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Handbook for Department Heads and Directors

1.00        DEPARTMENT HEAD DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

2.00     DEPARTMENTAL SCHEDULING, REGISTRATION, AND GRADING

3.00        ADVISING AND GRADUATION

4.00        INSTITUTIONAL EFFECTIVENESS, CURRICULUM, ASSESSMENT, AND PLANNING

5.00        HIRING AND EVALUATION

6.00        DEPARTMENT AND OFFICE ADMINISTRATION

7.00     CAMPUS RESOURCES

8.00    APPENDICES


1.00        DEPARTMENT HEAD DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

1.01        VSU Statutes

ARTICLE III: ACADEMIC DEPARTMENT HEADS 

Section 1. Each college or division is organized into academic departments to which members of the faculty are assigned. An academic department is an administrative unit and exists for the purpose of providing instruction, research, and service. A faculty member serves as its head. Each department head is appointed by the President, is approved by the Board of Regents, holds office at the pleasure of the President, and reports directly to a dean or director. Department head appointments are made after consultation with the faculty of the particular department, the dean of the college or director of the division, and the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Section 2. Academic department heads are persons of professorial rank and are members of the General Faculty.

Section 3. Under the direction of a dean or director, each department head:

a. consults routinely with members of the department on all substantive matters;

b. establishes committees within the department to aid in its administration;

c. encourages the development of programs, policies, and procedures designed to promote the goals of the University and to enhance the quality of instruction, research, and service within the department;

d. is responsible, within the limits of departmental concern, for faculty teaching schedules and assignments, academic advisement of students, and the preparation of catalogue or bulletin materials;

e. assumes primary responsibility for identifying and maintaining the instructional staff of the department, and recommends faculty appointments, promotion, tenure, salary, and dismissal;

f. is responsible for the expenditure of funds allocated to the department;

g. is the departmental representative in all official communications;

h. recommends to the dean or director the name of a departmental faculty member to serve as acting department head during any period of absence from the campus by the department head that exceeds one week;

i. prepares and recommends to the dean or director an annual budget for the department;

j. conducts an annual evaluation of each full-time member of the departmental faculty;

k. prepares an annual report for the department, to be submitted to the appropriate dean or director on or about July 1 of each year;

l. performs such additional duties as the dean or director may deem appropriate to the office.

Last updated November 2015.

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1.02        Additional Assignments

Department heads and directors also serve on the Executive Committee of their colleges and should attend the regularly scheduled meetings.  The dean often appoints subcommittees and task forces from this committee, and both heads and directors should expect on occasion to be members of such subcommittees and task forces.  At least once a year, the heads and directors attend a meeting of the Deans, Directors, and Department Heads (DDH).  In most cases, the Provost and President set the agenda for this group. 

Last updated November 2015.

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1.03        Administrative evaluations

The Office of Institutional Research assists the VSU Faculty Senate with the annual evaluation of academic administrators.  Faculty are invited to submit constructive, anonymous feedback about their department head, dean, vice president for academic affairs, and president.  Institutional Research will then aggregate and share with the administrator.  [Reference: SACSCOC principle 3.2.10.]

Last updated November 2015.

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1.04        Department Head Professional Development

1.04.1  Academic Chairpersons Conference

Kansas State University sponsors an annual Academic Chairpersons Conference. Also, the American Council on Education sponsors a leadership academy for department chairs.  Consult with your dean about professional development opportunities.

Last updated November 2015.

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1.04.2  Peer-to-peer workshops

Often, your best resource on campus may be other department heads.  Consult with your dean, the Council of Department Heads, the IDEA Center, or Employee and Organizational Development with help in organizing more formal activities.

Last updated November 2015.

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1.05        Council of Department Heads (CDH)

The Council of Department Heads (CDH), composed for all university department heads, meets once per month during the academic year.  This Council can serve as a resource to discuss issues of common concern to all department heads.

Last updated November 2015.

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2.00        DEPARTMENTAL SCHEDULING, REGISTRATION, AND GRADING

2.01        Scheduling courses and building a schedule

One of the most demanding tasks for department heads is scheduling classes, which consists of several important steps.

Last updated November 2015.

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2.01.1    Off-campus instructional site

To serve students who may not be geographically located near Valdosta, it may be necessary to offer a face-to-face course at an off-campus instructional site. New off-campus instructional sites may require prior approval; consult with the Office of the Registrar as needed.

Last updated November 2015.

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2.02        Planning and due dates for schedules

To begin the planning process, one must consult with the Office of the Registrar for due dates for the fall, spring, and summer schedules.  In general, schedules for the spring are due by mid-August, and schedules for summer and fall are due in early December.  These dates are subject to change, but department heads and directors should allow time to begin the planning and the sharing of schedules with faculty members before submission to the Office of the Registrar.

