Frequently Asked Questions regarding Good Practice in Academic Processes was conceived as a dynamic document that grows as more questions are received or created. Answers are also updated when needed. A quarterly update is emailed to faculty and staff.
You are invited to submit questions and suggest themes. You are also invited to criticize constructively both the substance and form of the document. Your contributions will be greatly appreciated.
Q. What are university requirements regarding student class attendance?
A. Regular attendance is required at all classes, laboratories, and other academic appointments. Faculty members are expected to keep attendance records. When the number of absences exceeds 20% of the total course appointments for undergraduate classes or 10% for graduate classes, the teacher may assign a failing grade.
Q. What about students attending classes for which they are not listed in the Class Roster?
A. Students must be registered to attend. If a student’s name is not on the roster and the student claims to be registered, ask him/her to provide proof of enrollment from the Office of Academic Records (second floor of the administration building, west side). Also, please report these cases to the Office for us to contact them.
Q. What is FERPA?
A. FERPA is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, known also as the Buckley Amendment (for its sponsor, Senator James Buckley). It was approved by the United States Congress in August 1974, and has been significantly amended subsequently.
FERPA was designed to assert and protect the rights of students and parents to access the student’s educational records and to protect their privacy by limiting disclosure of those records. Parents transfer those rights to their children when they reach 18 years of age or when they attend a postsecondary educational institution.
There are three basic rights governed by FERPA: 1) The right to inspect and review the educational records maintained by the institutions the student attends. 2) The right to challenge and require amendment of records that are inaccurate, misleading or in violation of the student’s privacy rights. 3) The right to require the institution to obtain the student’s written consent prior to disclosure of personally identifiable information, with exceptions noted in the statute.
Q. What is “personally identifiable information?”
A. Personally identifiable information includes name, address, social security number or personal characteristics that would make the student’s identity traceable.
Q. I’ve heard of “directory information” as related to FERPA. What is it?
A. FERPA gives institutions the right to define certain pieces of information as “directory information,” or information for which the institution does not need to obtain students’ consent to release it. Andrews University has classified the following as directory information: name, local address, local phone number, major field of study, year in college, e-mail address, dates of attendance, degrees or certificates and dates they were awarded, scholarships, honors received and awards received.
Q. What are the implications of FERPA for me as a teacher?
A. As a faculty member you are classified as a school official with a “legitimate educational interest” under FERPA. This entitles you to have access to selected portions of the students’ educational records, without their prior expressed written consent. These are available to you online, and you need to enter your username and password to access them.
With your right to access student’s information, you also have the obligation to protect that information, so that it is not disclosed to others who do not have the same rights. Leaving your office while personal information of a student remains visible on your computer screen or printing that information and placing it where others can view it are examples of careless handling of such information, which can make you and the institution legally liable.
Q. It has been my practice to post a list of my students’ ID numbers with grades, but I’m told this is a problem. Is this true? And if so, why?
A. It is a problem. It is a violation of FERPA to post students’ names, ID numbers, Social Security numbers or any other piece of personally identifiable information. This is more critical when you associate this information with their grades, a very sensitive piece of information for some students.
Q. The Andrews Bulletin does not list A+ as a grade. Is this a mistake?
A. A+ is not a valid grade at Andrews University. D+ and D- are not valid grades either. A, A- and D are valid grades.
Q. Is it appropriate to assign a DG for a course in which a student fails to turn in a required assignment due to illness or another valid cause?
A. No. In illness or other unavoidable circumstances that prevent a student to complete course requirements, the appropriate grade is I (Incomplete) [see below].
A DG (Deferred Grade) is used for selected courses that because of their nature include requirements that are not likely to be completed within one term. These courses have been previously designated as such by the dean/director or appropriate committee, and this action has been communicated to the Office of Academic Records for the course to be coded as such in the system’s course master file. If a course is not coded for this type of grade, the system will not take it.
Q. How do I find out whether a DG is appropriate for a specific course?
A. Click on Class Roster Lookup. You will be asked to enter your username and password to access it. The easiest way to find out information regarding one of your classes is to click on the Display Courses button for the View Your Classes section for the term you select. After you click the Display Courses button and select a class, you will be given information about that class and about each of the students who are or were registered.
What types of grades are appropriate for a class is indicated on the Grade Type column. If that column is not displayed, you may click on the Change Format link at the top of the screen to add it. You can do that also with other pieces of information you might want to add to your screen.
Q. Are there any rules governing the use of an Incomplete grade?
A. An Incomplete grade is given to students whose class work is incomplete because of illness or unavoidable circumstances, and not because of negligence or inferior performance. When an Incomplete grade is used, an Incomplete Contract must be submitted to the Office of Academic Records, normally signed by both the teacher and the student. Incomplete grades are given only when the major portion of the class requirements has been completed. The Incomplete Contract form specifies the details that must be included and the regulations that govern Incomplete grades.
