Department of Mathematics
and Statistics

Mathematics and Science Center, Room 368
146 Library Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4479
(location map)
phone: (248) 370-3430
fax: (248) 370-4184

Monday–Friday: 8:00–11:59 a.m. and 1:00–5:00 p.m.

Policies of the Department

Policies of the Department

The department has instituted certain policies that relate to students in order to help our courses run smoothly and to help students succeed. Some of these policies are outlined here. For further information, please contact the department office or academic adviser. Additional information is given throughout the department website.

  1. Commitment to Teaching
    It is a true that many students find mathematics and statistics difficult. We are here to help you succeed. The Department of Mathematics and Statistics has an excellent teaching record, and we are constantly taking steps to improve our courses. Three members of our department have won the university's Teaching Excellence Award over the past several years, two were selected as the best college mathematics teacher in the state, and one was the state "Professor of the Year" (covering all subjects). Student end-of-term evaluations of our faculty (used in reappointment and salary decisions) are uniformly very good. We work with The Tutoring Center and other university offices to help insure student success in all our courses. Students should study hard and seek support from the instructor when the going gets tough. We are here to help.

    The departmental advisers and chairperson would be glad to discuss these issues at any time. 
  2. Departmental Final Examinations
    Certain courses with multiple sections each term and large enrollments have a common final exam. The purpose of this policy is to create more uniformity among sections and be fair to the students. These common finals are created through a joint effort of the instructors teaching the various sections of the course, and for quality control they are "test-piloted" by a faculty member who has previously taught the course. Midterm exams in multiple section courses are usually made up by the individual instructors, but close coordination among them guarantees that the exams are comparable from section to section. 
  3. Incompletes
    A grade of incomplete (I) causes much confusion among students and faculty. Regulations governing its use are given in the Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogs and should be followed. A form (available in the main office) containing the exact agreement between the student and the instructor as to how the course will be completed must be filled out and signed by both. Normally the incomplete must be made up within the first few weeks of the following semester. 
  4. Independent Study 
    1. Permission from a department faculty member is needed for a student to register in MTH 2996 (290), MTH 4996 (490), MTH 5920 (590), MTH 690, or analogous courses with other department rubrics. A form is available in the main office for this purpose. This form spells out the agreement between the student and a faculty member as to the content and methodology that the independent study will entail. 
    2. Independent study is not usually offered in courses that are taught on a regular basis. 
    3. MTH 2996 (290) is restricted to sophomores, MTH 4996 (490) (normally) to juniors and seniors and MTH 5920 (590) or 690 to graduate students. In all cases, a student who registers for independent study should have a GPA of at least 3.00.
    4. The P grade is authorized for use in the Independent Study Courses 2996 (290), 4996 (490), 5920 (590), 690. 
  5. Course Competency
    The department abides by the rules governing course credit by examination, so-called competency course credit, as spelled out in the Undergraduate Catalog. It is department policy that course competency credit is not available in MTH 011, 012, or 1441 (141), and that students who have failed a course or who have obtained a low grade may not repeat the course via competency examination. 
  6. Resolution of Academic Scheduling Conflicts
    Examinations are an important part of most mathematics courses, and students are expected not to miss examinations. University Senate regulations do not require instructors to excuse from exams students who are absent because they participate in athletic events or other University-sponsored activities. It is each student's responsibility to request, well in advance, any special treatment he or she desires. These guidelines are issued in order to ensure fairness to the students and instructors, and academic integrity for the courses.  
    1. Instructors will not make special exceptions unless the student has notified the instructor in writing, before the end of the first week of classes, of his or her desire for special treatment. Such requests must include full details. The final decision will be made by the instructor, in a timely fashion.
    2. If an instructor wishes to allow a student to make up an examination, the examination will normally be made up within one week after the regularly scheduled examination.
    3. Examinations may be proctored only by members of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. 
  7. Calculator Policy
    It is department policy that students are usually permitted to use calculators freely in all department courses. This includes their use in homework and on examinations. We especially encourage the use of graphing calculators. It is considered cheating on a test, however, for a student to use a calculator to store facts, data, or formulas that the instructor has indicated need to be memorized. The department may need to revisit or partially restrict this policy as hand-held computers become more prevalent. 
  8. End-of-term Student Evaluation Questionnaires
    All instructors are required to administer end-of-term student evaluation questionnaires. Sufficient quantities will be provided near the end of the term by the secretarial staff. Someone other than the instructor will administer the questionnaires. Completed questionnaires are returned to the secretaries, and the instructor does not have access to them until after final course grades have been turned in. At that time instructors are encouraged to read the forms; they remain the property of the department, however, and are used in salary and reappointment decisions. 
  9. Awards and Honors
    Majors in the department may receive departmental honors based on the criteria given in the Undergraduate Catalog. In addition, the department will normally present the Louis R. Bragg Graduating Senior Award each year to the most outstanding graduating mathematics or statistics major.

