More About Academics
General Academic Policies
Policy for the Accommodation of Students with DisabilitiesConcordia College is committed to providing access to learning opportunities for students with disabilities who meet the standard criteria for admission. Students accepted for admission are considered capable of meeting academic standards if reasonable accommodations can be made for their disability, which do not compromise the academic integrity of the college or the students’ educational program. The college’s commitment stems from its desire to provide opportunities for an education to all who meet the admissions criteria and to fully serve its constituency.
The college is further committed to complying with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended and interpreted, and strengthened by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in meeting the needs of students who have disabilities under the law. It is the policy of the college to make services available for students who, through a recent assessment, can clearly document a disability. Services offered shall include support, counseling, information and academic assistance.
Furthermore, Concordia College policy calls for appropriate accommodations to be made for students with documented disabilities on an individual and flexible basis. It is the responsibility of students, however, to make their needs known and to seek the assistance, which is available at the college.
The following guidelines describe procedures by which reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities enrolled at Concordia College can be accomplished.
General GuidelinesIt is the responsibility of each student with a disability to provide written notification to the director of Counseling and Disability Services immediately upon acceptance for admission to the college. The notification must include the specific nature of the disability and establish the need for accommodation. The director will respond by providing the student a copy of this policy that explains services available and outlines what is needed from the student. There are specific criteria for documenting a learning disability (LD), Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), psychiatric disability, or physical disabilities and chronic health conditions. Guidelines will be made available when any of these disabilities are claimed. Guidelines can also be found on the college’s Web site, www.cord.edu (type Disability Services in the search box next to A-Z INDEX). The student should then provide official documentation to the director of Counseling and Disability Services as stated in the guidelines. The college will accept testing and/or evaluations from appropriately licensed personnel in recognized agencies. The college, at its discretion, may require additional testing or evaluation if the documentation is inadequate or in need of updating.
All Concordia students are expected to assume an appropriate level of responsibility for their educational and personal needs during their enrollment at the college. This means that students may initially need more support from the institution but that over a period of time, the goal is to have students doing as much as possible for themselves. At the beginning of each academic year, students are required to update their request for accommodation with the director of Counseling and Disability Services.
The considerations essential for determining the scope of academic adjustments necessary center on three major points:
1. The essential course content and requirements necessary for academic credit;
2. The course standards for academic performance that must be met to complete the course; and
3. The accommodations necessary for the students to access the course content, thus being provided an opportunity equal to that afforded others in meeting the requirements.
Accommodations will be designed to meet the individual needs of the students. However, they cannot compromise curricular goals, standards or essential course content, nor interfere with the rights or opportunities afforded others. All acceptable accommodations will recognize the faculty members’ right to determine the content and academic performance standards in the classroom. Unless students have gone through the formal process of official documentation with the director of Counseling and Disability Services, they cannot expect to receive accommodations from faculty.
Specific ProceduresStep 1 — Notification: It is the responsibility of each student with a disability who is requesting accommodations to provide written notification to the director of Counseling and Disability Services upon acceptance for admission to the college.
Step 2 — Referral: Individuals, such as faculty, staff, family members or representatives of the Division of Rehabilitation Services who have reason to believe that a student may have a disability that hinders their academic performance, may refer the student to Counseling and Disability Services, but are not required to do so.
Step 3 — Certification/Validation:If the disability has been previously identified, either through documentation of a history of having received services in other educational settings and/or through testing/evaluation by appropriately licensed personnel in a recognized agency, documentation must be provided to the director of Counseling and Disability Services. If the disability has not been formally diagnosed or if a more recent or adequate evaluation is necessary, further assessment may be required by the college, at its discretion, to determine eligibility for services. If further testing or evaluation is necessary, the student will be referred to an appropriate public or private community agency, with the cost to be borne by the student. Specific criteria must be met in the documentation of all disabilities. The specific guidelines should be requested from the director or accessed on the college’s Web site, www.cord.edu (type Disability Services in the search box next to A-Z INDEX).
Step 4 — Development of an Accommodation Plan: Once a disability has been established, the director of Counseling and Disability Services will confer with the student. The director will work with the student to develop a plan to provide the reasonable accommodations necessary for the student to achieve the course or curriculum requirements and to provide essential support services. Responsibilities of the student, as well as accommodations to be made by the faculty, will be outlined in the plan. Appropriate faculty and staff will be involved in the process as necessary.
