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Academic News and Key Reminders for Students

Winter Quarter 2017-18

January 8, 2018

Dear Students,

Happy New Year!  I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to the Winter Quarter at Drexel. I hope that you had a wonderful holiday break.  Here are several reminders. If you have questions or comments, please e-mail me at kurzweg@drexel.edu.

Academic Calendar

Key dates for the Winter quarter can be found at: http://drexel.edu/provost/calendars/academic-calendars/quarter-2017-2018/. Key dates are:

Winter Quarter 2017-18

  • Classes begin: Monday, January 8, 2018
  • Class Add/Drop deadline via DrexelOne (11:00PM): Sunday, January 14, 2018
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (University Holiday): Monday, January 15, 2018
  • Class Withdrawal deadline: Friday, Friday, February 23, 2018
  • Winter quarter classes end: Monday, March 19, 2018
  • Final exams: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - Saturday, March 24, 2018

Classroom Space at Lincoln Plaza

As announced in the e-mail distributed on Monday, September 18, 2017, construction of Drexel Square, which will enhance the gateway to Schuylkill Yards and Drexel’s University City Campus will begin this Fall at 30th and Market Streets. This project requires the closure of the Garden Level classrooms at One Drexel Plaza for the 2017-18 academic year. Drexel has established a partnership with Lincoln University to use their excellent classroom space in Lincoln Plaza (3rd and 4th floors) at 3020 Market Street. The 3020 Market Street is shown on Drexel's campus map,  identified as Building 176. Signage will be posted in the Lincoln Plaza lobby and 3rd and 4th floors. Access is by ID card and elevators. Stairs are available to exit the classroom floors. Resources are being provided for faculty to best utilize this space.

Policy Notes

Academic policies may be found at http://drexel.edu/provost/policies/overview/. Among various policies that were updated in Fall 2016-17 to better promote student engagement and success, I call your attention to the following policies:

Enrollment Confirmation

All students are required to confirm their term enrollment; they will be alerted to confirm enrollment upon log in to Drexel Connect.

Course Enrollment

Attendance in a class requires official enrollment for two primary reasons:

  • many courses use Drexel Learn (Blackboard Learn) which requires enrollment and students are precluded from access without official enrollment
  • students sitting in class with or without instructor knowledge leads to late add requests; enrollment must be linked to attendance in a class for compliance, data accuracy, and safety

Course Add/Drop

The add/drop period extends through the first week of the quarter.

Course Withdrawal

The withdrawal period begins the second week of the quarter.

Academic Integrity

The rationale for the policy is clearly stated: “Drexel University expects all members of its community to uphold the highest values of academic integrity.” Possible violations include the use of electronic media and self-plagiarism. 

Course Repeat

Noting that several Drexel courses require a C grade in their prerequisite courses, this policy reduces the penalty incurred in students’ GPAs for a limited number of instances of sub-par performance. With enhanced advising and tracking of student performance, students will be allowed to petition, upon registering to retake a course that only the highest grade be counted in cumulative GPA. This petition may be sought and used up to a maximum of four separate occurrences in the course of an undergraduate degree. This option is limited to one occurrence for each specific course for courses in which the prior grade was a C- or below. Advisor guidance is required in this process as the petition form can only be retrieved directly from undergraduate advisors.  Notwithstanding, each time a course is taken appears on the transcript and credit toward degree counts only once per course. Students who do not petition the grade substitution option or have exceeded the allowed occurrences for grade substitution, will have all repeated grades averaged into their term and cumulative GPAs.

Academic Standing – Undergraduate Students

To ensure that Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is being achieved, students may be dismissed and reinstated to the University a maximum of two times. A third academic dismissal will result in final and permanent dismissal from the University without the right to return.  

All students are reviewed by the Office of Financial Aid each year to ensure they are making SAP.  Please see information on the Financial Aid web site:  http://www.drexel.edu/drexelcentral/finaid/eligibility/terms-and-conditions/satisfactory-academic-progress/

Change of Academic Program - Undergraduate Students

The change of major process has been streamlined.

