Academic Responsibilities, Policies & Procedures


Academic Responsibilities

There are many academic responsibilities that students need to be familiar with at Western. The policies that follow are just a sample of the more commonly applied Senate regulations. Students cannot use the excuse "that they didn't know about the rules". Western University expects students to take responsibility for their academic programs and choices.


Prerequisites

The Senate Regulations are quite clear regarding failure to meet the prerequisites for a course as described in the current Western Academic Calendar. They state:

"Unless you have either the requisites for this course or written special permission from your Dean (or Department) to enroll in it, you will be removed from this course and it will be deleted from your record. This decision may not be appealed. You will receive no adjustment to your fees in the event that you are dropped from a course for failing to have the necessary prerequisites."


Departmental Policies and Procedures

    1. The guidelines and the policies in the Faculty of Social Science and the Department of Economics are posted in the glass case near Social Science room 4071.

    1. Students must familiarize themselves with the "Rules of Conduct for Examinations".

    1. Cheating: Students are responsible for understanding what it means to commit an academic offense such as cheating. A claim that "you didn’t know it was wrong" will not be accepted as an excuse. The Department of Economics treats incidents of cheating very seriously and will investigate any suspect behaviour. Students found guilty of cheating will incur penalties that may include receiving a failing grade in a course, or preventing future registration in economics courses or programs. The University may also impose further penalties such as a notation on your official academic transcript, suspension, or expulsion.

    1. Plagiarism: Students must write their essays and assignments in their own words. Whenever students take an idea, or a passage from another author, they must acknowledge it by using quotation marks where appropriate and by proper referencing such as footnotes or citations. Plagiarism is a major academic offence (see Scholastic Offence Policy in the current Western Academic Calendar). Western University uses software for plagiarism checking. Students may be required to submit their written work in electronic form for plagiarism checking. Students found guilty of plagiarism will have penalties imposed as noted in point #3.

    1. It is Department policy that NO assignments can be dated, stamped or accepted by the Department or Undergraduate Office. Students are responsible for submitting assignments during class or to the instructor during office hours.

  1. When appealing a mark, students should refer to the Departmental procedures noted below as well as procedures in the current Western Academic Calendar. Please also note the deadlines when applying for academic relief. Systematic adjustments can occur in Economics courses. Such adjustments can go either up or down. The fact that grades have been adjusted is not a reason to appeal.

Policy Regarding Makeup Tests and Final Examinations

Academic accommodation will not be granted automatically on request. Students must demonstrate by documentation that there are compelling medical or compassionate grounds before academic accommodation will be considered.

Students who proceed to write a test or examination must be prepared to accept the mark.  Rewriting tests or examinations, or having their value reweighted on a retroactive basis, is not permitted.  Students must also book travel arrangements AFTER final exam dates have been posted as they must not conflict with test or final exams.

Unless medically incapable of doing so, students must notify their instructor prior to the test date or at least within 24 hours when requesting a makeup exam. Failure to follow this procedure may result in denial of academic accommodation and a grade of zero. Students should also set up an appointment as soon as possible to meet with their instructor. If the instructor is not available, send an email message, copying the Undergraduate Coordinator at econugrd@uwo.caNotifying instructors of a missed exam does not automatically entitle students to a makeup.

Students who seek a makeup exam must also provide supporting medical or other relevant documentation that their absence from a scheduled test or exam is beyond their control.  Documentation should be submitted to the Academic Counselling Office of the student’s home Faculty as soon as possible (preferably within 24 hours of the scheduled test). Failure to follow this procedure may result in denial of academic accommodation and a grade of zero. If the documentation submitted is not acceptable, students will receive a zero for the missed test.

For personal illness, students may consult Student Health Services and request a Student Medical Certificate from the physician. If assessed by an off-campus doctor, students must obtain a certificate from his/her office at the time of the visit.  The off-campus medical certificate form must also be used and can be found at: http://www.uwo.ca/univsec/pdf/academic_policies/appeals/medicalform.pdf.

Notes stating "For Medical Reasons" are not considered sufficient.

For religious or compassionate circumstances, students should ask their Academic Counsellor what documentation to provide.  If documentation is judged sufficient, the Academic Counsellor will issue a Recommendation for a Special Examination (a single form for midterms or a triple-color form for final exams). Once students have this form, they must contact their instructor as soon as possible to make arrangements. Even if approved by their Academic Counsellor, there is no guarantee that students will be allowed to write the makeup test/exam.

  • For final examinations, students need to seek permission from their home Faculty Counsellor, Instructor, and the Department Undergraduate Director. Failure to follow this procedure may result in a grade of zero. Students must ensure that the Special Examination form has been signed by the Instructor and Department Undergraduate Director and that the form is returned to the Academic Counselling Office for approval without delay. If approved, makeup examinations will be written within one month of the end of the exam period.

