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Wilmette Institute Student Handbook

Table of Contents

Welcome        3

Mission and Guiding Principles        4

Learning Outcomes        4

Programs and Accreditation        5

Program Scope and Structure        5

Accreditation/Courses for college credit        6

Admissions and Enrollment: Certificate Programs        6

English Language Requirement        6

Tuition Fees        6

Minors (Under 18 years old) Enrollment Policy        7

Bahá'í History, Texts, and Teachings Certificate (6 courses)        7

Social Transformation Certificate (4 courses)        8

Program and Learning Outcomes        8

Courses        9

Tuition Fees (Table)        10

Student Support Services/Policies        10

Financial Aid (Tuition Support)        10

Equal Opportunity        12

Accommodating Disabilities        13

Privacy Rights and Responsibilities        14

Faculty and Staff Roles in Maintaining Privacy        16

Community and Technology Requirements        16

Student Expectations        16

Required Skills and Equipment        16

Technical Assistance        17

Student Policies        17

Student Code of Conduct        17

Student Integrity and Academic Honesty        18

Withdrawal policy and tuition reimbursement        19

Expulsion from a course or program        19

Semester (credit) hours        19

Incompletes        20

Changing a Grade        20

Certificates and Transcripts        20

Academic and Non-Academic Probation and Dismissals        21

Complaints and Grievances        22

Grievance Procedure        22

Contacts        23

Library        24

Guide to printing sections from this Handbook        26

Wilmette Institute, 1233 Central Street, Evanston, IL, USA 60201-2886;

General Inquiries: 1-877-945-6388; Registrar: 1-847-733-3466;


Welcome to the Wilmette Institute! We are an educational agency of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States dedicated to offering courses on Bahá’í-related topics to anyone, both for credit and noncredit. This Student Handbook outlines how our learning community works. It provides an overview of our overall purpose and approach to education, the courses and programs we offer, their prices and requirements, what you can expect from us, and what we expect from you. We hope you will read the Handbook carefully and refer to it periodically, especially to ponder our learning outcomes and how they relate to your service to humanity. We welcome your comments about the Handbook so that we can continually strengthen the bonds of our learning community, deepen its exploration of the truths of the Bahá'í Faith, and broaden its impact on the world.

Mission and Guiding Principles

Mission Statement of the Wilmette Institute (2020)
An agency of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States

The Wilmette Institute is a higher educational institution offering courses in Bahá’í history, texts, and the Bahá’í approach to social transformation. We are committed to a diverse academic community in our student body and faculty. Our courses facilitate consultation, action, and reflection leading to personal and collective transformation for the common good.

We seek to provide innovative and transformative learning experiences for university students and others who want to make the world more compassionate, just and inclusive.

Our Guiding Principles

The Wilmette Institute has five Guiding Principles that shape our vision and planning:

  1. Universal peace and justice will be realized through a global consciousness of the oneness of humanity and the interconnectedness of the earth and all its inhabitants.
  2. Both science and religion are essential to building an ever-advancing civilization.
  3. Systemic social problems require a holistic approach to discover lasting solutions.
  4. Scholarship does not begin and end with words but combines theory and praxis in study, consultation, action and reflection.
  5. Sustainable social change requires the development of human capacity, in order for people to become protagonists of their own material and spiritual development.

Learning Outcomes

The Wilmette Institute designs its courses to meet these learning outcomes. Every course does not focus on all these outcomes:

Programs and Accreditation

Program Scope and Structure

The Wilmette Institute offers just over 100 unique online courses to students from all over the world. The majority of its courses are introductory courses which can be taken by anyone who has an email address and Internet access, regardless of educational background. Courses are conducted in English. In a few cases the Institute has collaborated with faculty who speak another language (Portuguese) to offer courses locally in Portuguese. Courses are divided by subject matter into the following departments and sections. The numbers in parentheses indicate the number of courses in the Institute’s Course Catalog.

Many students have made important contributions to the Bahá’í community, serving as teachers, enriching their participation in their Bahá’í community activities and Bahá’í inspired projects, participating more actively in social action and public discourse, and sharing what they have learned informally with family and friends. Some have been inspired to continue their formal education at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Accreditation/Courses for college credit

The Wilmette Institute wants to multiply the opportunities for people to take its courses for college, ideally with articulation agreements that include tuition reimbursement. It is also pursuing accreditation, so that it can be a recognized post-secondary educational institution.