Last updated November 2015.

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2.03        Sources of data for course planning

Before planning a schedule, department heads should consult departmental materials for offering classes and for the number of sections that the schedule will require.  Perhaps the most important preliminary guide is the previous year’s schedule and the tentative two-year cycle of upper division courses.  It should give a reasonable indication of what demands were.  However, one must analyze those demands in light of how enrollment patterns may have shifted during the year.  Department heads should consult faculty in terms of their course and time preferences for teaching.  Department heads should make sure that the classroom accommodates the maximum number of students enrolled in the course.  The seat capacity of a given classroom and its availability can be checked through the master course scheduling software (R-25).  A room can be requested through this software, which can be accessed through Banner Forms (formerly GUI Banner).  Overrides for a class must not be given beyond the capacity of the classroom.  

Last updated November 2015.

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2.04        Developing a two-year rotation for upper-division courses

A department should have a two-year rotation for all 3000-4000 level courses.  This rotation should assure that all required courses for majors are available within that span in the appropriate number of sections.  When this rotation is in place, one then decides when the classes should be offered (it is wise to rotate these courses among morning, afternoon, and evening), and which faculty will be teaching those courses.  The tentative two-year rotation for upper-division courses should be posted on the departmental website.

Last updated November 2015.

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2.05        Scheduling undergraduate courses/anticipating needs

The trickier part of the schedule may be deciding on the number of core curriculum sections needed.  Once again, enrollment information is important as well as enrollment figures from the previous semester (particularly for a sequential course).  The number of sections needed for core courses will also be dependent on the forecasted size of the incoming first-year class.

Last updated November 2015.

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2.05.1    Directed studies

Directed studies may be available within your department’s program of study.  They should be used, as needed, to help students meet curricular needs or to allow for more specialized study.  In general, directed studies are uncompensated overloads for the faculty members involved.  To set up a directed study, the faculty member should contact the department head who will work with the Registrar’s Office to assign a CRN for the course and register the student(s).

Last updated November 2015.

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2.05.2    Internship experiences and requests to waive mandatory fees

A number of academic departments offer internship experiences to their students. All of those which award academic credit should follow the “Guidelines for Granting Academic Credit for Participation in Internship Programs” found in the Academic Catalog. If students are participating in an internship, practicum, or externship at least 50 miles from Lowndes County, they may be eligible to apply for a waiver of mandatory fees. The faculty member overseeing the internship must initiate the process using the Request to Waive Allowable Mandatory Fees form.

Last updated Aug. 15, 2017.

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2.06        Scheduling graduate courses

When applicable, departments should construct graduate rotations as well.  Upper-division undergraduate courses may be cross-listed at the graduate level, but department heads should ensure that the graduate component of the course includes appropriate assignments/reading load for graduate credit.  Furthermore, attention should be given to scheduling some graduate courses during the evenings or weekends for students who work during the day.

Last updated November 2015.

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2.07        Online or hybrid courses

Online or hybrid courses should be scheduled to support the overall mission of a department or program as well as the university.  Hybrid or online courses should be identified as such prior to the start of a semester and clearly noted as such in Banner, and the delivery format of a course should not be changed after the semester starts.  See the following webpage for the USG distance education codes: http://www.valdosta.edu/academics/elearning/main/faculty-and-staff/faculty-resources/usg-distance-education-codes.php

Last updated November 2015.

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2.08        Scheduling cross-listed courses with other departments/programs

A department may schedule courses in conjunction with other departments and programs.  Some of these programs are listed below.  Department heads may establish rotations with some of these programs; in other cases, they may contact one another to see if faculty would be available to teach.  In these cases, department heads must evaluate departmental needs to see if faculty can be spared. 

Honors College (Honors Course Rotation)*

Perspectives**

Service course for other programs/minors

Courses for First Year Learning Communities

Courses for collaborative or interdisciplinary programs (ex., AFAM/WGST, AFAM/HIST, AFAM/ENGL)

*A department may offer specifically designated Honors courses.

**Department heads may schedule PERS classes.  The Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Undergraduate Studies serves as the coordinator of PERS classes, and department heads should consult this individual to avoid offering an excessive number of PERS seats in a given semester.

Last updated November 2015.

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2.09        Addressing faculty preferences/availability

Once department heads and directors determine what classes must be taught, they must establish which faculty should teach these courses and at what time.  Many find faculty-preference sheets helpful.  These sheets may indicate what courses faculty have taught or would like to teach as well as their preferred times.  Of course, one cannot guarantee that departments can meet all faculty preferences.  In addition, department heads should maintain lists of part-time faculty and should check their availability for the coming semester.

