Published on Rhodes College: Rhodes Handbook (

Academics at Rhodes

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Academic Regulations

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Classroom Conduct

Students are expected to conduct themselves as responsible learners. Classroom behavior should not detract from the learning environment. Each faculty member has the right to determine appropriate behavior for the classroom. Expectations might address behavior such as use of electronic devices, late arrivals or early departures, eating or sleeping.

In the classroom, disruptive behavior is behavior that hampers the ability of faculty to teach and students to learn. This can include, but is not limited to, interference with course instruction to the detriment of other students, disruption that attempts to stifle academic freedom of speech, failure to comply with the instructions or directives of the course instructor, or making falsified threats in an attempt to interfere with course instruction or other academic activities.

A student violating a professor’s classroom policy or individual instructions regarding classroom disruptions might be dismissed from the class for the day on which the disruption occurs, subject to a reduction of participation grade, and/or referred to the respective Department Chair.

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Academic Advising

The mission of academic advising at Rhodes is to promote student learning. Each entering student is assigned a liberal arts academic advisor, who will function in that capacity until the student formally declares a major. This must be done prior to the registration period of the spring semester of the sophomore year.  At that point, a faculty advisor from the major department is assigned to or selected by the student.
Assisted by the academic advisor, the student learns:

  • To understand the nature of a liberal arts education
  • To assess his or her strengths and weaknesses
  • To formulate educational and career goals
  • To plan a course of action to achieve those goals

I.   Guidelines for the Student Advisee

  1. Realize that final responsibility for meeting Degree or Foundation Requirements rests with the student.
  2. Prepare adequately for each advising session.
  3. Make preliminary course selections prior to registration advising appointments.
  4. With the assistance of the advisor and Career Services, clarify personal values, abilities, interests, and goals.
  5. Become knowledgeable about and observe institutional policies, procedures, and requirements. This requires a careful reading of the College Catalogue.
  6. Contact and make an appointment with the advisor when in need of assistance or when required. If the student finds it impossible to keep the appointment, notify the advisor before the scheduled appointment.
  7. Maintain a personal advising folder and take it to every advising appointment. Documents placed in this folder might include grade reports, declaration of major forms, course plan, and other documents related to the student’s academic record.
  8. Follow through on actions identified during each advising session.
  9. Keep the advisor informed about academic achievements, difficulties, and other factors that could influence the student’s academic career.
  10. Declare a major no later than the spring semester of the sophomore year and choose a new advisor if necessary.
  11. Evaluate the advising system, when requested, in order to strengthen the advising process.
  12. Accept final responsibility for all decisions.

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Student Travel Policy

Rhodes strongly encourages its students, faculty and staff who are contemplating travel abroad for educational or other purposes to plan well in advance and to take precautions to ensure a safe trip. All travelers should familiarize themselves with political, health, crime, and other safety-related conditions prevailing in any country and specific locations within the country(ies) to be visited. A review of these conditions should be performed by viewing web-based information provided by the U.S. Department of State as well as information provided by various other cognizant agencies and governments.

Additionally, the College recommends that its students and their parents consult the insurance websites managed by Relation and Chubb, the insurance and travel emergency assistance providers engaged by Rhodes to support students who are traveling internationally.  The 4StudentHealth site provides up-to-date plan and claim information for Rhodes students, and the CHUBB site provides access to emergency support and the Travel Intelligence Portal, a site providing real-time information about travel risks of many kinds.

The Rhodes College Travel Policy determines which countries and regions Rhodes College students may travel to for study, work or professional development as representatives of the College. All international student travel requires approval by the Buckman Center and Department Chairs in order for academic credit or financial support to be awarded. Failure to comply with all Rhodes College Travel Policies will result in the withholding of academic credit and/or financial support or reimbursement. ResourcesUS Dept. of State Travel Advisory Page and International SOS Travel Risk Interactive Map 

Restricted Destinations Policy

Rhodes College will not support, finance or award credit for any travel to countries designated by the U.S. State Department as a Level 4 country. Level 3 countries are presumed to be off limits, but permission may be given under certain conditions, see below. Travel to Level 2 destinations will generally be approved by the Buckman Center after the proposing student or faculty member indicates they have reviewed the details of the travel warning and are willing to accept the risk (see below).

