Common Student Issues
When dealing with common student issues, it’s important to follow FERPA. Please find a quick refresher on FERPA here.
From the U of I General Catalog: "Student petitions for exceptions to the requirements and procedures in [Part 3] of the U of I catalog should be presented to the Academic Petitions Committee on forms available in the college offices."
The Academic Petitions Committee (APC) meets periodically to hear petitions. Generally they meet weekly during the Fall and Spring semesters and biweekly during the Summer. The Faculty-Staff Handbook gives several guidelines to the committee members as they weigh petitioner requests, including the following:
- "APC must be careful not to establish the petition process as an alternative to being governed by the faculty's legislated academic requirements. There are not two sets of requirements—one for petitioning and another for following the catalog."
- "The responsibility for complying with deadlines specified in the academic calendar belongs to the student."
- "All academic work undertaken should be accurately reflected in the student's record. The faculty expects...that the record is faithful to the actual experience (cosmetic adjustments or 'corrections' are not sanctioned)."
The APC weighs any extenuating circumstances in the student's petition and can make an exception to the regulations in Part 3 of the U of I Catalog.
Note: APC's jurisdiction covers only the University regulations in Part 3 of the Catalog. Requirements in Part 4 (Colleges) are the jurisdiction of the college and the requirements in Part 5 (Departments) are the jurisdiction of the department. Exceptions to requirements in Parts 4 and 5 are handled via a Degree Audit Substitution/Waiver Form.
Examples of past petitions include:
- Withdrawing from the University after the deadline
- Withdrawing from a course after the deadline
- Expunging the W grade earned in a course
- Registering after the deadline
- Registering for more than 22 credits
Questions about a particular situation should be referred to the student's academic dean.
The assignment of grades is the sole prerogative of the course instructor and grades, other than incomplete, are considered final when reported at the end of a term. There are two situations in which the grade assigned at the end of a term may be corrected:
- An instructor may request a grade correction when a computational or procedural error occurred in the assignment of the grade. In this situation, no grade may be revised as a result of additional work handed in after the end of the term. Note: Corrections may only be made within one year of the end of the term for which the grade was assigned (e.g. a grade for assigned for fall 2003 may only be corrected until December 17, 2004.
- An original grade of incomplete may be changed up until the deadline for completion of incomplete grades (see General Catalog regulation F-1).
It is especially important to note when one of your advisees has received an incomplete in a given semester. When the grade is changed (or the reversion grade is applied) the change will effect their standing for the semester in which the incomplete was assigned. If it is a negative effect, such as moving someone from Good Standing to Probation, it can impact their future enrollment eligibility.
Refer to the General Catalog or contact the Registrar's Office for information about incomplete due dates. Note: incompletes should only be given when an eligible student requests it.
There are two forms of honoring academic achievement at U of I. One is academic honors awarded based upon a student's final GPA at the time of graduation. The other is inclusion on the Dean's List, which is awarded each semester based upon a student's semester GPA.
Graduation with Honors:
A student can graduate with honors if they meet one of the following conditions:
- They have earned at least 56 credits in U of I courses AND their cumulative U of I GPA falls within one of the groups listed in Regulation K of the General Catalog.
- They have earned at least 32 credits in U of I courses and their cumulative U of I GPA AND their overall GPA falls within one of the groups listed in Regulation K of the General Catalog.
The Dean's List is calculated one time at the end of each Fall and Spring semester and published within U of I and distributed to news agencies.
Undergraduate students who are registered for at least 12 graded credits (passes not included) and earn at least a 3.50 GPA are included on the Dean's List.
There are several reports or types of information to assist with managing information about advisees available to advisors and departments. One report is available through Banner and others can be requested from the Registrar's Office.
Freshmen Early Warning Grades (FEW)
Freshmen Early Warning grades are due at the end of the fourth week of classes. Instructors are asked to use these grades to record concerns about attendance (if taken) and academic progress.
Many instructors comment that there is generally little feedback available to give students this early in the semester. However, the FEW grades can be useful as a "heads up" if there are students for whom attendance is a problem or who may have failed an initial quiz. Departments and advisors may contact students who appear on their FEW list to see if there are any problems that a student would like assistance with early in the semester.
Registrar's Office Reports
The Registrar's Office provides a number of reports to departments and colleges with student information. A commonly requested report is titled Advisees of Selected Departments & Colleges (see box below).
However, reports can be run to include many different variables. Faculty and staff can request a report via email email@example.com. Include in the request a description of the information needed and its purpose or specific items of information needed in the report. Contact information (phone and email) for the requestor is also important in case there are questions.
Advisees of Selected Departments & Colleges
- Request via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Indicate the department or college desired and the term for which the records should be selected.
- This report is term specific and will include students affiliated with the department's majors (regardless of advisor) and all students affiliated with the department's faculty (regardless of major).
- Report will be sent in Excel format; the information can be sorted by the recipient as needed.
