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Academic Policies

These are your academic rights and responsibilities as part of the Whitworth community.

All academic policies are listed in the Whitworth Academic Catalog ( The following policies are listed here for ease of reference, but students should consult the catalog for a complete list of academic policies. 

Academic Honesty


As a Christian institution of higher education, Whitworth University is committed to the ideals of an honest pursuit of knowledge. Therefore, part of the mission of the University is to develop a sense of moral responsibility in each student that is consistent with the best practices of the Academy and with Biblical teachings of honesty and accountability (1 Cor. 10:31). The academic integrity policy of Whitworth University is intended to be a tool to guide instructors in their interactions with students and to help students develop a sense of right-living and integrity. The policy is also intended as a guideline for students as they navigate the often-unfamiliar territory of higher education and academic standards. Furthermore, a violation of academic integrity is viewed not merely as a private matter between a student and instructor, but as a breach of trust and breaking of community between the student and the university. Therefore, the intent of this policy is to provide students and instructors with a guide for holding one another accountable, while also providing a path for learning from mistakes, reconciliation, and rebuilding of broken trust within the community in the education of the mind and heart.

Academic Integrity

Just as the instructors, staff and administration at Whitworth strive to be forthright, direct and honest, valuing integrity in all their dealings, the university expects all students to function in like manner. Students are expected to adhere to the highest standards of academic honesty and to refrain from dishonest or unethical action. In all academic exercises, examinations, papers and reports, students are expected to submit work that represents their learning. The use of the words or ideas of others should always be indicated through an acceptable form of citation. This policy uses the definitions of plagiarism and cheating outlined below; the examples provided are not an exhaustive list. Instructors are encouraged to further clarify in their syllabi their expectations for academic integrity and the limits of collaborative learning.

Definition of plagiarism: 

Plagiarism occurs whenever students attempt to pass off as their own work, either verbally or in writing, the words or ideas of others. Plagiarism most often occurs in projects that require independent preparation (outside of class), although it may occur in essay examinations. Plagiarism may be either inadvertent (a failure to understand the responsibility for acknowledgment or the means by which acknowledgment should be made) or willful (with a conscious intent to deceive).

Definition of cheating: 

Cheating is defined as the use of any unauthorized assistance in the completion of course work, such as an assignment, project, examination, or laboratory exercise. Cheating may occur in a variety of ways, and the following are meant as examples and are not an exhaustive list: copying another student’s work, use of unauthorized notes or materials to complete an assignment or assessment, use of online “homework help” websites, requesting or allowing another person to submit one’s work on another’s behalf, the unauthorized (and/or unacknowledged) use of another person’s computer code, the use of translation services (when not explicitly permitted), copying another student’s lab notes, multiple submissions without authorization, aiding or abetting, or making up fictitious lab results (also known as “dry-labbing”).

Process for Instructors Who Suspect an Integrity Violation Has Occurred:

The process outlined below should be followed by instructors in any instance of suspected academic dishonesty, to ensure student rights are respected throughout the investigation and determination of a policy violation. Instructors should document their interactions with students and keep a copy of any evidence of dishonesty, in case of an appeal or dispute.

Instructors are encouraged to consult with their department chair(s) or program director, and/or the Associate Provost when they encounter a suspected violation of the academic integrity policy to receive guidance through the investigation and confirmation of suspected findings.

Upon the discovery of a suspected academic integrity policy violation, the following process should be followed:

  1. The instructor will make every effort to meet, in person, with the student(s) who are suspected of violating the academic integrity policy. The purpose of this meeting is to provide the student(s) with an opportunity to describe any mitigating circumstances or explain their actions or reasoning. If multiple students are involved, individual meetings should be arranged between the instructor and students. Nothing should be reported regarding the suspected violation at this stage. If, upon speaking with the student, the instructor determines that no violation occurred, no further actions are to be taken.
    1. In the event the student admits culpability, the instructor should move onto step 2, below.
    2. In the event the student denies all culpability in the suspected violation, the instructor should review the evidence and determine whether it is more likely than not that dishonesty has occurred based upon a preponderance of evidence.
  2. If, after conversing with the student, a policy violation is confirmed, either by student admission or by determining that the preponderance of evidence standard has been met, the instructor will assess the situation and assign a consequence. Appropriate consequences may range from requiring an assignment to be redone to a failing grade in the course.
  3. The instructor will submit a written report of the policy violation – including the course name and number, the student(s)’s name(s), a brief description of the evidence, a summary of the student response, and the consequence that is assigned – to the office of the Associate Provost through the Early Alert system. The instructor should retain all of the evidence and documentation for the incident, in case it is needed in the event that the student files a request for review (e.g. an appeal).
  4. The Associate Provost will review the case, including the analysis of the evidence and the consistency of the sanction that is assigned. The Associate Provost will then check for prior violations of this policy on record with the university. The Associate Provost has the ability and authority to increase sanctions for multiple policy violations, including suspension for the remainder of the current term plus one additional term.
  5. The Associate Provost will notify the student that the report has been made, confirm the sanction, and inform them of their right to request a review. This notification letter will also detail the process the student should follow to request a review of the incident.

