Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution

Both faculty and students in the English Department at MU will be held to the highest standards of professional conduct. Please see the responsible conduct of research page for information on the importance of integrity in research. In addition to academic integrity, students will be expected to adhere to ordinary professional guidelines for conduct within the classroom and the graduate program more generally. Working structures for strong intellectual disagreement can best be established within a framework of mutual respect, in which all individuals respect the persons and the right to speak of all other members of the department. Violations against property and allegations of physical assault will be referred immediately to the campus and Columbia police.

In the classroom, students are expected to follow guidelines laid out by the faculty member leading the class in terms of conduct within the classroom. They are expected to complete all reading and writing assignments on time and come to class prepared to discuss material knowledgeably. Faculty have the right to ask disruptive or unprepared students to leave the classroom, either for a single class period or, in extraordinary cases, for the duration of the course. Faculty are under no obligation to accept late or obviously inadequate work as fulfillment for the workload of a graduate class. By the same token, the course syllabus functions as a contract for the course, and faculty should not substantially alter the main requirements for a class after the deadline for dropping and adding classes.

Students have the right to switch advisers and members of their program committees at any point during the program. Forms are available for that purpose in the Graduate Studies Office. These forms need to be signed by the new adviser or committee member and approved by the DGS, who will work with students to minimize any fallout resulting from this often-difficult transition. Students should endure no opprobrium from wishing to switch advisers or committee members.

In some cases, conflict becomes unavoidable, even when neither student nor faculty member is clearly "in the wrong." Students and faculty involved in a dispute may request mediation first by the DGS and subsequently, if no resolution can be agreed upon, to the Chair of the English Department. If a student is held to have materially violated standards for conduct, she or he may be placed on probation or, in some cases, be dismissed from the program. If a faculty member is held to be unjustly interfering with progress toward degree, the DGS and Chair will attempt to work out arrangements for the student to complete her or his degree safely and in good time. In case of punitive action by the department, the appeals process leads from the department to the Dean of the Graduate School, who will discuss arrangements for the student to make a final appeal to the Graduate Faculty Senate.