Prior to undergraduate
College Board | Advanced Placement Exams (AP):
Credit is granted for advanced placement exams completed in high school for which a score of 3 or better is attained. Specific course equivalencies can be found on the Registrar's Office Advanced Placement website.
College Board | College Level Examination Program (CLEP):
U of I gives credit for specific courses with a minimum score on CLEP exams. For a listing of minimum required scores, see the Registrar's Office Advanced Placement website.
U of I grants English credit to students who achieve minimum scores through ACT, SAT, and COMPASS exams. For the minimum scores needed, see the Registrar's Advanced Placement website.
While degree seeking
Challenged Courses (Credit by Examination)
Degree-seeking students may challenge U of I lecture and associated lab courses by:
- Receiving permission from the course instructor, department administrator for the course being challenged, and from his/her own academic dean.
- Undergraduates must score a C or higher on the exam given by the instructor to earn credit and graduate students must earn a B or higher. If the exam is passed, a P is entered on the transcript and is not calculated into the GPA.
Application for challenging are available on the Registrar's website.
Technical Competency Credit
Credit can be given in certain courses under PTTE for competency. Questions about this type of credit should be directed to the Division of Adult, Counselor, and Technology Education.
Vertically Related Courses
With this option students can receive credit for vertically bypassed courses by successfully completing a higher course with a grade of C or better. Courses that are vertically-related are listed at the beginning of each subject in Part 6 of the Catalog. Applications for vertical credits are available on the forms page of the Registrar's website.
Probation and disqualification standards are listed in Part 3 of the U of I General Catalog, Regulation L. Undergraduate students are considered to be in good academic standing when they have a semester and cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 2.00 or higher.
At the end of a semester, undergraduate students who do not earn a 2.00 cumulative GPA are placed on academic probation for the next semester of enrollment. Probation is designed to give a student notice that if they have another unsatisfactory semester they will be disqualified. At the end of that next semester their cumulative GPA is evaluated again, and if they haven't achieved a 2.00 cumulative GPA they can be academically disqualified from attending the university.
There are two exceptions to this:
- students who have earned 0-32 credits...students in this category can continue on academic probation if their cumulative GPA is at least a 1.80.
- students who earn a semester GPA of 2.00 or higher are eligible to continue on probation even if their cumulative GPA is not above a 2.00.
Students on probation have a hold placed on their record that prevents them from making changes to their registration. These students are referred to their academic dean to complete an Academic Plan. This form is to be returned to the academic dean's office, department office, or academic advisor (depending on the college and/or department policy for the student's major).
Upon return of this plan the appropriate party will remove the Probation Hold from the student's record (check with your department to see who handles hold removal). The Probation Hold is in place for any semester in which a student's academic standing is probation. The Academic Plan must be completed every semester a student is on probation.&
If a student is disqualified:
|First Disqualification||The student must either successfully petition his/her college for reinstatement to enroll in the following semester or sit out of school for one semester for automatic reinstatement.|
|Second Disqualification||The student must successfully petition his/her college for reinstatement.|
|Third Disqualification||The student must successfully petition his/her college and the Academic Petitions Committee for reinstatement.|
Students who have been disqualified should be referred to their academic dean's office for assistance in determining the best course of action for their situation.
Working with Students on Probation & Disqualification:
All U of I students with a standing of ACADEMIC PROBATION receive an email to their VandalMail account from the Registrar alerting them that there is an important message waiting for them on the Web Interface, with a link to the LOGIN page.
When the student logs in to the Web Interface, they are notified that there is an important message waiting to be viewed. The message informs the students of (1) being placed on academic probation, (2) the requirements students must meet to avoid disqualification, (3) a requirement to complete the Academic Plan, and (4) a request to contact their dean or advisor and complete the Academic Worksheet with them.
Students are sometimes reluctant to reach out to someone when they have a problem. When a student is on probation it might be helpful for advisors to send an email once or twice during the semester to let the student know what the advisor's office hours are and ask if everything is alright. Students often respond to this personal contact where they might feel they are bothering their advisor otherwise. A good time to send such an email is just prior to the deadline to drop without a W or to withdraw from class altogether.
There are other factors that probation/disqualified students must consider:
- The fastest way to bring the cumulative GPA up is to retake classes that the student received a D or F in and to earn a higher grade.
- Receiving a 2.00 GPA for the semester will allow the student to continue on probation even if their cumulative GPA is below the minimum required for good standing.
- Student's receiving financial aid must earn a passing grade (D or higher) in 75% of their attempted credits* or they risk financial aid disqualification. If you have a student who you believe may run into trouble with this, refer him/her to the Financial Aid Office for assistance. (*Note: this is calculated using a maximum of 12 attempted credits per semester.)
Accessing the Student Status:
A student's academic standing appears on their VandalWeb transcripts.
The Probation Hold is displayed on the Advisee List available for download from VandalWeb. When the Excel file is downloaded, the list of advisees can be sorted so that those who have a Probation Hold on their record appear at the top. If the list is downloaded at the beginning of each semester and advisor can track who is on Probation for that semester.