It is expected that approval will be granted for many proposals for travel, even to selected restricted destinations. The Buckman Center will review applications based on an assessment of the components of the proposal, i.e., the diligence of the proposal (level of strategic planning, level of vetting of vendors/partners/providers), the relevance of the purpose of the trip to the mission of the College, the experience and the perceived competence level of the applicants, and upon a more in-depth review of the particular destination and itinerary within the restricted country.

US State Department Advisory Levels and Approval Considerations 

Level 4. No approval for travel to these destinations will be given.

Level 3. Approval may be given for proposals for travel to Level 3 destinations if:

  1. No approval will be granted for student led group or individual students on independent study or internships.
  2. No other of the following international travel advisories (Australia, Canada, Great Britain and New Zealand), advise against travel to the destination.
  3. International SOS risk rating is no higher than medium.
  4.  The itinerary must be limited to regions within the destination country for which the US State Department has indicated that the risk is lower than that for the overall risk of the country and International SOS has indicated that the risk is no greater than medium.
  5. The itinerary has been reviewed and approved by our Risk analysis consultants, Lodestone International.
  6. The application demonstrates competence and due diligence including an understanding of the hazards and the implementation of risk mitigation strategies as demonstrated by a signed waiver.
  7. The applicants agree to any additional requirements, e.g., Buckman Center requested changes in itinerary, the carrying of satellite communication devices, an agreement that no itinerary changes will be made once the program begins without permission and any additional vetting or addition of personnel deemed necessary.
  8. Approval may be made for students studying abroad with a well known internationally based third party provider who is willing to indemnify Rhodes College if all points 1 – 3 are true.

Level 2. Approval may be given for proposals for travel to Level 2 destinations if: 

  1. Approval may be granted for student led groups or individual students on independent study or internships if the International SOS risk rating is Low or Insignificant.
  2. International SOS risk rating is no higher than medium.
  3. The itinerary must be limited to regions within the destination country for which the US State Department has indicated that the risk is no greater than that for the overall risk of the country and International SOS has indicated that the risk is no greater than medium.
  4. The application demonstrates competence and due diligence including an understanding of the hazards and the implementation of risk mitigation strategies.
  5. The applicants agree to any additional requirements, e.g., requested changes in itinerary, the carrying of satellite communication devices, an agreement that no itinerary changes will be made once the program begins without Buckman Center permission and any additional vetting or addition of personnel deemed necessary.
  6. Approval may be given for students studying abroad with a well known internationally based third party provider if the itinerary does not venture into any area for which the International SOS risk rating is higher than Medium.

Level 1.  No additional considerations. Rhodes College reserves the right to withhold or give approval and support if the US State Department Advisory designation is significantly inconsistent with International SOS’ risk rating.

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Student Privacy Rights

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords eligible students certain rights with respect to their education records. (An “eligible student” under FERPA is a student who is 18 years of age or older or who attends a postsecondary institution.) Students who have questions or concerns about FERPA should contact the Office of the Registrar. FERPA rights include:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days after the day Rhodes College (“School”) receives a request for access.
    • A student should submit to the registrar a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA
    • A student who wishes to ask the school to amend a record should write the school official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed.
    • If the school decides not to amend the record as requested, the school will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student’s right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  3. The right to provide written consent before the university discloses personally identifiable information (“PII”) from the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.

Circumstances in which the College may disclose education records without a student’s prior written consent include:

