Academic Advisors

All full-time and/or degree-seeking students should see an advisor in your anticipated career area. You are responsible for making an appointment with an advisor to review program development and other matters such as transfer possibilities. If you are undecided about your major, you will be advised by personnel in the Department of Student Affairs.

The advisor is the key person in the registration process. When a class schedule is published, students are to schedule a meeting with their advisor. You are strongly encouraged to have your course selections reviewed and approved by your advisor.

Academic Appeals Process

The purpose of the Academic Appeals Policy is to secure equitable solutions to problems of an academic nature that may affect a student's academic progress.

Ground for Appeal – Final Course Grade

The college's Academic Appeal Policy prescribes the circumstances in which, for good reason, you may submit an appeal. Students may appeal any final course grade they believe was awarded based on an arbitrary reason not related to a professor's assessment of academic work, and/or was determined in a manner inconsistent with the standards and procedures established by the professor in oral and written communications to the entire class.

Only the professor can change a course grade assigned in a manner consistent with the college's grading policy and the policy outlined in the syllabus by the professor. College administration can only direct a grade to be changed when it is determined necessary through the procedure established by this policy and for the reasons listed above.

The following reasons are not sufficient grounds for appealing a final grade:

  • Assignment(s) were graded too severely
  • Course objectives were unreasonable
  • Professor refused to assign make-up or extra credit work
  • Consideration was not given to the student's personal or professional commitments, problems and conflicts when determining final grade
  • Professor graded a single project too severely


Students must initiate final grade appeals within 30 calendar days of the awarding of the grades. Any appeals that are initiated during summer will only be heard in exceptional cases as determined by the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. If an appeal is to be addressed in the summer, Committee members will be contacted with the pertinent information.

Academic dismissal from a course or program or denial of program completion/graduation must be initiated within 30 calendar days following the notification to the student.

Requests for review submitted after these deadlines will be heard only in exceptional cases as determined by the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs.


Professors will specify in writing for each of their courses at the beginning of the academic term the following:

  • Course requirements and expectations
  • Procedures for evaluating academic performance and assigning grades

Professors may change the requirements, expectations and method of evaluations throughout the semester. When a professor announces a change, it is the responsibility of the student to ensure they understand and are aware of these changes.

Additionally, students have the responsibility to know and adhere to the policies and standards pertaining to them including institutional, program and course requirements and policies. Students must also adhere to the college's academic and student codes of conduct.

The professor's stated requirements and expectations will be the measure when considering a student's compliance with coursework.

Appeal Process

A student seeking an academic appeal must follow all the steps outlined in sequence.

Level 1

In an effort to resolve the issue, the student must first arrange a meeting with the faculty member involved within 30 calendar days of the awarding of grades. If the professor is absent from campus, the student must attempt to contact the professor through mail, email or by phone, working with campus personnel if necessary. Students should document all attempts to contact faculty. When discussing the grade with the professor, students should present as much evidence as possible to support their appeal. Open and civil communication is the best approach in an attempt to reach agreement on the appeal.

In the event the professor is absent from the campus or no longer in the employment of the college, or after consultation with the faculty member the issue is not resolved, the student may proceed to appeal Level 2.

Level 2

A Level 2 appeal is initiated by the student through a typed statement to the respective Dean or Program Director depending on the course for which they are appealing the final grade. If it is a course with a Program Director then the Program Director in conjunction with the Dean of Academic Affairs will review the appeal together. If it is a course without a Program Director then the appeal will go to the respective Dean. Should a Program Director be the instructor of record for the course involved in the appeal then it shall be handled by the Dean. Should the appeal occur for a course taught by a Dean, then the Vice President will appoint a designee to review the appeal.

Upon receiving the typed student appeal the Dean/Program Director will notify the faculty member and request a written statement from the professor concerning the appeal. Additionally, the Dean may request a meeting with the professor and/or the student to obtain further clarification of the appeal. After receiving typed statements from both the student and professor and through possible consultation, with the student or the professor, the Dean/Program Director must give a typed response to the student with a copy to the professor within 10 working days. If the issue(s) brought forward in the appeal are not resolved satisfactorily in this step the student or faculty member may then appeal to the Academic Appeals Committee (AAC) in Level 3.

Level 3

A student wishing to take the appeal to the Academic Appeals Committee (AAC) must submit their typed appeal to the Vice President's Office within 5 working days after receiving the Dean's/Program Director's response. If the student appeals to the AAC, the Dean/Program Director will forward all information provided and gathered during their evaluation of the issue to the committee.

The AAC will review the appeal within 10 working days of receipt of typed appeal. The AAC may, but are not required to, request a meeting with the student and/or the professor in which the student and/or professor may present evidence or information on his or her behalf and may be accompanied by an academic advisor or other faculty or staff member (or if the student is under age of 18, may be accompanied by a legal guardian). The advisor or guardian may consult with the student, but may not speak on behalf of the student or otherwise participate in the proceedings unless given specific permission by the committee. Should a mutually agreeable meeting date or adequate review not be feasible within the 10 working days, Level 3 may be extended an additional five days. Once the AAC has made a decision, the chair of the committee will provide a typed response that will be sent to the student, instructor and Dean/Program Director.

