Feb 27, 2024  
2020-2021 SUNY Potsdam Academic Catalog 
    
2020-2021 SUNY Potsdam Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Undergraduate Course Related Policies



Grading System

A numeric system: grades are entered on the student’s permanent record and calculated into the cumulative grade point average (GPA). Levels of achievement are indicated according to the following intervals:

  4.0 = A Excellent
  3.7    
  3.3    
  3.0 = B Good
  2.7    
  2.3    
  2.0 = C Satisfactory
  1.7    
  1.3    
  1.0 = D Minimum for which credit is awarded
  0.0 = F Failure

An alternate grading system: students may opt to be graded by an alternative grading system (S/U) in individual courses.

“S” is recorded for a grade of 2.0 or higher.
“U” is recorded for a grade lower than 2.0.

Both “S” and “U” are recorded on the permanent record, but neither is calculated in the cumulative grade point average. “S” confers credit for a course; “U” does not.

Students may consider this option for a maximum of 14 credit hours during an entire college career, but cannot choose it when repeating a class. To select this option, students must file a form with the Registrar’s Office before the end of the withdrawal period (the end of the eighth week of classes). Instructors will continue to report achievement in the numerical system. Disclosure of this grading option to the instructor is at the student’s discretion.

In certain courses the College itself may award an S* or U* (e.g., P.E. experiences, student teaching). A S* denotes satisfactory performance; U* denotes unsatisfactory performance. Students graded in this manner will not have such credits counted toward the 14 credit hour maximum.

Incompletes

The grade of Incomplete, noted as “Inc” on the grade report, may be reported by an instructor only under the following circumstances:

  1. The student has requested an Incomplete.
  2. Course requirements have not been completed for reasons beyond the student’s control (e.g., illness or family emergency).
  3. The student has completed the majority of the work for the class, and the student can accomplish the remaining requirements without further registration.

An incomplete form specifying the course requirements remaining to be fulfilled and the timeline for completion should be filed in the appropriate dean’s office.

The conditions for changing the grade of “Incomplete” to a final grade must be met by the end of the next regular semester following issuance of the grade.

“Incompletes” not completed by the appropriate time will automatically be converted to 0.0, “U” or “U*”, depending upon the student’s choice of grading option or the designation of the course at the time of the original registration.

Deadlines for Course Schedule Adjustments

A student desiring to make any changes more than one calendar year after the end of the semester in which the student was enrolled in the course must request approval from the Provost’s Office.

Changing Class Enrollment and S/U Grading Option

A student wishing to add, drop or withdraw from a course or elect the S/U grading option should follow posted deadlines and procedures. The Add/Drop period extends five class days into each semester.* A student may adjust courses during this period without a permanent record notation of “W” (withdrawal) for courses dropped.

To add or drop a course after the stated Add/Drop period a student must obtain special permission from the director of the Student Success Center or the Crane Dean’s Office (for students taking Crane major courses), as well as the instructor’s permission if adding, and pay a $15 late fee. Students must be officially registered for all of their courses by the end of the third week of the semester. Late drops are permitted only under emergency circumstances, because the option to withdraw from a class is available until the end of the tenth week of classes in the current semester.

Students wishing to elect or remove the S/U grading option for extenuating circumstances after the posted deadline (the end of the tenth week of classes) must obtain special permission from the director of the Student Success Center or the Crane Dean’s Office (for students taking Crane major courses). No fees apply.

For students taking Crane major courses; music majors may only elect S/U for music courses that are not being used to fulfill degree requirements.

*Note: Add and drop deadlines for courses that are scheduled for only part of a semester, or for shortened terms such as Winter and Summer Sessions, are adjusted depending on their length. The deadline for withdrawing or choosing the S/U option for such classes is the equivalent to two-thirds through the part-term semester.

Withdrawing from Courses

Undergraduate students may elect to withdraw from courses for any reason for a maximum of 14 credit hours during their SUNY Potsdam college career. Students may exercise this right only before the end of the tenth week of classes (or two-thirds point) in the current semester. In such cases a “W” is noted on the permanent record. For full-time students, dropping below 12 credit hours in any one semester due to withdrawal may have an effect on financial aid eligibility. Students wishing to late withdraw for extenuating circumstances after the posted deadline must obtain special permission from the director of the Student Success Center or the Crane Dean’s Office. No fees apply. To withdraw from the College, please see information below.

