Departmental Policies

Advising Rights and Responsibilities

This Bill of Rights and Responsibilities governs advising during the Academic Year (Fall, Winter, and Spring Quarters). During Summer quarters, students are encouraged to communicate directly with the Biology Advising Office.


-As a Biology student, you should expect the following:

  • A caring and prepared academic faculty advisor who is familiar with the academic requirements of Biology degrees.
  • An annual welcoming message from your academic faculty advisor as well as other messages with information of special interest as determined by your advisor.
  • A response from your academic faculty advisor within a week of initial contact, unless advisor has communicated their unavailability and what steps you can take for advising in their absence.
  • Meeting with your academic faculty advisor upon a mutually agreeable time.
  • The opportunity to discuss a wide range of topics with your academic faculty advisor to the best of the advisor’s ability. These topics can include, but are not limited to, the biology degree, your experiences with college, and your post-college plans. Although advisors may not have all the answers in some cases, they should be able to refer you to others who may be able to help.
  • The ability to change your academic faculty advisor by making a request to the Biology Advising Office (


As a Biology student, you are responsible for:

  • Contacting your academic faculty advisor for advising.
  • Responding to your academic faculty advisor within a week.
  • Advance communication with your academic faculty advisor to schedule a meeting and/or in the event that you need to cancel a scheduled meeting.
  • Being familiar with the academic requirements of your degree and tools for planning. This information is available via Viking Advisorthe Biology Department websiteDegree Works, and in emails sent from the Biology Advising Office.

First Day Attendance Policy

In accordance with Western’s Class Attendance Policy, any student who is absent from the first class meeting without discussing the absence with the instructor in advance may be asked to withdraw from the course

Prerequisite Enforcement Policy

The Biology Department enforces Western’s campus-wide prerequisite policy. Students who are enrolled in a course but have failed to pass the prerequisite course with a C- or higher will be required to withdraw from the course immediately. Students who have failed prerequisites will be notified via email within a week after final grades are posted

Waitlist Policy

All Biology courses (except independent study, research, teaching practicum, and graduate-level courses) will be part of Western’s automatic waitlist system.  The Biology Department does not actively manage waitlists for 100-level, and most 200-level courses.  Students who are on a waitlist will be offered seats on a “first in, first out” basis.  Given the variability of enrollment needs across courses within our Department, we reserve the right to manage course waitlists as summarized below. Application of this policy may change your position on the waitlist without advance notice.  It is the student’s responsibility to check their position on a course waitlist in order to make timely registration decisions

BIOL 204, 205 and 206

Students (regardless of their major) who have been on the waitlist for the same courses for two consecutive quarters will be given priority.  It is the responsibility of the student to notify the Department of their status so that the waitlist may be reviewed and their position prioritized.

Upper Division (300 and 400 Level) Course

In courses where waitlist management is necessary, prioritization will be done during the first two weeks of registration to expedite time to degree completion for students who are close to graduation. Students who have formally applied for graduation and who require a specific course as part of their approved degree plan will be given highest priority.

Responding To Those In Acute Distress Policy

  1. While in the Biology Building, anytime someone loses consciousness or appears to be having a medical emergency or urgent crisis, a call for emergency response will be made to either 360-650-3911 or 911 for them to assess the situation. An incident report should be filed with Incident and Hazard Reporting.
  2. For non-emergency medical and/or behavioral crises, a call to Public Safety Dispatch should be made to detail the situation, 360-650-3555. Dispatch can contact other relevant campus entities to respond if needed and available. An incident report should be filed at Incident and Hazard Reporting.
  3. It is the responsibility of anyone who knows they may experience symptoms of a medical emergency, or symptoms that may appear to be or be seen as an emergency to notify their instructor or department personnel, prior to any crisis, if the above procedures are not a suitable response. By doing so, the Biology department will work with the individual on a plan on how to properly and respectfully respond to the issue should it occur.

Several offices on Campus are available to students to support the development of proper safety plan.