Thoughts for Advisors:
Students struggle academically for a variety of reasons: academic ability or lack thereof, poor study skills or habits, personal/emotional problems, health problems, lack of background or preparation for a particular subject...this list goes on. For whatever reasons students struggle, they need to make some kind of change. While making this change is ultimately up to the student, advisors can be a useful resource as students prepare for academic improvement.
A few characteristics of at-risk students:
- Unclear academic and/or career goals
- Time management issues
- Lack of academic preparation
- Lack of interest and motivation in selected coursework
- Lack of communication with their instructors
- Too many outside obligations—family, friends, living group...
- Too many distractions—work, family, friends, personal issues...
- Lack of support system—friends, family, other connections...
Some things advisors can suggest for students with these characteristics:
- Visit the Counseling & Testing Center and take advantage of their career exploration tools or visit Degree Finder on the U of I Home Page.
- Use the resources at Tutoring and Academic Assistance Programs. Sometimes students feel that there is a stigma associated with this. Advisors can emphasize that students of all abilities use these services.
- Practice some good time-management skills such as: 1) get a planner, 2) write all due dates down at the beginning of the semester and work backward from those to, 3) set some mini-deadlines (e.g. if a final paper is due on May 10, the student should have their rough draft done by May 3 and begin the paper on April 30), 4)add outside commitments to the planner (holidays, house or dorm dances, work schedule, etc.) so that the student can plan study time around those obligations.
- Prioritize so that outside obligations don't distract from studying.
- Get involved on campus so that the student can make some connections with other students with similar interests. These students can become part of a probation student's support network.
- TALK TO INSTRUCTORS. Some students feel that they are bothering their instructors. They should be reassured that contacting them is normal and even expected. If a syllabus doesn't include the instructor's office hours, the student can contact either the department office or check the instructor's office door to see if they are posted. Email is another great tool for students to use.
Students who have questions about academic requirements can be directed to the specific department if you don't have the information yourself. In some cases you will want to call the department yourself while the student is in your office to get the answer to a specific question.
Students who need academic help or indicate that they have some type of learning problem can be referred to the Academic Support Programs office in the Vandal Success Center, Idaho Student Union Building Third Floor (208-885-1021).
There are times when students may disclose personal problems and the advisor is unsure how to handle the information. It is best if such information is not placed in the student's academic folder, since that would violate the student's privacy. Desk notes that an advisor keeps in his/her own office are fine, since no one else would have access to them. If you feel that your conversation with a student is progressing to a point at which you feel uncomfortable you might want to bring up the subject of counseling. Ask the student if he/she is aware of the services of the Counseling & Testing Center and suggest that there is nothing wrong with wanting to talk to someone.
The Counseling & Testing Center will see students immediately if you feel the situation is an emergency. If you can accompany the student to the Counseling & Testing Center, this is the best way to handle it. While it would not typically come up, you may see a situation where you suspect the student might be suicidal. If you think this, call someone at the Counseling & Testing Center. Don't attempt to deal with the situation yourself. Excuse yourself from the office for a minute if you must, and make the call.
Students who don't qualify for regular undergraduate admission as laid out in Part 2 of the General Catalog can petition the Admissions Committee for entrance to the University.
Freshmen Provisional Admission Requirements
If admitted through the appeal process, freshmen must meet the requirements below and may be admitted to a major specified by the Admission Committee (e.g. General Studies). Once the student has satisfactorily completed the requirements below they will be fully admitted.
- Satisfactorily complete 14 credits (satisfactorily means a minimum GPA of 2.00).
- 12 of the 14 credits must be in four different core categories.
- The 14 credits must be completed within the first three semesters of enrollment (not including summer session).
Transfer Provisional Admission Requirements
If admitted through the appeal process, TRANSFER STUDENTS are admitted on probation and must meet all conditions imposed by the Admission Committee. They must receive a 2.00 or higher GPA their first semester or they will be dismissed (an admission hold placed upon their record which will prevent registration) and must appeal to the Admission Committee if they want to continue. Advisors with questions about provisional admission and any associated requirements should contact Undergraduate Admissions at 885-6326.
A student who has received a D or F in a course at U of I may repeat the course at U of I provided credit has not been earned in a more advanced vertically-related course in the same subject area. The first grade earned in the course will be excluded from the student's institutional GPA, although the grade will always remain on the transcript.
Notes to Advisors:
- Only courses in which a student received a D or F are eligible for grade replacement.
- Only courses taken at U of I are applicable under this policy.
- There is no limit to the number of repeat credits a student can have; however, the first grade is the only one forgiven under this policy. If a student takes a course a third time in an effort to improve their GPA both the second and third grades will be averaged in the institutional GPA.
- Before advising a student to repeat a course, make sure that the student hasn't completed a more advanced, vertically-related course in the subject area. (Vertically-related courses are listed in Part 6 of the General Catalog at the beginning of each subject).