Emergency Withdrawal from Courses

An application for withdrawal for a documentable medical or other emergency may be requested at the Student Success Center (Sisson 128) or at the Crane School of Music Associate Dean’s Office (for Crane students) and should be submitted by the last day of classes in the semester in which the student is requesting one or more emergency withdrawal grades. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis, and for some students verification from a treating physician/clinician that they have been addressing the emergency issue and are prepared to return to successful college work may be encouraged prior to readmission. If approved, an emergency withdrawal will be noted on the permanent record as “W*” and will not be considered as part of the 14 credit hour maximum. Please note that an approved emergency withdrawal does not cancel the student’s financial liability to the College for course tuition or fees.

Withdrawal due to a call to active military duty will be noted on the permanent record as “M*” and will not count toward the 14 credit hour limit. Military personnel withdrawing from any program or term because of changes of assignment beyond their control and upon proper certification of such change from a base education service officer or other appropriate military official shall be deemed to have incurred no liability for tuition and fees due from the student, as opposed to tuition and fees paid by the Federal government on the student’s behalf. Once the withdrawal is approved by the appropriate college official, questions regarding the billing statement should be directed to the Office of Student Accounts.

Progress Reports

In weeks five and six of each semester, instructors are asked to submit Progress Reports for their students.  This is done early in the term so that students have ample time to make changes and to seek help to improve their performance in the course.  If a student is marked “at-risk” in a class (performing at or below a 2.0), they will be notified via campus email and given instructions on how best to address their situation.  Depending on the reason for the alert, the student’s advisor or campus support offices may also be notified.  Faculty are encouraged to submit positive feedback through the Progress Report process as well.  However, these alerts do not generate a notification email to the student. 

The college requests Progress Reports from faculty in weeks five and six of each term, but instructors are free to submit them at any time during the semester.

Repeating Courses

Students may repeat a course only once. Permission to repeat a course will be further limited by available space, providing priority for first-time registrants. In extraordinary circumstances students may repeat a course more than once with the permission of the appropriate dean.

Students who drop a course during the Add/Drop period, or who formally withdraw before the end of the eighth week of classes, have not earned a grade. Accordingly, if they choose to register for the same course in another semester, this does not constitute a repeat. However, a second registration may also be limited by available space.

The following rules govern the re-computation of grades and credits earned:

  • All courses repeated at SUNY Potsdam will be graded on a numeric basis - the S/U grading option may not be chosen. This rule does not apply to those courses which may be taken only for S*/U* grades.
  • A numeric grade replacing a numeric grade: If the new grade is higher than the original grade, the student earns the differential in quality points but no additional credit hours (unless the original grade was 0.0). If the new grade is equivalent to or lower than the original grade, it will be entered on the permanent record but will not affect the cumulative GPA or total hours accumulated.
  • A numeric grade replacing an “S” grade: If the new grade is 2.0 or higher, the student earns the quality points but no additional credit hours. If the new grade is less than 2.0, it will be entered on the permanent record but will not affect the cumulative GPA or total hours accumulated.
  • A numeric grade replacing a “U” grade: If the new grade is 1.0 or higher, the student earns the quality points and the additional credit hours. If the new grade is 0.0, it will be entered on the permanent record but will not affect the cumulative GPA or total hours accumulated.
  • On the permanent academic record, repeated course grades that are included in the GPA calculation will be noted with an “I” for “include”; those not included in the GPA calculation will be noted with an “E” for “exclude.”
  • Students repeating a course which previously had a 195, 295, 395 or 495 number, or which was taken at another college, must notify the Registrar’s Office so that the repeat can be correctly coded on their academic record; other repeated courses will be coded by an automated process.

Note that while the grades of courses taken at another college are not included in the SUNY Potsdam GPA, if a student repeats a course at another college and earns a higher grade, the lower grade will be excluded from the SUNY Potsdam GPA.

