May 22, 2018  
2009-2011 Catalog with Supplement Changes 
2009-2011 Catalog with Supplement Changes [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Performance

Academic Support Center

The Academic Support Center, headquartered in the Dr. Howard N. Carper, Jr. Learning Commons (Scarborough Library, first floor), offers a variety of course work and services to assist students in achieving academic success at Shepherd. The responsibilities of this office include the following: 1) placement testing, 2) advising, 3) directing of stretch-model classes in writing and mathematics, 4) tutoring, and 5) the Writing Center.

Students seeking placement into university writing and mathematics classes can arrange to take the ASSET, ACCUPLACER, or Residual ACT placement tests. Students will receive advice on placement into appropriate classes at the conclusion of testing. Students returning to campus after academic suspension receive advising concerning a variety of policies and programs that Shepherd offers to help them boost their grade point averages. Students who do not meet the state requirement for placement in writing and/or mathematics enroll in stretch-model classes—ENGL 100A, ENGL 100B, MATH 101A, and MATH 101B—which are directed by this office. Students who wish to work with peer tutors from a variety of disciplines can make an appointment online at Tutoring is free of charge. Students interested in being a peer tutor need to fill out an application, maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher in the subject that they tutor, and need a recommendation from a faculty member. Students who need help with writing can also visit the Writing Center, which is staffed by tutors who have additional training in composition theory and who also offer online writing tutoring.


Students are expected to attend class and to know and understand the specific attendance policies established by each of their instructors. Attendance policy for a given class is established by the instructor and stated in the course syllabus. Instructors will make reasonable accommodations for occasional, unavoidable absences based on highly legitimate grounds. Instructors will determine the most appropriate means of compensating for work unavoidably and legitimately missed in their classes. To be eligible for such substitute evaluation, students are responsible for discussing any absences with their instructors: such discussions must occur in advance of foreseeable absences and as soon as possible following unpredictable ones.

Students are expected to plan their class, work, and personal schedules to avoid potential conflicts. Legitimate reasons for class absences include documented and/or verifiable instances of the following: 1) death in the immediate family; 2) incapacitating illness or injury (not including any non-emergency doctors’ appointments that could be scheduled at other times); 3) field trips required for other classes, intercollegiate competitions, or activities entailing official representation of Shepherd University; 4) seriously hazardous, weather-induced driving conditions (for commuter students only).

A student’s evaluation in a course is the instructor’s responsibility. A grade decision in a course must be made by the instructor prior to the initiation of a grade appeal. A student who believes his or her grade has been adversely affected by an instructor’s inappropriate implementation of the attendance policy may pursue a grade appeal at the close of the semester.

  1. A student who has a documented medical disability or chronic illness that may affect his/ her ability to attend class regularly and/or to complete scheduled in-class, graded activities (e.g., exams, oral reports, lab assignments) should confer with his/her instructors as soon as possible after the semester begins. In consultation with the student (and with doctors or Shepherd staff when appropriate), the professor can develop a contingency plan to accommodate any absences that may occur because of the disability or illness. The instructor may create alternative assignments or otherwise determine the best means of assuring that the student’s semester grade will not suffer should the student have to miss classes as a direct result of his/her disability or medical condition. To the greatest extent consistent with the particular disability involved, a chronically ill or disabled student will not only be treated equally with other students, but will also be equally expected to adhere to course policies and assignments established for all students.
  2. In rare instances a student may suffer an unanticipated medical problem or must meet a military-service obligation requiring complete absence from school over an extended period (i.e., weeks rather than days). Such a situation will create the need to confer with instructors as soon as is feasible—possibly through a relative or other responsible surrogate. An instructor may be able to design alternative assignments that can be done independently. However, some courses by their nature do not lend themselves to compensation for prolonged periods of missed classes and assignments: for such classes, the alternatives may be limited to either a Withdrawal or an Incomplete specifically mandating that the student actually take some or all of the relevant course when it is next offered. In such circumstances, the Admissions and Credits Committee will review any necessary requests for waivers regarding institutional deadlines regarding Withdrawals or Incompletes when 1) the student’s petition clearly and fully explains the situation calling for the waiver, 2) appropriate documentation is presented, 3) the request is supported in writing by both the instructor and the student’s advisor, and 4) the student’s request is made in a timely manner, but no later than the tenth class day of the following spring or fall semester.

