IMPORTANT CHANGES IN UNIVERSITY POLICIES FOR 2014-2015
➤ EMAIL MIGRATION TO OFFICE 365
All faculty and staff email is being migrated from our current system to Office 365. Not only will the switch give us more storage and allow faculty and staff to have the latest Microsoft Office software on up to five devices, but it also represents a significant annual savings to the university. Here's what you need to know:
1. Until you get a personal email notification that your migration is in progress, you can use your email like you always have.
2. Once your email has been migrated, http://golden.usm.edu will no longer work. The new address to access your email on the web will be http://outlook.com/usm.edu.
3. Your password will remain the same (the same one you use for SOAR), but instead of logging in with w000000, your ID (which the new email program calls your “organization account”) will be firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. If you want to use Outlook, you’ll need to be using up-to-date Microsoft Office software (2013 for Windows, 2011 for Macs), which you can download for free here. Once you’ve updated your software, you’ll log into Outlook with email@example.com and your SOAR password. It’ll ask you to shut down and restart Outlook (might take a minute for it to do that), and when you reopen it, it should work. If not, shut it down and reopen it a couple times until it’s working.
5. For more information, including how to set up email on iPhones, iPads, and Macs, please visit iTech's Microsoft Office 365 page.
One of the initiatives of the Student Success Committee was that students should be encouraged to be more proactive about their education, and should choose their classes themselves before their advisement appointments. This will allow advisors to spend more time talking to students about their challenges and goals and less time building schedules in SOAR. To help students with this, we now have A&L Ambassadors set up on the second floor of the LAB. Students who are having difficulty or have poor interim grades should be encouraged to visit the A&L Student Resource website.
➤ ALL PRINTED MATERIALS MUST CONTAIN THE COLLEGE LOGO
All posters, fliers, rack cards, etc. for internal use must contain the college logo. All materials for external use must contain the college logo and be checked for graphic standards by the A&L PR office before going to University Communications for approval. Download college logos here.
➤ NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY
The University of Southern Mississippi offers to all persons equal access to educational, programmatic and employment opportunities without regard to age, sex, sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy, gender identity, genetic information, religion, race, color, national origin and/or veteran status pursuant to applicable state and federal law.
Revisions to the statement include wording that references protection from discrimination/harassment based on:
• Gender identity
• Genetic information
While both Title VII and Title IX encompass protection from discrimination based on gender identity and on pregnancy, best practices by The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education specify that these particulars of gender and sex discrimination be explicitly stated.
Protection from discrimination based on genetic information is provided by the 2008 Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.
➤ THE NEW W GRADE
• The W grade is essentially a “drop” that stays on a student's record, but Ws are only given at instructor discretion. Instructors may wish to disallow withdrawals in the case of plagiarism, for instance. Faculty must be consistent in their response to requests about W grades and are encouraged to put information regarding these grades on their syllabi.
• Students who are enrolled after October 31 should be graded on the work completed and given a letter grade (i.e., P/F, or A, B, C, D, etc.). Incompletes should only be given when extenuating circumstances beyond the student’s control prevented completion of work (per the Undergraduate Bulletin). Failures to manage time or to turn work in are not reasons for Incomplete grades to be given.
• Students with personal, familial, or health problems that are interfering with their ability to complete their work should be directed to Alfreda Horton in the Office of Student Support Services (Union 221 6-4025).
Airline tickets for university-funded travel may either be purchased from a state-approved travel agency or from an online vendor such as Expedia or Travelocity. If you elect to buy your tickets online, the state requires a minimum of two print-outs detailing prices for comparison purposes which should be attached to the travel voucher. If you are unable to purchase the least expensive tickets in your comparison, you'll need to fill out a travel waiver form and attach that to the voucher as well.
On October 15, 2013, President Bennett approved the implementation of new undergraduate admissions deadlines, effective Fall 2014 for both the Hattiesburg and Gulf Coast campuses.
June 30 - Freshmen
August 15 - Transfer (Friday preceding start of classes)
August 19 - Readmission (Day prior to the start of classes)
Students must be officially admitted to the university by the stated deadlines, though they may appeal for late acceptance through the Admissions appeal process. Questions about the new policy should be directed to Amanda King, Director of Admissions for Operations.
➤ INTERIM GRAFES REPLACE MIDTERM GRADES
“Midterm grades” will now be reported in the sixth week of classes rather than the 8th week, and they will thus be called “interim grades.” Incompletes may not be given for interim grades.
Faculty are strongly encouraged to give an early assignment in classes that is assessed and includes feedback given to students. The assignment can be brief and not worth a substantial amount of credit; the point is to assess where students are academically and to give them feedback early in the term. Ideally, this assignment would be given in the second week of classes. Research suggests that such a practice significantly improves student performance and helps identify students who need to seek out additional resources (e.g., tutoring).