Request for Review and Record Retention 

  1. Students have the right to request a review of any instructor’s decision by submitting a written letter of appeal to the Associate Provost within five business days of receiving written notification of the policy violation from the Associate Provost.
  2. The Associate Provost conducts the review in consultation with the Academic Policies and Appeals Committee, as needed. All decisions by the Associate Provost and the Academic Policies and Appeals Committee will be final. 
  3. Academic Integrity Policy violations are NOT noted on a student’s transcript. However, they are a part of the student’s educational record at the university, and as such are protected by the Federal Education Right to Privacy Act (FERPA)

Academic Grievances

Grade Challenges

Grade challenges must be initiated by the student in writing within 30 days after a grade is posted. Challenges on grades go to the professor first, but in cases where resolution is not easily achieved, the procedures are as follows:

  1. The student must first seek resolution of the conflict in consultation with the professor.
  2. If a satisfactory resolution is not possible in the first phase, the student may contact the department chair. 
  3. If a satisfactory resolution is not possible in the first and second phases, the student may appeal for adjudication by submitting a written appeal to the appropriate area dean or her/his designee, who will issue a final decision.

Academic Grievances

A student wishing to file a grievance regarding their experience in the classroom should begin with a conversation with their professor or within the department involved. In cases where resolution is not easily achieved, the procedures are as follows: The student must first seek resolution of the conflict in consultation with the professor. If a satisfactory resolution is not possible in the first phase, the student may appeal for further adjudication by submitting a written appeal to the associate provost. This appeal will be the final step in the grievance process. The associate provost's decision is final.

Academic Probation/Suspension Policy

(See Whitworth Academic Catalog,

Classroom Behavior Policy

Students and faculty are expected to demonstrate civility and respect. The faculty handbook states that faculty should “demonstrate respect for students as individuals and adhere to their proper role as intellectual guides and counselors.” By the same token, students should demonstrate respect for faculty and student peers in all academic settings and should contribute positively to the learning environment.

Disruptive classroom behavior will not be tolerated. Disruptive behavior may include, but is not limited to, threatening or abusive language or behavior, erratic and/or irrational behavior, making unreasonable demands on faculty for time and attention, continually speaking without being recognized, other verbal or behavioral expressions that interfere with the classroom environment, bringing unregistered persons to class without the permission of the instructor, and persistent disruptions including inappropriate computer use, ringing of electronic devices, etc.

If the behavior is threatening or dangerous, the instructor may ask the student to leave the classroom immediately. If a student exhibits disruptive behavior that is not dangerous or threatening, the instructor should confront the student, clearly identify the disruptive behavior, and require that the behavior cease (i.e. issue a warning). If the disruptive behavior continues after the warning is issued, the instructor may ask the student to leave the classroom. An instructor, may consult with the department chair, program director, or Associate Provost, to develop a classroom behavior contract outlining expectations and consequences for a student whose behavior is disrupting the learning environment. The associate provost may also meet with any student who is reported for allegedly disrupting the learning environment. If the student is found responsible for violating the policy, the associate provost (in conjunction with the dean of students or their designee) can identify appropriate sanctions, which could include removal from the course, behavioral probation, or suspension.

Registration Information

The complete list of registration procedures and policies are in the Whitworth Academic Catalog ( The following describes student responsibility for registration processes.

Whitworth University students register for classes through Self-Service. Students register for their next classes during their assigned registration period each semester. Students can adjust their class schedules via Self-Service through the first week of classes. Beginning with the second week of classes, students must complete an add/drop form, including the instructor and advisor's signature, and submit it to the registrar’s office for processing. It is the university’s policy to deny requests for registration in any course after the close of the term in which registration was required. Deadlines for adding or withdrawing from classes are published in the academic calendar each semester. It is the student's responsibility to check his or her registration information and to discuss any needed corrections with the registrar’s office.

No person other than a faculty member attending informally with the approval of the professor may attend a Whitworth class in which that person has not been officially registered. A professor may allow students to attend his or her class only if the students' names appear on the official class roster.