Course Policies & Procedures

For course-specific policies and procedures, please refer to the course syllabus and relevant sections of your Moodle course site.

University Policies

Students with Disabilities

University of the West complies with all laws and regulations regarding the access of disabled individuals to education and works to ensure that no qualified student with a disability is denied the benefits of, or is excluded from participation in, any school program or activity. Disabled students may request reasonable accommodations including but not limited to adaptations in the way specific course requirements are accomplished, the use of auxiliary equipment, and other modifications including testing procedures. A student with a disability who would like to request an academic accommodation should contact Student Disability Services (SDS) Officer Dr. Keith Brown, located in ED227, or email ssc@uwest.edu. See also Student Success Center site. 

Academic Integrity

University of the West informs its education through its values. Putting these values into action requires students, staff, and faculty to practice honesty, responsibility, and integrity. UWest believes that students should have the opportunity to actively pursue knowledge and learning in a positive and fulfilling environment. Such an environment has no room for academic dishonesty, which violates the most fundamental values of the intellectual community and undermines its achievements. Therefore, all members of UWest's academic community are expected to demonstrate a commitment to the principles of academic integrity.

Faculty and students share the responsibility of safeguarding the integrity of the classroom. Students have the responsibility to be aware of what constitutes academic dishonesty and to uphold the standards of honest academic endeavor, while faculty have the responsibility to communicate classroom standards clearly. The administration is responsible for applying sanctions that go beyond the classroom.

Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, plagiarism, cheating, falsifying records, lying, obtaining or distributing examination materials prior to exams without the consent of the instructor, submitting another's work as one's own, submitting work completed for another course without the agreement of both instructors, and helping any other student in any act of dishonesty.

Faculty must provide a written report of any lapse of integrity to the Chief Academic Officer (CAO). The CAO, in consultation with faculty and department chair, will investigate the allegation. If a student is found to have committed an act of academic dishonesty, sanctions will be imposed and a record of the infraction will be entered into the student's permanent record and noted on the student's academic transcript. At a minimum the student will receive zero credit on the assignment or examination in question. Further sanctions may be imposed depending on the severity of the action and the student's past record. This may include academic integrity probation, a failing grade for the course, dismissal for one term, or expulsion from the university.


Class attendance is a critical factor in student success. Successful attendance begins with an appropriate schedule; students should select a schedule that minimizes conflicts with work and other obligations. Once that schedule is selected, students have the responsibility to demonstrate commitment to their education and respect for their instructors by attending each class session in its entirety, arriving punctually, reporting to class fully prepared, and participating in class discussions. 

Attendance for online classes is based upon participation in group discussions, as outlined in the course syllabus. On campus attendance is defined as a student’s physical presence in the classroom. 

Instructors determine policy for their classes, including the impact of excused absences, and will include this information on the course syllabus distributed at the beginning of each term. At a minimum, students are expected to attend at least 80% of scheduled class sessions. Students whose class attendance falls below 80% (equivalent to 3 absences in courses meeting weekly for 16 weeks) may receive a reduction in grade. Students with class attendance below 70% are dismissed from that class. 

If this dismissal occurs prior to the term withdrawal deadline, a course grade of W is posted to the student’s transcript; after this deadline, a grade of FW is posted. FW is equivalent to F in GPA calculations. 

Students who attend no classes for two consecutive weeks without prior approval of the department chair may be considered to have voluntarily withdrawn from UWest. A university-initiated program withdrawal may be processed and grades assigned as above. 

Students should be aware that course and program dismissals may negatively impact their ability to maintain satisfactory academic progress as well as financial aid and scholarship eligibility. International students on F-1 visas must be especially aware that if a course or program dismissal drops their status to less than full time, UWest is obligated to terminate the Form I-20 and notify the Department of Homeland Security of the change in status. 

A student who is dismissed from a class or from the program retains the right to petition the instructor and department chair for reinstatement. Upon consultation with the instructor, the chair renders a decision. The decision of the chair is final. See the Registrar’s Office for a Petition to Reinstate. 

The IEP attendance policy is unique to that program and is explained in full in the English Language Institute chapter in the Academic Catalog. 