WI Grading Policies (click for the latest policy document)

Admissions and Enrollment: Certificate Programs

New students may apply
 to take the certificate in the Spring or Fall (see Academic Calendar).  Students who are accepted into a certificate program will be required to sign an enrollment agreement (see sample Enrollment Agreement for the Bahá’í History, Texts and Tenets Certificate program). One must submit an image of government- or university-issued photo identification with the application and a university transcript (in English only). Applicants will submit a 300-500 word essay outlining why they wish to take the course, and specifically how they see the course benefiting them in their future endeavors.

Students who have not completed at least two years of university at the undergraduate level will be accepted provisionally to the Certificate with the understanding that they need to receive a grade of at least C (75) in their first course in order to continue with the certificate. Only one grade of C will be accepted for completion of either certificate.

English Language Requirement

If English is not the student’s native language and they have not taken a higher education degree in English, they may be asked to submit a copy of any English language proficiency test they have taken. If they don’t have an existing proficiency test, they can take a Duolingo proficiency test (minimum B2 level) or any other widely recognized English language proficiency examination, that compares to a score in the B2 range of the international standard, the Common European Framework of Reference for languages (CEFR).

Tuition Fees

Wilmette Institute has a total of 15 full scholarships available. Upon enrollment, some of the scholarships may be available, and will be awarded on a first come, first served basis for qualified applicants. Most course materials are available online to students at no cost. For some courses there will be a core textbook; students are responsible for purchasing or renting their own textbooks.

Donations are welcome and can be directly made to the WI student scholarship fund. For more details please contact the Registrar, at:

At present, only students resident in the United States and Canada are being accepted into the certificate program.

At the end of each course, the student may be contacted via email, telephone, or Zoom to see how he/she is doing. When the last course is completed, there will be an exit interview via Zoom. The certificate will then be issued.

Minors (Under 18 years old) Enrollment Policy

Bahá'í History, Texts, and Teachings Certificate (6 courses)

The Bahá'í History, Texts, and Teachings concentration seeks to explore the new understandings of the Faith, recognizing that the Bahá'í community’s own understanding of itself is dynamic and evolving. It is designed to provide a general review of the major aspects of the Faith as a concentration within a Master’s degree in religious studies, but the courses can also be taken at the undergraduate level. It looks at the Bahá'í Faith as a religious community, highlighting its similarities to and differences from other religious traditions to provide comparative perspective and an understanding of the phenomenon of religion in general.

Program Requirements

There are currently six 3-unit courses available in this certificate program. The program requirement is to complete four 3-unit courses including RL570: The Bahá'í Faith: A Comprehensive Introduction as the sole prerequisite course. To obtain a certificate, a student may select from the following courses:


It is recommended that one start it with The Bahá'í Faith: A Comprehensive Introduction (which is offered once or twice a year). The course Introduction to Bahá'í Scripture could be replaced by one of several in-depth courses about specific works by Him, and the Bahá'í Theology course could be replaced by another course exploring a Bahá'í philosophical subject in-depth, such as Science, Religion, and the Bahá'í Faith or Interfaith Dialogue.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will demonstrate an understanding of Bahá'í beliefs, practices, history, sacred texts, organization, and (optionally) its art and  architecture, and of the development of Bahá'í beliefs and practices over time.
  2. Students will be transformed by their learning: they will be able to analyze ethical issues from a Bahá'í perspective; will develop an evolving self-knowledge which includes an awareness of their own ethical values; will deepen their familiarity with their own sources for personal renewal, encounters with beauty, and compassion towards self and others; and will acquire a stronger desire to serve others. (This outcome particularly applies to Bahá'í Theology and the Bahá'í Faith and Social Change.)
  3. Students will develop skills to become independent thinkers, expressed through writing, oral presentation, and (optionally) through art. (This outcome particularly applies to the Bahá'í Theology).
  4. Students will develop skills to become change makers through the art of consultation or through the application of their knowledge to service. (This outcome particularly applies to the Bahá'í Faith and Social Change.)

