Academic Catalog


III.Faculty Responsibilities: B. Important Academic Regulations

Please note that the primary source for the description of curricular programs and policies is the Course Catalog. See the Catalog for the following: degree requirements, graduation with honors, General Education requirements, major requirements, independent and directed study, and other curricular information not in the Faculty Handbook.

See also the Department and Program Advising Plans available on the Teaching and Learning section of MyDenison.

1. Incompletes

No student will receive an incomplete in a course unless the student (or spokesperson in the event that the student is absent from school) presents the petition to the instructor and the Academic Standing Board for approval. A grade of Incomplete will be awarded only under exceptional conditions, including cases of illness, death in the family, or other extraordinary circumstances.  A student will not be granted an incomplete simply because additional time is needed to complete the assigned work.  Incomplete petitions normally should be submitted prior to the last day of the semester’s scheduled classes, though in exceptional circumstances petitions may be reviewed through the last day of finals. Should a request for an incomplete grade be granted, completion of the work must be accomplished by the end of the sixth week of the following semester, or any time previous, as prescribed by the instructor.

2. Drop/Add Regulation

A student may withdraw from a course at any time prior to the start of the semester. To withdraw from a course after the start of a semester, the appropriate form must be signed by the student's instructor and academic advisor and submitted to the Registrar. A drop of a course or credit may be permitted through the end of the ninth week of classes by submitting to the Office of the Registrar a properly completed change of registration form. No listing will be recorded on a student's permanent record if that student receives permission to withdraw from a course before the end of the ninth week of classes.

Students seeking to drop a course late, after the ninth week of the semester, must present a petition to the Academic Standing Board.  Should a petition for a late drop be approved, the "W" transcript notation would be applied to the dropped course and the course would remain on the student's transcript.  In cases with extenuating circumstances, the Academic Standing Board may approve petitions to have the "W" removed.

Note: The regulation described above for dropping a class up to the ninth week excludes Denison Seminars and Private Music Lessons/Ensembles, which have an add/drop date at the end of the second week of classes.

Excess hour fees and applied music lesson or other course fees are not refunded after the fourth week in the case of a student withdrawing for any reason from a course or from the University. 

Change of registration after the stated deadlines requires the action of the Academic Standing Board. The decision of the Academic Standing Board is final on these matters. A student withdrawing from a course without official permission of the instructor and appropriate submission to the Registrar before the ninth week, or an approved petition to the Academic Standing Board after the ninth week, will receive a grade of “F” (failure) on the permanent record.

Students may add classes to their course schedules at any time prior to the start of the semester and depending on course availability. All additions to a student's schedule must be made within the first ten days of the academic semester. (This refers to the first ten days of regularly scheduled classes, not the first ten meetings of a specific class).

3. Satisfactory (S/Grade) Evaluation

Courses graded on an S/Grade basis result in an S on the transcript if the grade reported is C or above, and the grade earned if it is C- or below. The grade of Satisfactory (S) does not affect the student’s GPA.  Letter grades of C- or lower in an S/Grade evaluated course are included in the student’s grade point average. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors may elect to take one course per semester on the S/Grade basis.  There is a limit of one course per semester which may be taken on the S/Grade basis. This option may not be exercised for courses within a student's major, minor, or concentration fields, including required cognate courses, and it is not an option for any General Education requirement. Via the appropriate form at the Registrar's office, students must request S/Grade grading, or request to switch back from S/Grade grading to a letter grade, by the end of week nine. Neither the instructor’s approval nor the instructor's signature is required for a student to opt to take a class S/Grade, nor are instructors notified that a student has elected this option.  A few courses are offered to everyone utilizing a "satisfactory" grading format, and such courses are not included in the option described above.

4. Attendance Policy

A hallmark of a Denison education is the small, interactive, and participatory classroom, situated within a residential community. Therefore, it is essential that students be present on campus and attend the classes in which they are enrolled. Attendance policies are designed to promote the success and well-being of the individual students as well as the community of learners in each class and co-curricular undertaking. For oneself and one’s peers, attendance and presence on campus are vital to the Denison education.

The specific attendance policy for an individual course is set by the instructor. It is the responsibility of the instructor to establish

  1. a policy on class attendance,
  2. a policy for makeup of missed work, and,
  3. any criteria for excused absences when attendance is required (note that some faculty may not make a distinction between excused and unexcused absences). 

