Policies and Procedures at Point Park
For more information on academic policies and procedures, please review the University's academic catalogs. Academic policies and procedures may be changed at the discretion of Point Park University.
The following information is part of the Point Park University Student Planner/Handbook.
Students found guilty of plagiarism and/or other academic dishonesty may be dismissed from the University. The minimum penalty for plagiarism and other academic dishonesty is an automatic ‘F’ for the course. The Office of the Registrar will notify the student involved in the incident by letter and a copy of the Academic Integrity Violation Form.
Any facts which are not common knowledge and not widely disseminated locally must be credited to the source from which they came. All phraseology purported to be original must be the student’s. If at any time the student’s language is identical with that of the source, the latter must be identified.
Besides plagiarism, other forms of academic dishonesty carrying the same penalties for the same reasons include, but are not limited to: 1) fabricating data, evidence, facts, including but not limited to, laboratory results and journalistic interviews or observations; 2) obtaining prohibited assistance from another student, regardless of whether that other student is aware of it, by looking at another student’s paper (in or out of class) during a quiz, exam, or during work on an assignment; 3) turning in the same work in two or more different courses, regardless of whether the two courses are taught by the same professor, in the same degree program, or even at the same institution, without explicit prior approval from both instructors, because students should not obtain credit twice for doing work once; 4) forging or altering documentation of an illness and/or absence that has been requested or required by an instructor.
In cases of marked disparity between in-class and out-of-class work, the student will receive a grade no higher than the average of that student’s in-class work, unless it can be demonstrated that the student received no improper assistance on the out-of-class work.
Note: The following general principles about plagiarism apply primarily to writing but may apply as well to other kinds of academic work in disciplines such as mathematics, science, technology, business, computer science, and performing arts. For specific conventions and ways of avoiding plagiarism in these disciplines, check with your instructor.
The faculty of Point Park University is committed to each student’s intellectual development and welcomes every student into a community that values learning. Writing is a crucial aspect of that learning, and the faculty at Point Park University strives to help students become confident, ethical, proficient writers.
Plagiarism, however, destroys any hope of intellectual growth or progress in writing. Therefore, to help students, the following policies define plagiarism, spell out ways to avoid it altogether, and indicate sanctions for plagiarism.
Definition of Plagiarism
Plagiarism, according to Annette T. Rottenberg in Elements of Argument, is “The use of someone else’s words or ideas without adequate acknowledgment—that is, presenting such words or ideas as your own... Deliberate plagiarism is nothing less than cheating and theft....”
Avoidance of Plagiarism
Document all sources of words, paraphrases, and ideas that derive from someone else’s work. Acknowledge help you received in completing your work. Also: enclose in quotation marks words copied from a source and identify that source; identify a source which you have summarized or paraphrased; note the course of an idea you have taken from someone else’s work; acknowledge sources in all formats, including web pages, television, and sound recordings, as well as traditional hard copy.
Instructors and appropriate stylebooks provide information on correct documentation format in academic disciplines (generally the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, in social sciences and some other programs; the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, by Joseph Gibaldi, in humanities and some other programs; or the Chicago Manual of Style by the University of Chicago Press). Instructors reserve the right to check the originality of students’ writing by various means, including submission to electronic search engines.
Sanctions for Plagiarism or Other Academic Dishonesty
Punishment for plagiarism or other academic dishonesty may include failure in an assignment, failure in a course, or expulsion from the University. For more information on plagiarism, check with your instructor and the following web sites: turnitin.com and the Purdue Online Writing Lab .
Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 6th ed. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2003.
Rottenberg, Annette T. Elements of Argument: A Text and Reader. 7th ed. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003.
The University encourages students to attend all classes; however, classroom attendance is the responsibility of the student. Course attendance requirements are set by the faculty member. Students should receive the course attendance policy as a part of the course syllabus. Students who do not receive the policy should promptly ask the faculty member to provide it.
If an instructor’s policy is to subtract points for non-attendance, he or she should not reduce a course grade for absences caused by active participation in the following events:
- Scheduled varsity athletic competition
- Scheduled make-up season and post-season varsity athletic competition
- Classroom field trips approved by an academic department or school
- Sanctioned off campus performing arts appearances
- Specifically sanctioned events approved by the Dean of Student Affairs
Students are held responsible for missed academic work and classroom instructions. It is the student’s responsibility to complete missed assignments, obtain classroom materials, notes, and instructions; schedule with the instructor to make up quizzes, writing assignments, and other assigned work and examinations; and arrange mutually agreeable deadlines with the instructor.
The philosophical foundation that supports the implementation of the Core Curriculum stems directly from the Point Park University Mission Statement: Point Park University educates students in a diverse urban environment and prepares them to apply knowledge to achieve their goals, advance their professions and serve their communities. Accordingly, the Core Curriculum has been designed to provide each student with opportunity to function as a problem solver, an effective researcher, and an excellent communicator.
The Core Curriculum allows students to integrate knowledge and insights from diverse fields, such as computer and information literacy, literature, mathematics, natural and social sciences, mass communication, and the arts. All core courses emphasize the development of critical thinking and written and oral communication skills. The core courses are designed to work together, regardless of the order in which they are taken. The Core Curriculum emphasizes interactive learning: students are encouraged to venture opinions, to think independently, and to seek creative solutions to intellectual, moral, and practical challenges. Thus, the Core Curriculum serves not only to promote understanding among an increasingly diverse student body, but also prepares students to participate responsibly in our highly technical, democratic society.
Core Curriculum Outcomes
Upon successful completion of the Core Curriculum, students will be able to:
- Communicate effectively both orally and in writing.