Social Transformation Certificate (4 courses)

The Social Transformation certificate program aims to facilitate a process of gaining knowledge and insights, exploring personal and collective transformation through a Bahá’í framework, and contributing to an evolving public discourse on significant social issues. This program will also equip students to apply a process of study, consultation, praxis and reflection in social action endeavors. Students will gain the ability to effectively analyze the root causes of global issues through solution based critical systems thinking and explore the prerequisites for building a just and peaceful society.

Program and Learning Outcomes

Program Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Analyze local and global issues through critical systems thinking

Engage in state of the art thinking about social issues from physical sciences, social sciences and spiritual writings

Gain an appreciation for the intimate connection between local and global challenges

Relate the inherent interconnectivity of social issues through systems thinking to their local and global contexts

Explore the intricate connections between spiritual and material solutions to personal prosperity and social issues through research, praxis, and the arts.

Engage in our twofold moral purpose - a reciprocal process of personal and collective transformation

Critically examine root causes for issues and explore lasting solutions

Engage in a process of study, consultation, action and reflection to address interconnected social issues

Engage in public discourse and social action on significant social issues.

Develop an attitude of learning with and from others through genuine dialog

Identify effective means to contribute to the unfolding public discourse conducive to human prosperity.

Engage effectively in social action that enables people to become protagonists of their own personal and collective development

Program Requirements

There are currently five 3-unit courses available in the Social Transformation certificate program. The program requirement is to complete four 3-unit courses, making 12 credit hours, including SC315 Non-violent Approaches to Social Change as the sole prerequisite course. This initial list of electives is expected to expand as we learn from the experiences of delivering these courses. To obtain a certificate, a student may select from the following courses:


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Tuition Fees (Table)

Non-Credit Courses (and university-level courses being audited))


(# wks)

Individual Fee

20% off Seniors/
Students/ Pioneers

30% discount

40% off
Group members
(max 10 members)

10% of
for early register?

Refund policy


 7-8 weeks






Retain $10.00


3-4 weeks

5-6 weeks










Retain $10.00


9-10 weeks






Retain $10.00

(On Demand)

3-4 units

5-6 units

7 units







Not eligible





Retain $10.00


More than
10 weeks






Retain $10.00


6-8 weeks


Not eligible

Full refunds


9-15 weeks






Retain $10.00

Student Support Services/Policies

Financial Aid (Tuition Support)

How do I apply for tuition support?

We have ample resources from our donors and are pleased and honored to make them available to anyone wishing to take our courses.

What is your tuition support policy?

The Wilmette Institute’s tuition support policy is as follows:

Why does the Wilmette Institute charge for its courses?

The Institute was mandated to be independent of the Bahá'í funds when it was established in 1995, and to date we have covered all our expenses through tuition charges and fundraising. We have to pay staff, we provide many faculty an honorarium for their many hours of professional teaching efforts for our learners, and we have numerous software, communications, and publicity expenses, like any professional organization would. We have also found that when people pay some fee, however small, they take the course more seriously.

We are, however, developing courses for youth or members of the community of interest that will be free or have a small nominal charge only. To cover our costs and provide ample scholarship discounts to those who need them, the Institute does fundraising.

How much do extension courses cost? 

It depends on the course. Before you register, you can click on the Fees tab to check on the fees and discount deadlines for your course. The “base rate” (for one learner) is usually $95 for a 7 or 8-week course. Senior citizens, pioneers, and students get a 20% discount. Study groups can register with a 40% discount per person. Our registration system automatically gives a ten percent discount for a registration a month or more in advance. The base rate for shorter courses is between $55 and $75. See also Tuition Fees Table.

Note: a “senior citizen” is 65 or older; groups can have up to 20 members. See Study Group Benefits for more information on Study Groups.

May I pay in installments?

Yes. If you are unable to pay full tuition at the time of registration, you may pay in up to four monthly installments. We prefer that you make a down payment by credit card* when you register and then complete the relevant tuition support application form. The Institute will schedule the remaining payments and confirm them with you. Often, people find that installments solve their payment problem without the need to ask for tuition support.

As of September 2020 downpayments are again available through Cvent. If you wish to register and need additional tuition support, submit a Tuition Support application (college/credit students) or a TS2021/22 application (extension students) and await further instructions. You can expect a response to your application within 48 hours.