Grading Standards

University of the West uses a 4-point grade scale. Letter grades are assigned by the instructor of record to indicate the extent to which a student has achieved course objectives.

All grades, except incompletes (I and IC), are final when posted by the instructor. No grade will be revised by reexamination or completion of extra work with the exception of official incompletes. A student who feels that there is an error in the recorded grade should meet with the instructor to determine if the grade was correctly recorded. If an error was made in grade entry, the instructor may request a correction by submitting a Grade Change form to the Registrar's Office. The registrar is authorized to change a final grade only if a clerical or procedural error must be corrected.

Any grade correction requested more than one year after the original filing must be validated by the department chair. Any grade change made by an instructor who has left UWest must be approved by the department chair.

A student who wishes to challenge a grade issued by a professor must do so no later than the term immediately following that in which the course was completed. Refer to the Grade Grievance policy below (from the UWest catalog).

Grade Grievance

Grades are assigned by the instructor and, except in the case of negligent or capricious grading, the grade issued by the instructor is final. No grade will be revised by re-examination or completion of extra work with the exception of official incompletes. A student who feels that there is an error in the recorded grade should meet with the instructor to determine if the grade was correctly recorded. If an error was made in grade entry, the instructor will submit a Grade Change form to the Registrar's Office. The registrar is authorized to change a final grade only in the case of clerical or procedural errors.

If, after this discussion, students wish to challenge a final grade, they must follow the grade grievance process specified on the Grade Grievance Form available from the Registrar's Office.

Email Communication

Communication is a critical tool in education. To facilitate communication, every UWest student is assigned a university email address. This email address is used for all official email communication. Prior to admission, a personal email address may be used to correspond, but once a student has enrolled only the UWest email account will be used by the university. Students activate their my.uwest.edu accounts during UDays New Student Orientation. Students are responsible for all notifications sent to their UWest email account and should be sure to check this account regularly.

Students may access the UWest mail server via the university website at www.uwest.edu. The Information Technology Help Desk assists students who have difficulties with their accounts and are available via helpdesk@uwest.edu.


The Department of Education requires that all students are informed of the serious issue of copyright infringement. Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code). These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted including, but not limited to, textbooks and software. In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement. Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or “statutory” damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed.

For “willful” infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, at its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys' fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505. Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense. More information is available on the U.S. Copyright Office website.

Mental Health and Counseling Support

The purpose of a university is to disseminate information as well as to explore a universe of ideas, to encourage diverse perspectives and robust expression, and to foster the development of critical and analytical thinking skills.  In many classes, including this one, students and faculty examine and analyze challenging and controversial topics. If a topic covered in this class or an interaction involving the class triggers post-traumatic stress or other emotional distress, please discuss the matter with the professor or seek out confidential resources available from the Wellness Center, by contacting April Afoa, LMFT #45284; Email: aprila@uwest.edu; Telephone: (626) 677-3325 or (626) 677-3344.

Sexual Misconduct & Title IX

In accordance with UWest’s mission and values as well as federal and state laws, UWest does not tolerate sexual misconduct. Sexual misconduct constituting sexual violence is a form of sex discrimination and is prohibited by Title IX of the Education Code and other federal and state laws. Sexual misconduct includes sexual harassment in person, via digital media, or other forms of contact. Chief Student Services Officer Vanessa Karam serves as UWest's Campus Title IX Coordinator and is available to confidentially explain and discuss a student's right to file a criminal complaint (sexual assault and violence); the university's complaint process, including the investigation, adjudication, and appeal processes; how confidentiality is handled; available resources, both on and off campus; and other related matters. She may be contacted at vanessak@uwest.edu, 626-656-2130, or in AD 221. For more information, see the Academic & Ethical Standards site. A student who is in the midst of an emergency should call the police immediately by dialing 911.

Notice of Syllabus Change

A syllabus is a guide and every attempt is made to provide an accurate overview of the course. However, circumstances and events may make it necessary for the instructor to modify the syllabus during the semester and may depend, in part, on the progress, needs, and experiences of the students. Changes to the syllabus will be made with advance notice.

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