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Frequently Asked Questions

Grading

A student in my class has asked for a grade of UW.

As of Spring 2014, this grading option is no longer available for Columbia College students. 

The Web grading deadline has arrived, and a student in my class has not submitted all the work.

In such instances, a final grade should be awarded factoring the uncompleted work as zero. In this way all grades for the class can be submitted in a timely manner. In addition, the student's advising dean should be alerted.

A student in my class is not happy with the final grade and has approached me for a change to the grade.

Such students should first be given an explanation of the awarded grade. If the student believes that there are grounds for a review of the grade, they should make the case for such a review and understand that if a review is undertaken the grade may go down as well as up. If, during the course of a review, grading errors are discovered that are likely to have affected other students' grades as well, then the grading of all students should be reviewed and their grades corrected as warranted. If there is not a case for a review, this should be explained and conveyed to the student. If the student continues to press the case, they should be referred to the director of undergraduate studies or the chair of the department or program.

A student in my class is not happy with the final grade and has asked to
see the final exam paper.

The faculty Committee on Instruction has determined that instructors should retain final exam papers for a year and that students should be allowed to review their papers in the presence of the instructor or his/her designee. We ask that you accommodate such requests from students and follow the grade review process described above should there be grounds for such an evaluation.

I entered the wrong grade in the Web grading system or miscalculated a final grade.

Once submitted, grades can only be changed by request. Instructors are asked to complete the Change of Grade form, available from their departmental office. Instructors are asked to provide a full rationale for any requests made. In particular, it is important to confirm that all grades for the class have been checked to ensure that no other changes are necessary. Once submitted by the instructor, the form will be processed by the department, and then sent to the Office of the Dean in 208 Hamilton Hall for approval by the Dean of Academic Affairs.

A student in my class has submitted late work and I want to make a change to the final grade.

In such a situation it is important that all students in the class are afforded the same opportunities to submit late work. If there is no documented reason for an exception, confirmed by a student's advising dean, a student should not be allowed to submit late work without penalty. If all students in the class have received equitable treatment, please complete the Change of Grade form and submit to the departmental office which processes the request and forwards it to the Dean of Academic Affairs, for approval.

Under what circumstances should I submit a mark of INC?

Instructors do not award grades of Incomplete (INC) for Columbia College students. The mark of INC is only granted by the Committee on Academic Standing, in the Division of Student Affairs, for students who cannot complete their course work due to incapacitating illness, a family crisis, or other serious circumstance. If a student is approved for an incomplete, the advising dean contacts the instructors to confirm the outstanding work and a deadline by which it must be completed. Only in this circumstance should a mark of INC be submitted. If a student has not been approved for an INC a final letter grade should be calculated on the basis of the work that has been submitted with the missing work factored as a zero.

Should students in your classes request grades of INC, please refer them to their advising deans.

When is the deadline for submission of grades?

Grades must be submitted no later than two weeks after the final exam is given or two weeks after the last day of class for courses that do not include a final exam.

Exams

A student in my class missed the final exam.

Immediately alert the student's advising dean. It is important that the advising dean is informed in the event that there is a serious problem which requires the College to intervene.

A student in my class has requested to take a make-up exam because of an exam conflict.

There are the occasional cases in which students have final exams scheduled at the same time. Instructors are asked to be responsive to students' requests to take the exam at another time during the final exam period. Students' exam schedules are established by the University Registrar and are available on their SSOL accounts. Students should be able to demonstrate to you the nature of the exam conflict with a print-out of this page.

Similarly, if students have more than two exams scheduled in one calendar day they may request to take the additional final exam(s) at another time during the final exam period. Again, students should be able to demonstrate to you their Registrar-certified exam schedules in order to support their requests.

Should you have any questions or concerns about a student's request, please contact Monique Rinere, Dean of Advising, at 854-1223.

A student in my class has requested to take a make-up exam because of an athletics commitment.

Instructors are asked to be responsive to such requests. Some students are able to take the exam at the scheduled time but while traveling with the team. In these instances the exam is given to, and proctored by, the team coach. Alternatively a make-up exam taken on campus but at a different time could be scheduled. Please contact Jackie Blackett, Associate Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, at jpb3@columbia.edu and 854-2544.

A student in my class has requested to take the final exam at a different time because of previously arranged holiday travel plans.

The final exam schedule is published well before the end of the semester and students are informed that examinations will not be rescheduled to accommodate travel plans.