Q. What is the procedure to change grades?
A. If the grade change involves replacing an Incomplete or a Deferred Grade with the actual final grade, the teacher must come to Academic Records to make the change in the appropriate grade book. These changes must be initialed and dated by the teacher in the book. When changes are needed because of a mistake made by the teacher, the teacher must fill an Official Grade Change form that includes the teacher’s signature and the appropriate dean’s signature. Changes are allowed without the teacher’s signature only in extenuating circumstances, but then other types of teacher’s approval are pursued. After death of a faculty member, the school appoints another faculty member to resolve situations involving grade changes.
Grade changes must normally be made within the term following that in which the grade was assigned for classes taken on campus. No revisions are normally allowed after two terms following the term when the class was offered. In classes offered in an extension campus the grade change must occur within three terms following the term when the class was taught.
Q. When are teachers expected to turn in grades?
A. The deadline for turning in grades is generally the Tuesday following the end of the final exams period. Teachers are expected to strictly adhere to this deadline.
Q. Please summarize the registration process
A. Simple: Just Check It! Well, not so simple. Let me explain. Registration is done through Registration Central.
Registration in Registration Central is a student-managed process. It is the student’s responsibility to confirm that the process is complete by verifying that each box is checked off. There is one box for each link, and each link indicates an action required to complete the process.
Actions include academic information (verifying degree, major and advisor); addresses (verifying or updating physical and electronic addresses); holds (a list of impediments, if any, to proceed with class registration, and what to do about them); class registration (the only advisor-managed part of the process, which involves selecting classes and entering them into the system); student insurance (purchasing Andrews insurance or providing a waiver through verification of valid insurance ownership); and financial clearance (putting a financial plan in place and making the first payment required by such plan).
Registration actions may be taken in any order, except holds (if any), which must be cleared before class registration, and student insurance which must precede financial clearance. Students are encouraged to complete their class registration before financial clearance. On a specific date duly published, however, class registration or dropping/adding classes is no longer possible without financial clearance. Therefore it is advantageous to register for classes early, when it can still be done without completing the financial clearance requirements.
Q. Wow! Are you sure students do not get confused with so much stuff about registration?
A. Registration Central is a user-friendly and intuitive environment that most students manage well from their first attempt. For those who need help, it provides help screens, a list of important dates, and, for those who need help from a person to resolve a specific problem, a list of helpful contacts.
Q. You said that registration of classes is the only advisor-managed part of the registration process. What does that mean for me as a faculty member?
A. If you are an academic advisor, you will be working personally with a selected group of students assigned to you as your “advisees.” Academic advising includes registration of classes, but it is much more than that. You can obtain more information about academic advising through the Academic Advising office. Academic advisors have access to tools and detailed instructions for student registration, available under Advisor Tools, in the Faculty & Staff section of the Andrews University main web page.
Q. How do I know if a student is registered in my class?
A. Click on Class Roster Lookup. You will be asked to enter your username and password. Class Roster Lookup gives you the list of your students and information both about the class and each student.
Q. Does the Registrar’s Office provide lists of students registered to teachers?
A. Yes, it does. All teachers receive one set of class lists by mid-semester. Faculty members are required to check for students who are attending classes for which they are not registered and students registered who are not attending, and to report these to Academic Records. Mid-semester is a key verification point. More than that, Government regulations require institutions that receive financial aid to document the last recorded date of a student’s class attendance. When a student stops attending classes without using the proper procedure, the institution depends solely on teachers to document this (more about this under Withdrawal).
Q. The University Calendar has two different dates per semester called “Last day” when a student can “drop” classes. Would you explain the difference?
A. Classes “dropped” during the first ten calendar days of a semester (on the “last day to drop a class with full tuition refund”) just “disappear.” They are not included on the student’s transcript. Classes “dropped” on the date designated as “Last day to... drop a class with a W” (close to the end of the semester) are recorded in the transcript with a W (Withdrawal) as the grade. If students drop classes after this date, they obtain the grade they earn (which may be an F).
Q. What kind of guidance can I give to students who need to stop attending the university? Can they obtain a refund? What actions do they need to take to stop charges in their account?
A. Students get a tuition refund when they withdraw from the university within specific time limits. They get a full refund during the first 10 days of the Fall and Spring semesters or during the first 3 days of a Summer session. There is no refund on and after the 25th day of the Fall and Spring or on and after the 11th day of a Summer session. To obtain the refund and stop charges in their accounts, they need the required signatures in the appropriate form for withdrawal of individual courses or for complete withdrawal.
Q. Do I have any responsibility regarding students who stop attending classes without formally notifying the university or me?
A. The United States Department of Education issues a Code of Federal Regulations regarding financial aid, which requires institutions that receive financial aid to document the last recorded date of a student’s class attendance. When a student stops attending classes without formally withdrawing, our only means of complying with this regulation is notification from instructors to the Office of Academic Records. So if a student is absent from one of your classes for more than one week with no known cause, please inform this office by e-mail to email@example.com or by phone to extension 6229. We will take steps to follow up appropriately.