Policy Regarding Class Attendance

If the instructor deems a student’s class attendance as unsatisfactory, that student may be prohibited from writing the final examination.  If there is intent to make use of this University policy, the student will be notified in writing.


Policies Regarding Academic Accommodation

The Faculty of Social Science’s policies regarding academic accommodation is found at http://counselling.ssc.uwo.ca/procedures/having_problems/index.html

“Academic Rights and Responsibilities” are also outlined in the Western Calendar at

http://westerncalendar.uwo.ca/PolicyPages.cfm?PolicyCategoryID=1&command=showCategory&SelectedCalendar=Live&ArchiveID=.  Claiming that “you didn’t know what to do” is not an acceptable excuse for not following the stated procedures.


Appeals Procedure

In addition to your own letter of appeal, An Academic Appeal form must be filled in, attached to your letter and delivered to the Undergraduate Coordinator, Department of Economics, Room SSC 4075.

When writing your letter of appeal, you should try to answer the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of my appeal? Please specify the course, if relevant.
  • What are the grounds of my appeal?
  • What are the facts surrounding my appeal? Please be specific.
  • Is there any documentation that I should include to substantiate my claim?

Remember:

  • If you decide to write a test or an examination you should be prepared to accept the mark you earn. Rewriting tests or examinations or having the value of the test or examination reweighted on a retroactive basis is not normally permitted.
  • Systematic adjustments can occur in Economics courses. Such adjustments can go either up or down. The fact that grades have been adjusted is not a reason to appeal.

Departmental Appeal Procedures

If you are dissatisfied with your mark either on a course or an examination, you must first approach the instructor who awarded the grade in an attempt to settle the matter. The Undergraduate Director will not consider an appeal unless such an attempt has been made and has failed. An appeal must be made no later than the Senate approved deadlines.

If discussion with the instructor does not dispel dissatisfaction with a grade, the student may proceed with a written appeal (no emailed letters will be accepted) of the grade to the Undergraduate Director, stating reasons for the appeal. An appeal must be made to the Undergraduate Director no later than the Senate approved deadlines.

When a student is seeking a grade change only for medical or compassionate reasons, or to meet program requirements the Undergraduate Director will not change the final grade. Also, if the marks were adjusted (either up or down) in a course, this is not a basis of appeal. Students must convince the Undergraduate Director there has been an error on the part of the original marker.

If the Undergraduate Director is not convinced that the student's reasons for dissatisfaction with a grade constitute grounds for an appeal, the Undergraduate Director will inform the student of this in writing. The student is then free to pursue the appeal with the Office of the Dean of the Faculty if he/she so desires.

If the Undergraduate Director is satisfied that there are sufficient grounds for an appeal, the following action is taken:

    • The Undergraduate Director will inform the student of this in writing, also warning the student that the outcome of the appeal may be either a lower grade or a higher grade than the one originally assigned. The Undergraduate Director will request that the student write to the Department, giving his/her consent for the continuation of the appeal process.

  • After receiving the student's consent, the Undergraduate Director will ask the instructor involved for his/her comments on the case. The Undergraduate Director will send all available and relevant papers and examinations for rereading to two assessors, normally selected from among the academic staff of the Department of Economics. The Undergraduate Director will request a specific mark as well as any comments the two assessors wish to make. As far as it is practical to do so, all grades and instructor's comments will be removed from the documents before rereading, and the assessors will not be informed of the original marks awarded or of the reasons for the appeal.

Normally, the Undergraduate Director will take the two marks awarded by the two assessors (who should not consult with one another about the case) and calculate the arithmetic average. The resulting mark will then replace the original grade awarded by the instructor and will be reported by the Department to the offices of the Dean and Registrar.

The following exceptions to the preceding appeals procedures might arise in special cases:

    • Where a large difference exists between the grade awarded by the two assessors, the Undergraduate Direrctor will ask them to attempt to reconcile their differences before awarding a new grade. If this fails, the Undergraduate Director will appoint a third assessor to advise as to the final grade to be awarded.

  • Where it seems appropriate, the Undergraduate Director may vary the mark arrived at as previously described to take into account the grading procedure of the original instructor. The Undergraduate Director will seek the advice of the instructor and the two assessors before making such an adjustment.

The Undergraduate Director will inform the student, in writing, of the outcome of his/her appeal, of the marks awarded by each assessor, and of any adjustments made in awarding the new final mark.

A student who is dissatisfied with the outcome of the appeal process implemented by the Department of Economics may pursue the matter by approaching the Office of the Dean of his/her Faculty.

You may also consult the Western policies with regard to your Academic Rights and Responsibilities or the Ombuds Office.

Questions about Departmental procedures should be directed to:

Gary Kim
Undergraduate Coordinator
Department of Economics
Social Science Room 4075
Telephone: (519) 661-3507
Fax: (519) 661-3666