The Challenges of Continuing Education: Michigan State University

Having the courage to go back to school is something you should be incredibly proud of, especially if you have a family or children and other professional responsibilities. You must figure out how to juggle everything, never letting a single ball drop, and also working on expanding your professional career.

The Michigan State University continuing education department is dedicated to advancing the common good by providing students with access to life-changing opportunities. As such, they expect their students to conduct themselves professionally and refrain from academic or disciplinary misconduct. Unfortunately, many students succumb to the stress and overwhelm of juggling all their obligations and behaving in ways they normally would not.

If you have been issued a disciplinary action, you need a strong defense. Attorney Joseph D. Lento can help you navigate these proceedings, guaranteeing you the best possible outcome for your case. Call today.

Academics at Michigan State University

MSU offers hundreds of professional development certificates, undergraduate degrees, and graduate degrees every year in some of the following areas:

  • Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Master of Science in Marketing Research
  • Master of Science in Pharmacology and Toxicology
  • Master of Public Health in Public Health
  • Master of Arts in Special Education
  • Graduate Certificate in Accounting Analytics
  • Graduate Certificate in Urban Resilient Redevelopment
  • Global Supply Chain Management Certificate
  • United States Food Law Certificate Program
  • Bachelor of Arts in Early Care and Education

Additionally, students who wish to take classes at MSU with non-MSU undergraduate degrees (save for high school students) are given the “Lifelong Education” notation on their transcripts. This gives them access to classes without enrolling them in a major or degree program.

Degree and Certificate Programs

MSU asks that students meet certain standards to enroll in, and complete their certificate programs, and undergraduate or graduate degrees. For instance, to enroll in the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice program, you must have a 3.0 minimum GPA, and no GRE (General Record Examination) is required. But for the Master of Science in Child Development program, students who have under a 3.0, but not lower than a 2.5 GPA, must take the GRE to apply.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

All colleges compel their students to progress through their courses and programs in a particular order, within a specific timeframe. This guarantees that no one is spending fifteen years trying to obtain a degree and then graduating with imperfect knowledge of their field because of the amount of time spent out of school between classes. The maximum timeframe at MSU is different depending on the program, and unfortunately, it is not listed on their website, so be sure to check with your department for accurate information. Usually, graduate degrees are up to five years, and undergraduate degrees are up to eight years.

Certificate programs work differently than undergraduate or graduate programs because with certificate programs, you are usually paying for it all at once. Thus, you are supposed to finish the courses sequentially for a shorter period.

MSU also requires students to maintain minimum GPAs. Graduate students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0, and undergraduates must maintain a minimum of 2.0 If the university discovers that a student's GPA has fallen below this minimum, they will typically put them on warning. If the student's GPA is still below the minimum at the end of the next semester, the student could lose their financial aid and have a hold placed on their account, preventing them from registering for classes.

In some really rare cases, students can also be dismissed for having a very low GPA and not successfully raising it. If defending yourself from a dismissal because of a low GPA is overwhelming, an attorney-advisor can help ease that burden. They will walk you through all the steps so you can show up to your hearing fully prepared.

Attendance Policies

MSU students are ordinarily expected to attend every scheduled class meeting, unless their instructor has noted specific exceptions in the course syllabus. These exceptions tend to include deaths, medical emergencies, and illness. If you are missing classes for another reason and find that you are being brought up on disciplinary charges for the absences, an attorney-advisor will be able to reach out to the university on your behalf and discuss the issue, with the intention to avoid a hearing on the matter.

Academic Misconduct

All universities vilify academic misconduct. They expect their students to act responsibly and honestly in every aspect of their life, but especially while attending classes at MSU. Types of academic misconduct at MSU include:

  • Plagiarism: using another person's work, or ideas as if they were your own. Or failing to properly cite the true owner of the work or ideas on a paper or exam.
  • Falsification or Fabrication: creating or altering information on source materials, reporting false information about practical or laboratory experiences, and submitting false excuses for absences.
  • Tampering: interfering with university records, grades, or assignments.
  • Cheating: using or attempting to use unauthorized materials on an exam, paper, laboratory report, or other academic assignments.
  • Sharing Work: giving or attempting to give another student your work or materials to use on their own assignment.

To prevent academic misconduct, MSU suggests following the steps below:

  • Protecting computer login and passwords.
  • Shielding your work during and exam so other students cannot copy the information.
  • Not sharing assignments with other students.
  • Do not look around during an exam.
  • Acknowledge the contributions of all your sources.
  • Do not collaborate with other students on take-home tests.
  • Do not share assignments from classes you have already finished.