Last updated November 2015.

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2.10        Assigning classrooms/switching classrooms

As they build a schedule, department heads and directors must assign rooms for all classes.  They should maintain lists of classrooms normally assigned to their departments and the number of seats in each classroom.  A department head can schedule courses in those classrooms that have been historically designated for the department or program.  If a department or program has scheduling needs beyond the designated classrooms, the department head should work with the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs to secure a classroom for a given course.  As department heads prepare schedules, they often sort by faculty member, by class sections, and by classroom.  In this way, they avoid double booking a classroom or a faculty member. 

Besides size, department heads should also be aware of the types of classrooms needed: 

Smart classroom (computer and projector for instructor)

Electronic classroom (computers for all students)

Laboratory

Studio, etc.

Last updated November 2015.

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2.11        Forms for scheduling

Department heads will receive an electronic form from the Office of the Registrar which requests information for the course abbreviation, course number, course section, off-campus sites, number of seats, credit hours, days, beginning time, ending time, building, room, and instructor. 

Last updated November 2015.

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2.12        Ordering textbooks and other materials

After submitting the schedule, department heads should remind faculty of the due dates for ordering book and other course materials (including student response systems). These materials should be ordered through the VSU Bookstore/eFollett textbook request system.

Typically, textbook orders should be placed by October 15 for spring classes, and March 15 for summer and fall classes.  These orders must be placed on time because students should be able to see required materials on BANNER before they register for classes.

See also Textbooks and Materials Policies and Textbook Provision of the Higher Education Opportunity Act.

Last updated August 30, 2016.

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2.13        Monitoring class enrollment

Once schedules are on Banner, students and advisers may use them to plan for registration.  Advisement and registration usually begin about two weeks after midterm.

Last updated November 2015.

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2.13.1    Canceling and adding classes

Department heads may need to modify their schedules after submitting them.  The dean and VPAA must approve the scheduling of class times that deviate from the established options for the beginning time and ending time of a course.  According to enrollment needs, they may need to cancel classes.  Currently, classes must meet the following enrollment minimums: 20 for a core curriculum class, 15 for an upper-division course, and 10 for a graduate course.  While VSU allows some flexibility, department heads may expect to cancel severely under-enrolled classes, after consultation with the dean.  Department heads should explain these decisions to affected faculty and also assign these faculty to other classes.  After informing the faculty of canceled classes, the head or director should e-mail the Registrar.  If students are already enrolled in these classes, department heads must obtain a list of those students from Banner or the Registrar and inform them of changes.

On the other hand, enrollment figures may mandate that one add classes taught by part-time instructors or with full-time faculty moved from canceled classes.  To add classes that require additional resources, department heads must consult with the dean; they then should make arrangements with affected faculty.  They also must find available space, through consultation with the VPAA’s office.  Their next step is to email appropriate data to the Registrar including the course, section, room number, instructor, and number of students for the classes.

When department heads and directors must change locations of classes, they also should inform the Registrar.  Prior to changing the location of a class, department heads and directors must check on the availability of the room through the VPAA’s Office.  On the first day of class, departments should post notes in the affected rooms; they cannot assume that students already have received notices of room changes.

Last updated November 2015.

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2.13.2    Moving students into and out of classes

Once registration has begun, classes will begin to fill.  Invariably, some students will need classes which have been closed.  If courses reach their caps, departments may want to maintain waiting lists for these or new course sections.  Different departments have different ways of maintaining these lists, which are quite helpful.  After registration closes, some students may be dropped for nonpayment of fees, opening a slot for other students. 

Last updated November 2015.

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2.13.3    Overriding students into classes

Department heads, with faculty approvals, may add students to closed classes through Banner Forms, available only to the department head.  Some departments have override forms which contain the necessary information for department heads to perform overrides: the class number and section, the CRN number, the student’s name and VSU id number, and the instructor’s signature. 

Last updated November 2015.

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2.14        Registration

All undergraduate and graduate students must be advised before registration.  Students who have not been advised or have a Banner registration hold will not be able to access the registration system.  Departments and students should strictly observe published schedules, policies, and procedures for registration. The university cancels registrations for students who do not pay fees by the published deadlines. 

New students are expected to register for classes during orientation programs held prior to the first day of classes.  Currently enrolled students may register for courses during the following registration periods:

  • Early Registration is held approximately six weeks before the term begins. Registration priority is based on student classification in the following order: Graduate students and seniors; juniors; sophomores; first year.  Other categories such as student athletes and honors students may receive priority registration.
  • Regular Registration and drop/add are held immediately prior to the beginning of classes.  Registration is available on a first-come, first served basis.
  • Late Registration and continued drop/add are held for approximately three or four days after the term begins.  A late fee is assessed for registration during the Late Period.

