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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- Independent Study
- Permission from a department faculty member is needed for a student to register in MTH 290, MTH 490, MTH 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.
- Independent study is not usually offered in courses that are taught on a regular basis.
- MTH 290 is restricted to sophomores, MTH 490 (normally) to juniors and seniors and MTH 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.
- The P grade is authorized for use in the Independent Study Courses 290, 490, 590, 690.
- 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 141, and that students who have failed a course or who have obtained a low grade may not repeat the course via competency examination.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Examinations may be proctored only by members of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.