World Christian University

The right to academic freedom is the right of every faculty member. Academic freedom is defined as the freedom of thought and expression as it applies to teaching, publication, oral presentation, and extramural activities. It includes the right of faculty members to choose and use materials that they deem appropriate to program or course goals in their classes without interference.

Institutions of higher education exist for the common good. The welfare and strength of World Christian University and of society at large depend on the uninhibited search for truth and its free expression. Academic freedom is based upon the premise that scholars are entitled to immunity from coercion in matters of thought and expression, and on the belief that the mission of World Christian University can be performed only in an atmosphere free from administrative or political constraints and tolerant of thought and expression. Academic freedom is fundamental for the protection of the rights of both the faculty in teaching and the student in learning. Academic freedom is also essential to protect the rights of the faculty to freely discuss and debate all ideas, however controversial or unpopular, within World Christian University or before the broader community. The exercise of academic freedom cannot serve as cause for discipline, dismissal, or non-reappointment. Academic freedom does not include communication or material presented in class that constitutes discrimination, sexual harassment, illegal behavior, or encourages students or others to engage in criminal or unethical behavior.

In the event a faculty member’s choice of course materials are challenged, the burden will be on the challenger to establish by material evidence that the challenged material is academically inappropriate for the course. The Provost’s Office will be the academic administrator charged with oversight of this process. Determination as to the appropriateness of the course material in question will be made within 60 calendar days of the date that the Provost’s Office receives written challenge to the academic appropriateness of the material in question.


Notwithstanding the broad right of faculty members to select and use academically appropriate materials for their courses, faculty members should be sensitive to the possibility that some students in a course may find certain materials to be personally offensive. Faculty members can elect to alert students at the beginning of their courses to any potentially controversial course materials.


An Incomplete (I) grade is assigned when a student is unable to complete the requirements of a course due to extenuating circumstances beyond the student’s control, such as illness, hospitalization, death or care of family member. A student may request an Incomplete grade if at a minimum 60% of a course is completed and in good standing.

The student must initiate the request for an Incomplete to the faculty prior to the last day of the course. Faculty may require student to provide documentation of the extenuating circumstance. If the faculty approves the request for the Incomplete, a student may be given a maximum of four (4) weeks from the end of the course to meet the criteria outlined by the faculty for an Incomplete. It is the discretion of the faculty to give a shorter deadline.


Faculty will send the approval to the Office of the Registrar for processing. It is the responsibility of the student to follow up with the faculty to remove an Incomplete. Failure to resolve the Incomplete by the deadline given will result in the grade defaulting to an “F” or “NC” based on the grading criteria of the course.

A grade of Incomplete is not considered a grade and may not satisfy the prerequisite requirement of any subsequent courses.


World Christian University offers credit bearing programs and courses in semester credit hour system. A semester is composed of two sessions of 8 weeks (a total of 16 weeks). At USU, one credit hour is defined as 15 hours of direct faculty instruction and a minimum 30 hours of out-of-class student work for the 8 weeks session.


USU’s definition of a credit hour is consistent with the federal regulation (CFRs 600.2 and 600.4), which defines the credit hour as “the amount of work represented intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than:


  1. One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or
  2. At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution, including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.”


One hour of direct faculty instruction is equal to 50 minutes of classroom time. In courses in which direct instruction does not apply, a credit hour may be measured by an equivalent amount of work, as demonstrated by student achievement.


For nursing laboratory and clinical courses, one credit is awarded for 48 hours of supervised laboratory or clinical instruction.


The Complaint, Appeal and Grievance Policies and Procedures are designed to support and foster a fair, objective, respectful and ethical set of policies and procedures for resolution of disputes.  The policies and procedures provide students with a process that protects the University community, including students, faculty and staff.


Complaints regarding sex-based discrimination must contact the Title IX Coordinator found under the Statement of Non-Discrimination.


Complaint The subject of a complaint is normally an action, decision or omission within the control or responsibility of the University’s faculty or staff that causes a student to feel that policies have been incorrectly interpreted.  A complaint is often resolved informally or through mediation.

