Members of the Honors Academic Board are authorized by the Faculty Code to help Honors students individualize their programs of study and may, in some cases, grant exceptions to College academic policies and degree requirements. (Note: Joint Honors/Residential College students must submit all petitions to the Residential College Board on Academic Standing rather than the Honors Academic Board.) A student may discuss such matters with a board member and, if necessary, petition in writing for a waiver or modification of College rules. Exceptions to College policies may be granted if a student presents evidence of unusual circumstances or proposes an alternative program of study that is consistent with the spirit of the standard College requirements.
Some College rules are more flexible than others. For example, Honors will often allow a late drop or add if the student can provide sound reasons for this course of action. Honors will often allow an extension of an "Incomplete" when the instructor of the course agrees. But Honors will not allow a change from "graded" to "pass/fail" or vice versa after the first three weeks of a full term (first two weeks of a half term). The College faculty has specifically directed that such changes not be permitted and the Honors Academic Board supports this policy. Nor will members ever waive the language requirement, which must be met by all students graduating with Honors.
The Board invites well-formulated petitions from students who have legitimate reasons to request exemptions or to ask approval of programs that meet requirements in unusual ways. Although the Honors Academic Board will not waive distribution or concentration requirements, they can sometimes suggest and approve imaginative ways to meet requirements that serve to enhance a student's program of study.
A petition should state the specific request and set forth all the reasons why the request is necessary, justified, or helpful to the student's academic program. Often the petition should include a confirming statement, and perhaps a recommendation, on departmental stationery from a course instructor. Requests for retroactive drops and adds require instructor statements. Other kinds of documentation can be helpful too, for example verifying work hours or health problems if employment or illness are the basis of the request. In almost all requests relevant chronology is important and students should try to provide dates as specifically as possible.
The student should keep these points in mind when writing the petition:
- state the nature of the request;
- explain why the change is wanted, what happened and when;
- explain the role of relevant parties (for example, a misunderstanding between the instructor and the student; incomplete or wrong information given by a University office).
Click here for an HAB petition, which you can print and turn in to the Honors office (1330 Mason Hall).
The Board meets every week, almost always on Monday mornings barring holidays or unforeseen circumstances, during the Fall and Winter semesters, and on most Mondays during the Spring and Summer semesters as well. The Board will meet on a petition on the next Monday following the day of its submission. Students are required to submit their petition(s), as well as all supporting materials, by 4:30 PM on the Thursday prior to the Monday on which the student wishes the Board to consider his or her request. This deadline is necessary in order to allow the Board's Secretary sufficient time to prepare the petition for consideration. Petitions received after 4:30 PM on Thursdays will be added to the docket for the following week's HAB meeting.
Students who submit petitions to the Honors Academic Board can expect to hear a response shortly after the HAB meeting in which the petition was reviewed; a member of the HAB will email the student directly with the Board’s decision or to request any further information or documentation needed for a decision. The assistant to the Honors Academic Board, Jacquelyn Turkovich, can answer process and deadline questions; email her at email@example.com or call (734) 647-7396.