Accelerated Programs

This policy defines accelerated BS or BA to Graduate programs in five types (shown below) and specifies requirements and billing and financial aid implications for each.

  • 4 COP + Grad Accelerated Sequential Degree
  • 5-year + Grad Accelerated Program – Co-terminal Degree
  • 3-year 4 COP + Graduate Accelerated Sequential Degree
  • Accelerated Clinical Track Options (Physician Assistant and Physical Therapy)
  • Custom Designed Accelerated BSMS (New)

Statute of Limitations for Change of Grades or to the Academic Record

This policy specifies a one-year timeframe under which appeals for such changes will be considered.

Statute of Limitations on Earned Course Credit

This policy specifies the timeframe for acceptance of courses taken in years prior.

Additional Notes

Drexel Learning Alliance

The Learning Alliance is a network of offices on campus and online that support students' academic success including tutoring. By working together, the partner offices ensure students receive guidance and support, and this network provides a direct referral to additional resources when needed. The member offices of the Learning Alliance can be found at http://drexel.edu/studentlife/student_family_resources/learning-alliance/.

Center for Learning and Academic Success Services (CLASS)

The Center for Learning and Academic Success Services (CLASS) <http://drexel.edu/studentlife/student_family_resources/class/> empowers students to develop skills and strategies that foster academic success and personal growth through purposeful interactions with peers and professional staff.

CLASS supports Drexel University students' efforts to achieve their academic goals through a variety of services, including Academic Coaching, Tutoring, Teaching GSTD 100: Strategies for Academic Success, Workshops and Events. CLASS also houses several programs that promote student success and academic engagement.

Religious Observances

The Religious Observances Policy http://drexel.edu/provost/policies/religious_observances/encourages respect for the diverse spiritual backgrounds of the Drexel community and sets guidelines to accommodate the observance of religious holidays and practices.  Please review this policy and the Religious Observances Calendar http://drexel.edu/provost/policies/religious_observances_calendar/ which lists dates for most observances that might be invoked. Please consult with faculty in a timely manner to request appropriate accommodations for these observances. More information on religious accommodations can be found at <http://drexel.edu/studentlife/diversity/spiritual-and-religious-life/religious-accommodations/>.

Absence from Class

In the event of absence due to a routine medical illness, students are to be encouraged notify instructors that they will be unable to attend class and engage in appropriate self-care. Extended absences due to medical illness may require supportive documentation. Syllabi should provide an instructor's policy on absences. Instructors should be familiar with policies on absences due to several factors:

Medical illness <http://drexel.edu/provost/policies/absence/>

Extended absence - Absence from Class <http://drexel.edu/provost/policies/absence/>

Religious observance - Statement on Religious Observances<http://drexel.edu/provost/policies/religious_observances/>

Military service - Absence due to Military Service <http://drexel.edu/provost/policies/overview/~/media/Files/provost/policies/pdf/absence_military_service.pdf>

University Sponsored Activities - Absence from Class<http://drexel.edu/provost/policies/absence/>

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Withdrawing from courses as well as adding or dropping courses may impact a student’s academic progression and time to degree, Title IV financial aid funding for the term in question, and will be considered in the assessment of Satisfactory Academic Progress. Before withdrawing from class, you are urged to review the impact of withdrawal on their program plan, particularly if withdrawing from critical pre-requisite courses. Contact Drexel Central or your academic advisor to determine the potential consequences of withdrawal on fulfillment of federal financial aid criteria. You are strongly encouraged to review the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy posted on the Drexel Central website.

Student Veterans and Dependents, Service Members

Drexel is proud to sponsor the Yellow Ribbon Program and provide educational opportunities for military veterans and their dependents as well as service members (including active duty and National Guard) across all of the University's programs. The University is committed to promoting an environment of support including assessing individual needs and providing services necessary to ensure the opportunity to participate fully in college life while meeting their service requirements. The Office of Veteran Student Services unifies services and support, and provides mentorship for student veterans and their dependents service members. These services include the provision of: admissions assistance; financing & certification of benefits; academic resources and support services referrals.

