Academic and Personal Services
The following is basic information you should know about academic policies and support along with some of the personal services like insurance and counseling that we provide students.
Adding, dropping and withdrawing from classes
Students may add classes until about one week into the semester. As of the first day of class, students must receive instructor permission to add a class. A student may also drop a class during the first week, and the transcript will not indicate that the student has been enrolled in that class. After the "drop" date until the 11th week of class, students may withdraw from courses and will receive a mark of "W." A "W" does not affect the GPA. In case of illness or injury, family members may initiate a withdrawal from classes. The Dean of Students should be contacted in this circumstance. Students who fail to attend classes will not necessarily be dropped from the class (this is up to the instructor during the first week of class). Students are responsible for making certain that classes which they decide not to take have actually been dropped. However, before dropping or withdrawing from courses, students should consult with an advisor. This is especially true for students receiving scholarships, grants or federal financial aid since dropping below full-time status (12 hours) at any point in the semester may result in major financial consequences.
We plan to have grade reports available to students on the Web at the end of each term (specific dates are included in the Important Dates handout). Transcripts are not issued to students who have outstanding financial or other obligations to the college.
The Dean's List is an academic honor list computed after fall and spring semesters. To qualify for the list, students must complete at least 12 graded credit hours (credit/no credit classes don't count) and achieve a 3.5 or higher grade point average (GPA) for the term.
Academic advising and registration
The START Center is the academic advising office for all entering and undeclared students. START Center advisors will meet with freshmen through their first year. Students are encouraged to make advising appointments before each registration period for the following semester. At the end of the freshman year, students who have decided on a major may request that they be assigned to a faculty advisor in that program. By the time students reach junior status, they must meet with a faculty advisor and formally declare their major. Nursing and Education students are assigned faculty advisors when they are admitted to those programs.
Among other things academic advisors will help students clarify their goals; assist in developing educational plans and selecting appropriate courses; inform students about educational and support resources on campus; and answer questions about the college in general. While the college provides a strong support network for first year students, they must also learn to take the initiative in getting the information and help that they need. Parents can support students in this process by encouraging them to use the START Center and other campus resources. A list of these resources is included in this packet.
If students are having difficulty with a class, we encourage them to talk with their instructors. All faculty have weekly open office hours for individual consultations with students; professors generally spend many additional hours working with students outside of class. Free tutoring for many courses is also available through the START Center. The college has an academic early warning program in which faculty identify any students missing or doing poorly in class before the midterm point of each semester. These students are notified by letter and are invited to meet with START Center advisors to identify resources that can help them improve their grades. Residential students are also contacted by student services staff for further follow up.
Probation and suspension
Students failing to achieve good academic standing during a semester are placed on academic probation. The GPA needed for good standing depends on the total number of credit hours students have attempted at Westminster:
All students are notified by letter if they are placed on probation (it is not indicated on their grade report). While on probation, students may not be enrolled in more than 13 semester hours. Probationary students are assigned a student services advisor who will contact them to review schedules, refer to appropriate campus resources, and follow up with students throughout the semester.
When students in academic difficulty are confronted by parents, they sometimes claim they were never told they were on probation. Although the college cannot share grades or probationary information with you, please be assured that we are as concerned as you about your student's academic performance. Every effort is made to identify problems early, to follow up with resources and academic assistance, and to notify students of their academic status.
To be returned to good standing, students must meet required semester and cumulative GPAs. This applies only to fall, spring and summer terms (May term is not included). Students who fail to earn the minimum GPA required for good standing during a probationary semester are suspended from the college. Students may not register for any classes while suspended and must remain out of the college for one or more regular semesters. Suspended students must appeal for readmission. Students who meet semester grade point average requirements, but not cumulative grade point average requirements, may be considered for continued probationary status rather than suspension if the term grade point average shows substantial progress toward meeting all grade point average requirements.
Academic standards and satisfactory progress for financial aid
To continue to receive an academic scholarship, a student generally must maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA. To receive a grant, a student must maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA. To maintain satisfactory progress for federal financial aid, students must complete at least 70 percent of the semester credit hours for which they enrolled and maintain a 2.0 GPA after 28 credit hours are completed. Student records are reviewed at the end of each academic year (end of May term).
May term is a four week term following spring semester. Payment of full-time tuition for fall semester 20009 entitles undergraduate students to two credit hours during 2010 May term without additional charge. Payment of full-time tuition for spring semester 2010 entitles students to an additional two credit hours for a maximum of four free hours for 2010 May term. The college residence halls remain open during May for those students registered for May term, and there is no additional room charge for students who have paid room and board charges for spring semester. Students remaining on campus during May should budget their meal plan accounts to include the extra month: no additional money is put on student accounts. However, money left over from fall and spring semesters will roll over to May if the student continues to live on campus.
Services for students with disabilities
Westminster provides equal access to academically qualified students with disabilities. To access services students must meet with the disabilities advisor in the START Center and provide documentation of their disability. Once eligibility is established, students work with their advisor to determine what individualized services are appropriate. More information about services for students with disabilities is provided on the enclosed handout with that title.
Counseling services are available to all registered students through the Counseling Center. Depression, anxiety, relationship issues, alcohol and drug problems, and family dysfunction are some of the common reasons for seeking counseling services. Services are provided in a comfortable office in the lower level of Shaw. It is confidential and provided at no charge. Appointments may be scheduled in person, by telephone, or email.
Lisa Jones Ph. D
832-2237 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Cory Shipp, LCSW
832-2273 or email@example.com
Spiritual Life sponsors interdenominational and interfaith activities on campus in order to promote spiritual growth and to celebrate religious diversity. Student activities include Bible studies, worship celebrations, discussion groups, retreats, cross-cultural service projects and recreational events. There's always something going on.
For more information call Jan Saeed 801-832-2232.
Questions or Concerns
If you are concerned about your student's academic experience or have questions about Westminster Policies or procedures, please start with the Dean of Students Office at 801-832-2230.
As a reminder, we cannot share specific information about students without their written consent. We will do whatever we can, however, to explain policies, offer suggestions or resources, and refer you to the appropriate person or office if we don't have the answers.