The following academic policies are of particular importance to faculty and students as they navigate the academic year. Contact Prof. Michael Arnush, Associate Dean of the Faculty, at email@example.com if you have questions about any of the policies listed below. Texts in italics constitute the official policies.
Every year, a number of faculty contact the Associate Dean of the Faculty for Student Academic Affairs about students and colleagues who appear to disregard the academic calendar (e.g., advisees who struggle to complete final exams administered during the last week of class or during Study Days, students who seem to have rescheduled their exams so that they may enjoy an early start to their summer break, etc.).
Although some exceptions to the academic calendar are justified by the special (emergency) needs of students and faculty, many exceptions appear to be granted for less compelling reasons. This situation is problematic for several reasons. The college has an obligation to meet its own and State Ed's standards for the amount of instructional time worthy of credit. As important, the routine granting of special exceptions raises questions of academic rigor and fairness, especially for faculty and students who adhere to the full academic calendar.
See these policies for the end of the semester:
A few reminders:
- By faculty legislation, "written final examinations may not be given in whole or in part prior to the scheduled examination period." Although individual instructors have every right to schedule quizzes, hourly exams, and written assignments at the times they deem appropriate during the semester, final exams—those more cumulative and culminating tests which can be construed as "final" in nature—should be reserved for the final exam period. The final exam period may also be used to schedule non-cumulative exams, critiques, and projects. The goal is to preserve the last week of the semester for instructional time and allow students to handle their end-of-semester load by utilizing Study Days.
- Skidmore policy does not allow the scheduling of events during Study Days (including the Study Day in October of the fall term) that would distract students from study and review opportunities. Faculty may not hold exams and final presentations during this period. Review sessions to prepare for exams are acceptable as long as they are not mandatory. Additionally, curricular and co-curricular activities that are not directly related to academic work should not be scheduled by any department, program, office, or committee.
- Faculty and students are required to adhere to the published schedule for final exams. The final exam schedule is published early in the semester by the Registrar's Office and cannot be changed except when "conflicts" exist (defined as two exams in the same time slot or three exams during the same day). A student's travel arrangements do not constitute a conflict. Faculty who anticipate difficulty meeting the grade submission deadline should contact the Registrar's Office to discuss alternatives.
- The Monday and Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving are instructional days. Faculty should not cancel class or excuse absences during this period. Making special exceptions puts pressure on faculty colleagues to do the same and dissuades students from honoring the full academic calendar.
When confronting an apparent violation of the Honor Code, faculty may find it helpful to refer to the Academic Integrity Handbook. Faculty should bear in mind that the grade penalties described in this document are guidelines. Faculty have final authority over each student's grade in this as in other contexts. If faculty wish to work outside the guidelines—for example, by adopting a "zero tolerance" policy on plagiarism that results in a failing grade regardless of the severity of the offense—faculty should state this policy on their syllabi. Faculty should also consider explicitly discussing with their students the limits of collaboration and their expectations about the proper documentation of sources, two areas that often lead to inadvertent (but still egregious) violations of the Honor Code.
Faculty should be mindful that all violations of the Academic Honor Code must be reported. If the charge is sustained, the infraction may have consequences for the student beyond any grade penalty that the faculty member imposes. A thorough description of these consequences, along with a description of the limited forgiveness and appeal policies, can be found in the Sanctions and Further Impact document.
ACADEMIC PROBATION AND PROGRESS TOWARD THE DEGREE
If a student's grade point for a single semester falls below 2.00, or if the student's cumulative grade point average falls below 2.00, they are placed on "probation." "Probation" indicates to the student and the faculty advisor that the student is in serious academic difficulty. Please see a complete description of "probation" and its consequences, and the "Minimum Academic Standards for Continuation."
ACCOMMODATING Students with Disabilities, PROVIDING ACCESSIBILITY
In typical years, 10-12% of Skidmore students provide documentation related to a physical, psychological, or learning disability that qualifies them for academic accommodation. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires us to provide students with disabilities both meaningful access to all college programs and activities and any individualized accommodation they need to realize an equal opportunity to succeed.
Faculty have a responsibility to inform students with disabilities about the process of accessing accommodations. The Curriculum Committee asks that faculty include a statement on each syllabus that encourages students to consult with Student Academic Services if they have a disability. Such a statement will establish a line of communication with your students and indicate to them that you are open to discussing their disability and need for accommodation. An example of such a statement follows:
"If you are a student with a disability and believe you will need academic accommodation, you must formally request accommodation from Meg Hegener, Coordinator of Student Access Services. You will also need to provide documentation which verifies the existence of a disability and supports your request. For further information, please call 580-8150 or stop by the office of Student Academic Services in Starbuck Center."