Last updated November 2015.

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2.14.1    Add/Drop

Students may add classes during preregistration and during the official add/drop period at the beginning of each term.  This process occurs online.  The official add/drop period is generally the first week of classes during regular fall/spring terms but is shorter during summer and other abbreviated terms.  After the end of late registration (the add/drop period), students must complete paperwork to add classes to their schedules.

PROCESS FOR ADDING OR DROPPING FROM A COURSE:

TIMELINE

PROCESS

Pre-registration, Regular Registration, and Late Registration (before classes begin and usually the first week of class—may be a shorter period during abbreviated terms. Consult the Academic calendar for the schedule each semester.)

Students may add and drop on Banner.

Registration closed (generally after the first week of class)

If students need to add or drop, they must obtain an add/drop form from the Registrar’s Office.

After midterm

If students do not complete the appropriate add/drop process until after midterm, they must complete not only the add/drop form but also the late registration appeal form. This form must include a reason explaining why the student needs to add or drop a class after midterm.

Students may drop a class during preregistration and during the official add/drop period at the beginning of each term.  This process occurs online.  At the end of the semester, no official record of the student having been in the class exists.  “Dropping” a class is not the same as “withdrawing” from a class (see the discussion of withdrawals below).

The add/drop form requires the signatures of the instructors of the classes that students wish to add/drop as well as the signatures of the department heads of those classes.  While the Registrar’s Office will provide the appropriate forms, the approval of adds or drops will be made by the instructor and the department head. 

Department heads should be prepared to see drop/add forms and late registration forms from the second week of the semester throughout the end of a given term.  Department heads should generally NOT approve late adds after the first week of a course unless the student is able to provide a compelling reason for a late add and the instructor is able to verify that the student has been attending.  Attending the course is not always a sufficient rationale for approving a late add.  If students have attended beyond the end of the late registration period, students should withdraw from a class, not drop.  Department heads should not approve appeals for late drops unless students are able to document that they did not attend class beyond the first week and the reasons why they were not able to complete the online drop process during the official add/drop period. 

Last updated November 2015.

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2.14.2    Withdrawals

Students may withdraw from courses following the add/drop period until midterm by completing the withdrawal process on Banner.  Similarly, instructors may withdraw students from their classes during the Attendance Verification period at the beginning of each term.  A withdrawal before midterm is non-punitive, and the Registrar’s Office assigns a grade of “W”.  Students may not exercise this right to withdraw to avoid sanction for academic dishonesty.  It is the responsibility of the student to complete the withdrawal process. 

After midterm, students are not allowed to withdraw; however, students may petition an exception for cases of hardship by completing a petition for withdrawal form available in the Office of the Dean of Students, Student Union, 3rd floor. The petition will be reviewed by that office and possibly also by the University Withdrawal Appeals Committee and will become a permanent part of the student’s file.  If the petition is approved, the instructor will be asked to assign a grade of “W” or “WF” after midterm.  “WF” is calculated in the grade point average the same as “F.”  Any student who discontinues class attendance after mid-term and does not officially withdraw may be assigned a grade of “F.”

Regular withdrawal (generally from the end of the first week of class to midterm)

 Students may withdraw on Banner.

Late Withdrawal (after midterm until the last day of the term)

Students must appeal for late withdrawals through the Dean of Students


Last updated September 7, 2017.

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2.14.3    Limited Course Withdrawal Policy

Effective Fall 2010, all undergraduate students are limited to five course withdrawal “W” grades for their entire enrollment at VSU.  Once a student has accumulated five “W” grades, all subsequent withdrawals (whether initiated by the student in Banner or initiated by the instructor on the proof roll) will be recorded as “WF.”  The grade “WF” is calculated as an “F” for GPA purposes.  The limit does not apply if a student withdraws from all classes in a given semester before the midterm point of the semester.  Transfer students, regardless of their classification upon enrolling at VSU, are also limited to five withdrawals. 

Last updated November 2015.

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2.15        Attendance Verification

Department heads must stress to faculty members that they should take attendance in all classes, at least for the first couple of weeks of a semester.  By the end of the second week of regular fall and spring semesters, faculty must verify student attendance in each of their classes through Banner.  During summer and shorter terms, they will need to verify attendance even earlier.  On the Banner rolls, faculty need to confirm whether students have attended a  course or  have never attended a course.  If students are marked as never having attended a course, a W will appear on the student’s transcript.  If a student has been attending a course but is not listed on the Banner roll, the instructor should notify the Office of the Registrar.  Fundamentally, it is a student’s responsibility to complete the required paperwork for a late add of a course.