➤ GRADES FOR STUDENTS WHO HAVE WITHDRAWN
Students may not be given a WP or a WF. Students may drop courses on days 1-6 of classes each semester with a full tuition refund; the dropped course(s) will not appear on their transcripts. From day 7-50, students may withdraw from the course with instructor permission and will receive a “W” on their transcript. The decision to grant or deny a withdrawal is at the discretion of the instructor. After day 50, students cannot withdraw and will receive a letter grade for the course.
➤ REPLACING COURSE GRADES
Students can replace up to 12 credits of coursework if the same courses are retaken and a higher grade is earned. Prior to fall 2014 the limit was 6 credit hours. The lower grade will still show up on the transcript, but it will be marked “Repeated” and will no longer count in their GPA calculation. Grade replacement is not automatic and must be requested from the Registrar’s Office.
➤ ADVISEES ON SUSPENSION
Students on academic suspension from USM can take courses at another university then transfer the credits back to USM. They are encouraged to talk to their advisor prior to enrolling in classes elsewhere.
➤ ADVISEES TAKING CHALLENGING COURSES
When students select multiple courses that have historically high rates of Ds and Fs, they will receive a message that they should talk with their advisor. These students should be handled on a case-by-case basis to make sure students are adequately prepared for the schedule they have chosen.
➤ ACADEMIC RESTART
Undergraduate students who 1) have been out of school for at least 24 consecutive months (not taking classes at USM or elsewhere) and 2) wish to eradicate work done in previous semesters at USM may apply for an “Academic Restart.” If granted, all prior work at USM will be excluded from transcript calculations for requirements and GPA. Students cannot pick and choose among classes to exclude or keep; if they do the Academic Restart, all prior credits are ignored when calculating both progress towards degree and GPA. In other words, if they took five semesters that included three As in required classes and a host of Ds and Fs, they must include all these grades, even the As, as part of the Restart. They will then start a new transcript. The old classes will be visible on the transcript but the grades will not count and any course passed must be retaken. The Academic Restart can only be used once, and students must go through an application process in the Registrar’s office.
NEW TIME LINE FOR DROP/ADD & WITHDRAWALS
Critical dates for full term class syllabi:
• January 20 - last day to drop a class in SOAR. After this date, students will receive no tuition refund and will have a "W" on their permanent transcript
• April 1 - last day to withdraw from an individual class with with a W grade (requires instructor permission). All classes students are enrolled in past this date will receive a letter grade, which will be calculated into their GPA
Please see details below for critical dates for 8WK class syllabi. For mini session dates, click here.
Full Term ClassesJanuary 12-January 208WK1 ClassesJanuary 12-January 148WK2 ClassesMarch 16-March 18
➤ Open enrollment in classes (includes schedule changes, drop/add, grading option changes)
➤ Late registration is still possible
➤ Registration can be canceled without penalty; students who cancel registration receive a 100% tuition refund
➤ Class registration is considered “final” and all classes, regardless of final grade, will appear on student transcripts
➤ No tuition refund will be provided
Full Term ClassesJanuary 218WK1 ClassesJanuary 158WK2 ClassesMarch 19
DAY 7-50: WITHDRAW WITH ACADEMIC PENALTY
➤ Students may withdraw from individual classes, but will receive a transcripted “W” for each course
➤ The withdraw grade (“W”) will not lower the GPA but may impact financial aid
➤ Students may withdraw from an individual class through SOAR (with instructor permission and chair notification) and may add classes as a rare exception with instructor and chair permission. In some cases, and only with department chair approval, students may swap classes within a department (e.g., SPA102 for SPA201)
➤ Faculty will approve or deny withdrawals via their worklists in SOAR. Because this policy is new, please help by making sure students are aware that they have already paid for the class in full and will receive a "W" on their transcripts before approving withdrawals
➤ Early semester exams/graded assignments/diagnostic tests are encouraged (especially during days 7-14)
Full Term ClassesJanuary 21-April 18WK1 ClassesJanuary 15-February 208WK2 ClassesMarch 19-April 22
DAY 51-END OF TERM: GRADED
➤ Students will earn a letter grade in all classes (only grades of A, B, C, D, F, I, P, AUD may be assigned)
➤ In cases of personal or family emergency, students will need to provide documentation and should be directed to the withdrawal committee—details on that to follow when available.
Full Term ClassesApril 2—end of term8WK1 ClassesFebruary 21—end of 8 weeks8WK2 ClassesApril 23—end of 8 weeks
College of Arts and Letters • The University of Southern Mississippi • 118 College Drive, Hattiesburg, MS 39406