Shepherd University Cancellation Policy

Generally, Shepherd University does not cancel operations because of inclement weather. Unlike the K-12 schools, the University has different operational issues and its student are not minor children thus, if severe weather conditions render it dangerous for students to reach the University, those who fail to travel to campus on that particular day will not be put at a serious disadvantage. Individual students who have encountered severe travel conditions should notify their instructors of their absence prior to the next class meeting and should request appropriate arrangements for the makeup of course work.

Employees encountering severe travel conditions should notify their supervisors of their absence and discuss work conditions, leave time, and special needs.

All employees designated as emergency personnel (via a memo from their supervisors) will be required to report at their regular work times regardless of weather conditions, unless otherwise directed by their unit supervisors.

Should an extreme weather emergency or power or water failure warrant the closing of offices and/or canceling or altering the schedule of classes by the President, then public notification will be made via Shepherd Web, switchboard, Rave text-messaging system, and area media. Radio and television stations carrying emergency announcements include: WEPM (1340 AM), WKMZ (95.9 FM), WLTF (97.5 FM), WRNR (740 AM), Martinsburg; WMRE (1550 AM), Charles Town; WUSQ (102.5 FM), WFQX (99.3 FM), WKSI (98.3 FM), WINC (92.5 FM), Winchester; WDHC (1010 AM, 93.5 FM), Berkeley Springs; WJEJ (1240 AM), WWMD (104.7 FM), WHAG-TV Ch. 25, Hagerstown; West Virginia Public Radio; and WUSA-TV Ch. 9, Washington, D.C.

Announcements of emergency plans will also be available by calling 304-876-5000 or on the Web at or by signing up for the Rave text messaging notification system at

Announcements of emergency plans will be communicated as early as possible (presumably 6 a.m.) when the emergency condition precedes the start of the work and/or instructional day. When the emergency condition arises during the day, the announcement will be communicated through the heads of those units which may be affected. Announcements concerning evening classes will be communicated by 4:30 p.m.

Please note: Shepherd announces delays and closings only—if Shepherd is not mentioned on designated radio/TV stations as a delay or cancellation, the University is open and operating on its regular schedule.

Graduation with Honors

Honors are determined by the cumulative quality point average of the student’s work at graduation. Until fall 2000 there will be two standards running for determining honors according to the catalog date of the student.

For students entering the University as of fall 1999 or thereafter, or students using the 1999-2000 Catalog or any catalog thereafter, honors will be awarded according to these criteria: highest honors, Summa Cum Laude, 3.850 to 4.000; high honors, Magna Cum Laude, 3.700 to 3.849; and honors, Cum Laude, 3.500 to 3.699.

To graduate with honors in the Regents Bachelor of Arts Degree program, a student must have 80 semester hours of traditional credits, with 32 of these credits earned at Shepherd University.

Note that when a student chooses to pursue a program in a later catalog than the one in effect upon admission, all aspects of that catalog will apply including the honors standards.

McMurran Scholars


In 1961 the faculty created the award of McMurran Scholar, which is the highest academic honor awarded at Shepherd University.

Joseph McMurran Scholars are individuals who are enrolled in a major program leading to the four-year baccalaureate degree and who meet the following criteria:

  1. Have been presented by the vice president for academic affairs to the Scholarship and Awards Committee as being eligible as a scholar, having amassed:
    1. A minimum of 92 semester hours for which a traditional grade has been given (Pass-Fail, CLEP, special examination grades and veteran’s credit do not count).
    2. A minimum 3.86 quality point average.
  2. Have completed two consecutive semesters of study at Shepherd University, exclusive of summer work, for an average of 15 credit hours per semester, or for an average of 12 credit hours per semester where the supervised teaching process is involved.
  3. Have been nominated by a minimum of three faculty members who have sufficient knowledge of them for demonstrating the capacity and inclination to pursue scholarly inquiry. At least two of these faculty members should come from the nominee’s major department, and the third should come either from this department or from a closely allied discipline.
  4. Have subsequently been approved by the faculty at large (a listing of all nominees along with the names of the three faculty in support of each nominee will be distributed to the faculty at large). Any faculty member feeling he or she has just cause may challenge the nomination by submitting a statement of position to the Scholarship and Awards Committee chair. All challenges shall be returned to the originating department for consideration and action.

The elected Scholars are appropriately recognized at the McMurran Scholars award ceremony and the commencement exercise.

Dean’s List

To be named to the Dean’s List, a student must earn at least 15 hours of work or be in the professional teaching block and must maintain a 3.4 average for the semester.


The Shepherd University Mission Statement says “student learning is central to the culture of our institution and finding ways to improve student learning is a continuing process.”

