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Academic Policies

Attendance Policies

Good academic standing requires the presence of students at all class meetings. Therefore, course attendance at the Institute is mandatory. All students are expected to arrive to class on time. Late attendance or early departure is disruptive to both the instructor and students.

Students are recommended to e-mail instructors for absences prior to the missed class. If prior contact is not possible, the student must contact each instructor and arrange to make up work immediately upon returning to the Institute. Students with excused absences will be allowed to make up all missed work that shall be accepted for full credit. All work assigned during a student’s excused absence may be submitted without penalty upon the student’s return at a time agreed to by the instructor and student but no fewer than the number of consecutive days absent. Students shall make up all graded class work and tests assigned during an unexcused absence. All missed work during an unexcused absence must be requested by the student. A timeline for the completion of all missed work and/or tests will be determined by the instructor and the student and shall not exceed the number of days the student was out of school. At the instructor’s discretion, graded class work/tests may be accepted with 15% reduction in points, or for full credit.

Instructors will track attendance for each class which will be readily available for a third-party inspection and validation on site. Students are required to attend at least 80% of the class to consider present in a class. Instructors may use their discretion in determining tardiness and early departures, along with its consequences. The minimum acceptable attendance for students enrolled is also an 80% attendance rate of the program. The maximum number of consecutive days absent at which point a student will automatically be considered withdrawn are three or more classes per term. Institute does not permit excused absences to count as time attended. All absences count against a student’s cumulative attendance percentage. In addition, students arrive tardy to class or who leave before class is over must have that time removed from the cumulative attendance percentage. Absences is when a student misses 20% or more of the class time. There are only two acceptable reasons for excused absence from class: 1) serious illness on the part of the student or 2) a family emergency. In the former case, the student must submit a doctor’s or clinic note explaining the reason for the absence to the instructor(s) and the Registrar’s Office. In the latter case, the student must submit a note to his/her instructor explaining the reason for the absence. Explanations for excused absences must be received no later than one week after the last missed class. However, exceptions can be made by the instructor for prolonged emergencies when a student does not have means or opportunity to inform the Institute of his or her situation. If an absence is approved as an excused, a student will be allowed to make-up the class work. All make-up work is assigned by the instructor. Instructors are not obligated to provide make-up work for unexcused absences.

Add/Drop a Course

After registration, a student may add a course at any time before the deadline specified in the Academic Calendar. Adding a course after the last day to add a course requires proof of extenuating circumstances and the written approval of both the course instructor and the Academic Dean. Under no circumstances may a course be added after three (3) calendar days beyond the last day to add a course. Students wishing to drop a course must do so before the last day to drop a course. A course that is dropped before the specified date will not appear in the student’s academic record. To add or drop a course, the student must fill out a Course Add/Drop/Withdrawal Form (available from the Registrar’s Office).

Student Complaint and Grievance Policy

Institute faculty and staff attempt to create, in all areas, an atmosphere that is conducive to learning. For this reason, we have established a procedure that we hope will address any school-related problem, concern, or complaint. Most academic concerns will be handled by the instructors. Students should first discuss the problem with the instructor and the head of the School, if necessary. If the problem is not resolved at that level, the student should contact the Academic Dean of the Institute.

The Academic Dean, and all other administrative team members, maintains an open-door policy. Students may express concerns to any administrator. Complaints, however, are best handled by following the above-stated procedure. At the written request of the student, an ad hoc grievance Committee comprised of the Academic Dean, one senior faculty member, the head of the School, and a staff member will be convened to address concerns which remain unresolved. The ad hoc Grievance Committee will convene within 10 days of a written request. The student will be notified of the committee’s decision within three days of the meeting.

The complete grievance procedure is as follows:

First Step - Anyone with a grievance or complaint may request an individual conference with the instructor or staff member to discuss the matter.

Second Step – If a satisfactory resolution to the problem is not reached, the aggrieved party should seek guidance from an academic dean.