Last updated November 2015.

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2.16        In-progress and final grades

Faculty assign both in-progress (midterm) and final grades through Banner.  Faculty—including part-time faculty—may access their grade sheets and enter their grades.  In-progress grades must be entered for all 1000- and 2000-level classes.  Department heads should emphasize to faculty member that they must submit final grades in Banner before they leave the campus or go on vacation.  VSU does not require In-progress grades during the summer, although a faculty member may request that the Registrar enable that function in Banner for a lower-division summer course.

Last updated November 2015.

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2.17        Incompletes

Faculty are not able to assign the grade of Incomplete through Banner when entering final grades.  The student must initiate a request for an incomplete.  The form is available from the Registrar’s Office and requires the signature of the student, instructor of the course, and the department head.  The form is then sent to the Office of the Registrar.  Department heads should make sure that the form clearly notes the reason for requesting an incomplete, the remaining course assignments, and the due dates for those assignments.  If a student has requested an incomplete but is not on campus (online course or the student is hospitalized), the instructor of the course can complete the form and submit it to the department head.  The form should be submitted before the entering of final grades.

Last updated November 2015.

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2.18        Change of grade forms

Department heads should advise faculty as well as students that final grades submitted by the course instructor may not be changed except for approved special circumstances such as an error in the calculation of a grade.  Department heads should counsel faculty that grades must not be changed because a student’s financial aid or academic standing is jeopardized.  Faculty can obtain a Change of Grade form from the Office of the Registrar.  Students should never handle the form.  The form must clearly articulate the reason for changing the grade, and the form must be signed by the instructor and the department head.  If the change of grade involves a “W” (the grade is changed to a W or from a W to another grade), it must be approved by the dean and VPAA.

Last updated November 2015.

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2.19        Grade Appeals

Department heads and directors need to be prepared to explain the grade appeal process to students as well as faculty.  The form for a grade appeal can be accessed at http://www.valdosta.edu/academics/registrar/forms/.  The student must attempt to initiate the grade appeal process within 30 working days after the Office of the Registrar has posted final grades.  As noted on the form, students can appeal grades for the following reasons: an obvious error in the calculation of the grade, the assignment of a grade to a particular student by application of more exacting requirements than were applied to other students in the course, the assignment of a grade to a particular student on some basis other than performance in the course, and the assignment of a grade by a substantial departure from the instructor’s previously announced standards.  The student must submit a detailed rationale for appealing the grade.  After the student files a grade appeal, the instructor should meet with the student to discuss the appeal.  The student must be provided with a copy of the instructor’s response.  If the grade appeal then moves to the department head or director, a meeting should be held with the student to discuss the appeal and the student must receive a copy of the response from the department head or director.  If the student elects to appeal to the dean, the department head or director should deliver the grade appeal paperwork to the dean’s office.  Instructors should respond to grade appeals within 14 days of receipt, and department heads or directors should respond with 10 days of receipt.

Last updated November 2015.

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3.00        ADVISING AND GRADUATION

3.01        Advising new majors/graduate students

Advising students is one of the most important tasks of all academic departments and programs, and many faculty members serve as advisers.  All new first-time first year students are advised by the Centralized Advising Center (http://www.valdosta.edu/student/centralized-advising/).  Once students have completed 30 hours and have a declared major, they are advised by the department of their major.  In graduate programs, advising may be assigned to a graduate coordinator or to individual faculty members.

Last updated November 2015.

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3.01.1    Change of Major/Minor form

Department heads and directors often see many of the students who wish to declare a major or minor.  Forms for this declaration are available from the Registrar, and departments should keep some on hand.  These forms must be completed by students and signed by departments from which students transfer and by the receiving department.  Students should take completed change of major forms to receiving departments; afterward, they must deliver a copy to the Office of the Registrar.  The Change of Major/Minor Form can be found at

.

Last updated November 2015.

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3.01.2    AP Test Scores and VSU Equivalencies

Students who have taken Advanced Placement tests will be assigned course equivalencies by VSU’s Admissions Office when that office receives the scores. Department Heads should also keep updated on current tests and work with their departments to update equivalencies as needed. Current VSU course equivalences are available at http://www.valdosta.edu/academics/academic-affairs/advising/ap-scores-course-hours.php.  More information about all available Advanced Placement tests is available at http://professionals.collegeboard.com/testing/ap.

Last updated November 2015.