The decision of the Academic Appeals Committee is final even if a decision against the student will mean the grade or requirement under appeal will result in academic disqualification. There is no further college appeal process.

Academic Misconduct

Southern State is committed to providing educational opportunities that promote academic, professional and personal growth in students. To these ends, all members of the college are expected to uphold the highest academic and ethical standards.

Types of Academic Misconduct

  • Any unauthorized use of material (books, notes of any kind and so forth) during an examination, test or quiz.
  • Copying from another student's work or permitting one's work to be copied during an examination, test or quiz.
  • Unauthorized use of equipment (computers, calculators or any type of educational or laboratory equipment).
  • Permitting a person to pose in one's place during an examination, test, quiz or posing as another person during an examination, test or quiz.
  • Altering an examination, test, quiz or any other type of evaluated work in an effort to have the work re-evaluated for a higher grade.
  • Plagiarizing or permitting one's work to be plagiarized.
  • Using unauthorized or improper methods to determine in advance the contents of an examination, test or quiz.
  • Unauthorized use of computer software during an examination, test or quiz.
  • Submitting as one's own work a work of art, a speech or oral report, a musical composition, a computer program, a laboratory project or any other creation done by another person.


Plagiarism can be defined as copying someone else's words or ideas and passing it off as your own. This includes copying material from the internet, books, videos and all copyrighted material without expressing permission and proper documentation*.

Some examples of plagiarism include:

  • Reproducing another person's words, published or unpublished, as one's own.
  • Permitting another person to alter substantially one's written work.
  • Failing to acknowledge the ideas or words of another person, including verbatim use of another's words without proper documentation or paraphrasing another's words without proper documentation*.
  • Using material from the internet, videos, encyclopedias, books, magazines, newspapers, student papers, generative AI (ChatGPT, etc.), and copyrighted material without indicating where the material was found.

*"Proper documentation" is a written acknowledgement, such as the use of quotation marks and footnotes, that alert a reader to the fact that the words or ideas are not that of the writer.

Plagiarism can result in failure on an examination or paper, failure in a course, suspension for up to two semesters, dismissal from the college for one year and/or possibly civil penalties.

Student Responsibility for Avoiding Academic Misconduct

Instructors provide course outlines which specify all requirements and procedures. Students must familiarize themselves with these documents. Students who have questions about potential academic misconduct on an examination, test or quiz or other evaluated work must contact their instructors prior to completing the assignment.

Possible Sanctions for Academic Misconduct

By an Instructor

Instructors must state at the beginning of a semester what sanctions they will apply to cases of academic misconduct. Instructors may choose to:

  • Grant an "F" for an individual examination, test, quiz or evaluated project;
  • Grant an "F" for the course; or
  • Refer the case to the Academic Appeals Committee.

By the Academic Appeals Committee

The Academic Appeals Committee may choose to:

  • Drop the matter for lack of evidence;
  • Grant an "F" for an individual examination, test, quiz or evaluated project;
  • Grant an "F" for the course;
  • Suspend the student for up to two semesters
  • Dismiss the student from the college for one year; or
  • Bestow another sanction mutually agreed upon by the student, the instructor and a majority of the members of the Academic Appeals Committee.

By the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs

The Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs may choose to:

  • Drop the matter for lack of evidence;
  • Uphold the decision of the Academic Appeals Committee;
  • Grant an "F" for an individual examination, test, quiz or evaluated project;
  • Grant an "F" for the course;
  • Suspend the student for up to two semesters;
  • Dismiss the student from the college for one year; or
  • Bestow another sanction mutually agreed upon by the student, the instructor and the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs.

Charges of Academic Misconduct

An instructor who determines that a student has engaged in academic misconduct will confront the student, explain the evidence they have to support the charge of misconduct and explain the sanction they intend to impose. The instructor has the right to impose any sanction listed above under "By Instructor".

Appeal Process

When an instructor confronts a student with a charge of academic misconduct and explains the sanctions they intend to impose, the student has the right to appeal the decision.

  • The student must speak directly with the faculty member.
  • If the student does not receive satisfaction from the faculty member, then the student should appeal in writing to the Academic Appeals Committee.
  • If the student does not receive satisfaction from the Academic Appeals Committee, then the student should appeal in writing to the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs.
  • If the student is not satisfied with the above results, the student may request to see the President of the college. The President's decision will be final.

Documentation of Sanctions for Academic Misconduct

The instructor, the Academic Appeals Committee or the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs will provide the student with a written explanation of all action to be taken within seven calendar days of the date of the decision. A copy will be maintained in the appropriate files while the sanction is in force; however, no copy will be placed with the student's academic records.