A student in my class has requested to be allowed to take the final exam at a different time because of ill-health.

Students who are ill for the final exam may be granted a grade of Incomplete (INC), granted by the Committee on Academic Standing in the Division of Student Affairs which is able to review students' requests and the medical documentation supporting them. Please refer students requesting a make-up exam on the grounds of ill-health to their advising dean. If granted a grade of Incomplete, the student will be allowed to take a make-up exam during the Deferred Examination period at the beginning of the next semester.

A student in my class was ill during the exam.

If a student attends an exam but is too ill to complete it, please refer them to their advising dean. It may be that the student is granted a grade of Incomplete, in which case they are allowed to take a make-up exam during the Deferred Examination period at the beginning of the next semester.

A student in my class missed the mid-term exam

Again, please immediately alert the student's advising dean. The adviser contacts the student to ascertain the nature of the problem, and then contacts the instructor with any relevant information.

I wish to provide a make-up class during the reading period

It is a University Senate policy that no classes or exams can take place during the reading period, just prior to the week of exams. Please find an alternative date to hold the class, but please also be aware that students should not be required to attend this class unless they received confirmation of the date at the beginning of the semester.

Classroom Concerns

A student in my class has stopped attending.

Please alert the student's advising dean using the on-line report of academic difficulty. By completing the on-line form, a message is sent directly to the student's advising dean, who then contacts the student and provides the instructors with any relevant information.

A student in my class is disruptive.

Please alert the student's advising dean using the on-line Academic Difficulty Report. By completing the on-line form, a message is sent directly to the student's advising dean, who then contacts the student and provides the instructors with any relevant information.

A student in my class appears distressed.

Because it is instructors who routinely see students, it is important that any concerns-such as change in behavior-be reported so that the College can make contact with the students in question and make any necessary interventions. A students' advising dean can be alerted through the on-line Academic Difficulty Report or may be contacted directly. If you do not know the name of the advising dean, it is available through SSOL or by calling Monique Rinere, Dean of Advising, at 854-1223.

It has come to my attention that a student may have committed or experienced discriminatory harassment.

A student who reports that they have experienced discriminatory harassment by another student or other member of the Columbia community should be informed that faculty members have an obligation to report this information to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action at eoaa.columbia.edu or via email at eoaa@columbia.edu so that the student may receive assistance.  If there is concern that a student has committed discriminatory harassment, contact the Office of Judicial Affairs and Community Standards at cc-oja@columbia.edu.  The policies and procedures related to discriminatory harassment can be found in the Columbia College Bulletin or FACETS.  Questions should be directed to Melissa Rooker, Associate Provost, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action at 854-5511 and mrooker@columbia.edu.

A student in my class has expressed a concern about their academic experience in the class.

Any response to such concerns should be guided by the University's policy on Academic Concerns, Complaints, and Grievances. Please read the policy carefully to understand how this policy is implemented in the relevant school.

Please note that the goal is to resolve such concerns in a collaborative and educational manner, for the benefit of students and instructors alike. Columbia College students should first raise their concerns with their advising deans to discuss the best next step. Depending on the specific concern, the student should then raise the concern with the instructor, the director of undergraduate studies, the chair of the department, or the Dean of Academic Affairs.

If a student expresses a concern, please do not hesitate to contact Dean of Academic Affairs, Kathryn Yatrakis at 854-2441 or Hazel May, Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, at 854-6372.

A student in my class wants an extension on the deadline for submitting a paper.

It is important that all students are afforded the same timeframe in which to submit work, unless there is a documented reason-verified by a student's advising dean-for an exception. Please first refer the student to their advising dean.

A student in my class has not submitted any work. The student has been informed that if this continues it will result in failing the class, but work has still not been submitted.

Please alert the student's advising dean using the on-line Academic Difficulty Report. The information is sent directly to the student's advising dean, who then contacts the instructor with any relevant information. If there is no documented explanation for the lack of submitted work, the missing work may be computed into the final grade as a zero.

A student in my class has missed several classes to observe religious holidays.

It is the policy of the University to respect its members' religious beliefs and we ask that instructors accommodate students' absence from class for the purpose of religious observance. In compliance with New York State law, students who are absent from school because of their religious beliefs are given an equivalent opportunity to register for classes or make up any examination, study, or work requirements that they may have missed. Further, no student should be penalized for such absences and alternative means should be sought for satisfying the academic requirements.

