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We believe in teaching both academic content and the professional values and habits that will serve students well during their Elon years and beyond. For example, honesty is the foundation of credibility and trust. For that reason, we take plagiarism and other forms of cheating seriously. Similarly, meeting deadlines is an essential professional habit, for a communicator who misses deadlines or skips assignments will have a short-lived career. For that reason, we have attendance policies, withdrawal deadlines and other academic procedures.

Here are areas of expectation from the dean's office in the School of Communications:


We believe so strongly in the value of small classes that we do not sign students into already-full classes. Do not ask the dean's office to override the class cap; we won't do so unless an extraordinary reason exists (for instance, a senior needs a particular class to graduate, or a student needs a specific course upon returning from a semester abroad). Since we offer most courses every year, and often every term, students will have plenty of opportunity to take a particular course at a reasonable point in their Elon education.


We encourage our teachers to have attendance policies, starting with the first day of class. Just as our alumni go to work every day as professionals, we expect our students to come to class as scheduled. An attendance policy enforces the fact that there are consequences connected to the choices we make - whether it was to stay up late and miss class the next morning, or choose to schedule an appointment at the same time as a class. We tell students that the choices they make reveal their priorities, and their first priority at Elon should be academics. Teachers may award an "F" to students who violate the attendance policies stated on their syllabi.


All of us get sick now and then. A student should notify a teacher in advance and later provide the requisite medical statement. Our teachers are understanding, and missing a class or two because of illness seldom harms a student's academic standing. Of course, being ill does not excuse the consequences of missing course content or assignments, and a student's grade may suffer if absent at key moments in the course. If a substantial part of a course is missed because of lingering illness, the student should retake the course when he or she is healthy enough to properly complete the requirements of the course in a timely manner.

Withdrawal deadline

A student may drop any class with a "W" (withdrawal without penalty) through the first half of the term. The date is published in the Academic Calendar for each term. We advise visiting with the professor before deciding to withdraw from a course. After the designated withdrawal date, no class may be dropped. A student who later experiences health problems and needs to withdraw from all courses for the term may request a "WD" (medical withdrawal) from the university.

Flagrant behavior

Students should engage in the free exchange of ideas and opinions with civility and respect. Incivility and disrespect in the classroom or outside of class is punishable through Elon's Social Honor Code. This includes threatening or abusive communication to a teacher, staff member or other students.

Plagiarism and cheating

Elon's Academic Honor Code states that an atmosphere of trust is central to the pursuit of knowledge within an academic community. Plagiarism and other forms of cheating harm that atmosphere of trust. If a violation occurs, School of Communications faculty normally award an "F" for the course and submit an Honor Code violation to the administration. Sadly, we experienced almost a dozen of these cases the past year. We advise students to use proper citation in the writing of term papers and to not become careless or deceptive in their use of Internet texts. Simply put, it is not acceptable to download whole sentences or ideas from a source without paraphrasing the content, or placing in direct quotations, and use of the content needs proper acknowledgment as well.

Final exams

Final exams are part of an Elon education. Students should verify the exam schedule prior to making travel plans, since final exam dates and times apply to whole classes and are not adjusted for the travel convenience of individual students.


An "I" signifies an incomplete final grade because of emergency, extreme hardship or self-paced courses. An "I" grade normally is not given when a student has missed a substantial amount of class work; in that case, an "F" is the appropriate grade so that the student retakes the course to gain the knowledge expected from the course. A student receiving an "I" must complete all work no later than nine class days after mid-semester grades are due during the following semester. Otherwise, the "I" grade automatically changes to "F."


We want an "A" to mean something special, so we encourage our faculty to have rigor in their grading policies. An "A" should signify truly outstanding work in the course, and most classes will have only a few students whose work consistently rises to this level. More commonly, students will earn a "B" that signifies above-average work, or a "C" that signifies that an appropriate grasp of the subject has been demonstrated. A grade of "D" indicates a passing performance despite notable deficiencies, and an "F" indicates failure.

Grade appeals

Faculty members are responsible for final grades. If a student wishes to contest a grade, the student first should talk with the teacher to determine if a clerical error or other misunderstanding occurred. If not, then the student can write a basis for appeal to the dean's office within the first six weeks of the semester following receipt of the grade, clearly specifying the grounds for appeal. A representative in the dean's office will meet with the student and teacher and then decide whether to uphold or recommend modification of the grade. The teacher's grade shall stand unless evidence is presented of capriciousness or arbitrariness by the teacher (bias or unfairness in violation of the course syllabus). If the student wishes to appeal further, the student's written appeal and the dean's ruling are forwarded to the Office of the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Parental involvement

Whenever a student files an appeal, the dean's office will visit with both the student and teacher in order to make the proper decision. We believe one of the purposes of a university is to teach students to articulate their own positions. On occasion, parents inject themselves into an academic matter involving a son or daughter. We strongly discourage this. In fact, the U.S. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act protects the privacy of educational records and may prevent us from even discussing academic matters with parents unless the student has expressly granted permission.

Importance of expectations

When the joyous time of graduation comes, we want our students not only to possess strong concepts and skills about Communications, but to have grown in maturity and responsibility during their Elon years.

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School of Communications 
2850 Campus Box 
Elon, NC 27244-2010   (336) 278-5724 
E-mail: communications@elon.edu
Last Modified:  10/19/04
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