But remember, no matter how hard to you try to protect yourself, mistakes happen. An attorney-advisor will make sure you are not being punished unnecessarily because of another student's illicit behavior.

Academics: What Could Go Wrong?

When you get accused of academic misconduct, it can have long lasting consequences, both professionally and personally. Employers tend to pay for their employees to take continuing education classes. If you are accused of academic misconduct, it might get back to your employer, and they may decide to stop paying for your classes. Additionally, some businesses even require that students maintain a certain GPA to receive repayment for the classes. If they find out you are accused of misconduct, they may refuse to pay for the course.

If a faculty member believes you have committed academic misconduct, they will complete an Academic Dishonesty Report (ADR) form. The ADR is delivered to the Associate Dean and the Dean of Students. If this is your first offense, the university will place a hold on your record. You will be required to complete an academic integrity course before you can register for the next set of classes. If it is your second or higher, you might be punished additionally.

ADRs can be appealed by speaking to the faculty member who filed it. If the faculty member will not amend the ADR, you should contact the chair for the academic unit the course is taught in. If you are unsuccessful with the chair, you can request a formal hearing to present a defense against the allegations.

Once the hearing has ended, the University Academic Integrity Hearing Board will review the evidence and witnesses you presented and determine if you are responsible for academic misconduct.

Disciplinary Misconduct

MSU understands how important it is to provide their students a safe and comfortable campus culture. Because of this, instances of disciplinary misconduct are addressed quickly. Examples of disciplinary misconduct include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Threatening to endanger others
  • Sexual Misconduct
  • Title IX violations
  • Distributing drugs
  • Trespassing at university residences
  • Misusing security property
  • Stealing university property
  • Tampering with fire equipment
  • Setting a fire
  • Falsely reporting a fire
  • Interfering with the free access to dormitories
  • Interfering with the sleep of others
  • Impersonating a university official
  • Altering or forcing a university document
  • Misusing a university ID

Student Conduct Procedures

If a student is accused of committing disciplinary misconduct, they are required to meet with an administrator in the Office of Student Support & Accountability. There they will be informed of their rights and given options for how to resolve the allegations. If the student accepts responsibility for all the violations, they will select either a sanction from the administrator or a board sanction.

Most students deny responsibility for the accused actions. When this happens, they will have to have a formal hearing with an administrator or the board. Whatever process you choose will present you with the opportunity to defend yourself by producing witnesses and evidence to testify on your behalf.

Once the advisor or the board has heard your full defense, they will meet privately to determine whether you are responsible for the alleged action. If they find that you are responsible, you will be subject to sanctions, ranging from a warning letter to a suspension or dismissal.

It is essential that you present a strong defense at your hearing. Unfortunately, many students believe they can show up to their hearings and “wing” their defense. Inevitably, this approach is rarely successful. Additionally, the efficacy of your defense will impact the level of sanctions you may receive if you are found responsible. An attorney-advisor will ensure you are fully prepared to present a solid defense for your case on the day of your hearing.

Further, once you have received notice of the advisor or the board's decision, you will receive instructions on how to appeal their decision. Appeals must be made to a particular department, which will be noted in the instructions. And they are typically only allowed to be made on one of the following grounds:

  • There is new information present now that was not available before that will impact the outcome of the matter.
  • The university did not follow its own outlined procedures.
  • The sanction appointed is more severe than the disciplinary conduct being punished.

Appeals will be reviewed by an unbiased party who will determine if the matter should be amended, revoked, or upheld. Whatever their decision, it is usually final and cannot be appealed further. This is why it is important to work with an attorney-advisor from the moment you learn of the accusations made against you.

An attorney-advisor understands how hard you have worked to get where you are and will work diligently to ensure you get the best possible outcome for your case. If you need to appeal, they will help ensure your appeal is not only filed on time and to the correct department but that you are presenting the best appeal you can.

How an Attorney-Advisor Can Help

Being accused of violating Michigan State University's code of conduct can be extremely overwhelming and might mean having to leave your program early. Sanctions like suspension and dismissal can wreak havoc on your personal and professional lives. For instance, those sanctions are noted on your transcripts if you are suspended or dismissed from your continuing education program. So, if you try to apply to a new school, or a graduate program in the future, you will have to explain on your application the issue surrounding their presence – which could make it difficult to gain admission.

Attorney Joseph D. Lento and Lento Law Firm are not only highly experienced, knowledgeable attorneys, they have also spent considerable parts of their career helping students navigate these types of proceedings. They understand how hard you have worked to get where you are and will do their best to ensure your future is preserved and your reputation remains untarnished. Call 888-535-3686 today or schedule a consultation online.