Student veterans and their dependents as well as service members may contact Dr. Rebecca Weidensaul, Assistant Vice President, at 215.895.2501 or rebecca@drexel.edu. For more information, visit the Office of Veteran Student Services at 215 Creese Student Center, 3210 Chestnut Street.

International Students and Scholars Services

The International Students and Scholars Services http://drexel.edu/isss office staff advises international students, scholars and faculty on immigration, cultural and personal concerns. Their office has recently relocated from Creese to a new space in Main Building, suite 222.

1. Less-Than-Full-Time

In order to maintain lawful F-1 or J-1 non-immigrant status, international students must either be enrolled full-time or receive permission from the ISSS office to enroll Less-Than-Full-Time (LTFT) or have been approved for an International Vacation term.

For full-time enrollment, undergraduate students should be registered for at least 12 credit hours and graduate students should be registered for 9 credit hours.

All LTFT requests must be submitted to ISSS with a proper approval and signature from the student's academic advisor (and faculty member if needed) by the course add/drop deadline, or at the latest, before the course withdrawal deadline of every term.

2. Vacation and Leave of Absence (LOA) Options for International Students

Taking one or more terms off from school is both an academic matter as well as a visa matter. Both your academic department as well as ISSS need to know your plans so that we can help take care of both your academic progress as well as your legal visa compliance.

Drexel University policy requires all students who will not be taking classes for a specific quarter or semester to either request a Leave of Absence or to formally change their schedule to include a vacation. As an international student, you must also consider immigration policies. To have a leave of absence and maintain your F1 status you must be approved by the ISSS Office for one of the below.

  • International Vacation
  • Temporary Leave of Absence (TLOA)

Students must consult with the ISSS Office before taking an academic leave of absence or making any change to your student status.

Leaves Not Approved and ALL leaves Longer than 5 Months
Students who take leave and are not eligible for/approved for International Vacation Term or TLOA will have their I-20/DS-2019 terminated. The student must email ISSS for instructions on how to apply for a new I-20/DS-2019 three months before returning to the U.S. to resume their studies.

2.1. International Vacation Term

F-1 and J-1 regulations permit one vacation quarter each year.

You are eligible for vacation if you have completed three full-time consecutive quarters (or two consecutive semesters). For example, if you attend classes full time starting in September and are registered full time all the way through the spring, you may take a three-month vacation term in the summer.

If you begin your Drexel program in winter or spring quarter, you will be eligible for your first summer vacation in summer quarter or summer semester.

All international undergraduate freshmen will automatically be enrolled in an International Vacation term in the Summer.

International students who are not undergraduate freshmen should contact ISSS to determine their eligibility for an International Vacation term.

Notes about Vacation terms:

  • F-1/J-1 international students can register for a less than full-time course load while on an International Vacation term. For a graduate student, this means less than 9 credits, and for an undergraduate, it would be less than 12.
  • Visa law does not require you to take a vacation term in the summer.
  • If your academic schedule allows it, you might be eligible for a vacation term during the fall, winter, or spring quarter. Talk to an ISSS advisor if this is something you need to do.
  • Unused vacation quarters do not roll over. For example, if you enroll full-time for six consecutive quarters or more, you cannot take two vacation quarters in one academic year.

2.2. Temporary Leave of Absence (TLOA)

Current International students who are ineligible for an International Vacation term and elect to take a leave of absence for less than five months outside the U.S. may be eligible for a temporary absence.

There are many factors that affect your eligibility. To find out if you might qualify, talk to an ISSS advisor.