  • To Rhodes College officials, including teachers and persons in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research or support staff positions (including Campus Safety and the Counseling Center),  whom the  College has determined to have legitimate educational interests. This includes contractors, consultants, volunteers, students, attorneys, auditors, collection agents, or other parties to whom the school has outsourced institutional services or functions and who work under the control of the College with regard to personally identifiable information from education records protected by FERPA. A College official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for Rhodes College.
  • To officials of another school where the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer.
  • To authorized representatives of the U. S. Comptroller General, the U. S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or State and local educational authorities, such as a State postsecondary authority that is responsible for supervising the university’s State-­supported education programs. Disclosures under this provision may be made in connection with an audit or evaluation of Federal- or State-­supported education programs, or for the enforcement of or compliance with Federal legal requirements that relate to those programs. These entities may make further disclosures of PII to outside entities that are designated by them as their authorized representatives to conduct any audit, evaluation, or enforcement or compliance activity on their behalf. 
  • In connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, if the information is necessary to determine eligibility for the aid, determine the amount of the aid, determine the conditions of the aid, or enforce the terms and conditions of the aid. To organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, the school, in order to: (a) develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; (b) administer student aid programs; or (c) improve instruction. 
  • To accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions.
  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena. 
  • To appropriate officials in connection with a health or safety emergency. 
  • Information the school has designated as “directory information.”  Rhodes College has designated the following items to be directory information: student’s name, parents’ names, campus and home addresses and telephone numbers, cellular phone numbers, dates of attendance, photograph, year of graduation, degrees and honors awarded or expected, academic major, email address, and faculty advisor.  
  • To a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non­forcible sex offense., The disclosure may only include the final results of the disciplinary proceeding with respect to that alleged crime or offense, regardless of the finding. 
  • To the general public, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, if the school determines the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non­forcible sex offense and the student has committed a violation of the school’s rules or policies with respect to the allegation made against him or her. 
  • To parents of a student regarding the student’s violation of any Federal, State, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the school, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if the school determines the student committed a disciplinary violation and the student is under the age of 21.
  1. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Rhodes College to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

If a student wishes to file a complaint alleging a violation of FERPA by Rhodes College, he or she should contact the following agency:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202

For further information concerning a student’s federal privacy rights, the federal regulations implementing FERPA can be found at 34 CFR Part 99.

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Class Attendance Policy

Class attendance is a student’s responsibility. Rhodes, as a residential college of the liberal arts and sciences, considers interactive engagement with other students and the professor in a structured setting to be one of the essential and central components of the academic program. Students enrolled at the institution commit to fully participate in their education, including attending class.

Monday-Wednesday-Friday (MWF) classes meet a total of 42 times in a semester; and Tuesday-Thursday (TR) classes meet a total of 28 times in a semester.

Missing three (3) MWF classes, or two (2) TR classes, is equivalent to one week’s work out of the fourteen (14) weeks of the semester; this is a significant amount of time. Absenteeism is not to be taken lightly.

Specific attendance policies are set by individual instructors, who state them in the course syllabus and during the first class session. Faculty should be mindful in setting attendance policies that college-sanctioned activities may require participating students to be off campus and consequently miss class. Additionally, some religious observances may cause participating students to miss class. Faculty are discouraged from penalizing students solely for such absence and should normally, at their discretion, accommodate such a student in, e.g., an alternate date for a test. However, it is the student’s responsibility in undertaking college-sanctioned activities (e.g., varsity athletics, internships, and off-campus competitions connected with courses) to understand that their participation may come at the cost of absences from other courses or even forfeiting credit on specific assignments when making them up is not feasible.

When health and personal matters interfere with a student’s ability to attend class, students should review and follow each instructor’s syllabus guidelines on missed class time and assignments. If the instructor’s policy requires student notification, then the student should communicate with their faculty as soon as they can do so. The individual professor decides what constitutes an excused absence from their course. Students are responsible for learning and understanding the attendance policy in each course, obtaining and mastering material covered during an absence, and consulting with the instructor to learn whether and under what conditions make-up work will be permitted. 

In emergencies where the student cannot communicate or develop a plan, the Care Manager or Dean of Student Success may notify the faculty using discreet language (see below Emergency Notifications to Faculty). Please note that leniency with attendance and options for making up work remains at each professor’s discretion and based on their specific course requirements and syllabus guidelines.

Note: If a student is struggling with a chronic, ongoing medical issue that rises to the level of disability, they should contact Student Accessibility Services to explore possible accommodations.   The student must address the issues related to missing a class, whatever the reason for the absence. If, by the course policies, the instructor determines that excessive absences are jeopardizing a student’s ability to obtain a passing grade in the course, the instructor may make written request to the Office of Academic Affairs that the student be removed from the course with a grade of F. If a student is removed from two or more courses in the same semester for this reason, the student may be asked to withdraw from the College. 