  10. Student Grievance Procedures

    The Department feels that descriptions of the respective responsibilities of faculty and students in the conduct of a class are in order. The statements given are general in nature. The lists are clearly not complete. Faculty members are also to be guided by statements on faculty conduct and professionalism contained in the Faculty Agreement.

    Student responsibilities:
    1. Be aware of course requirements and pay attention to them.
    2. Come to class prepared to learn and thus assume equal responsibility with the instructor for the success of a course.
    3. Devote substantial time and effort to learning the assigned material and ask for help when needed.
    4. Take examinations as scheduled.
    5. Abide by regulations concerning academic conduct.
    6. If absent from class without a good reason, don’t expect special lectures/tests, etc. to be given for makeup work.

    Faculty responsibilities:
    1. Come to class prepared to teach.
    2. Explain the general course requirements to the students — testing procedures, grading procedures, homework, etc.
    3. Discuss your availability for extra help — office hours, etc.
    4. Inform the students of possible sources of additional help if needed — Oakland University tutoring service, library resources, etc.

    In order to have a system of accountability that recognizes and protects the rights of students and instructors, the department has developed the following grievance procedures for student and instructor use.

    1. The initial stages of a student grievance against an instructor should be handled informally; the student should discuss his or her problem or complaint with the instructor in the course and attempt to resolve the problem.

    2. If this is not successful or does not work out satisfactorily, the student may take the complaint to the Chairperson of the Department or his/her designee, who will attempt to mediate the problem.

    3. Should this not be satisfactory, the Chairperson will discuss the matter with the Department’s Steering Committee to gain its advice and continue to try to resolve the problem in an informal way.

    4. If an informal resolution cannot be found, the Chairperson, with the advice of the Steering Committee, will act to find a formal resolution. In unusual circumstances, a Grievance Committee may be appointed by the Department Chairperson with the advice of the Steering Committee. Appointment of such a committee is not routine; its charge is limited to offering advice to the Chairperson. This committee will consist of one Department faculty member (other than the instructor involved), who will act as chair, one student (other than the student involved), and one faculty member outside the Department. It will meet individually and separately with the student and with the instructor to obtain both sides of the case. If advisable and possible, the committee may meet with both parties together. The committee will then advise the Chairperson on a solution to the problem Any recommendations or actions taken must be consistent with the course syllabus.

    5. In matters involving the appeal of final course grades, the deadlines and procedures outlined in the current Undergraduate Catalog will be followed. In particular, the burden of proof rests with the student to demonstrate that the grade decision was incompatible with the grading policy on the course syllabus, or that there is a clerical error in its calculation, or that the decision was made arbitrarily, capriciously, or with prejudice. No changes to a final course grade will be approved on the basis of course improvement or reexamination. The grade appeal procedure is not to be used to review the judgement of an instructor in assessing the quality of the student's work.