Students who are interested in graduating with Academic Distinction should understand the policies and procedures before applying. Students considering this award will be required to complete a special project or scholarly paper under the supervision of a committee who will also oversee the acceptance of the student’s work for the completion of Academic Distinction.
Academic Distinction in the Department of the Major is earned by completing a scholarly paper or special project under the supervision of a committee of at least three degreed faculty and/or staff members. The project may not be used to earn any other form of honor, and the steps detailed below must be followed, including deadlines. Failure to meet criteria and/or deadlines will disqualify the student from earning this honor.
The student making application shall at the time of application have a minimum of 75 semester hours of credit, a 3.25 grade point average in the department of the major, and a 3.0 overall grade point average, as verified by the Office of the Registrar.
- The student must first read the information in this handbook about Academic Distinction in the Department of the Major. When the student has a tentative topic, he or she will identify a member of the faculty in the major to serve as the proposed chair of the project.
- The student completes the form “Application for Academic Distinction in the Department of the Major” available in the Registrar’s Office.
- The Registrar’s Office determines whether the student meets minimum qualifications:
- Completion of a minimum of 75 degree hours
- Minimum grade point average of 3.25 in the major
- Minimum overall grade point average of 3.0
- The student must apply and complete steps 1-8 prior to the first day of classes in the student’s graduation or commencement semester, whichever is first. After evaluation of the student’s eligibility, the Registrar’s Office will forward a completed copy of the form to the proposed committee chair.
Step 2If the student meets the minimum qualifications, he or she, in consultation with proposed committee chair, will describe the proposed scope and nature of the project or paper, with a tentative thesis statement and the plan for completion. The proposal will be forwarded to the chair of the department of the student’s major.
- Upon the chair’s approval, the student, committee chair, and department chair will develop a proposed committee member list numbering not less than two faculty or staff members, in addition to the committee chair.
- If the project proposed is of an interdisciplinary nature, the committee shall include representative(s) from all disciplines.
- At least one member of the committee must not serve in the department of the major.
- Members who fulfill the requirements of Item a may also fulfill the requirements of Item b. For example: If the study involves effects of primitive cultures on pre-school age children, and the student’s major is Child Development, a member of the Anthropology faculty could serve both as a representative of one of the disciplines and also as a member not in the department of the major.
- The Chair of the student’s department of major shall serve as an ex-officio member of the committee and shall not be considered one of the three required committee members.
Using the “Proposed Committee” form available in the Registrar’s Office or at the bottom of this page, the proposed project and committee composition will be forwarded to the dean of the college housing the student’s major.
- The dean may:
- Approve the committee and project
- Disapprove the committee or the project or both
- Return the proposal for clarification.
- The dean’s office shall notify the student, department chair, committee chair, and Office of the Registrar of his or her decision, using copies of the “Proposed Committee” form. The Registrar’s Office shall review the composition of the committee to verify all criteria are met and notify the committee chair of the outcome.
Step 4Upon approval of the project and committee, the committee chair convenes a meeting of the committee. The chair of the department, as an ex-officio member, shall be invited, but not required, to attend.
- The committee may choose any one of three actions:
- Approve the project as described
- Suggest amendments to the project
- Disqualify the project entirely If the committee disqualifies the project, the rationale must be stated and reported to the dean of the college and the Registrar’s Office. Normal reasons for disqualification would include plagiarism or a project that does not require scholarly activity above and beyond normal classroom requirements. If the committee accepts the project, notification is provided to the department chair, dean of the college and the Registrar’s Office using the “Committee Action Report” form available in the Registrar’s Office.
- The student will complete the project, distribute copies of written material associated with the project for review to all committee members, and meet again with the committee to provide an oral defense of the project. The department chair is invited, but not required, to attend the oral defense.
Deadlines for completion and distribution of the finished project are: one calendar year after the committee’s initial meeting, or, if the student is graduating, as listed below:
|Spring||End, 8th Week of Spring Semester|
|Summer (and participating in spring commencement)||End, 8th Week of Spring Semester|
|Summer (and not participating in spring commencement)||8 Weeks Before End of Summer Semester|
|Fall||End, 8th Week of Fall Semester|
Upon completion of oral defense, the committee may choose one of three actions:
- Accept project
- Reject project
- Return project to the student for revisions, which must be completed within two weeks. The committee shall inform the department chair and dean of its actions, using the “Acceptance Page for Completion of Academic Distinction” available in the Registrar’s Office.
The department chair and dean will review the project and either reject it or accept it as completed. If accepted, the department chair and dean complete their portion of the “Acceptance Page for Completion of Academic Distinction” and forward copies of the form to the student, committee chair, and Registrar’s Office no later than six (6) weeks prior to commencement or end of the student’s last term of study, whichever is earlier.