Students who qualify for disability services are expected to utilize the necessary accommodations for completion of the college Core Curriculum and major requirements. Requests for a substitution will be considered on the basis of documentation from within the diagnostic file, and not solely because of the diagnostic label. Given appropriate accommodation, most students can and do succeed in college-level courses such as math and foreign languages. When there is sufficient evidence within the student’s diagnostic file or history that there are no accommodations that can be offered within a specific course to make it possible for the student to successfully complete the standard requirement, a course substitution or curricular modification may be considered. It is inappropriate to assume that a course substitution is the only accommodation that would be appropriate on the sole basis of the assigned diagnosis. The primary goal is for students with disabilities to fulfill their educational goals through the traditional sequence of courses — appropriately accommodated.
Step 5 — Implementation: The college will assist the student in implementing accommodation plans by:
1. Working with the student to plan a course of study early enough so that the students may schedule an appropriate load of courses each semester;
2. Communicating in writing and in some instances through conferences at the beginning of each semester the accommodation plan and the specific responsibilities of the parties involved;
3. Meeting with the student regularly to review personal adjustment and course progress, to engage in any necessary problem-solving with students, and to provide encouragement and support;
4. Making appropriate referrals to campus and community resources.
Step 6 — Renewal: Once in the program, it is the responsibility of the student to renew the request for accommodation with the director of Counseling and Disability Services at the beginning of each academic year. The college does not automatically renew the accommodation plan.
Step 7 — Peition Process: Whenever there is a petition for change in a curricular requirement, the student is required to inform the director of Counseling and Disability Services. The student will be directed to write a letter of petition to the appropriate individual or committee according to the specific request, explaining the nature of the disability and stating the rationale for the change(s). The director will also write a letter to the appointed individual or committee to verify the disability. The director will then forward the letters to the designated individual or committee (department chair or Core Committee, for example) for review and approval or disapproval. Should additional information regarding the disability be needed from whomever, the student will be asked to sign a release authorizing the director to provide additional information. The college registrar will be notified of any approved change(s) in graduation requirements. A notation indicating the change(s) will be added to the student’s advising folder. If the change(s) are not mutually agreeable, the student, faculty/staff member or director may use the appeal process as outlined in Step 8 (Appeal Process).
Step 8 — Appeal Process:
1. In the event that a reasonable accommodation plan cannot be formulated working through the director of Counseling and Disability Services (and in some instances the department chair or Core Committee), either the student or faculty/staff member may file an appeal with the college 504 officer. His/her decision will be final.
2. If questions or problems arise with regard to implementation of the accommodation plan, the student or faculty/staff member may appeal to the director. If not resolved, the student or faculty/staff member may file an appeal with the college 504 officer. His/her decision will be final.
Class AttendanceRegular attendance and participation in class is critical to a student’s success at Concordia College. Because any absence, excused or unexcused, detracts from the learning experience, students are expected to attend all classes. Concordia College also values the educational experience afforded by student participation in cocurricular activities. As a result, the following articulates a policy that encourages responsible decision making on the part of coaches, directors, activity coordinators and students participating in cocurricular activities while also assuring that students are allowed participation in cocurricular activities.
In the case of illness, students should notify their instructors and residence hall directors. In the event of serious or extended illness, or family emergency, the Office of Student Affairs should also be notified. Makeup work may be required for any absence. Students should note that their grade in a course may be affected by excessive absences.
Students who participate in college-sponsored activities (e.g., intercollegiate Athletics, choral and instrumental ensembles, Forensics, mock trial, Concordia Language Villages and department-sponsored activities) should be notified by their coaches, directors or activity coordinators of the dates of scheduled absences as early as possible. (This information should be available before students register for courses.) Students should notify their instructors of scheduled absences at the beginning of the semester, or as soon as that information is available to them.
Faculty and staff who are responsible for coaching, directing or coordinating college-sponsored activities should provide students with the dates of scheduled absences as early as possible in the semester, and provide faculty with verified rosters and dates of scheduled absences at the earliest point possible. If exact dates are unavailable, the number of scheduled absences and their approximate dates should be provided. To the extent that coaches, directors and coordinators have control of the number of scheduled absences, they should be prudent in the number of absences they require of students.
In any class, under normal circumstances, students should not miss more than 10 percent of the total scheduled class periods because of a college-sponsored activity. If scheduled absences in a class will exceed 10 percent of class meetings, the faculty or staff member responsible for coaching, directing or coordinating the college-sponsored activity should submit the activity schedule to the Academic Procedures and Policies Committee for approval prior to the start of the semester (if possible). Decisions of the Academic Procedures and Policies Committee may be appealed to the dean of the college. If the schedule is approved, students should be allowed to complete missed work without penalty. Faculty will determine what kind of makeup work is required for absences and whether the work is to be completed before the students’ departure or upon their return. If class attendance is a factor in determining the final grade, the students should not be penalized for missing these classes. If class participation is a factor in determining the final grade, faculty should allow students to fulfill the participation requirement by some other means or at some other time.