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3.01.3   IB Equivalencies

Valdosta State University recognizes the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IB). College credit will be awarded for exam scores completed at the higher level as shown at https://www.valdosta.edu/admissions/undergraduate/documents/ap-and-ib-credit.pdf. Standard level exam scores of 5 or higher will be considered for college credit for IB diploma completers only.  To receive credit, students need to request that official IB examination results be sent directly to the Admissions Office. The University is authorized by the Board of Regents to accept a maximum of 24 semester hours of IB credit. Department Heads should also keep updated on current tests and work with their departments to update equivalencies as needed.

Students receiving IB credit for U.S. Government/Politics and/or American History from non-Georgia high schools must validate Georgia legislative proficiency by passing a Georgia history exemption exam offered by the Office of Testing. See “State of Georgia Legislative Requirements” in the Undergraduate Catalog.

More information about this program is available at http://www.ibo.org/.

Last updated November 2015.

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3.01.4   Cambridge AICE Equivalencies

Valdosta State University recognizes the Cambridge AICE Exam. College credit will be awarded for exam scores completed at the level as shown at https://www.valdosta.edu/academics/academic-affairs/advising/cambridge-aice.php  To receive credit, students need to request that official AICE examination results be sent directly to the Admissions Office. Department Heads should also keep updated on current tests and work with their departments to update equivalencies as needed.

Students receiving AICE credit for U.S. Government/Politics and/or American History from non-Georgia high schools must validate Georgia legislative proficiency by passing a Georgia history exemption exam offered by the Office of Testing. See “State of Georgia Legislative Requirements.”

Last updated November 2015.

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3.02        Advising students

Academic Advisors should:

  • help advisees understand the requirements of their programs (both general education and major) and to plan appropriately to meet those requirements.
  • keep track of any changes in degree programs or requirements.
  • meet regularly with advisees to assist them with selecting and scheduling appropriate courses to meet program requirements.
  • inform advisees of the standards for satisfactory academic progress and to keep track of advisee performance.
  • help advisees prepare paperwork necessary to meet program requirements, such as course substitutions and waivers.
  • keep careful records of each advising session and of the advice given to advisees.
  • work with advisees to provide correct information for the application for graduation.
  • refer advisees as needed to other offices on campus for assistance with academic, personal, or emotional difficulties.

Advisees should:

  • know the requirements of the degree program in which they are enrolled, including keeping track of any changes each year.
  • know when to submit required paperwork, including the application for graduation two semesters before the anticipated date.
  • work with an advisor to develop a curriculum plan which will allow them to stay on track for their planned graduation, recognizing other responsibilities they might have including family and work obligations.
  • keep careful records of their own progress toward their desired degree.
  • maintain regular contact with their advisor, including letting the advisor know of any changes since the last advising session.
  • prepare, in advance, for each session with their advisor and to bring relevant materials to advising sessions.
  • follow through with questions concerning degree requirements, grades, paperwork, or other matters.
  • become familiar with resources available to help them.

Last updated November 2015.

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3.02.1    Full-Time and Part Time Enrollment for Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Undergraduates: Twelve or more semester hours constitute full-time enrollment for undergraduate students; a typical undergraduate load of fifteen hours per semester will guarantee graduation in four academic years. An academic load of nineteen hours is permitted without special approval; however, an academic load higher than nineteen hours requires completion of the VSU Petition to Register for More than Nineteen Hours (available from the Registrar’s Office), showing the approvals of the advisor, the department head of the student's major, and the appropriate Dean or Director. The maximum approved load is twenty-one hours.

Graduate Students: Graduate students are considered full-time if they enroll in nine or more credit hours each semester. Half-time is five to eight credit hours per semester. To maintain a graduate assistantship, students must be enrolled in a minimum of six (6) graduate-level hours each semester they have the assistantship.

Last updated November 2015.

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3.02.2    Course Transfer Equivalents

To determine transfer equivalency, undergraduate students and advisors may use the course equivalency tool, available at https://banweb.valdosta.edu/pls/prod/hwwktreq.find_state

For graduate students, the academic advisor reviews official transcripts to determine course equivalence/similarity. If the advisor determines the course is an appropriate transfer course, he/she sends a course substitution form or a transfer credit memo to the Graduate School for approval. The course substitution form or memo specifies the course, hours, institution of origin, and how the course should be applied (e.g., general elective or a course substitution for an existing course in the curriculum). Courses considered for transfer credit must: (1) be no more than 7 years of age, or more specifically, may not be over 7 years of age when the student completes the degree at VSU; (2) be earned at an institution that is regionally accredited; (3) be graduate-level courses; and (4) not exceed specific program limitations on total number of hours. All transfer requests are subject to approval by the Dean of the Graduate School, and grades transferred fall under the current deficiency point system.

Last updated November 2015.