Emergency Notification to Faculty

If a student cannot communicate with faculty due to an emergency, a student can request an emergency notification be sent to the faculty. Examples of circumstances in which an emergency notification can be requested include:

  • Hospitalization
  • Experiencing an assault or other crime
  • Death or serious illness in the immediate family
  • Legal or military obligations

Please note, these services are to assist students with unforeseen situations that are immediate in nature. The following are not appropriate reasons to request an emergency notification:

  • Short term sicknesses (i.e. flu, migraines, colds)
  • Doctor or other appointments
  • Pre-planned events (weddings, vacations, trips)

To submit a request, please email In some circumstances, a student may be unable to initially communicate with the Care Manager about an emergency. If the office is made aware of an emergency where a student cannot communicate with the College, the Care Manager may inform the faculty of potential absence using discreet language. If a student experiences the death of a parent or legal guardian, certain offices will be notified, including the President’s Office, Development, the Chaplain, Academic Affairs representative, Financial Aid, and the student’s faculty.

Processing time is 1-2 business days, and requests are only processed during regular business hours. After sending out an emergency notification, the office will contact the student involved to ensure that support is offered once the student resumes academic obligations. 

  • Emergency notifications are a supportive measure when a student cannot fully communicate with instructors. If a student contacts a professor directly about resolving an absence due to an emergency, it is optional to involve the Care Manager if not needed by the student. Instructors are always welcome to submit a Share a Concern report if they are concerned about a student’s well-being.
  • Emergency notifications are not verification that the emergency occurred. The Care Manager does not require documentation to send out an emergency notification. However, the Care Manager asks for enough detail to assess the situation to assist students in managing their academics. The Care Manager also helps students think through their needs and abilities during their challenges. Individual feedback from faculty allows the Care Manager to do this effectively. The Honor Code is expected to be upheld. If a student is found misusing the emergency notification, they are subject to an honor code violation.
  • An emergency notification does not require an instructor to excuse an absence. The decision to excuse an absence lies solely with the course instructor. The syllabus guidelines and essential course elements determine an instructor's ability to allow academic flexibility. Instructors are encouraged to understand that students using the emergency notification process are typically recovering from a crisis and would benefit from some academic flexibility when feasible.

The College understands that grief, health challenges, and other personal challenges impact every student differently. Given their academic responsibilities and goals, students are encouraged to use their judgment about the time they need and can afford to take. Similarly, students should use their discretion taking more extended time through individual course withdrawals, conditional grades, a mid-semester withdrawal from all courses, or a leave of absence. The Care Manager or Dean of Student Success can meet individually with students to discuss these additional options when needed.

Grade Queries

There is no more fundamental relationship in an academic program than that of the instructor and student. The Faculty and its academic officers work to support and to sustain a meaningful and productive instructor-student relationship to secure the educational aims of the College and of the members of its Faculty. Clearly the relationship is not one between equals, and this is most clearly evident when the instructor must assign a grade for the work required of, or expected of, a student.

General Provisions: On occasion a student may believe that a grade assigned is incorrect. Indeed it is possible that a mistake can be made in reporting a grade. The student has the right to initiate a discussion with the instructor to determine that the grade given is in fact correct. If a mistake has been made, the instructor changes the grade and, if it is necessary, requests the Office of Academic Affairs, to change a grade that has been officially entered on a student’s final grade report. In the event that, after consulting with the instructor, the student is not satisfied that a grade has been assigned fairly, the student may write an explanation of why he or she believes the grade assigned is not justified. The student gives this statement to the instructor who may decide that the explanation warrants a reconsideration of the grade assigned. If the instructor decides not to change the assigned grade and discussion with the student does not result in the student’s agreement with this decision, the instructor will ask the department chair to review the procedures for determining grades in the course, the student’s request, and the instructor’s response to it. The faculty member provides a written statement to the department chair about why the original grade is valid.

Should the chair of the department determine that no lapse in procedure has occurred and that full attention has been given to the explanation by the instructor, the matter is closed. The chair of the department communicates this to the student and the instructor.