Students who choose to participate in more than one college-sponsored activity and will miss more than 15 percent of the meetings in any class should consult with their instructors as soon as they become aware of the situation. Students should recognize that a grade penalty may result from the number of absences.
Faculty or students should bring to the attention of the Committee on Academic Procedures and Policies any college-sponsored activity that, in their opinion, has scheduled an excessive number of absences. Programs that, in the opinion of the committee, persist in overscheduling will be reported to the dean and the president.
It is the duty of each faculty member to meet all scheduled classes during the entire semester. If a faculty member must be absent, an arranged substitute should be considered. Legitimate reasons for missing a class include illness and professional travel.
Faculty members should keep attendance records and report excessive absences to the Office of Student Affairs by use of the Academic Performance Notice, as well as confer directly with the student about absences. If a student quits coming to class and subsequently fails the course, the last date of attendance in the class must be reported to the Office of the Registrar along with the final grade in the course.
Cocurricular ParticipationEvery college-sponsored activity should provide the Committee on Academic Policies and Procedures with its eligibility requirements. While those responsible for coaching, directing or coordinating these activities are encouraged to develop eligibility requirements that suit their particular activity best, the minimum requirement at Concordia College is that students participating in college-sponsored activities must be enrolled for at least 3.0 course credits. Students who do not meet this minimum may appeal to the committee for an exception to the rule, as may directors who have special needs that this policy makes impossible for them to meet.
Grades, Appeals ProcessPolicy for assigning grades is at the discretion of the individual instructor. A student who wishes to appeal a grade may petition the department chair, who, in consultation with the faculty member and two other faculty members agreeable to the petitioner, will determine whether the grade should be changed. Petitions should be submitted no later than midsemester following the semester in which the grade was assigned. Students seeking an appeal of the department/program decision may bring a petition to the dean of the college or their designee.
Inclement WeatherOfficial College Policy on Winter Storms
Since the majority of students live either on campus or relatively near the college off campus, most would be able to attend classes in stormy weather. Many faculty and staff also live close enough to the campus to make it to the college in most cases. Consequently, classes are typically held, and the college remains open, for anyone who is able to be here. However, in the final analysis anyone living away from the campus (with the exception of essential personnel) must make a personal judgment — with safety being the primary criteria — about the wisdom of traveling to the college.
Faculty who are unable to attend their class(es) on storm days are asked to notify their department chairperson and the registrar by phone, and to log on to the college Web site and post a notice that their class(es) will not be held. Staff who are unable to make it to the office are asked to contact their supervisor by phone.
There will be times when the college may be forced to cancel classes or, on rare occasions, to close due to severity of conditions. The decision-making process on whether or not to hold classes, or close the college, will begin at approximately 5 a.m. with a final decision prior to 6:30 a.m. A decision will be announced on radio and television, through campus e-mail messages, and on the information line (4000). Students may also check the college Web site (www.ConcordiaCollege.edu) for postings about specific classes being cancelled.
Other Policies and RegulationsThe policies and regulations listed below are published in the online College Handbook and various other publications made available to students, faculty and staff each year. College documents relating to the rights and responsibilities of individual students and student groups, as well as the campus judicial process and structure, are available from the Office of Student Affairs. Policy information can also be accessed on the Concordia Web site.
Academic: (Also see Page 39 in the catalog) Accommodation of Students with Disabilities, Policy on Access to Computers and Computer Software, Records Policy, Withdrawal from College
Academic Integrity Violations: (Also see Page 22 in the catalog)
Campus activities: Display Policy, Fund-Raising and Sales Policy, Off-Campus Trips Policy, Policies for Student Organizations, Promotions Policy
Campus climate/community life: Alcohol and Other Drug Policy, Bias-Related Violence, Intimidation and Harassment Policy, Gambling Policy, General Institutional Policies (e.g., dishonesty in academic pursuits; obstruction or disruption of college activities), Hazing Policy, Sexual Harassment Policy, Sexual Violence Policy, Smoking Policy
General: Mail Distribution Policy, Motor Vehicle Policy, Parking Regulations
Plagiarism: (Also see Page 22 in the catalog)
Student responsibility: Residence Life Policies and Procedures, Student Accessibility Policy, Student Responsibility Code, Student Rights and Responsibilities Document