- Demonstrate how the academic disciplines interrelate.
- Think independently and solve problems.
- Find, evaluate and use information effectively from a variety of sources, both traditional and technological.
The Core Curriculum has been tailored to meet the specific needs of individual programs. Core requirements will therefore differ slightly in content from program to program. The courses included in the Core Curriculum, the specific requirements for a major, and the number of general college electives for each major are listed on the program guides for the specific majors on each department’s website.
Faculty has primary responsibility for assigning grades, but they do not give them; rather, students must earn them. Grades represent a faculty member’s impartial, professional evaluation of a student’s work on a given assignment or in a given course.
At the outset of any course, the students should receive a course syllabus including a clear statement of the course requirements and grading standards. Students who do not receive such a statement should promptly ask their faculty member to provide it. In the event the faculty member does not comply, the requesting student has the responsibility to report that failure to the appropriate department chair or school dean. The chair or dean, in turn, has the responsibility to assist the requesting student in obtaining, in writing, a clear written statement of the course requirements and grading standards.
Incomplete “I” Grade
A student who does not complete a course by the end of the term may request, and may be granted, at the faculty member’s discretion, an “I” (Incomplete). The “I” in a given course must be completed within a period of time set by the faculty member. This time period may not exceed one year from the end of the semester in which the course was taken.
An Incomplete Grade Request form detailing the conditions under which the “I” is permitted must be signed by both the student and the faculty member. If the agreed upon conditions are not fulfilled, the “I” grade will be changed to the grade stipulated in section V of the Incomplete Grade Request form. If no grade is stipulated, the “I” will be changed to an “F.” The student is responsible for contacting the faculty member and ensuring that all expectations with regard to removal of an “I” grade and the completion of a Change of Grade form are met. The faculty member will complete the Change of Grade form when all expectations are met.
Passing “P” Grade
The grade “P” (Passing) indicates that credits are earned and quality points are not computed.
No Credit “N” Grade
The grade “N” (No Credit) in a course taken under the Pass-No Credit option indicates that no credits are earned and quality points are not computed.
Audit “AU” Grade
The grade “AU” (Audit) indicates that no credits have been given in a course. In any semester, a student may change his or her status to audit until the end of the add-drop period but a student may not change from audit status to credit enrollment.
All grade changes must be processed within one calendar year.
Changes of the recorded grade will be considered under exceptional circumstances upon the recommendation of the faculty member, the approval of the department chair, school dean, and the Registrar. Changes of the recorded grade resulting from a student grievance must follow established grievance procedures.
Grade Point Average (G.P.A.)
Undergraduate student academic performance is measured by computation of the Grade Point Average (G.P.A.). In this system letter grades are given the following numerical (grade point) values:
- A = 4.0
- A- = 3.75
- B+ = 3.25
- B = 3.0
- B- = 2.75
- C+ = 2.25
- C = 2.0
- C- = 1.75
- D = 1.0
- F = 0.0
The G.P.A. is determined by multiplying the numerical (grade point) value earned in each course by the number of credits assigned to that particular course, summing the total grade points, and dividing by the total number of credits attempted.
The effect of an “F” grade on the G.P.A. can be removed only by successful repetition of the course at Point Park University.
Should a student repeat a course in an effort to improve a grade, it will be the last earned grade, whether higher or lower, that is computed in the G.P.A. Each attempt to complete the course and grade earned will be listed on the student’s transcript as the official record of the student’s academic progress. Students may not repeat a failed course at another institution for credit.
Students who believe a final grade in a given course represents an inaccurate evaluation of their work have the right to appeal. A student begins the appeals process by discussing the issue with the faculty member who assigned the grade. In doing so, the student should be prepared to demonstrate how the assigned grade fails to reflect the faculty member’s stated course requirements and grading standards.
If the discussion with the faculty member does not produce a mutually satisfactory resolution, the student’s next step in this procedure is to meet with the instructor’s department chair. The chair reviews the issue with the student. If at the end of that discussion the student wishes to file a formal appeal, the chair advises the student how to proceed.
Appeals must occur within four weeks of the succeeding fall/spring semester and must be submitted to the department chair in writing. Written appeals will show the extent to which a disputed grade fails to correspond with the faculty member’s stated course requirements and grading standards. They must also indicate the date on which the student-to-faculty member grade discussion took place.
A department chair receiving a written appeal will appoint a department committee of three faculty members to sit on an ad hoc appeals committee. Department chairs unable to convene their committees within two weeks of receiving the student’s written appeal will notify the dean of their school to that effect. When the committee does meet to consider the appeal, at least one of its members will have professional familiarity with the content of the subject course. Based on the committee’s deliberations, the department chair will either sustain the grade or ask the faculty member to change it. Students who believe that the departmental process resulting in the dismissal of their appeal was flawed may petition the dean of the school in which the course is offered for reconsideration on these grounds. Students must submit in writing an evidentially-supported petition, and they must do so within one week of receiving the results of the departmental appeals review. The school dean, within one week, will consider such materials carefully and either conclude the appeals process or convene a grievance committee.
If a grievance committee does convene, it will do so expeditiously; and school dean will serve as its chair. Grievance committees have three voting members: a student and two faculty members who sit on the academic standing subcommittee of the school. The purpose of a grievance committee is to determine whether a grade is both fair and reasonable, nothing more; thus, grievance committees limit their activities to making those determinations. Depending on the committee’s determination, the dean will accordingly either sustain the awarded grade or see that the grade is changed. The grade change outcome can result in the original grade being raised or lowered. The dean’s action ends the appeals process.