatives for academic status: academic probation or academic suspension (mandatory academic leave of absence for one semester).

Further, Muhlenberg College reserves the right to suspend any student after any semester for any of the following reasons: (a) significant academic deficiencies; (b) failure to gain acceptance into a major field of study due to academic performance; or (c) conduct deemed to be detrimental to the interests of the College, such as violation of the Academic Integrity Code.  In such cases neither the College nor any of its officers shall be under any liability whatsoever for such dismissal or suspension.  The College will not accept transfer courses from any institution earned while a student is serving a disciplinary suspension.

Student progress during the probationary period will be carefully examined.  At any time during the period, typically no more than two semesters, the College may remove the student from probation, continue the student on probation, suspend the student, or dismiss the student from Muhlenberg.  Furthermore, students on formal probation seeking to enroll additional courses beyond what is considered a “normal load”, either at Muhlenberg or elsewhere, are permitted to do so only at the discretion of the Dean of Academic Life; this provision includes enrollment in any type or length of term, including summer or winter terms.

Cumulative academic performance is gauged on the number of course units attempted at Muhlenberg plus any transferred course units.  Cumulative grade point averages less than the standards described in the table indicate the level of academic difficulty.

Attempted Course Units Academic Probation or Suspension Academic Warning
5 or less Less than 1.50 Less than 1.80
  Academic Probation  
5.25 through 10 Less than 1.80 Less than 2.00
More than 10 Less than 2.00  

Finally, the College takes the position that any student permitted to enroll should be allowed to judge the wisdom of participating in extracurricular activities.  Accordingly, a student experiencing academic difficulty may participate in such activities.  Any student placed on academic probation or warning, however, is urged to give thoughtful consideration, in consultation with his or her academic advisor, to the structure of the total College program, curricular and extracurricular.

Academic Renewal

Academic renewal is extended to former Muhlenberg students who have not been enrolled at the College for at least 10 years.  It allows them to remove from their cumulative GPA previously taken coursework.  This option may be exercised pursuant to the following regulations:

  1. The student must consult with the Dean of the Wescoe School and the Dean must approve course selection before the student may enroll.
  2. The option may be exercised only after three course units have been completed with a grade of “C” or better.
  3. The student must initiate the procedure; it will not be automatic.
  4. All courses and grades will remain on the student’s transcript and be used for graduation honors.
  5. Courses with grades of D or F will not be included in the calculation of cumulative GPA.
  6. Courses in which grades of “C-” or better were earned prior to return will be counted toward degree requirements.
  7. Courses based on credit hours will be converted to course units according to the existing course conversion procedures which apply to all Muhlenberg students.
  8. This option can be extended only once to any individual student.

Annual FERPA Notification

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records.  These rights include:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the College receives a request for access.  Students should submit to the office which creates and maintains the record in question a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The College official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.  If the records are not maintained by the College official to whom the request was submitted, the official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
     
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.  Students may ask the College to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading.  A student who wishes to ask the College to amend a record should write the College official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed.  If the College decides not to amend the record as requested, the College will notify the student in writing of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment.  Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
     
  3. The right to provide written consent before the College discloses personally identifiable information from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.

    One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is the disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests.  A school official is defined as a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the College has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using college employees or officials (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.  A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the College.
     
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the College to comply with the requirements of FERPA.  The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-5920

More information can be found through the Office of the Registrar (www.muhlenberg.edu/main/aboutus/registrar).

Auditing Courses

Students in good academic standing may audit one course per semester with the approval of the instructor.  Any course enrolled on an audit basis will not contribute towards the Muhlenberg degree and will not be used to compute your GPA.  Additionally, an audited course may not be used to fulfill prerequisites or any other academic requirement.  

Instructors must explicitly detail their expectations for students auditing their courses at the beginning of the semester, and students must seek the consent of their faculty advisor. Typically, students auditing a course are expected to complete all assignments and participate in class discussions but may not be required to submit written work or take exams. 