The University can derive many benefits from integrating a campus-wide assessment program. Academic departments have the opportunity to take the step back and reflect on what the departmental mission is, and what a graduate from that program will know, value, and be able to do. Students will find it very helpful to know the goals of the major and how each course in the program relates to those goals. Faculty will also be able to use the assessment results to determine if program goals are being met. If particular goals are not being met, faculty will have specific evidence concerning what curricular changes need to be made to improve student attainment of program goals. Academic support services, such as the library, student affairs, academic advisement, and financial aid, also make a tremendous contribution to student learning on campus. Thus, all programs can assess how they contribute to the learning environment and what changes they might make to maximize that learning experience.

Participation in Assessment Activities: Shepherd University REQUIRES student participation in assessment tests and surveys. The results enable the University to monitor its programs and services, to assist students in fulfilling their academic goals, and to fulfill reporting requirements to accrediting and government agencies. The assessment task force and the assessment coordinator oversee development and reporting of assessment activities. Both academic and administrative departments throughout the University will require student input about their functions from time to time.

Students will be notified when they are expected to participate in assessments. The assessments of freshman writing abilities and a survey of graduating seniors are well-established University-wide assessments. Sophomores’ skills in general education outcomes will be undertaken regularly. In addition, each program conducts its own assessments of student learning. Other assessments will be conducted as needed. Generally these assessments can be completed in a modest period of time. The University will seek employers’ input on the ability of graduates to perform in the workplace.

Failure to participate when required or any violation of the assessment or testing procedure can result in administrative action including withholding of grades and/or restriction from registration until the requirements are met.

Learning Communities: A learning community represents a groups of students who take two of the same classes, which are linked by theme or content. This program enhances students’ entire University experience by allowing them to become part of a close-knit academic community sharing common academic, social, and residential experiences. Learning communities foster connections among students, students and teachers, and disciplines and ideas. Learning communities promote active, collaborative learning and allow exploration of diverse perspectives. Some learning communities will have a residence hall component to provide students with the chance to live with other students who are also interested in this innovative learning approach.

Academic Forgiveness Policy


Revised and approved November 11, 2002

The academic forgiveness policy does not alter, change, or amend any other existing policies at Shepherd University and is formulated to be consistent with Series 20 of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and supersedes all previous academic forgiveness policies at Shepherd University.

Academic forgiveness is intended for the student who is returning to University with a grade point deficiency. A student readmitted after July 1995 may be eligible for academic forgiveness unless the student has been placed on final academic suspension. (A student who has incurred three academic suspensions from any institution of higher education is on final academic suspension and does not qualify for academic forgiveness. However, a student on final suspension may appeal this decision to the Admissions and Credits Committee, according to procedures in the section titled “Academic Suspension” in the Shepherd University Catalog. If the third suspension in repealed, the student may apply for forgiveness by submitting a written request to the registrar as established below.) The Regents Bachelor of Arts Program is governed by a different forgiveness policy.

This policy covers only those students who have not been enrolled as a full-time student (12 or more semester credit hours) at any institution of higher learning during the five consecutive academic years immediately preceding the readmission semester. This policy is limited to students who have not yet been awarded their first academic degree. Academic forgiveness will be granted only once for any student.

To be eligible for academic forgiveness, a student who does not qualify for readmission because of a low GPA may be admitted to the University and placed on academic probation. The academic forgiveness policy may be applied after a readmitted student has earned 12 credit hours that apply toward graduation with a minimum GPA of 2.0. These 12 hours must be earned at Shepherd University.

During the first semester of re-enrollment, a student desiring academic forgiveness must complete a written request form and file it in the Office of the Registrar. This request must certify that the applicant has not been enrolled as a full-time student (12 or more credit hours) in any institution of higher learning during the five consecutive academic years immediately preceding the readmission semester. If the student has attended any institution of higher education on a part-time basis during the specified five-year period, the student must have earned at least a 2.0 GPA in all course work attempted.

This request will indicate whether the applicant wishes to exclude from the GPA calculation (1) all F and IF grades; or (2) all F, IF, and D grades earned prior to the five consecutive academic years immediately preceding the beginning of the readmission semester. This includes those grades appearing as transferred grades on the official transcript. If a student chooses to have all D grades excluded from the GPA calculation, it is with the understanding that the courses for which the D grades were earned cannot be used to satisfy any requirements for graduation.

When and if all prerequisite conditions have been met, academic forgiveness will be granted upon the successful completion of the readmission semester. The registrar will then officially calculate the student’s current GPA. However, no grade will be removed from the permanent record. A student awarded forgiveness under this policy does not qualify for graduation with honors.

