Nuria Hall's Archive

Student Complaint Policy

0 Commentsby   |  11.16.10  |  Advising Information

If your brother does something wrong to you, go to him. Talk alone to him and tell him what he has done.  If he listens to you, you have kept your brother as a friend.  But if he does not listen to you, take one or two others with you to talk to him.  Then two or three people will hear every word and can prove what was said.

Matthew 18:15-16

From time to time, students may choose to bring complaints to the attention of English faculty or the department chair.  Complaints about department policy, facilities, curricula or other issues not specific to an individual faculty member or course should be in written form and should be signed by the student(s) who are filing the complaint.  Such complaints will be taken to the faculty by the chair for discussion, and students will receive a written response.

The chair will document the nature and date of conversations regarding student complaints in a confidential Student Complaints file.

In regard to student complaints about a specific faculty or staff member, or in regard to a specific course, the English Department abides by the biblical principle of taking the issue to the offending party before involving others.

Students who have a complaint about a professor are encouraged to discuss the issue with the professor before involving any other parties.  If the student feels uncomfortable discussing the issue with the professor alone, the student should contact the department chair.  The chair will arrange for a meeting of the student, teacher and chair.

If an issue cannot be resolved in conversation between the student and faculty member within a reasonable amount of time, or if the student is unwilling to meet with the faculty member and chair together, the student should write a formal letter of complaint to the department chair detailing the issue. The letter of complaint will be filed in the Student Complaints file.  Once the issue is resolved, or if resolution is not possible, the chair will place copies of the letter and a memo for the file detailing its resolution or attempted resolution in the files of the student and faculty member involved. The faculty member also may submit a written response and/or letter for the file, to be placed in the Student Complaints file and the files of the student and faculty member involved.

Sometimes, a student may request that his or her identity be kept confidential.  In such a case, the chair must decide whether or not to raise the issue with the faculty member in the interim.   Generally, the chair would not raise the issue with the faculty member until after the semester had ended. Exceptions would include accusations of harassment or other behaviors that clearly violate university policy.  In such case, the chair will notify the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and together the chair and dean will determine when and how to engage the teacher in a conversation about the complaint.

If the subject of complaint should escalate to a point of discipline for a faculty member, then the chair is no longer bound by an initial commitment of confidentiality.

If a student is unsatisfied with the action taken by the chair, the student may file written appeals with the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and subsequently with the provost and the president of the university.

Throughout this process, the goal of this policy is to

  • Seriously consider and appropriately respond to valid complaints;
  • Protect the teacher’s academic freedom;
  • Protect the teacher from unfounded/unsubstantiated accusations;
  • Protect the student’s grade from being affected by the complaint.

Academic Integrity Policy: Policies for Students

0 Commentsby   |  11.16.10  |  Advising Information

Students should use the following guidelines to understand more fully what constitutes academic dishonesty and how ACU will respond to various types of inappropriate academic behavior.  While academic dishonesty may take different forms in different fields of study, the situations described below are representative.

Minor Errors Committed Through Ignorance or Carelessness

The Student’s Action

Some instances of inappropriate academic behavior result either from (1) a student’s incomplete grasp of ethical procedures or (2) a student’s failure to follow proper ethical procedures.  Such actions may be represented by the following:

  • A student quoted a source directly and acknowledged the source both in the text and on the Works Cited page, but failed to place quotation marks around several direct quotations;
  • A student borrowed from sources listed on the Works Cited page, but failed to supply parenthetical or other documentation for several sentences;In most cases a student handled parenthetical or other documentation correctly and listed most sources on the Works Cited page, but failed to document and cite a source from which a few ideas/sentences were taken;
  • A student engaging in legitimate collaborative learning with another student or a tutor nevertheless relied too heavily and too often upon the exact phrasing employed by the other person.

Responses by the Teacher

In such cases the teacher may judge that the academic misbehavior is the result either of ignorance or carelessness, and may thus treat the error like any other mistake.  The teacher is therefore obliged to lower the grade on the assignment in proportion to the incidence of the error.  The student should be aware that his/her ignorance or carelessness regarding proper ethical procedure in writing may be so pervasive as to warrant an F or lower on the assignment.   As with any other mistake, the fact that it was committed out of ignorance or carelessness does not remove the penalty.

Major Misattribution or Misrepresentation

The Student’s Action

In some cases clear and compelling evidence exists that a student has extensively plagiarized or committed extended acts of academic dishonesty.  Such deceptions are so self-evident that they cannot be attributed simply to carelessness, ignorance, or misunderstanding.  The following scenarios are examples of such academic misconduct:

  • In his/her paper a student borrowed extended sections (whole sentences and phrases) or an entire essay from a published or unpublished source without acknowledging any source in the text, in a note, or on the Works Cited page;
  • A student borrowed, purchased, stole, or otherwise obtained a paper from another individual or company and presented it as his/her own;
  • A student stole a copy of a test or assignment, with the purpose either of securing unfair advantage or of sharing the test/assignment with others so they might secure unfair advantage;
  • A student gave or sold a paper to another student in full knowledge that the second student intended to submit the paper as his/her own work;
  • A student, without the teacher’s permission, used information from notes, textbooks, or fellow students during an examination or an in-class assignment.