Students may change a course from audit (no course unit attempted) to a regular course unit basis or vice versa during the add/drop period with the approval of the instructor and the faculty advisor by completing an Audit Request form and submitting it to the Office of the Registrar.  The student’s transcript will list the audited course with a grade of “AU” if the student has satisfactorily completed the audit.  If the student fails to fulfill the expectations of the audit, no notation will appear on the transcript.

Changing Courses

Students may add and/or drop courses without academic penalty through the first eight class days of the traditional semester.  Enrollment in courses is closed at the conclusion of the add/drop period.  The last day to add or drop is identified each semester on the College’s academic calendar.

Class Attendance

Muhlenberg College recognizes that a college environment should foster student responsibility.  Students are expected to attend classes regularly but are responsible for governing themselves in this matter.  It is recognized that interaction in the classroom enhances learning and is usually a significant part of how students’ overall performance will be evaluated.

The College recognizes the value of extracurricular experience, but the academic program has priority at Muhlenberg.  Moreover, scheduled classes have priority over all other activities.  In cases of unavoidable conflict, students have the responsibility of informing their instructors as soon as possible and reaching some kind of acceptable resolution.  Absence from a class will not be accepted as an excuse for not mastering class material. The student is responsible for all information presented, the discussion, and the conceptual analysis that take place during classes.

Instructors should inform students in the first week of class of their policy regarding the relationship between attendance, interaction in the classroom, and evaluation in the course.

A student who does not attend the first meeting of a course may be dropped from the course in order to make room for students waiting to enroll. Students should not assume, however, that missing the first course meeting ensures that they will be dropped from a course.  Non-attendance drops will be processed only at the instructor’s request.  Please note, all students are responsible for their own enrollment; failure to properly add, drop, or withdraw from a course may result in the award of no course units and/or a failing grade.

Class Standing

First-year students have earned 0 - 6 course units
Sophomores have earned 7 - 15 course units
Juniors have earned 16 - 24 course units
Seniors have earned 25 or more course units

Course Load

A full-time degree candidate normally enrolls for 4 course units per semester.  The maximum course load for students during their first semester is 4.5 course units.  During all other fall or spring semesters, the maximum course load is 5.5 course units.  Students may initially register for up to 4.5 units during the scheduled registration period.  Following the scheduled registration period, students may add up to a total of 5.5 units.  Requests to go above 5.5 units will be considered on a petition basis to the Dean of Academic Life who may consult broadly to determine the appropriateness of the request.  (See Expenses  for the overload fees.)  Summer load is 2 courses at a time for a maximum combined summer load of 4 course units.

In order to maintain full-time status a student must be enrolled in at least 3 course units per semester.  Students who wish to enroll for fewer than 3 course units may apply for part-time status in the Office of the Registrar.  Part-time students will incur tuition charges at the current per course unit rate plus all fees.  

Dean’s List

Outstanding academic achievement will be recognized by the Deans of the College each fall and spring semester.  Students enrolled for 3 or more course units, having a semester GPA of at least 3.50 with no grades of D, F, U, VF, or VW for the semester will be eligible for Dean’s List.  Students with an incomplete, in progress, or NG grade will not be eligible for inclusion on the Dean’s List until the work is completed and a final grade is recorded, unless the in progress grade is for DNA 955 Dana Forum.

Directory Information

At its discretion, Muhlenberg College may provide “directory information” in accordance with the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).  Directory information is defined as that information which would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.

Designated directory information at Muhlenberg College includes the following: student’s name, college mail box, home address, telephone listing, email address, major field of study, dates of attendance, class year, enrollment status (full-time, part-time), participation in officially recognized activities or sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, degrees, honors and awards received.  Students may block the public disclosure of directory information by notifying the Office of the Registrar in writing.