Third Step – If the previous steps have not solved the grievance within 48 hours of the incident, the aggrieved party must present to the Institute President, in writing, all facts of the grievance.

Within 72 hours, upon receipt of the written information, the President will schedule a Grievance Committee hearing. The time of the meeting will be communicated in writing to all parties. The Committee will consist of the President, an academic dean, and two staff or faculty members not involved with the incident in question.

All persons or their representatives involved with the incident must be present at the time of hearing. All parties involved will be given the opportunity to discuss the grievance. The Grievance Committee will excuse all parties involved in the grievance and immediately review and conclude the case. The decision of the Committee will be communicated to those involved in the incident within 48 hours. The committee decision will be final. Students are not subject to unfair action/treatment as the result of initiation of a complaint proceeding.

If after following the above stated procedure, the student feels that his or her concerns have not been resolved, he or she may address these concerns in writing to the following organizations:

State Council for Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV)
James Monroe Building, 9thFloor
101 N. 14thStreet
Richmond, VA 23219
Tel: (804) 225-2600
Fax: (804) 225-2604

The Institute ensures that a student will not be subjected to unfair action as a result of initiating a complaint proceeding.

Explanation of Grades

The grades of A, B, C, D, and S are passing grades. Grade “F” is a failing grade. The grade of “I” (Incomplete) is given to a student whose work has been of passing quality but who has, for compelling reasons, been unable to complete all of his or her required course work by the end of the quarter. The quality of performance in any academic course is reported by a letter grade. These grades denote the character of work and are assigned grade points as follows:

Percentage Letter Grade Grade Points Cummulative GPA (CGPA) Academic Standing
100-90 A 4.00 4.00 Excellent
89-80 B 3.00 3.00 Good
79-70 C 2.00 2.00 Satisfactory
69-60 D 1.00 1.00 Passing
59 and below F 0 0.00 Failing
-- S -- -- Satisfactory (non-credit)
-- I -- -- Incomplete (see below)

Symbols: The following symbols may appear next to a grade or in the grade column:

  • R: Repeat Course
  • W: Withdrawn
  • IP: In-Progress
  • TC: Transfer-in Credits
  • X: Audited Course
  • (*): Course not applicable to current degree

Grade Appeals

The Institute’s faculty members strive to conduct fair and just performance evaluations of students’ academic work and scholarly success. A student who believes that his/her efforts and achievement have not been reflected by the final grade obtained may file a grade appeal in writing with the faculty member within two weeks of receiving the grade. If the issue remains unresolved after receiving the faculty member’s decision of the appeal, then the student may appeal in writing to the Academic Dean within seven (7) days after receiving the decision.

The Academic Dean will call a meeting with the Academic Committee and both the student and faculty member will be invited to present their sides of the issue. The Academic Committee will then vote for a resolution and both the student and faculty member will be notified about the decision within seven (7) days. The decision made by the Academic Committee is final and cannot be appealed further.

Incomplete “I” Class Policy

The grade of “I” (Incomplete) is given to a student whose work has been of passing quality but who has, for compelling reasons, been unable to complete all of his or her required course work by the end of the quarter. Students receiving a grade of “I” will be evaluated at the end of the sixth week of the following quarter according to the minimum standards for academic progress. At this time, all work from the previous quarter must be completed and submitted to the instructor.

A grade of “I” is not included in the calculation of the GPA, but will count as credit hours attempted for the purposes of calculating the successful course completion percentage. Courses that remain as an “I” at the end of the six-week period will automatically become an “F” and will be calculated in the GPA. Incompletes are also counted in the calculation of the successful course completion percentage if the student was charged for any portion of the course. Incompletes and withdrawals may have an adverse effect on the successful course completion percentage of a student if he/she has been charged tuition for any part of the course. The “I” grade is issued for verifiable, unavoidable reasons. Since the “I” grade extends enrollment in the course, requirements for satisfactory completion will be established through student/faculty consultation and documented on the student’s transcript. The instructor may complete a Grade Change Form to change a grade and must submit the form to the Registrar’s Office.