Responses by the Teacher and Appropriate Administrators

In such cases, after conferring with two other teachers to determine that the evidence is clear and compelling, the teacher will give the student a zero on the assignment.  A zero on a major assignment may be sufficient to cause the student to fail the course.

This incident will be reported to appropriate university officials.  If there are other incidents of dishonesty, including incidents other than academic dishonesty, the student may face additional penalties.

Last English Department Chapel for the Semester

0 Commentsby   |  11.15.10  |  Announcements, Department Chapel

International Careers with the Department of State

0 Commentsby   |  11.12.10  |  Announcements, Career Planning & Information

Susan Jeffers and The Twilight Mystique

0 Commentsby   |  11.12.10  |  Alumni Spotlight, Announcements

2010 has been quite a busy year for me. My husband and I moved to New Jersey in May. We miss all of our friends in Abilene and it has taken us a while to get settled, but we are adjusting. We finally unpacked the last box just this weekend. We also had our first little one in October. Jacob Nathaniel is the cutest baby in the world.  He brings us a lot of joy—even at 3 in the morning (though I admit there’s less joy than there is yawning at that hour). It probably shouldn’t surprise me to discover that he is, in fact, a real person with preferences and a personality, but it does. We feel very blessed to have him in our family.

Also this year, an essay of mine was published in a collection about Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. The editors, Amy M. Clarke and Marijane Osborn, noticed that undergraduates wanted to think and to write papers about these books, but that there weren’t enough critical resources to help these students produce good scholarship. The Twilight Mystique attempts to begin filling this gap. There is a broad range of articles in this collection, considering topics from Meyer’s use of Quileute legends to the economic transformation of the real Forks. Other essays look at Twilight in the contexts of the gothic, abstinence, feminism, and religion. My article, titled “Bella and the Choice Made in Eden,” considers how Latter-day Saint theology intersects with the Twilight series. LDS doctrine on the Fall situates Eve as a hero and an active participant in her own salvation. I argue that Bella can be read similarly. Bella is only a victim when she’s denied status as an agent. I also briefly discuss how the happy ending of the series mirrors aspects of LDS ideas about the afterlife, specifically the idea of eternal families. If you’re interested in buying The Twilight Mystique, you can find it on It is also available as an e-book for Kindle.

Getting this essay ready for publication was a challenging process, but a rewarding one.  I love seeing my name in print as an author! Thanks to Mikee Deloney and everyone else there in the English Department for supporting my efforts. You’re invaluable friends.

God Bless.

George E. Ewing Folklore Lecture Series

0 Commentsby   |  11.10.10  |  Announcements

NOVEMBER 11, 2010

Folklore Workshop

3:00 – 4:20 p.m.

Brown Library Room 235

The Way West

The Shore Srt Gallery

7:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Reception to follow

Dr. Bridges, recipient of TWUs highest teaching honor, the Cornaro Professorship, is in her 40th year of teaching at TWU. A well-known folklorist, Dr. Bridges lecture will include discussions of diaries, the Oregon Trail, the orphan trains, and mail order brides.

In addition to her Folklore interests, Dr. Bridges also teaches courses in Shakespeare, Milton, and American Literature.  Active in the Southwest Popular Culture Association, Dr. Bridges annually chairs the Biography section and actively supports graduate work in the field with the Phyllis Bridges Award for Biography, an annual prize for the outstanding graduate essay in the field of biography studies.

Dr. Bridges has published essays in many collections including Both Sides of the Border A Scattering of Texas Folklore, A Texas Folklore Odyssey, and Between the Cracks of History: Essays on Teaching and Illustrating Folklore.

Dr. Bridges has served as president of the as served as president of the Texas Joint Council of Teachers of English, the Southwest American Cultural association and the Texas Folklore Society.  She has also been named a Distinguished Member of TWU’s chapter of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and a Distinguished Alumna In English of Texas Tech University.

Varner comes out, guns blazing, with new book!

0 Commentsby   |  11.10.10  |  Faculty Publications, Faculty Spotlight

To see evidence that Abilene Christian University faculty members are hard at work, you need look no further than the list of books recently released by ACU authors. Among them is a title by  Dr. Paul Varner, scholar in residence and visiting professor of English. Varner’s latest book, Historical Dictionary of Westerns in Literature, was released on Oct. 15. Since coming to ACU in 2007, Varner has written three books on the literature of the American West. The books provide the latest information on scholarship, scholarly approaches, critical terminology, and essential information for scholars pursuing serious literary and cultural study of Western literature and critical analysis for the essential authors and novels of the West.