Class absence is a loss of opportunity for learning. It is vitally important that each faculty member review these points in class early in the semester. 

Responsibility for missed classes rests with the student. Students who miss class at any point during the semester should notify the course instructor as soon as possible. It is the student’s responsibility to find out what course work and content were missed and to catch up in a timely manner.  In cases of significant medical circumstances, the Hoaglin Wellness Center may issue a dated documentation of a visit at the request of a  student.  The Wellness Center will only provide documentation in the case of a significant issue that requires class absence. 

First Class Meeting, Exams, and Orientation

First class meeting

Each semester, students must be on campus and attend the first meeting of their registered classes. If circumstances prevent a student from arriving on campus for the first day of classes, the student must receive advanced approval from their designated Class Dean.

Final exams

Final exam week is part of the regular schedule of classes.  Students are required to be present on campus for all scheduled finals as indicated in the final exam schedule issued by the Registrar’s Office at the time of course registration. Failure to attend a final exam may result in a failing course grade.

First-year orientation

Denison's orientation programs are designed to welcome and introduce new students to our campus resources, community, and culture. All students attending Denison for their first semester (new First-Year Students and Transfer Students) are required to attend Denison's mandatory orientation programs.

Extended or Repeated Absences

Notwithstanding individual faculty attendance policies, any student who will be missing class for an extended period of time during a semester for any reason (including medical, a family emergency, or other reasons) must notify DU Cares. A discussion with the student will follow regarding the impact a longer absence may have on the student’s coursework and academic progress. Without prior notification to DU Cares for extended and/or repeated absences from classes, the student may be subject to involuntary withdrawal from Denison.

5. Absence Policy 

This Absence Policy was passed by faculty approval of governance proposal #16-59.

Students at Denison University are expected to give the highest priority to their academic commitments. However, sometimes conflicts arise among various academic pursuits. At these times, students, faculty, staff, and administrators all share the responsibility of recognizing, minimizing, and resolving these conflicts.

The time between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. on the course grid is normally reserved for credit-bearing activities that require large group practice. This includes performance ensemble courses, courses with group rehearsals, and varsity athletic practices. No other credit-bearing classes may be scheduled during this time. However, department colloquia, meetings, and other non-credit bearing events may be scheduled.

Legitimate Conflicts: Courses and activities that earn academic credit at Denison may place legitimate demands on a student’s time outside of the regularly scheduled meeting times for that course or activity. This may give rise to potential conflicts to regularly scheduled classroom/lab hours. Such activities might include, but not be limited to, course-related field trips, fine arts performances (but not rehearsals), and varsity sports contests (both regular season and all post-season contests, but not scrimmages or practices).

When the demands of one course or credit-bearing activity impinge upon another, the student and the faculty or staff members are encouraged to work together to achieve a reasonable accommodation that resolves the conflict without sacrificing the academic integrity and rigor of the course or activity. Moreover, all parties (students, faculty, staff, and administrators) have the following specific responsibilities when dealing with legitimate conflicts.

Scheduling responsibilities of all faculty, staff, and students:

a. to confine course instruction and examinations to the time slots for the course, following the course grid and final examination assigned times, unless specific exception has been granted for the course by the Provost’s Office;

b. to indicate clearly on the course syllabus the policies and expectations for class attendance, assignments, and examinations, and, if attendance at a supplemental event (such as a lecture, field trip, or performance) is expected and that event occurs at a time outside of the regularly scheduled meeting times, to inform students of the event as soon as possible;

c. to provide students alternative means of meeting the requirements of the course when attendance at a supplemental event for that course is scheduled for a time outside of the course’s regularly scheduled meeting times;

d. to avoid scheduling any supplemental events in the Monday-Friday 4:30-6:30 p.m. time period;

e. if a scheduling conflict arises (that is, if a student is asked to attend a supplemental event, an athletic competition, or a similar university activity at a time in which they are required to attend another class).

i. the student should inform both faculty or staff members immediately and seek a mutually agreed upon resolution;

ii. the faculty members should work with the student to resolve legitimate conflicts without sacrificing the academic integrity and rigor of the course;

iii. faculty and staff members should provide an alternative way for students to meet course requirements or the expectations of credit-bearing activities;

iv. in situations when the student, faculty, and/or staff member cannot reach an acceptable resolution to the conflict, the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs will be asked to provide consultation to all parties.