This policy pertains only to the calculation of the GPA required for graduation. Academic forgiveness does not pertain to a GPA calculated for special academic recognition (such as graduating with honors) or to the requirements for licensure boards, external agencies, or the West Virginia Board of Education.

The University is not bound by the decision of any other institution to disregard grades earned in University courses. Similarly, students should be aware that other institutions may not recognize academic forgiveness extended by Shepherd University.

Good Academic Standing

At the end of each grading period each student’s Shepherd University and cumulative grade point average (GPA) is calculated. The calculation is determined by dividing the number of earned quality points by the number of GPA hours. In the computation of the Shepherd and cumulative GPA, a grade of I will not be included in the GPA hours. When the grade of I is replaced by a passing or failing grade, the student’s grade point average will be revised by the Office of the Registrar.

A student remains in good standing when he or she maintains BOTH a minimum 2.0 Shepherd University GPA AND a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA (including course work attempted at other institutions).

Academic Probation

For Freshman/New Transfer Students: At the conclusion of the first semester of attendance at Shepherd University, a student must attain a 2.0 Shepherd University GPA. If the student fails to achieve a 2.0 in the first semester of residency, the student will be placed on academic probation.

For Continuing Students: A student in good academic standing who has been enrolled for more than one semester and whose Shepherd University GPA or cumulative GPA falls below a 2.0 in any semester will be placed on academic probation.

The student on academic probation is no longer in good academic standing, but is allowed to continue coursework while improving the GPA.

The student who begins a semester on probation and withdraws from the University after the first five weeks of the semester will be suspended through the end of the next regular semester and may apply for readmission by completing an application for admission.

To be removed from probation and return to good academic standing, a student must attain BOTH a 2.0 Shepherd University GPA and a cumulative GPA (including course work attempted at other institutions).

Academic Suspension

The student placed on probation prior to the beginning of the fall semester must attain a 2.0 GPA on his or her combined hours for the fall, spring, and summer session(s) to avoid suspension and be eligible to return for the following fall semester. Failing to meet the minimum GPA for these terms will result in suspension.

The student placed on probation prior to the beginning of the spring semester must attain a 2.0 GPA on his or her combined hours for the spring and summer session(s) to avoid suspension and be eligible to return for the following fall semester. Failing to meet the minimum GPA for these terms will result in suspension.

During a period of academic suspension, no credits earned at another institution will be accepted at Shepherd.

Summer School: Suspension will be waived temporarily for those who wish to amend their academic year GPA by attending either one or both summer sessions (at Shepherd) immediately following notice of suspension. Academic status will be reviewed at the end of the summer sessions(s).

First Suspension: The student who has been suspended from the University for the first time may apply for readmission after one regular semester by completing an application for admission.

Second Suspension: The student who has been suspended from the University for the second time may apply for readmission after one academic year by completing an application for admission.

Third Suspension: The student who has been suspended from the University for the third time may apply for readmission after one academic year by completing an application for admission and petitioning the Admissions and Credits Committee. The Admissions and Credits Committee will review the application and render a decision in writing to the applicant.

The student who begins a semester on probation and withdraws from the University after the first five weeks of the semester will suspended through the end of the next regular semester, and may apply for readmission by completing an application for admission

Appeals to the above regulations may be made to the Admissions and Credits Committee.

Students receiving federal financial aid must also adhere to a satisfactory academic progress requirement. The specifics of this requirement may be found in the Catalog under the Section IV, Expenses and Financial Assistance.

Academic Dishonesty

Cheating in all its forms, including plagiarism and cheating on visual work, is considered an academic matter to be controlled and acted upon by the individual faculty member.

Students guilty of academic dishonesty on examinations in any course shall receive, as a minimum penalty, a grade of F in that course. Such action shall be taken by the instructor, with written notification to the appropriate University administrators. Repeated offenses shall subject the student to suspension or dismissal from the University. Students involved in facilitating academic dishonesty among others, such as by the unauthorized dissemination of examination materials, will be subject to disciplinary action beyond that called for by their own cheating in a course.

Plagiarism is “the act of stealing and using, as one’s own, the ideas, or the expression of the ideas of another.” Whether that other is another student or a published author, plagiarism is cheating. Detailed instructions on avoiding plagiarism will be provided in required English courses, and comments also may be made by instructors in other courses for which papers are written. Guidelines and policies affecting dishonesty and most other aspects of student life may be found in the Shepherd University Student Handbook.