“I have always wanted to work with the literature of the American West because of its impact on who we are in Texas and Abilene,” says Varner. “Western literature has both shaped our culture and reflected what our immediate culture has been.” For more information on Historical Dictionary of Westerns in Literature, visit the Scarecrow Press website.

Heather Brown

0 Commentsby   |  10.29.10  |  Alumni Spotlight

Extreme Right - Heather Brown

As both an undergraduate and graduate student at ACU in the English department, I spent some of my most formative years walking the (two) halls of Chambers.  My history with ACU goes even farther back as many of my family members attended and I spent large chunks of my childhood summers there attending the leadership camps.  I love ACU because she gave me the tools I need to excel in the odd job I have found myself in.

After graduating with my Ma of English lit in 2009, I worked for a year as an adjunct teaching English in a community college.  During the summer, after a fruitless job search, I was gearing up for another year of starvation, and I got a call from a woman who had been a church mentor to me when I was in high school.  She asked if I was still looking for a job, and I indicated that I absolutely was.  She said, “Well, I’ve got one for you.  Call this number.”  The number turned out to be Bill Harris, the chair of the English Department at The University of Texas at Brownsville.

It turned out that their freshman enrollment had exploded, and they needed a full-time  teacher to commit to taking a job if offered so that they could push through creating the position.  I told Bill that I would take it, and he said he’d call me back.  The next 45 minutes were the longest of my life.  Amazingly enough, he called back and said the position was approved.  I had a week and a half to move my life down to the border before beginning of the semester meetings started.

My students here are poor, many of them with only the most elementary understanding of English.  They are attending a university with open admission because, for many, it is the only one that will take them.  They are incredibly special.  My time at ACU, where I thought that if I heard the word diversity one more time, I would scream, prepared me in a special way to show love to these kids.  If there is anything I learned about God while I was at ACU, it was that, to paraphrase Judith Ortiz Coffer’s lovely poem, if God is not omnipotent, at least He is bilingual.

How to Register for classes

0 Commentsby   |  10.28.10  |  Advising Information, Announcements

Check for holds—Do this BEFORE the day you register

  1. Log in to myACU.Click on Banner—top left of screen.
  2. Click on Student & Financial Aid.
  3. Click on Registration.
  4. Click on Registration Status.
  • Make sure there are no holds on your account, if you have one it will prevent you from being able to register on Wednesday.
  • If there is a hold, call or stop by the Depot at 674-2300.

Look up available classes—Do this BEFORE the day you register

  1. Log in to myACU.Click on Banner—top left of screen.
  2. Click on Student & Financial Aid.
  3. Click on Registration.
  4. Click on Look-up Classes—choose Spring 2011 and hit submit.
  5. Scroll through the departments and choose the one you need (ex. Math, English) and hit class search. (Note that Bible classes are found at BIMM-Bible Test (BIBL), etc.)
  6. Look for the class you need and write down the CRN number; this will be the number following the class name, such as: Fundamentals of Communication—14607—Coms 111-01.
  7. Write down the CRN (14607) for each class.  You will need this when you register.
  8. Make sure to map out your class days and times so that they do not overlap.  The class days and times will be listed below each class section.
  9. Write down several CRN numbers for each class (if you can), so that you will have multiple options in case one of the classes you want to register for is full.
  10. To determine how many seats are available in the class, click on the title of the class, which is linked and highlighted in blue.

Registering for Classes

  1. Log in to myACU.Click on Banner—top left of screen.
  2. Click on Student & Financial Aid.
  3. Click on Registration.
  4. Click on Select Term—choose appropriate term (Spring 2011)—hit submit.
  5. Click on Add or Drop Classes—if you receive an error message stating you cannot register at this time, make sure it is your day and time to register (see Advising Agreement form we completed).
  6. Enter your advising release code.
  7. Put in the five-digit CRN’s for the classes you plan to take, click submit.
  • If the classes show up under where you have registered, you are done.
  • If you have an error message, that section may already be full or you should check the Common Registration Errors.  If you still have trouble, contact your advisor or try a different section or class.

Common Registration Errors

  • Degree and/or Major Restrictions – Banner Web may tell you that a course is open only for students of a specific major or program. If you receive this message, either choose another class or contact your advisor.
  • Prerequisite Restrictions – Banner Web may say that you lack the necessary prerequisites to enroll in a particular course. You may either choose another class or see your advisor if you believe you have received this message in error. Common prerequisite restrictions follow in the list below:
    • A specific course – the course in question requires another course to be taken first.
    • A test score – the course in question requires an admissions test score or sub-score (such as ACT or SAT) of a certain level.
    • Number of hours – the course in question requires that the student have a certain number of earned hours before the course is taken
  • Co-requisite Restrictions – Banner Web may inform you that the course for which you are trying to enroll must be taken at the same time as another course. You may either sign up for the co-requisite course or drop the course with the co-requisite requirement. You must enter a CRN for both courses before clicking the “Submit” button.

Tea with Christy Tidwell

0 Commentsby   |  10.22.10  |  Announcements, Career Planning & Information