GrievanceA grievance is normally an allegation based on specific facts that there has been a misinterpretation, discriminatory application, or violation of a University Policy or Procedure, and may result in disciplinary action against a faculty member, staff member, or student.  It may also be a complaint that failed to reach resolution after informal processes have been attempted.  Admissions decisions, graduation appeals and similar academic decisions are not grievable issues, unless they are complaints of a civil rights nature, including complaints related to age, sex, race, religion, creed, color, ethnic/national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, pregnancy, genetic background, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, or other personal characteristic protected by applicable local, state or federal law.


Appeals:  World Christian University recognizes two types of appeals.


  1. USU recognizes the right of every student to challenge and/or appeal a final grade. See Grade Appeal procedure below.
  2. Students who have been academically dismissed for failure to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress standards (SAP) may file an appeal if they believe University policy or procedures were not followed or if there were extenuating circumstances that impacted their academic performance. Extenuating circumstances may include but are not limited to the death of a relative, an injury or illness of the student, or emergency care for an immediate family member.  See SAP appeal procedure below.


The name of a complainant/grievant and all details with respect to the complaint and its resolution will be maintained in a confidential file in the Office of the Registrar.  All such information will be kept confidential, provided however that such information may be disclosed when administratively required, required to complete the investigation, and/or required by legal compulsion, or when the University believes it is obligated to report the matter to employers or potential employers, educational institution or agencies seeking information as to the complainant or to otherwise take independent formal action.  In cases of academic dishonesty (see page xx discussing violations of the student code of conduct), the Dean or Program Director/Lead may consult with the instructor in finalizing the academic actions that may be taken.  The University may post or describe specific conduct complaints and their resolutions, as long as individuals’ names are redacted from any such posting or communication.


Complaint procedure:  Students with complaints should first strive to resolve the issue informally.  For example, students with complaints relating to classroom issues should follow these steps:


  1. Discuss the issue with their instructor. Both the student and the faculty member to resolve the issue at this level.
  2. If resolution does not occur at the instructor level, unresolved complaints should be submitted in writing to the Dean or Program Director/Lead for the program of enrollment.
  3. If the complaint is not resolved at the Director/Dean level, the unresolved complaint becomes a grievance and the Grievance Procedure (see below) will be followed.


Likewise, students with complaints regarding the unequal application of a University policy should strive to resolve the issue informally as described above, first bringing the matter to the attention of their Enrollment Advisor in the case of Admissions policies, and their New Student or Academic Advisor once enrolled.  Unresolved complaints should then be submitted to the advising director, and if unresolved at that level, the complaint becomes a grievance and the steps below will be followed.


Grievance Procedure:  The intent of the grievance procedure is to resolve a dispute over significant issues, not minor disagreements.  Examples include but are not limited to alleged violations of academic freedom; a repeated pattern of harassment or other inappropriate behavior; and legally prohibited unequal treatment including but not limited to discrimination or harassment on the basis of age, sex, race, religion, creed, color, ethnic/national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, pregnancy, genetic background, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, or other personal characteristic protected by applicable local, state or federal law.


  1. A student must submit the grievance in writing in detail to the Office of the Provost and include all pertinent information. Such information must include the informal steps taken to resolve the issue, with all steps fully documented as to person(s) with whom the student met, date, results of the meeting(s) and materials presented during the informal resolution stage. The student must be specific as to the issue being grieved, citing the example(s) of treatment leading to the grievance.
  2. The Office of the Provost will review the grievance within five (5) working days, requesting additional information from the grievant if necessary. The Provost will appoint a Grievance Committee that shall include at a minimum two faculty members not from the student’s program of enrollment and one administrator not to include the Program Director/Dean of the student’s program of enrollment, the Provost, or the President.
  3. The Grievance Committee will have 10 working days from receipt of the grievance from the Provost to review the grievance, obtain further information from members of the University who may have knowledge of the situation and the grievant, and make a determination as to grievance resolution, providing its recommendation to the Provost.
  4. The Provost will have three (3) working days to provide the University’s response to the grievant.