In cases where a TLOA is approved, the student must exit the U.S. and remain outside the U.S. until their F1 status is reactivated. In addition, the student will have to have their I-20 temporarily terminated. Within sixty days of the student's return to the U.S. or visa interview, whichever is earlier, the student must to request ISSS to have their F-1 record returned to Active status

3. International Travel

Currently, all port of entry Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officers check each F-1/ J-1 student's SEVIS record to ensure that the student has an "Active" status prior to admitting the student to the U.S. The implementation of this policy requires that students spend longer time at the port of entry when arriving to the U.S. International students should check with the ISSS before leaving the U.S. to ensure that:

  • Their F-1/J-1 student status is "Active."
  • They have an up-to-date travel signature on their I-20/DS-2019 (an I-20 travel signature is valid for one year, and a DS-2019 travel signature is valid for 6 months. For OPT/17-month OPT Extension students, the I-20 travel signature is valid for 6 months.)
  • Their visa is still valid for reentering the U.S.
  • Their passport is valid for at least 6 months into the future.

4. Optional Practical Training (OPT)

F-1 students may qualify for Optional Practical Training (OPT), which allows them to engage in temporary employment to gain experience "directly related to the student's major area of study." In order to be eligible for OPT, students must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one full academic year.

Optional practical training is available both before (Pre-Completion OPT) and after (Post-Completion OPT) "completion of the course of study, or, for a student in a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree program, after completion of all course requirements for the degree (excluding dissertation)."

Students in English language training programs or non-degree seeking programs are not eligible for OPT.

Students who are eligible to apply for OPT must follow these instructions.

5. Withdrawal from the University

International students who withdraw from Drexel University will have their I-20/DS-2019 terminated and must plan for departure from the U.S. or apply to transfer to another university within two weeks from the withdrawal effective date. To avoid delay in transferring out, students must complete the withdrawal process with Drexel Central prior to enrolling in classes at the new institutions and submit the transfer out request to ISSS.

6. Readmission to Drexel

If a student plans to return to Drexel University, he/she should be aware that at the time of readmission, he/she needs to apply for a new I-20/DS-2019. To receive the new I-20/DS-2019, the student must present certain documents, including a readmission letter from their college/school and proof of financial support.

If you have any questions about the above mentioned policies, please contact ISSS directly at 215.895.2502 or isss@drexel.edu

Add/Drop/Withdrawal after Deadlines

Late Add/Drop/Withdraw appeals will only be considered in the event of extenuating circumstances. All such requests made after Week 3 must be coordinated with the student's academic advisor. All form submissions should be sent by the advisor via SharePoint to the Office of the University Registrar, or in the case of graduate students, to the Graduate College.

Exceptional consideration is afforded to military veterans who are called upon for active duty and thus must seek late withdrawal from courses. Military veterans called to active duty should coordinate with their academic advisor as soon as possible.

Wait-Listing for Courses at Capacity

Colleges will identify courses for which they want to implement wait-listing. When you register into a wait-listed course that has reached capacity, you will be placed on a wait-list and notified by email of your placement on the waitlist. As more students are added to the list, a new section may be created at a time that best accommodates student schedules. You will be notified that you have been added to the newly created course by email. This capability enables departments and colleges to better anticipate and plan for course schedule needs each term.

Disability Accommodations

Through the Office of Equality and Diversity’s Disability Resources (DR) team, the University provides reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities to ensure equal educational and employment access, including equal access to University courses, programs, facilities, services, and activities. Please see the Office of Equality and Diversity's general policies page to access the Reasonable Accommodation of Individuals with Disabilities policy along with the Service and Assistance Animals Policy.

Students, faculty or staff seeking reasonable accommodations for their disabilities must register with ODR to receive an accommodation. It is the individual's responsibility to provide their Accommodation Verification Letter (AVL) to the person facilitating their accommodations in advance of when those accommodations are needed, and to inform them of which of their approved accommodations they are requesting to use. Student AVLs are now provided to instructors electronically using the ClockWork5 system. When providing or facilitating accommodations for students with disabilities, it is important to remember that any student with a disability should be treated exactly the same as all other students, with the only exception being the accommodations specifically stated on the student's Accommodation Verification Letter (AVL). If a student requests an accommodation not listed on their AVL, they must be referred to DR to have those additional requests reviewed and evaluated.