6. Academic Grievance Policy

The assessment of student academic performance, including the assignment of particular grades, is a faculty responsibility. The faculty member offering the course should be responsible for the evaluation of student course work and, under normal circumstances, is the sole judge of the grades received by students in that course.

If a student feels that a course grade was the result of prejudiced, capricious, or in some other way unjust evaluation on the part of the instructor, that student may file a grievance petition with the Academic Standing Board. The petition must be filed within the semester following the awarding of the disputed evaluation, even if the student or faculty member is off-campus and unable to appear until a later date. Petitions should include evidence of prejudiced or capricious academic evaluation and evidence of attempts to deal with the problem at the departmental level, including discussions with the faculty member involved and the relevant department chair. Only after these steps have been taken will the matter become part of the formal academic grievance process. Simple disagreement with the instructor's philosophy in assigning grades, or with the instructor's professional judgment about the quality of the work does not constitute cause for petitioning.

The Academic Standing Board will transmit evidence of the charges to the faculty member. After evaluating the charges and hearing the instructor's explanation, and possibly discussing the situation with other members of the class and/or members of the involved department, the elected teaching faculty of the committee will recommend a solution. Both the student and the faculty member will have the right to appear personally before the committee and to present their views.

If the Academic Standing Board decides there is no basis to alter the grade, the process will terminate at that point. If the Academic Standing Board recommends that the grade should be changed, it will request that the instructor make the change, providing the instructor with a written explanation of its reasons. Should the instructor decline, the instructor should provide an explanation in writing. The entire matter will then be referred to the six elected faculty members of the President's Advisory Board, who will be the final arbiters of the case. This faculty committee will examine all available information on the dispute, meet with the student and the instructor, members of the instructor's academic department if appropriate, and others as it sees fit.

The faculty committee, after considering all the evidence and upon concluding that it would be unjust to allow the original grade to stand, may then recommend to the Provost that the grade be changed. The Provost will provide the instructor with a copy of the recommendation and will ask the instructor to implement it. If the instructor continues to decline, the Provost will then change the grade, notifying the instructor and the student of this action. The Provost, following written instructions of the faculty committee, will effect a change in grade over the objection of the instructor who assigned the original grade. If the student remains dissatisfied with the result of the petitioning process, the student may request that the Registrar insert a letter in the academic record, describing the process and the outcome.

7. General Education Program

Denison University aspires to give students a strong foundation in the liberal arts. A liberal education provides foundation and practice in the disciplines and processes necessary to function as a free-thinking human being facing the challenges of the 21st century: listening, reading, and observing; reasoning critically and quantitatively, and expressing ideas clearly and convincingly in oral discourse as well as the written word. A life based on rational and humane self-determination requires those abilities as well as the understanding of ideas and principles in diverse areas of modern knowledge.

The General Education requirements aim to ensure that students are exposed to core liberal arts competencies and to a broad range of liberal arts inquiries—social, scientific, humanistic, and artistic—embraced by the faculty of Denison University. In addition, the requirements intend to expose students to a diversity of perspectives that enable them to interact more effectively in an increasingly interdependent world. Thus the General Education program comprises three parts: (1) Interdivisional Requirements; (2) Competencies; (3) Foreign Language Requirements.

See the Course Catalog and the GE Document for further details.

8. Academic Standing, Warning, Suspension, and Reinstatement

Section III.B.8. of the Faculty Handbook was updated by governance proposal #18-54.

Students' academic performance can be negatively impacted by a variety of factors. In order to alert students, their advisors, and other relevant parties when academic performance falls below expectations and students do not hold Academic Good Standing, the university relies on the following designations: Academic Warning, Continued Academic Warning, Academic Suspension and Reinstatement.

Academic Good Standing applies to all students who meet or exceed a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.00. Any student with a cumulative GPA below 2.00 at any time will be enrolled in the Academic Resource Center’s programming for academic success.

Academic Warning occurs when a student's cumulative GPA is below 2.00. Students placed on Academic Warning are expected to raise their cumulative GPA to a 2.00 or better within two semesters; if a student earns a semester GPA at or below 2.00 while on Academic Warning, the student will be placed on Academic Suspension. Any semester GPA below 1.00 will automatically result in Academic Suspension, unless this occurs in the student’s final semester prior to graduation. Thus, a student may bypass Academic Warning and be placed on Academic Suspension if the semester GPA is below a 1.00.

