Academic Policies

The following policies are some of the more common policies about which students have questions. For a comprehensive list of academic policies please consult either the college catalogue or the Academic Policies and Procedures website.

Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty is a serious breach of trust within the Westmont community because it violates the regard for truth essential to genuine learning and Christian consistency. It also hurts those students who do their work with integrity.

Academic dishonesty may consist of plagiarism (the use of someone else’s words or ideas without giving proper credit), cheating (the use of unauthorized sources of information on an examination or other assignment), or falsification (misrepresentation of facts in any academic project or obligation). All cases of plagiarism and academic dishonesty result in the work receiving a grade of F and the instructor may impose more severe penalties. Sanctions for a second violation in the same or different course may result in being subject to the full range of disciplinary sanctions, up to and including expulsion from the college. A record of the incidents will be kept in the Provost’s and Student Life office. A complete academic dishonesty policy is available from the Provost’s office or website. You are responsible for knowing the contents of this statement.

Class Attendance

One of the distinctive features of Westmont College is its residential nature: as members of this community, we recognize that learning and personal growth occur in community. Attendance at regular class meetings is an important manifestation of this commitment. The following attendance policies are intended to encourage attendance while recognizing special circumstances and the rights of students and faculty.

When attendance is not possible, for whatever reason, students are responsible for the missed course work and activities and should consult the faculty member as to whether and how the work might be made up.

Faculty shall establish their own attendance policies for courses taught by them, subject to the following limitations:

  • Faculty must announce their attendance policies and their policies for make-up work in relation to absences at the beginning of a course. Any change in policy during the course must be made clear to the students and shall not be retroactive.
  • As a minimum, a student shall be allowed without penalty (beyond the possible loss of credit for missed or late work) at least as many absences per semester as the number of times the class meets per week.
  • At the instructor’s discretion, absences beyond this threshold may be penalized. However, students should not be penalized (beyond the possible loss of credit for missed or late work) for a reasonable number of absences due to illness or for official school activities (such as varsity athletic events and official class trips field trips).
  • Notwithstanding, when a student persistently neglects class assignments or has excessive absences, the faculty member may request the student withdraw from the class or may notify the student that he or she has been terminated with a grade of F in that particular class. A student may not be dropped from a course for missing classes unless the number of absences exceeds twice the number of times the class meets per week. Through the ninth week of the semester, the faculty member may assign a grade of W instead of an F.
  • Faculty members are not permitted to provide make-up opportunities or alter established class schedules for suspended students. Where this creates hardship for students they are to be referred to the dean of students.

Classroom Conduct

Students who display unprofessional conduct during class will be asked to leave the classroom. Unprofessional conduct during class includes, but is not limited to, activities such as reading newspapers, studying for a different class, talking while someone else has the floor, evidencing disrespect for those who have a different point of view, or regularly arriving late. Students who do not correct this behavior after having been asked to leave the classroom may be dropped from the course (with a failing grade) for disciplinary reasons.

Commencement Participation Policy

  1. Participation in graduation ceremonies is a celebration of work accomplished and is reserved for those students who will complete all degree requirements by the end of the spring semester or Mayterm. A student completing degree requirements in Mayterm must be registered in the appropriate Mayterm classes by March 15.
  2. In extenuating circumstances only a student may petition the Academic Senate for an exception to this policy. The petition must be submitted to the Student Records office by March 15 and will be reviewed according to the following guidelines:
    1. The petition must explain the extenuating circumstances that prevent the student from completing degree requirements at the end of spring semester or Mayterm.
    2. The petition must include a written plan demonstrating how the requirements will be met during the summer immediately following the graduation ceremony.
    3. The plan may include a maximum of eight pre-approved units to be completed after Commencement.

Degrees for summer session candidates are conferred as of August; graduation data will not be entered until work is completed and grades are recorded and computed.

Concurrent Enrollment

Concurrent enrollment (enrollment for credit at another school while enrolled at Westmont) may occasionally be permitted for program enrichment or for solving serious class-scheduling conflicts.

  • The course should be commensurate with the student’s program but not offered at Westmont College or the concurrent enrollment should be undertaken to solve a class-scheduling problem such that a student is unable to enroll for the course in the remainder of the student’s Westmont program.
  • The student must file a petition requesting approval for concurrent enrollment in advance of enrolling in the concurrent course.
  • The student must be a full-time student (minimum 12 academic hours) at Westmont.
  • The total academic load in a term must not exceed the academic load permitted at Westmont.
  • If transfer credit is expected, the suitability of the particular course must be established in advance through the normal pre-approval process in the Student Records Office.

Disagreements with Professors

Students occasionally experience difficulty with an instructor or disagree about grades. If you have such a problem, you should first meet with the instructor to discuss the situation. If you are still dissatisfied after the meeting, you should talk to the chair of the department. In the event that the problem remains unsolved, you should consult the provost.

Petition Procedures

Petitions for exceptions to academic regulations must be submitted to the registrar for action. Some petitions will be referred on to the Academic Senate Review Committee by the registrar for action. Standard petition forms are available at the Student Records office or on the registrar’s website under “Forms.” Students should turn in their petitions at the Student Records office. The registrar will take action within a week and will notify students of the decision. The faculty adviser and/or the instructor also will be notified.


If requested, the registrar will provide an additional explanation of actions. A student who feels a petition has been unjustly denied may ask the vice provost to have the petition reconsidered. Actions of the Academic Review Committee may be appealed to the provost.

Off-Campus Program Requirements

A student with a 2.3 G.P.A. may apply for one of the off-campus programs that Westmont sponsors. This will not be considered as a break in residence. Applications must be processed through the Off-Campus Programs office. Off-campus programs sponsored by a particular department for major credit may set their own minimum G.P.A. Westmont reserves the right to limit the number of students participating in these programs each semester. Students who wish to enroll in two different off-campus programs in consecutive semesters must obtain permission from the Academic Senate through the Registrar’s office. Students planning to be off-campus during their junior year should complete an application for degree before they leave.