Grade of Incomplete (INC)

A grade of "INC" (Incomplete) may be reported in place of a letter grade for any course in which the instructor deems that the incomplete work can be completed by the student within an agreed upon time in accordance with the Grade of Incomplete Guidelines policy and the statute of limitations for changes to the academic record <>. The conditions and terms for the completion of the course are at the discretion of the instructor and are to be mutually agreed upon by the instructor and the student before the end of the term. It is strongly recommended that the student and instructor enter into an Incomplete Grade Contract [PDF] to clarify expectations, deliverables and timeline. The timeline should be no more than two academic terms. An INC grade that is not completed by the agreed completion date, will change to an administrative F (I/F)

General guidelines for considering an "INC" are:

The student has successfully completed a significant amount of the required course work (at least 70% depending on the level and content of the course) and in the estimation of the instructor, has a reasonable likelihood of completing the course material.

The student has maintained a passing grade of C or better for his/her completed material.

The instructor judges the student to have a legitimate reason to request an Incomplete grade.

The student and instructor enter into an Incomplete Grade Contract. The contract should be maintained by the student, the instructor and the department.

No Grade Reported (NGR)

The system-generated "NGR" is only a temporary indicator when no grade is given for a course and will change to an administrative F (N/F) at the end of the next quarter.

Student Statements of Honor

In concert with the Academic Integrity Policy <> and the Student Code of Conduct <>, statements of honor have been approved for the undergraduate student and graduate student populations.

Undergraduate Students

As members of the Drexel University undergraduate student body, we seek to uphold a learning environment that embraces preeminent standards of education, integrity, and community. We strive to conduct ourselves in a manner that is beyond reproach, adhering to the University's Code of Conduct and Academic Honesty policies. Devoted to the principles of mutual respect, equality, and honor, we assume an obligation to serve one another.

Graduate Students

As a Drexel University graduate student and aware of the University's mission, I commit myself to excellence in research, teaching, and service. In furtherance of that aim and because I understand that my actions affect all members of the Drexel community and my profession, I pledge to conduct myself with the highest integrity, honor, and respect in all my endeavors.

Drexel Central: Student Financial & Registration Services

Drexel Central <http://drexel.edu/drexelcentral/> provides services to students and families regarding billing, financial aid and registration issues.  Drexel Central has three offices:

University City Campus - Main Building, Room 106

Center City Campus - New College Building, Room 1142

Queen Lane Campus - Room G-27

Promoting an Inclusive and Respectful Learning Environment

The mission of the Office of Equality & Diversity (OED) <http://drexel.edu/oed/> is to promote, support, and sustain a welcoming University environment of equality, fairness and respect that fosters life-long learning through diversity and inclusion. OED is responsible for ensuring equal opportunity and compliance with University policies and federal, state and local laws prohibiting discrimination based upon race, color, religion, gender (sex), marital status, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information, and any other prohibited characteristic. Please review the policies: Equality and Non-Discrimination Policy OED-1 and Sexual and Gender-based Harassment and Misconduct Policy OED-3.

For more information, please refer to the WIRED Guide at http://drexel.edu/~/media/Files/oed/PDF/Wired_Guide_Internet.ashxStudents, faculty members, and professional staff with questions about or complaints concerning discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation should contact the Office of Equality and Diversity at 215.895.1405 or OED@drexel.edu.  Please visit the OED website <http://drexel.edu/oed/> and Title IX Resource Page <http://drexel.edu/oed/policies/eoLaws/Title-IX/> for more information.

Security and Safety on Campus

Drexel University's Department of Public Safety prides itself on maintaining a safe campus environment for its students, faculty, and staff. The members of the Department of Public Safety are committed to the highest standards of quality in promoting a safe and problem-free educational environment. . Drexel Public Safety encourages students, faculty, and staff to be alert, take precautions, and report crimes and suspicious activities. Your efforts to stay well-informed and take preventive action will help in maintaining the safest possible environment on Drexel’s campuses. “If you see something, say something.” For emergencies dial (215) 895-2222 or 9-1-1. For non-emergencies dial (215) 895-2822. Encourage students to register their cell phones for DrexelAlertand sign up for Drexel Guardian. The Public Safety website also contains a great deal of information that will help guide you.