Changing Recorded Grades

Grades submitted to the Registrar’s Office are final. The only permissible reasons for changing a grade are: a) to correct an error in recording or computation; b) to remove a grade of “Incomplete”; c) to reflect the judgment of a department acting in accordance with established College procedures concerning grade appeal.

Changes in grades already recorded in the Registrar’s Office can be made only by: a) the instructor who awarded the grade; b) by the department chair in cases where the instructor is unable to do so (because of leave, resignation, etc.); or c) by the department chair or dean acting in accordance with established College procedures concerning grade appeal.

All grade changes for a semester must be submitted by the end of the next regular Fall or Spring semester. Any grade changes submitted after the stated deadline require the additional approval of the dean of the appropriate school.

Course Syllabi Statement

Beginning on the first day of each class the instructor shall make available to each student (and deposit in the office of the respective academic dean) a current syllabus containing information on course description, course objectives, prerequisites and corequisites, credits allocated, number of lecture and/or other contact hours per week, (consistent with SUNY policy on credit/contact hours), readings and assignments, listing of other course activities, method(s) of assessing student achievement, basis of final grade determination including grading scale, and additional reference materials with bibliographic information, attendance policy, office hours, and faculty contact information.

Class Attendance

Students are responsible for meeting all academic requirements of a course and following the attendance policy set by the instructor. This policy must be announced during the first class meeting and must be explicitly stated in the course syllabus. For an online or hybrid course, the first class meeting is the first day of the semester or session or as defined for that course.

Students are expected to attend the first class meeting or, for an online or hybrid course, log in to the course utilizing the specified course management system (e.g. Moodle) by the first day of class. Should a student fail to do so without offering his/her instructor an explanation within 48 hours, the instructor may drop the student from the course. It remains the student’s responsibility to verify course drops.

In general, students are expected to attend all classes. Students are responsible for all work missed because of class absence. Instructors shall establish procedures to accommodate students who miss class work due to excused absences. An excused absence consists of an absence resulting from documented active participation in a College-sponsored activity, illness, religious observance, family emergency, or military obligation. A College-sponsored activity is one that is declared such by the President of the College. College-sponsored activities involve events in which the student represents the College, such as athletic competitions, artistic performances, or academic presentations. In these instances, the faculty or staff member responsible for the activity must provide participating students with a notification including the dates and times of the absences and the reason for the activity to present to their instructor at least two weeks in advance of the absence. Faculty members are expected to accommodate reasonable absences for College-sponsored activities. Students must develop a plan, subject to approval by the instructor, under which they will complete the missed work.

Students may also be involved in other activities supervised by a College faculty or staff member. Such activities include, but are not limited to, field trips, special events sponsored by a class, and attendance at conferences. It is the student’s responsibility to consult faculty members in advance of their absence. Whenever possible, students must let their instructors know of their absence at least two weeks in advance by providing a written description of the activity signed by their sponsor. Faculty members are encouraged to accommodate reasonable absences for college-related activities, but ultimately accommodation of such absences is at the discretion of faculty members.

Instructors are responsible for determining the details of attendance for their courses according to their own philosophy and the nature of their courses. Students should be evaluated primarily on the basis of achievement. However, the College supports the following attendance guidelines:

  1. The instructor may assess a penalty to a student’s grade for any unexcused absence.
  2. For excessive unexcused absences, the instructor may assign a grade of 0.0 for the course.
  3. The instructor may count excessive tardiness as absence.
  4. The instructor may determine that student absences, even those “excused,” are so excessive as to prevent a student from gaining the essential educational experience of the class. In such cases, the instructor may assign a final grade of 0.0; the student may apply for withdrawal or emergency withdrawal from the course.

Note: If additional or more specific policies are to apply to a course, the instructor must state those policies in the course syllabus.

Disputes (other than final grade appeals) arising from this policy shall be referred to the appropriate department chair and thereafter, if necessary, to the appropriate academic dean for resolution.

Under New York State Education Law (sub-section 224-A) the following is also applicable.

S224-A. Students unable because of religious beliefs to register or attend classes on certain days.