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3.03        Assigning advisers to advisees

When students declare majors, department heads should assign them academic advisers.  Sometimes the head may assign advisers because of students’ particular tracks or concentrations or to equalize advisement duties among all faculty members.  Some departments have designated advisors who receive reassigned time.  Departments should list student advisors in BANNER. In order to list advisees, department heads should have access to Internet Native Banner (INB).  Applications for access are available on the Registrar’s homepage (http://www.valdosta.edu/academics/registrar/documents/banner-inb-request-form.pdf ).  Advisors are entered in a form called SGAADVR in Banner INB (Banner Forms).  Departments should encourage advisors to maintain current, accurate records through DegreeWorks.

Last updated November 2015.

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3.04        Advising process

Courses appear in Banner about a month prior to early registration.  Departments and programs should schedule advising weeks prior to the first day of registration and utilize sign-up sheets or online appointment schedules for students to reserve advising slots; however, advising often occurs daily.  When an advisor receives a student’s folder, that folder should contain all the relevant information on that student, including transfer credits and courses already taken.  Departments and programs should use advisement forms, which need to be updated continually by advisors and students.  At least two semesters prior to graduation, advisors and students need to submit an “Application for Degree,” which should be attached to a copy of the completed departmental advising form.  In that way, the Office of the Registrar can cross-check the advisor’s calculations.  Any advising software should be double-checked manually against the department checklist to identify the remaining courses for a student to graduate.  It is the student’s responsibility to deliver the Application for Graduation to the Office of the Registrar.

Last updated November 2015.

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3.05        Course substitution and waivers

As part of the advising process, advisors may need to substitute one course for another required course (especially with transfer students) or to waive a course or requirement.  Both actions require the appropriate paperwork, which must be signed by both the advisor and department head.  If the course substitution is in another field, department heads should call other appropriate department heads for advice.  In most cases, a course description is sufficient to justify a course substitution; however, a department head may request a syllabus for the course in question.  It is the responsibility of the student to provide the syllabus, especially if the course is from another institution.  All course substitutions pertaining to the core curriculum (Areas A-F) and waivers must be signed by the dean as well as the Office of Academic Affairs.  Course substitutions for courses in the major must be signed by the dean and are then forwarded to the Office of the Registrar.  Course substitutions and waivers for graduate programs are signed by the dean of the major and then the graduate dean.  For transfer students, course substitutions for Area B (Perspectives classes) are common.  For VSU students who have no transfer coursework, other VSU classes should not be substituted for Area B.  Those students must complete the institutional requirement of two PERS classes, each from a different area of the Perspectives offerings (there are seven areas within Area B).

Last updated November 2015.

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3.06        Transient permission form

Undergraduate VSU students may request permission to take classes at another institution to count as part of their program of study.  In most cases, the Transient Permission Form is appropriate for a student moving back home during the summer and taking coursework at a nearby institution.  The form is also used for students participating in study abroad programs at other institutions.  This form should generally not be used for students who are struggling in a particular course at VSU or looking to avoid a course or sequence of courses at VSU.  The process for approval and the Transient Permission Form can be found at http://www.valdosta.edu/academics/registrar/forms/.  The form must be signed by the academic advisor of the student and the department head.  The dean’s signature is required for students on academic suspension or attending local colleges.  Transient permission may be granted to allow students to attend other local institutions if courses are not available on the VSU campus.

Last updated November 2015.

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3.07        Institutional credits for a degree

To ensure integrity of academic degrees awarded, particularly for transfer students, VSU must ensure that for undergraduate degrees, “At least 25 percent of the credit hours required for the degree are earned through instruction offered by the institution awarding the degree” (SACSCOC principle 3.5.2), and “At least one-third of credits toward a graduate or a post-baccalaureate professional degree are earned through instruction offered by the institution awarding the degree” (SACSCOC principle 3.6.3). 

Last updated November 2015.

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3.08        eCore, eMajor, and online institutions

When advising students, sometimes advisers discover that they cannot meet the needs of students through the on-campus schedule of courses.  Alternatives include online courses, eCore (http://www.valdosta.edu/academics/elearning/ecore.php), and eMajor (http://www.valdosta.edu/academics/online-programs/emajor/welcome.php).  Department heads and directors should have reference information on these alternative delivery systems, and they should advise students that online courses taken outside the University System of Georgia must be from regionally accredited institutions.  Furthermore, students should be careful when enrolling in online laboratory courses to make sure the coursework will count at VSU or for a professional program.

Last updated November 2015.

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3.09        Applying for graduation

Students should apply for graduation at least two full semesters in advance of the anticipated graduation date. Students should pick up an application for graduation form from the Registrar. As part of the application for graduation packet, advisors must list all remaining courses students have for graduation (including any courses currently in progress).