Dismissal, Expulsion, Suspension, and Readmission

Muhlenberg College reserves the right to dismiss, expel, or suspend any student for the following reasons: (a) academic deficiencies; (b) failure to gain acceptance into a major field of study; or (c) conduct deemed to be detrimental to the interests of the College.  In such cases, neither the College nor any of its officers shall be under any liability whatsoever for such dismissal, expulsion, or suspension.  The College will not accept transfer courses from any institution earned while a student is serving a disciplinary suspension.

Students dismissed for academic reasons may be readmitted upon formal application to the Dean of Academic Life after the lapse of at least one academic year.  Such an application should give strong evidence of a student’s ability to attain a degree.  If the application is approved, readmission will be probationary for a period of one fall or spring semester only.  A second dismissal will be final, and no application for readmission will be entertained.

Grading

Quality points assigned to each traditional letter grade by course unit:

Grade Quality Points for 1 course unit
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 1.0
F 0.0
AU Successful completion of audit (no course unit awarded, no GPA calculation).
I Incomplete.  An incomplete may be assigned when the student presents a compelling reason for the inability to complete course requirements by the end of the term.  Incompletes will not be calculated in the GPA until such time as they are converted into a traditional letter grade.  Completion of the work must be arranged with the instructor and a grade submitted to the Registrar no later than 35 days after the deadline for submitting final grades for the semester.  An incomplete grade not assigned a traditional letter grade in 35 days will be recorded as “F”.
IP In Progress.  An IP indicates that the course in which the student is enrolled has not ended by the time final course grades are due for the term.  IP grades will not be calculated in the GPA until such time as they are converted to a traditional letter grade.
NG No grade issued.
P Successful completion of pass/fail course (course unit awarded, no GPA calculation.  Pass/fail courses failed will be computed in GPA.)
S Successful completion of zero unit course (no course unit awarded, no GPA calculation).
U Unsatisfactory performance in a zero unit course (no course unit awarded, no GPA calculation).
VF Academic Integrity Code Violation (no course unit awarded, treated as failing for GPA calculation).
VW Academic Integrity Code Violation Withdrawal (no course unit awarded, no GPA calculation).
W Student withdrew (no course unit awarded, no GPA calculation).

An asterisk (*) indicates that an incomplete or in progress grade was initially recorded for the course then changed to the letter grade which is currently reflected.

A student’s grade point average (GPA) is the sum of quality points divided by the total attempted course units.

Graduation Honors

Muhlenberg College grants degrees with honors in three categories: cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude, based on the cumulative average of all collegiate coursework taken through Muhlenberg.  Students will only be considered for graduation honors if they achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or greater in 16 or more graded (not pass/fail) course units offered through Muhlenberg.  Students with a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or greater but less than 3.700 will be recognized as cum laude graduates; students with a cumulative GPA of 3.700 or greater but less than 3.900 will graduate magna cum laude; and students with a cumulative GPA of 3.900 or more will be honored as summa cum laude graduates.

Honor and Recognition Societies

Established in 1776 at the College of William and Mary, Phi Beta Kappa is a distinguished fellowship of scholars devoted to liberal education and intellectual pursuits.  The Muhlenberg chapter was granted a charter by the national honor society in 1967.  Based on national standards, election to Phi Beta Kappa represents the most outstanding academic achievement in the arts and sciences.  In addition to GPA requirements, students must have completed a sufficient number of eligible courses (Phi Beta Kappa does not recognize courses focused on applied or pre-professional skills), and they must have studied a foreign language at the college intermediate level.  No more than 10% of the students in a graduating class can be admitted to Phi Beta Kappa.  Students who meet the strict eligibility requirements receive a letter of invitation from the chapter in the final semester of their senior year.  A limited number of juniors will also be awarded early induction each year.

In 2008, Alpha Sigma Lambda, the premier Honor Society for Nontraditional Students chartered the Muhlenberg College chapter, Eta Chi.  ΑΣΛ was established in 1945 at Northwestern University to recognize the special achievements of adults who accomplish academic excellence while facing competing interests of family, community, and work.