Repeat or Retake Courses “R”

If a student repeats a course and completes it with any grade other than the grade of “F”, the following rules will apply in posting the student’s cumulative record:

  1. The original grade, credit hours, and subsequent repetitions must be calculated as credits attempted in the successful course completion percentage for the purpose of satisfactory academic progress. As a general rule, all of the credit hours for which the Institute has collected any tuition, whether for a first time or repeated course, will be included in the computation of the successful course completion percentage.
  2. The GPA will be based only upon the higher grade for the repeated course attempted.
  3. The original grade for the course repeated under this rule will remain on the student’s academic record. The lower attempt will be flagged for exclusion in the GPA calculation and the higher attempt will be flagged for inclusion in the GPA calculation.

Course repetition does not extend the maximum time frame for completing a program of study. Maximum Time Frame is the time allowed for a student to complete a course of study. This requirement is discussed in more detail in other sections. The student must complete the program within the original Maximum Time Frame allowed for their program.

Academic Advising & Faculty Accessibility

Academic advising includes, but is not limited to, assisting students in choosing a concentration, planning course selection and registration, tracking academic progress, developing an academic plan, advising on how to improve a GPA, and providing guidance on career planning. General academic advising procedures are to be followed by all institute students. Some programs may require additional advising beyond what is prescribed here. All students are required to meet regularly with their academic advisors for discussion of their educational goals, career objectives, and academic progress. With their advisor’s help, students design and maintain an academic program that will fulfill general and specific certificate requirements. Students should note that it is their responsibility to understand and satisfy all academic requirements. Since individual programs may establish their own advising processes, students should check with their program director for any additional procedures. 

Upon admission to an institute program of study, but before the beginning of classes, students are encouraged to meet with an academic advisor. This initial advising session includes the following:

  1. A review of the requirements for the student’s intended program of study.
  2. A review of the student’s record-to-date to determine whether academic deficiencies exist that must be remedied.
  3. A recommendation as to course selection for the upcoming quarter /academic year.
  4. A discussion of the career and/or graduate study options open to the student.
  5. Further evaluation of the student’s suitability to major in the chosen discipline.

Furthermore, in order to better assist students during the new orientations, institute faculty will also be available for academic and more specific course advising. At all other times when needed, students are advised to contact the program director to schedule a meeting with a faculty outside the regular teaching hours. Results of all advising sessions, including any recommendations or approved modifications, are entered into the student’s computerized study plan.

Students returning for study at the Institute must schedule a meeting with their advisors to take place no later than one week before the start of classes. The meeting should accomplish at least 1, 2, and 3 above (and 4 and 5 as needed).

The Institute values and encourages student-faculty-administrator interaction inside and outside the classrooms, and therefore, is committed to doing everything possible at its disposal to avail all administrative and academic support services for our students.

Cheating and Plagiarism

The following may be considered as cause for probation, suspension, or dismissal:

  1. Academic dishonesty of any kind
  2. Failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress
  3. Violation of institutional rules and regulations
  4. Failure to maintain financial obligations

A. Academic Dishonesty Policy and Procedures

Those students who engage in academic dishonesty are subject to possible disciplinary actions ranging from admonition to dismissal, along with any grade penalty the instructor might impose. Academic dishonesty, as a general rule, involves one or more of the following acts:

  1. Cheating on an examination or quiz, including the giving, receiving, or soliciting of information and the unauthorized use of notes or other materials during the examination or quiz.
  2. Buying, selling, stealing, or soliciting any material purported to be the unreleased contents of a forthcoming examination, or the use of such material.
  3. Substituting for another person during an examination or allowing such substitution for oneself.
  4. Plagiarizing: This is the act of appropriating passages from the work of another individual, either word for word or in substance, and representing them as one’s own work.
    • Colluding with another person in the preparation or editing of assignments submitted for credit, unless such collaboration has been approved in advance by the instructor.
  5. Other Forms: Other forms of academic dishonesty include selling or purchasing examinations, papers or other assignments and submitting or resubmitting the same paper for two different classes without explicit authorization.