  1. No person shall be expelled from or be refused admission as a student to an institution of higher education for the reason that he or she is unable, because of his or her religious beliefs, to register or attend classes or to participate in any examination, study or work requirements on a particular day or days.
  2. Any student in an institution of higher education who is unable, because of his or her religious beliefs, to attend classes on a particular day or days shall, because of such absence on the particular day or days, be excused from any examination or any study or work requirements.
  3. It shall be the responsibility of the faculty and of the administrative officials of each institution of higher education to make available to each student who is absent from school, because of his or her religious beliefs, an equivalent opportunity to register for classes or make up any examination, study or work requirements which he or she may have missed because of such absence on any particular day or days. No fees of any kind shall be charged by the institution for making available to the said student such equivalent opportunity.
  4. If registration, classes, examinations, study or work requirements are held on Friday after four o’clock post meridian or on Saturday, similar or makeup classes, examinations, study or work requirements or opportunity to register shall be made available on other days, where it is possible and practicable to do so. No special fees shall be charged to the student for these classes, examinations, study or work requirements or registration held on other days.
  5. In effectuating the provisions of this section, it shall be the duty of the faculty and of the administrative officials of each institution of higher education to exercise the fullest measure of good faith. No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any student because of his or her availing himself or herself of the provisions of this section.
  6. Any student who is aggrieved by the alleged failure of any faculty or administrative officials to comply in good faith with the provisions of this section shall be entitled to maintain an action or proceeding in the supreme court of the county in which such institution of higher education is located for the enforcement of his or her rights under this section.
    1. It shall be the responsibility of the administrative officials of each institution of higher education to give written notice to students of their rights under this section, informing them that each student who is absent from school, because of their religious beliefs, must be given an equivalent opportunity to register for classes or make up any examination, study or work requirements which he or she may have missed because of such absence on any particular day or days. No fees of any kind shall be charged by the institution for making available to such student such equivalent opportunity.
    2. As used in this section, the term “institution of higher education” shall mean any institution of higher education, recognized and approved by the regents of the University of the State of New York, which provides a course of study leading to the granting of a post-secondary degree or diploma. Such term shall not include any institution which is operated, supervised or controlled by a church or by a religious or denominational organization whose educational programs are principally designed for the purpose of training ministers or other religious functionaries or for the purpose of propagating religious doctrines. As used in this section, the term “religious belief” shall mean beliefs associated with any corporation organized and operated exclusively for religious purposes, which is not disqualified for tax exemption under section 501 of the United States Code.

Personal Electronic Devices in the Classroom

The use of personal electronic devices in the classroom shall be at the discretion of each course instructor. Faculty members are encouraged to include their policy on each course syllabus. Personal electronic devices that may be prohibited include, but are not limited to, laptops, cell phones, and mp3 players. Such devices, when used to assist students with documented disabilities, at the discretion of accommodative services may be exempt from restriction.

Final Examination Policy

  1. A final examination is a comprehensive written test administered at the end of a course. It is designed to assess a student’s knowledge of, and familiarity with, all, or a substantial part, of the content and/or skills associated with a given course in a given semester.
  2. At the conclusion of every semester, a two-hour period will be arranged for each class to provide time for summation and evaluation. Except as specified below, a final examination may be administered only at this arranged two-hour period.
  3. No test of any kind may be given during the last week of classes unless a final examination is also scheduled during the regular final examination period.
  4. No student shall be required to take more than two examinations in one day.
    1. If a student has more than two examinations scheduled in one day, the middle examination(s) must be rescheduled if the student requests.
    2. A student must request rescheduling at least two weeks before the last day of classes. This request must be in written form and must be filed with the professor with copies to the department chair and the dean of the School under whose jurisdiction the course in question is offered.
    3. The appropriate dean has the final responsibility for the rescheduling of the examination. The rescheduled examination must normally occur at a time during the final examination week.
  5. Provision will be made for the scheduling of examinations for combined sections of courses involving at least 70 students. The request for such scheduling must be made at the time the semester class schedule is submitted by the department.
  6. The above policy does not apply to take-home examinations or term papers. Questions relating to the possible applicability of the policy to oral examinations, studio classes, laboratory tests and other forms of testing should, in cases of doubt, be referred to the appropriate deans. The deans shall make exceptions to the policy wherever circumstances justify them.