Continued Academic Warning is designated when a student who is on Academic Warning is successful in achieving a semester GPA above a 2.00, but did not raise the cumulative GPA to a 2.00. Students on Continued Academic Warning are expected to achieve or exceed a 2.00 cumulative GPA at the conclusion of their next semester.

Academic Suspension occurs when a student earns a semester GPA at or below 2.00 while on Academic Warning. A student may also be suspended when the student does not attain a 2.00 cumulative GPA after being on Continued Academic Warning. Performance of less than 1.00 GPA for any semester will result in suspension regardless of the student's cumulative GPA, unless this occurs in the student's final semester prior to graduation.

Reinstatement occurs when an academically suspended student once again becomes eligible for enrollment. Students on Reinstatement will be given conditions by the Academic Standing Board that must be fully met during the subsequent semester(s) in order to remain eligible for enrollment. The procedures for seeking Reinstatement are found in the Course Catalog section on Academic Standing.  

9. Academic Credit Policy (Proposal #19-61)

These guidelines establish the minimum standards for academic credit at Denison. Faculty, departments, and programs are expected to understand and articulate on course syllabi the ways in which their courses meet the minimum standard for academic credit. 

  1. Minimum standard for one credit: A one-credit course requires three hours of work per week (one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and two hours of out-of-class student work) over a period of 14 weeks of instruction plus one week of exams.  Direct faculty instruction is defined in the “Forms of Instruction” section below.  
  2. Minimum standard for courses over one credit. Courses offered for other than one credit are simply multiples of the one-credit standard.  Therefore, a four-credit course requires four hours of classroom or direct faculty instruction AND eight hours of out of class student work (for a total of twelve hours of weekly work) over 14 weeks of instruction plus one week of exams. Direct faculty instruction is defined in the “Forms of Instruction” section below.  
  3. Intensive Capstone/Practicum/Research/Creative coursesCapstone, practicum, directed/independent studies, research and creative courses may require students to invest a greater amount of time in work outside of class.  These courses may shift the distribution of the minimum standards described above. Reasons for deviations from the one-third/two-thirds ratio should be articulated on course syllabi.  
  4. This policy establishes the minimum expectation for academic credit.  Students often will be required to invest more time than the required minimum to earn the credit awarded by the course.  A student may not petition to add academic credit to a course solely on the basis of the time beyond the minimum they invested in the course.

Courses offered for less than one credit should generally conform to the one-third/two-thirds ratio of classroom or direct faculty instruction to out of class student work.  Partial-term courses must begin and end during the time that the regular semester (14 weeks of instruction plus one week of exams) is scheduled, and students must remain full-time students during the term in which they enroll for a partial-term course.

Faculty may use their discretion in the weekly distribution of the one-third/two-thirds ratio as long as this guideline is generally met by the end of the semester.  

Forms of Instruction and Student Work

Faculty led instruction may take place in a variety of modes, including forms of instruction outside of regularly scheduled course hours. Thus, Classroom Instruction is one form of instruction offered at Denison.  Other forms of Direct Faculty Instruction include, but are not limited to: 

  • Advising for group or individual projects
  • Laboratory meetings outside of regularly scheduled course hours
  • Review sessions
  • Library sessions outside of regular class time
  • Use of discussion board (such as NoteBowl)
  • Required outside speakers
  • Required community service
  • Required video/film viewing with discussion on NoteBowl or outside class
  • Detailed feedback on student writing and other work
  • Faculty-recorded lectures or presentations (as in a flipped classroom)
  • Concerts, museum visits, and associated field trips
  • Required departmental or divisional colloquia

Out of class student work includes, but is not limited to, various types of reading, writing, and research activities; visits to the Writing Center or similar academic support units, and rehearsal, practice, and creative work.  

The amount and nature of classroom instruction and direct faculty instruction should be evident on a course syllabus.  Likewise, the nature of a student’s out-of-class work should be indicated on the syllabus. This should not be interpreted as a requirement to include on syllabi or course proposals a detailed accounting of hours.  Rather, the syllabus should provide a clear understanding of how the minimum credit standard is met.