Should the chair of the department determine that the procedure was not properly followed or that additional attention to the explanation is warranted, the chair discusses the situation with the instructor. The chair may also obtain additional evaluations of the student’s work that promises a constructive response to instructor and the student. These evaluations will be requested from colleagues within the Faculty whose knowledge and expertise are appropriate to a review of the student’s work. Having completed this additional evaluation, the chair’s determination about the grade closes the matter. The chair of the department communicates this to the student and the instructor.

Special Provisions:

  • Time-limits: If the grade on a particular piece of work during a semester is questioned, the appeal for reconsideration must be made within four weeks of the receipt of the grade. The period of time during which appeals of final grades can be made expires at the end of the fourth week of the semester following the posting of the grade.
  • Substitutes for the department chair: In the event that appeals for reconsideration of grades involves grades assigned by a chair of a department, then the procedure outlined here will be conducted by the senior member of the department, or the next senior member of the department in the event that the chair is the senior member.
  • Claims of discrimination: The provisions outlined above are meant to apply to situations in which appeals for reconsideration of grades are made by students. There can be circumstances in which a student’s complaint involves a belief that he or she has been discriminated against because of the practices in managing a course. The Vice President for Academic Affairs is the administrative officer to receive any such complaint. It may be that the Vice President for Academic Affairs will ask that the general provisions above be followed in an investigation of possible discrimination.


The Honor Code represents what the students, the faculty, and the administration believe to be the best environment for the pursuit of the College’s educational aims. All tests and examinations are conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Honor Code, and students are asked to indicate on their tests and final examinations that they have abided by the principles contained in the Honor Code. Students “pledge” that they have completed academic work in accordance with these principles, and faculty are expected to ask for this pledge before accepting academic work from students.

Normally every course for which credit is given has a final examination as a component. Final examinations are intended to assess students’ mastery of the subject matter of the course and are normally comprehensive in scope. The Foundations Curriculum Committee expects, in reviewing course proposals prior to approval, that the provisions of the final assessment of student performance are made explicit.

Final examinations are given during the examination week according to the published schedule. A professor may offer optional examination times for an entire class within the examination period, except for a Reading Day. Each member of the class must choose one of the optional times at least one week before the first day of examinations. The feasibility of implementing this option is left to the professor’s discretion.

No examination, including examinations at optional times, may be scheduled on a Reading Day. A student with three examinations in a row (not to include reading days) may petition the Office of Academic Affairs to reschedule no more than two examinations later in the examination period. Other changes because of extenuating circumstances (e.g., illness, religious observance) also must be approved by the professor and the Office of Academic Affairs.

In some courses the purposes of a final examination are best served by special testing, for example take-home examinations, departmentally administered oral examinations, or special projects and assignments. Whatever the testing method, the important factor is that students are asked to synthesize major concepts, approaches, and facts for the course, and to demonstrate that they can do this on their own. If a professor wishes to give an in-class final examination outside the dates and times of the published examination schedule then this request, along with the approval of the chair of the department, must be made in writing to the Office of Academic Affairs.

A student who has a failing average on course work should be counseled before the final examination about the status of his or her work and about the role the final examination will play in determining the final grade, but the student may not be excluded from taking the final examination. A student who has a passing average on course work and who fails the final examination and as a result has a failing average for the course, may at the discretion of the professor be given an E grade and be permitted to take a reexamination. The highest grade in the course that can be given upon reexamination is D+.

A student who has a passing average on course work and who fails the final examination, but who earns a passing final grade, may be given the appropriate letter grade for the course. Unexcused absence from a final examination automatically results in failure in the course. A student who is prevented by illness or other reason from taking the final examination at the scheduled time must present a written excuse or doctor’s certificate and will be given a grade of X. In some courses, due to the lesser weight given to the final examination in determining the final grade for the course, a professor may not wish to give the grade of F for an unexcused absence or the grade of X in the event of an excused absence. The professor’s policy on this matter should be made clear at the beginning of the course so that there is no misunderstanding and so that it is clear that this situation is an exception to the general College policy.

Final examinations should be available for review by students and may be returned to students at the discretion of the professor. Professors should maintain copies of final examination questions for a period of one year, and if a professor keeps copies of the actual examinations they should be maintained for at least one academic year after the administration of the examination.

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