Muhlenberg has chapters of honor societies and recognition societies in many academic disciplines.  Honor societies include Omicron Delta Epsilon (economics), Omicron Delta Kappa (leadership), Phi Alpha Theta (history), Phi Sigma Iota (romance languages), Phi Sigma Tau (philosophy), Pi Mu Epsilon (mathematics), Pi Sigma Alpha (political science), Psi Chi (psychology), and Theta Alpha Kappa (religious studies and theology).  Recognition societies include Delta Phi Alpha (German) and Dobro Slovo (Slavic studies).  Phi Sigma Tau, the national philosophy honor society, was founded at Muhlenberg in 1930.  Muhlenberg College also maintains a chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, a national service fraternity.

Leave of Absence

A student who wishes to take a leave of absence from the College must notify the Office of the Registrar.  Requests should be submitted prior to the beginning of the semester when the leave would take effect.  The BergID cards for students taking a leave of absence will be inactivated.  A student requesting a leave of absence for medical or psychological reasons must consult the Director of Student Health or the Director of Counseling.  A student may have no more than four semesters cumulatively of (1) any single type of leave or (2) a combination of leave(s) of absence and medical leave(s) of absence.  Requests for exceptions to this policy should be directed to the Dean of Students and the Dean of Academic Life.  Students who have been charged with a disciplinary infraction but who have not yet completed the Judicial process, will be unable to request a Leave of Absence until the Judicial process is complete.

Major Program

Students generally select a field of study during the fall semester of the sophomore year although major declarations may be made earlier or later in consultation with their academic advisor.  In order to enter and remain in a department as a major, a student must maintain at least a 2.00 cumulative GPA in courses prescribed by the department.  At the end of any semester, a department may drop a student who fails to meet the minimum GPA standard.  Students in this situation may remain at the College without a major for a maximum of two semesters, during which time they may seek admission to a new department or attempt to gain re-admission to their former major.

Students must be accepted into a major prior to the senior year and must complete a major program as a part of the College degree requirements in order to graduate.

A student may change from one major to another with the approval of the appropriate department chairs/program directors.  Official major declarations must be completed through the Office of the Registrar.

Minor Program

Minor programs are also available in many departments.  Course work required for a minor is approximately three-fifths of that required for a major and in no case is less than 5 course units.  All rules which currently apply to majors also apply to minors.  Any course accepted by the College can be counted simultaneously towards the requirements of both major and minor programs.

No Show Policy

Students who register for classes for a semester but who do not come to campus, check in to housing, or attend or participate in educational activities through the eighth class day of the semester will be Unofficially Withdrawn from the College.  The registered classes will be dropped with no W grade assigned, and an application for readmission must be made to the Dean of Academic Life.

Pass/Fail

Full-time, degree-seeking students who have completed at least 16 units with a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or more may elect to enroll for one course unit per semester on a pass/fail basis up to a total limit of three.  One of the three pass/fail courses may be taken in the same academic division as the student’s major or minor.  Courses designated “pass/fail only” are exempt from the pass/fail requirements described here.

No course for which a student elects to enroll on a pass/fail basis may be used to satisfy a general academic requirement or major/minor requirement.  In addition, “pass/fail only” courses offered within the student’s major or minor do not meet any major or minor requirement.

Only 20 percent of the total enrollment in a course shall be open to students electing the pass/fail option unless this restriction is specifically waived by the instructor.  Final grades submitted to the Registrar for these students must be either “P” or “F.”  A “P” should be considered the equivalent of a traditional “D” or higher.

Courses enrolled on a pass/fail basis that are awarded a grade of “P” will not be used in computing the GPA but will be counted as course units toward graduation; courses failed will be computed in the GPA.  Students may change a course from pass/fail to traditional grading or vice-versa only through the add/drop period of the semester.