Auditing Classes

Students may audit classes with the permission of the instructor. Tuition and fees for classes audited will be the same as for those taken for credit. Courses audited will not be counted in computing the maximum number of hours for which a student is allowed to register. No credit will be given for courses audited. Students are expected to follow the same attendance regulations for audit classes as for credit classes. Students may take the examinations, but are not required to do so. Audited classes are recorded with a "T".

All students must make the decision to audit at the time of registration. The Records Office will not honor a change request for credit and/or audit after the deadline date for refund of fees has passed (see policy as stated in the Catalog under refund fees).

Clean Slate

A student may petition to have all or a portion of their previous academic record expunged. This request will expunge ALL courses taken during the time period requested. A clean slate may be requested only for courses taken during a time span and may not be used to selectively remove courses from the academic record. This request will not remove any financial obligations that may be due to the college.

If you are or have been a recipient of any form of financial aid, you must discuss the ramifications of this request with the Office of Financial Aid prior to submitting the request.

There is no limit to the number of clean slates the student may petition for if the purpose is to re-enter Southern State. If the clean slate is requested to begin work at any other institutions, it will be granted only once for this purpose.

All clean slates are final as of the date the form is submitted. Grades expunged from the student transcript cannot be added back at any time.

Complete the clean slate request form and submit it to the Records Office. A period of at least six academic semesters must have elapsed between the ending date of the last semester of courses requested to be expunged and the date of this request.

Course Status Change

Add a course during the first five consecutive class days of the semester.

Withdraw from a course up to and including the last class day before finals by giving written notice.

Financial aid could be affected as a result of course changes. Inquire about this implication prior to changing your course schedule.

Course Substitutions

Courses listed in an academic program may only be substituted with a faculty advisor's approval. You are cautioned that if you intend to transfer to another college, some courses that are substituted may not be accepted for transfer credit by that college. It is up to you to consult with an advisor at the transferring institution.

Credit Hour Definition

A credit hour is the academic unit received for taking a subject for one hour a week for one semester (laboratory sessions may be included or separate depending on the course). In reference to college courses, the term "hour" is applied to all such credits.

Credit Hour Limit

You may enroll for a maximum of 18 credit hours per semester during the regular academic year unless the program guidelines for your major exceed that number. Students who wish to exceed this limit must contact their faculty advisors. Requests will be forwarded to the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs for review and approval or denial.

Grade Point Average

A student's cumulative grade point average is calculated by dividing the number of quality points earned by the number of semester hours attempted.

Information Changes

Any change of address or name (resulting from marriage or court action) must be reported to the Records Office. Prompt attention to this matter will avoid complications relating to registration and/or financial aid.

Independent Study

An independent study is designed to provide you with an opportunity to pursue a course that is consistent with your degree plan. An independent study is NOT a substitution of an existing course that is not offered at a convenient time or location for the student. The student, along with their instructor, is to design how they propose to structure the independent study, when and how they are to meet with the instructor and what method of evaluation is to be used.

A syllabus for this independent study is to be attached to the request form.


These courses may be taken as an independent study with the concurrence of the instructor and the appropriate Dean. This type of study is limited to two per student per degree. In rare instances it may be used in extenuating circumstances where an independent study is the only way to meet the student's program requirements. In some cases, a course substitution is in the best interest of the student.

Students who wish to apply for an independent study must first see their academic advisors and then apply to the appropriate Dean no later than one week before the beginning of the semester during which they wish to take the independent study course.


  • The student must be in good standing and have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5.
  • The student must acquire an Independent Study Request Form.
  • The student should see a faculty member who agrees to sponsor the independent study. Together, the student and the faculty member decide on the meeting times, mode of instruction, student assignments and due dates and evaluation of papers and/or projects. This information is to be attached to the request form. Both student and faculty member are to sign the form.
  • The student then submits the request form to the appropriate Dean no later than one week before the beginning of the semester during which the independent study will be taken.
  • If the appropriate Dean approves the request, he or she will indicate this on the request form and this will be forwarded to the Registrar's Office. The student will be sent a copy of the approval form.
  • If the appropriate Dean does not approve the request, the student and the faculty member will be notified.

Multiple Degrees

Students receiving more than one degree, regardless of when either was awarded and regardless whether it is an associate degree or higher, must complete at least a total of 32 new credit hours related to the new degree at Southern State. This restriction applies to graduates of Southern State as well as graduates of other approved institutions of higher education. This policy does not apply to certificate programs provided all requirements for the certificate are met.

Official Withdrawal

Students may Withdraw from classes up to and including the week before final exams by giving written notice of their intent to the Department of Student Affairs.

Attendance in class is an important part of the learning process. Excess absence may result in a failure. Faculty may count attendance as part of the grading policy and a failure to officially withdraw may result in a failing grade. Withdrawal from classes may affect a student's financial aid. See Financial Policies for information regarding financial aid and refunds.

Faculty may request to withdraw students who have missed more than 20% of the total scheduled classes by completing the Faculty Initiated Withdrawal Form. A faculty initiated withdrawal will result in a final grade of 'WI'.