Conscientious Religious Observance Policy
If religious observances cause absence from class, campus employment, athletic practice, and/or game days or necessitates accommodations, students should notify their faculty, coaches, or supervisors prior to the date(s) of their absence. New York State policy and Skidmore College policy mandates that students be allowed to make up academic work and/or campus employment requirements without penalty. These accommodations should not reduce the overall expectations of a course nor unduly burden the student requesting accommodation. Faculty must permit students to take a makeup examination without any penalty if they have to miss an examination due to religious observances. Similarly, faculty must permit students to submit missed assignments by an agreed upon due date, without penalty.
Although not required, the College highly recommends that students submit written notification of the pending religious observances at the start of the semester or at least one week before the date. As an option, students may use this form. Distributing the written notification during the first week of classes, campus employment, or the start of the athletic season gives students, faculty, coaches, or supervisors time to prepare for the absence.
If a student, supervisor, coach, or faculty member feels the policy is being violated, they should contact the Dean of Faculty Office at 518-580-5705 (Palamountain 416), the Dean of Students Office at 518-580-5760 (Case Center 313), or Human Resources at 518-580-5800 (Barrett Center first floor).
In spring 2017 the Skidmore faculty approved a new curriculum, which took effect with the Class of 2024. The new curriculum consists of four overarching themes: Integration, Foundations, Inquiries, and work In the Major. Resources:
Diversity and Inclusion
Skidmore College is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive community in which members develop their abilities to live in a complex and interconnected world. Consistent with our educational mission, we recognize ourselves as a community that respects individual identities based on varying sociocultural characteristics such as race, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, national origin, first language, religious and spiritual tradition, age, ability, socioeconomic status and learning style. We strive to create a socially just world that honors the dignity and worth of each individual, and we seek to build a community centered on mutual respect and openness to ideas—one in which individuals value cultural and intellectual diversity and share the responsibility for creating a welcoming, safe and inclusive environment. We recognize that our community is most inclusive when all members participate to their full capacity in the spirited and sometimes challenging conversations that are at the center of the college's educational mission.
FERPA: PROTECTING STUDENTS' ACADEMIC RIGHTS
Faculty should not place graded student assignments that are not enclosed in a sealed envelope in the box on their office doors or in any unsecured area. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act gives students the right to control disclosure of their education record. We thus have a legal obligation to ensure that we are careful not to provide others with access to students’ grades without their consent.
GRADE CHANGES OR DISPUTE
For the policy on final grades. grade changes, and petitions to appeal a final failing grade, see the Registrar's page, which draws on the policies approved by the Skidmore faculty as articulated in the Faculty Handbook.
SEXUAL AND GENDER-BASED MISCONDUCT: Title IX Statement
The Curriculum Committee recommends that faculty include a Title IX statement on their syllabi. Such a statement signals our concern about sexual and gender-based misconduct in the Skidmore community and informs students about the reporting obligations of faculty. The statement recommended by the Student Government Association and endorsed by the Curriculum Committee is as follows:
Skidmore College considers sexual and gender-based misconduct to be one of the most serious violations of the values and standards of the College. Unwelcome sexual contact of any form is a violation of students’ personal integrity and their right to a safe environment and therefore violates Skidmore’s values. Sexual and gender-based misconduct is also prohibited by federal and state regulations. Skidmore College faculty are committed to supporting our students and upholding gender equity laws as outlined by Title IX. If a student chooses to confide in a member of Skidmore’s faculty or staff regarding an issue of sexual or gender-based misconduct, that faculty or staff member is obligated to tell Skidmore’s Title IX Coordinator or Title IX Deputy Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator will assist the student in connecting with all possible resources for support and options for reporting both on and off campus. Identities and details will be shared only with those who need to know to support the student and to address the situation through the college’s processes. If the student wishes to confide in a confidential resource, the Counseling Center Staff, Health Services, and Victim Advocates (anonymous) are all options available.
More information can be found at the Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct website or by contacting the Title IX Coordinator, Joel Aure (firstname.lastname@example.org), 580-5708, or Deputy Coordinator for Student Affairs, Gabriela Melillo (email@example.com), 580-5022.