Hints:

  • Be sure to check the year in which the student entered the University, and use the requirements listed in that catalogue. Students who changed their major or interrupted their college work for more than a year become subject to the requirements of the catalogue in effect at the time of the change or re-enrollment to fulfill degree requirements.
  • In listing remaining courses, it is wise to be as generic as possible. If, for example, a student may take one of several electives, list them all. If students take any course other than that listed on the application to graduate, the advisor must fill out a course substitution form.
  • Advisors must also give students a copy of the rubric used by the department to show the courses completed in the specific program. This rubric helps the Registrar and the students if this form is completed clearly and carefully, listing the semester in which each course was taken, the number of hours, and the final grade.

After students have submitted the Application for Degree to the Registrar, that office will evaluate the materials. Within a few weeks, the advisors and the students should receive a copy of the completed form, listing any other courses that the Registrar believes that the students still need to complete. If there are any questions or problems, advisors should call the Registrar. However, if the form has been submitted early enough, advisors and students still have enough time to make any needed adjustments to the students’ schedule.

Advisors should keep certain requirements in mind:

  • Students must have completed the requisite number of semester hours of academic work for their degree (a minimum of 120 for most undergraduate programs and generally a minimum of 30 for many graduate degrees);
  • For undergraduates, the academic work must include at least 39 hours of upper division work (courses numbered 3000 and above) with at least 21 semester hours in the major field;
  • Undergraduate students must have a minimum institutional GPA of 2.0, and graduate students must have a minimum 3.0 institutional GPA;
  • Undergraduate students must have a "C" or better in all major area courses and in the courses for a minor;
  • For undergraduate students, thirty of the last forty hours must be completed in residence at VSU;
  • For undergraduate students, no more than ninety semester hours from a four-year institution may be applied toward the degree.

Last updated November 2015.

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3.10        Requests to participate in an alternate graduation ceremony

Students may be permitted to participate in an alternate graduation ceremony (before their scheduled graduation date) in the following circumstances: 

1. The student is in good academic standing at VSU with a 2.00 or higher GPA for undergraduates and a 3.0 or higher GPA for graduate students.

2. The student has six or fewer hours remaining in order to complete the degree.*

*Some exceptions may be granted, including those for specific cohorts of students, particularly those who would usually graduate during the summer and those with internships or other required experiences that take them out of the area.

Process:

Students should complete the “Request to Participate in an Alternate Graduation Ceremony” form, available at the Registrar’s Office. This form must be signed by the advisor and department head of the student’s major (verifying that the students meet the criteria above) and then returned to the Registrar’s Office for processing. Students should remember that participation in a graduation ceremony is not the same as graduation. Once students have completed all degree requirements, their official graduation will be recorded as the next available graduation date. 

Last updated November 2015.

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3.11        Faculty expectations regarding commencement

Commencement is the culmination of the students’ VSU career, and many students often request that faculty members who have been important to their undergraduate or graduate experience be present at their commencement ceremony.  While faculty members may not be able to attend all commencement ceremonies, they should try to attend at least one per year.

Last updated November 2015.

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3.12        Early Alert System

Through the Faculty Portal, VSU instructors are able to access the rolls for all their classes.  During the course of a term, if a student is not performing well (excessive absences, failures on tests or other assignments), instructors should post a warning about the student so that appropriate interventions can be applied.

Last updated November 2015.

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3.13        Thesis and dissertation deadlines

If your program offers graduate degrees, please be sure that advisors and directors are aware of the thesis and dissertation guidelines, available at http://www.valdosta.edu/academics/graduate-school/thesis-and-dissertation-information.php

Last updated November 2015.

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4.00        INSTITUTIONAL EFFECTIVENESS, CURRICULUM, ASSESSMENT, AND PLANNING

4.01        Professional accreditations

The home department is ultimately responsible for specialized or program-specific accreditation; however, the department should involve many stakeholders.  Include the Office of Institutional Effectiveness when drafting compliance standards and for proofreading before submitting a final copy to the accreditor.  A department can request data required for reviews to the Office of Institutional Research.  Numerous pre-built reports are already available in the VSU Data Warehouse.  Email a final copy of the self-study document and the returned final reaffirmation letter to assessment@valdosta.edu. Also, review periodically the Accreditations and Memberships webpage:  https://www.valdosta.edu/about/facts/accreditations-and-memberships.php.  Send any revisions or inaccuracies to assessment@valdosta.edu and

Все лампы наверху погасли. Не было видно даже кнопочных электронных панелей на дверях кабинетов. Когда ее глаза привыкли к темноте, Сьюзан разглядела, что единственным источником слабого света в шифровалке был открытый люк, из которого исходило заметное красноватое сияние ламп, находившихся в подсобном помещении далеко внизу.

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