Program Options

Students at the college are allowed to graduate with a single major, a single major with one or two minors, or a double major.  Under circumstances where a student meets the requirements for majors or minors in excess of the previously stated limits, the student must choose which majors or minors he or she wants the college to recognize at graduation.  Any course accepted by the College can be counted simultaneously towards the requirements of both major and minor programs.

Repeated Courses

Courses in which the student earns a “B-” or greater cannot be repeated.  No course shall be repeated after a subsequent course is taken (i.e. one for which the first is a prerequisite).  If a student repeats a course, all grades for the course are calculated into the GPA and listed on the academic record; however, only the course earning the first passing grade is counted toward the 32 course units required for graduation.

Transcript Requests and Release of Information from Academic Records

Muhlenberg College complies with all federal regulations regarding the release of education records as established by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).  All requests to release information from the student’s academic record must include his or her legal signature.  This requirement specifically prohibits telephone and e-mail requests.  Faxed requests are acceptable.  In addition, students may request a transcript via the web.  Go to www.muhlenberg.edu/main/aboutus/registrar for more information.  The student is the only person who can authorize the release of information from his/her academic record.  No one else (parents, friends, spouses, employers, etc.) may do so.

All written requests should be directed to: Muhlenberg College, Office of the Registrar, 2400 Chew Street, Allentown, PA 18104-5586.  An information release request should include the student’s full name at time of attendance, social security number, dates of attendance, current address, address where the information should be sent, and handling instructions, if applicable.  An administrative fee is assessed for most record release services.  Please contact the Office of the Registrar for more information.

Transfer Courses

Almost all courses taken elsewhere must be transferred to Muhlenberg College.  Courses offered through the LVAIC consortium and any course specifically identified in the College catalog are the only exceptions.

No more than 16 non-Muhlenberg course units (whether transferred or awarded for test scores) may contribute to the 32 course units required to earn a bachelor’s degree at Muhlenberg.  The College will accept no more than 5 course units for transfer during a traditional academic semester (fall or spring) while 4 course units is the limit for any combination of summer terms.  No courses taken concurrently elsewhere – including online courses – that exceed the course load unit of 5.5 units per semester will receive credit.  Only courses for which a student has earned a “C-” or better will be considered for transfer to Muhlenberg.  Courses not using traditional letter grades (A-F) will be considered for transfer only if additional documentation detailing successful completion is provided.  Grades earned in transferred courses will not be included in a student’s general Muhlenberg grade point average.  Once courses have been transferred, they become part of the permanent record and cannot be removed.

Many institutions may not use a course unit system similar to Muhlenberg’s.  For the purpose of all transfer transactions, the Muhlenberg course unit should be considered equivalent to 4 semester credit hours.  In all cases, Muhlenberg College can accept transfer courses only with an official academic transcript from an accredited higher education institution where courses have been successfully completed.  Additional information may be obtained in the Office of the Registrar or on www.muhlenberg.edu/main/aboutus/registrar.

Withdrawal from College

A student who wishes to officially withdraw from the College must notify the Office of the Registrar.  A student must complete withdrawal procedures prior to the beginning of the first semester in which he or she is not enrolled to ensure that the academic record will accurately reflect his or her intentions.  All financial obligations and judicial processes must be satisfied before an official withdrawal can be granted or the academic record can be released.  At the time of withdrawal, the student’s BergID card will be inactivated.

Withdrawal from Courses

Students may withdraw from courses after the add/drop period until the end of the ninth week of the semester with the approval of their academic advisor.  A “W” grade will be assigned indicating that the student has withdrawn from the course.

No course may be withdrawn after the ninth week of the semester except for documented medical reasons certified by the Director of Student Health or the Director of Counseling.  The last day to withdraw is identified each semester on the College’s academic calendar.

Students may not withdraw from courses so that their semester course load is fewer than 3 units.

All students are responsible for their own enrollment. Failure to properly add, drop, or withdraw from a course may result in no course units awarded and/or a failing grade.