If a suitable arrangement cannot be arrived at between the instructor and the student, please refer the matter to Monique Rinere, Dean of Advising, 854-1223.

The University provides lists of religious holidays.

The parents of a student in my class wish to talk with me about their child's experience/performance.

While instructors may, of course, speak with parents, it is the responsibility of Columbia College to respond to the concerns of our students' parents. Please, therefore, do not hesitate to refer any parents who raise an academic concern to either the student's advising dean or Monique Rinere, Dean of Advising, at 854-1223.

I have been asked to provide information about a student in my class.

The release of information about students is regulated by the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy (FERPA) Act and Columbia University policy. Information about a student, including grades and letters of recommendation, CANNOT be given to someone outside Columbia (including family members) without the student's written request or approval. If you have any questions about this, please contact the University's General Counsel at 854-4974.

A student has approached me to ask for accommodations due to a disability.

The College is committed to providing reasonable accommodations as required for students. Questions or concerns about the requested accommodations should be directed to the Office Disability Services. Instructors can also contact the Office of Academic Affairs.

Students routinely bring computers to class.

There is no College or University policy governing this matter, which remains one for individual instructors to assess. Instructors should provide clear information outlining their policy on classroom practice, such as a statement in the course syllabus, and may request that students do not use computers in the classroom (unless, of course, it is a necessary aid to their participation in the class, as certified by the Office of Disability Studies).

Academic Dishonesty

I have grounds to believe that a student in my class has plagiarized in a paper or cheated in an exam.

Any act of academic dishonesty is a violation of Columbia's intellectual community and educational mission. Students are informed that acts of academic dishonesty are not acceptable and provided guidance on what can be considered to be dishonest, whether or not such actions are intentional.

Please refer to the College protocol for specific guidance on how to proceed.

Registration

A student has asked to be allowed to audit my class.

Columbia College does not permit its students to audit classes. However, seniors who have completed all the requirements for graduation may be permitted to register for R (Registration) credit. Such students receive no academic credit but must undertake any work required by the instructor. Students wishing to register for R credit must have the permission of both the instructor and the Committee on Academic Standing, in the Division of Student Affairs, so please refer students to their advising deans.

A student has approached me to be allowed to register for the class after the deadline for adding classes.

Students wishing to add a class to their academic program after the deadline (which occurs at the end of the second week of the semester), must petition the Committee on Academic Standing in the Division of Student Affairs. The decision whether or not to allow a student to register late is made by taking into account a range of information, including the degree of participation in the class that the student has already demonstrated and the reason for not being able to register before the deadline. Please refer the student to their advising dean.

A student has approached me to be allowed to register for overlapping classes.

Students wishing to register for overlapping classes must petition Kathryn Yatrakis, Dean of Academic Affairs. Permission is rarely granted and usually only for seniors for whom both classes are necessary to graduate and the overlap does not exceed 10 minutes. To petition, students must first gain the approval of the relevant instructors by obtaining their signatures on the petition form. Instructors should only sign the form if they approve the overlap. Students should be aware, however, that instructor approval is just one step in the process and does not guarantee that permission will be granted. The Dean of Academic Affairs will then review the petition.

A student wishes to take the class for a grade of Pass/D/Fail.

There is no need for a student to request your permission to take a class for a Pass/D/Fail grade. Students can elect this grading option on-line at any time up until the deadline for doing so and instructors should submit a letter grade, even if the student has registered Pass/D/Fail for the course. At the request of the language instructional staff, students are not permitted to take any language instruction class for a grade of Pass/D/Fail. Students who believe their circumstances warrant an exception to this policy may petition , Dean of Academic Affairs. Such students should be referred to the Office of Academic Affairs in 208 Hamilton Hall.

Curriculum

I wish to teach a lecture course in a seminar time-slot or vice versa.

Columbia College does not normally permit courses to be taught outside the approved Master Schedule of Classes. Should there be extenuating circumstances, an instructor may request a one-term approval. Requests-including the reason for the request and the written approval of the director of undergraduate studies or the chair-should be submitted to the Columbia College Committee on Instruction (COI), 208 Hamilton Hall. The request should also be sent to the COI's of any other schools to whose students the course is open.

A student has requested that a class taught in another Columbia school be counted towards the major.

While it is for the department to assess whether or not a course can be applied to the major, instructors should be aware that there are policies governing in which schools Columbia College students may enroll in courses. Please refer to the Columbia College Bulletin for further information.