When an instructor suspects cheating, plagiarism, and/or other forms of academic or non-academic dishonesty, the faculty member exercises her/his academic judgment in light of the particular circumstances and the student’s academic history. Consultation with the Academic Dean throughout the process is encouraged.

There are two levels of academic and non-academic misconduct:

A) misconduct resulting from an honest mistake and

B) intentional breach of the rules.

a. Unintentional Breach of Dishonesty Policy:

When a faculty member determines that an instance of academic dishonesty/misconduct resulted from insufficient academic skills, the faculty member (in consultation and close cooperation with the Academic Dean) uses his/her discretion to determine appropriate action. Examples of possible disciplinary actions are listed below:

  1. The faculty member may advise the student on the nature of the student’s breach of academic expectations.
  2. The faculty member may allow the student to redo the assignment.
  3. The faculty member may require that the student complete one or more additional assignments that meet the standards of academic honesty.
  4. The faculty member may lower the grade for the work in question.
  5. The faculty member may assign a failing grade for the work in question.
  6. The faculty member may give the student a failing grade for the course.

Once an action(s) is taken, after close consultation with the Academic Dean and the faculty member, the Academic Dean informs the student in writing about the decision and instructs the student regarding the next steps and a timeline of future tasks.

The student has the right to appeal the action taken at the departmental level. To do so, the student must appeal to the Academic Dean in writing within five (5) working days and provide substantial evidence for his/her appeal. The Academic Dean will then send the case back to the instructor with his/her recommendation. The final decision will be reached by the School (the instructor and the Academic Dean).

If the school decides to refer the student to the Discipline & Honor Committee, then the misconduct will be treated as an intentional breach (see below).

b. Intentional Breach of Dishonesty Policy:

Having provided guidance to the student, the faculty member remains alert to the possibility of further breaches. If the faculty member discovers instances of problematic behavior, he/she determines whether the breach is an intentional/knowing act or if it resulted from a need for further skills development. If the faculty member concludes that these instances are intentional and/or knowing acts of dishonesty, he/she proceeds as follows:

  1. The faculty member will meet with the student to present and discuss evidence for the particular violation, giving the student an opportunity to refute or deny the charge(s).
  2. The instructor informs the Academic Dean of the breach and may schedule an appointment with the student to discuss the matter further.
  3. If the faculty member and the Academic Dean both confirm that the breach is fully intentional, then the student is referred to the Discipline & Honor Committee (DHC) consists of the President, Academic Dean, and a faculty member.

The Discipline & Honor Committee (DHC) is composed of the following members: a senior faculty member, a Student Government Association member, the Registrar, and the Academic Dean as the chair of the committee. The DHC must meet at least once in a quarter to review policies and procedures. However, it may meet more frequently when necessary.

At a written request of an academic school, the Academic Dean will call the DHC for a meeting within ten (10) working days. The committee will review all aspects of the case to ensure fair treatment. During the hearing process, which should not last more than five (5) working days, the student may be called for a short defense and presentation of his/her side of the story only if the majority of the committee members decide to do so. After a careful review and thorough discussion of the breach committed, the DHC, with a simple single majority vote, may choose to impose one or more of the following possible penalties:

  1. Reprimand: A reprimand is a formal written notice from the Academic Dean to the student expressing disapproval of the behavior. It describes the nature of the breach of academic honesty standards, expectations for future behavior, and any specific educational requirements. The letter of reprimand is not included in the student’s official institute record.
  2. Academic Warning: An academic warning for academic dishonesty is a formal written notice from the Academic Dean to the student setting forth conditions for continued enrollment in the Institute. The academic warning for academic dishonesty is included in the student’s official institute record. A breach of academic honesty expectations after an academic warning for academic dishonesty normally leads to dismissal. An academic warning for academic dishonesty remains active on the student’s academic record until graduation. While the Institute retains information about the academic warning after graduation for internal purposes, the Institute clears the official record. If the student pursues additional study with the Institute, the information is available to Institute personnel who may consider it if the student breaches academic honesty expectations again.
  3. Academic Dismissal: An academic dismissal for academic dishonesty is an indefinite separation from the Institute. The formal written notice describes the nature of the breach of academic honesty expectations. The academic dismissal for academic dishonesty is included in the student’s official institute record (transcript). The failure to meet the minimum attendance requirements is also the ground for academic dismissal.

The student will be notified in writing about the committee’s decision within three days of the meeting. Copies of the notification letter will be placed in the student’s file and forwarded to the Academic Dean and to the Registrar. The DHC’s decision is final and may not be appealed unless compelling evidence is submitted to the committee.

B. Non-Academic Dishonesty/Misconduct

By enrolling in the Institute, the student recognizes that the following types of behavior are prohibited and that being found guilty of engaging in them can serve as grounds for certain sanctions, including expulsion or involvement of the local police department.

  1. Violation of any federal, state, and local laws and any published or decreed institute policies will be reported to the proper authorities.
  2. Copyright: Most printed materials, photographs, motions pictures, sound recordings, and computer software are protected by copyright. Copyrighted works may not be reproduced, distributed, performed, or adapted by students without the copyright owner’s permission. For more information, please see the Copyright & Fair Use Policies for Software & Other Materials section in this catalog.
  3. Computer Use: Software is protected by copyright. Students may not copy the institution’s software without permission of the copyright holder. Additionally, students may not place personal software on the institution’s computers or damage or destroy either software or computers. For more information, please see the Copyright & Fair Use Policies for Software & Other Materials section in this catalog.
  4. The manufacture, sale, dispensation, possession, or use of any controlled substances or illegal drug paraphernalia on institute premises or at institute sponsored events is considered an illegal activity and is prohibited on all institute property.
  5. Use, possession, or sale of any alcoholic beverage, regardless of its potency or lack thereof, is prohibited on all institute property.
  6. Use, possession, or sale of firearms or other weapons or any dangerous explosives or explosive elements or component parts on institute property is strictly prohibited.
  7. Any form of physical and/or psychological abuse, threat, or harassment of another person or fighting on institute property will result in sanctions. If the abuse is judged severe enough, the local police department may be consulted.
  8. Littering, defacing, destroying, stealing, or damaging institute property (or attempting to do so), initiation of, or causing to be initiated, any false report, warning or threat of fire, explosion, or other emergency under the Institute’s jurisdiction, is prohibited.
  9. Gambling or holding a raffle or lottery at the Institute without proper approval is forbidden.
  10. Use of profanity and disorderly obscene conduct is strictly prohibited.
  11. Students are expected to familiarize themselves with the Institute’s policies on the following activities: unauthorized entry or presence in any institute building or facility; solicitation and sales; smoking; sexual harassment; physical or psychological assault/abuse of others; and unauthorized or disorderly assemblies that hamper the effective functioning of the Institute, its students, staff, and visitors, and its daily routine operations.
  12. The Institute does not excuse any violation of its policies on the basis that the student was not aware of these policies and their subsequent penalties and sanctions.
  13. The Institute reserves the right to expel any student for illegal activity and/or for any action outlined above
  14. .

Graduation Requirements

To be eligible for graduation the student must:

  • Successfully complete all the academic program requirements according to our Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.
  • Comply with the Attendance policies of the Institute.
  • Complete all the administrative requirements.
  • Fulfill all the financial obligations of the Institute.
  • Submit a complete graduation application

A certificate of completion is presented by Tysons Institute to students who satisfy the graduation requirements.