Policies

A. THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

The purpose of the Office of the President at Johnson C. Smith DSC_0003Theological Seminary is to provide vision; maintain and implement the seminary's mission; interpret the needs of the Church and its constituency to the seminary; promote the seminary's mission within the bounds of the PCUSA and across the entire Church; and coordinate the work of trustees, teaching partners (faculty), and learners. 

The Office provides for the seminary's programs. It is committed to the marks of excellence in theological education ensuring a high-quality educational program that is both consistent with the Reformed tradition of the Christian faith and marketable to a wide audience. The President's Office fosters and exemplifies a learning culture that is just, equitable, creative, and generative.

B. PAYMENT OF FEES

Payment for all educational programs and services must be made in full before the start of each course or program cycle. Acceptable forms of payment include cash, check, money order, or credit card. Checks should be payable to Johnson C. Smith Seminary. A $25.00 charge shall be incurred by any student whose personal check is returned for insufficient funds.

Questions may be directed in writing to JCSTS@smithseminary.org. 

C. FINANCIAL AID

Thanks to the generosity of donors, Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary is able to provide limited scholarship assistance to learners. Requests for scholarships shall be considered on a case by case basis. For more information, send a written inquiry to JCSTS@smithseminary.org. 

D. CANCELLATIONS

In the event that an individual program has been cancelled, information about the cancellation will be posted on the seminary's website.

E. RECORDS

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 as amended sets forth requirements designed to protect the privacy of students. The statutes provide that:

Students must have access to official records directly related to the student.

Students must have an opportunity to challenge such records on the grounds that they are inaccurate, misleading or otherwise inappropriate.

Educational institutions must have written permission to release personally identifiable data to persons other than faculty and administrators who have a legitimate educational interest.

Educational institutions must notify students of these rights.

Students have the right to file complaints with the FERPA office concerning alleged failures by the seminary to comply with the Act.

Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary responsibly maintains student records. Requests for access to student file materials must be made in writing to JCSTS@smithseminary.org.  Reasonable effort will be made to comply with the request within 48 hours or two (2) business days after the request has been received. JCSTS policies on retention and disposal of student records are in accord with the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers publication "Guide for Retention and Disposal of Student Records."

F. FIREARMS

The Safe Carry Act of Georgia (HB60) went into effect July 1, 2014 which prohibits the carrying of firearms in a public or private elementary or secondary school or a public or private technical school, vocational school, college, university or other institution of post-secondary education or a local board of education, other than by any duly authorized official.

Consequenty, JCSTS prohibits anyone from carrying firearms, concealed or otherwise, on Seminary premises and while engaged in Seminary business off the property without the express written permission from the President or Chair of the Board of Trustees. This prohibition does not include duly authorized law enforcement personnel.

FAQs (from the Presbytery or Greater Atlanta):

Q. What if someone carrying a firearm comes onto the JCSTS premises? 
A. Law enforcement officials consistently advise that, if this should happen, the person should be informed in a non-confrontational way that firearms are not permitted on our campus. Then the person should be asked to take the weapon outside and secure it in his or her vehicle. If the person refuses to leave, becomes disruptive or belligerent, the policy may be called. It should be noted that, under the provisions of HB 60, the police are limited in actions authorized to be taken. For example, officers may escort the person from the building, but are not allowed to confiscate the person's weapon, or make an arrest, unless another more serious crime has been committed. In addition, under HB 60, the police are prohibited from detaining a person for the sole purpose of investigating whether the person has a weapons carry permit. The effect of this provision makes it virtually impossible to determine whether a person has a firearm carry permit, unless the person chooses to disclose this information.

Q. What about parking facilities? Are firearms allowed?
A. Previous firearms legislation enacted by the State Legislature (and signed into law by the governor) stipulates that firearms may be secured in locked cars, trunks of cars, locked gun racks of vehicles in virtually any parking facility related to a business or other location, including a place of worship. HB 60 proposed no change in this previously enacted law. 

G. STUDENT COMPLAINT POLICY

Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary welcomes open communication from learners and other program participants regarding its policies and practices. Feedback helps staff determine effectiveness and improve methods. Complaints can be made in writing to JCSTS@smithseminary.org. The seminary will respond to complaints in writing normally within fourteen days. 

JCSTS recognizes its obligation to ensure that learners and program participants who make complaints do not suffer adverse treatment as a result of the complaint. 

H. SEXUAL MISCONDUCT POLICY

The Presbyterian Church (USA) has adopted formal policy statements addressing the theological and social impact of sexual misconduct and affirming the commitment of the Church to end violations of sexual boundaries. A PCUSA-affiliated institution within the bounds of the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta, Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary adheres to the sexual misconduct policy adopted by the Presbytery. To read the policy, click here.

Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary is committed to providing all members of the seminary community an environment where they can work, study and interact with each other free from any form of sexual abuse; the seminary will not tolerate sexual misconduct against members of the seminary community by anyone.

I. ACADEMIC POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

Satisfactory completion of a course, however, is determined finally not by time invested but by learning goals and objectives achieved by the student.

J. PLAGIARISM

JCSTS defines plagiarism as the intentional or careless representation of someone else's words, thoughts, or ideas in a scholarly or published document as one's own without attribution. Plagiarism amounts to intellectual theft and academic dishonesty, and it can result in a serious discipline process in theological schools. At JCSTS, plagiarism may be grounds for dismissal from the seminary's program.