May I contribute to the Tuition Support (aka “scholarships”) Fund?

Absolutely! See our latest fundraising appeal (2021). Checks made out to “Wilmette Institute” may be mailed to us at Wilmette Institute, Bahá’í National Center, 1233 Central St., Evanston, IL 60201. Please specify they are for the “tuition support fund.” You may also contribute through the National Bahá’í Fund’s Online Contribution System. This is accessed through the password-protected section of the US Bahá’í website:

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Equal Opportunity

The Wilmette Institute encourages diversity and provides equal opportunity in education, employment, all of its programs, and the use of its facilities. Employment decisions at the Institute are based on merit and qualifications. The Institute does not discriminate in educational or employment opportunities or practices on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, veteran’s status, age, disability, height, weight, marital status, political belief, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by law. The following general policy statements apply:

  1. Responsibility for monitoring and review of equality matters in relation to students currently rests with the Associate Director.
  2. All members of the Wilmette Institute community are required to comply with these Codes of Practice and with the relevant legal requirements and are expected to assist in the removal of any unlawful discriminatory practices that may exist in the Institute by drawing them to the attention of the Associate Director.
  3. All students should be made aware of the Institute’s Statement of Policy and of these Codes of Practice. Students will have access to the documents via the Moodle learning platform, the Institute’s website, and the office of the Registrar/Student Services.
  4. No applicant or student will be treated less favourably on grounds of age, caste, colour, disability, ethnicity, gender identity, marital status, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion, belief or lack of belief, sex, sexual orientation, or any other criterion accepted as irrelevant by the Institute.
  5. The Institute welcomes applications from people with disabilities and will put in place reasonable adjustments to enable students to access the full range of educational provision offered by the Institute. See Also 'Accommodating Disabilities'.
  6. Applicants for admission to the Institute’s courses who are unsuccessful in their application have a right of complaint (on the grounds of procedural irregularity, prejudice or bias, or extenuating circumstances). Information about the complaints procedure is available from the Associate Director.
  7. The Institute will make reasonable adjustments to ensure that its publicity material, events and information services are accessible to all.
  8. The Institute will promote equality of opportunity through its educational provision and its approach to teaching and learning through course design and delivery, and assessment.
  9. The Institute is committed to the principles of equality through access to, and fair treatment in, the services it provides and the facilities it offers to its students and to its employees. Where a service cannot be offered to all who wish to use it, any restrictions on access, or any decision to restrict access, will be reasonable and lawful.
  10. The Institute will make reasonable adjustments to facilitate access by students with disabilities to teaching and learning, whatever the level of the course or the mode of provision, to assessment, and to the full range of educational and other facilities and services to ensure their full participation in the learning community.
  11. The Institute will use inclusive language in its publications and other communications.

Accommodating Disabilities 

The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) of 1990, Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, states that all individuals should have equal accessibility–including online instructional opportunities. ADA requires that all online courses be fully compliant from the start of the course.

More and more WI students need our courses to be ADA compliant. For example, the use of screen readers is becoming more common, so our courses need to facilitate their use. Course developers and instructors must do their due diligence to develop ADA-compliant courses and respond to specific requests for accommodations in the courses they teach. This ADA checklist is shared with anyone involved in creating a Wilmette Institute course.

Most elements for compliance are standard in WI courses and are incorporated when putting a course into Moodle. For example, WI will use its standard font, not the font a course developer wants to use. We do not use colored, fancy fonts, and backgrounds and hyperlinks are also standardized to be ADA compliant. We will not publish unclear images, audio, or video files.

Participants with disabilities may find that taking the course with a study group will enable better access to online materials. The Wilmette Institute encourages local study groups, and gives registration discounts to groups of 2 to 10 people who wish to study a course together.  These groups need not live in the same locality.

If you have a general question or suggestion, please use the online contact form on our Contact page. We look forward to hearing from you.

Privacy Rights and Responsibilities

The Wilmette Institute is committed to maintaining the privacy of all Personally Identifiable Information (PII) it collects from its students. All Students have the right to ask the Wilmette Institute what pieces of personally identifiable information it holds, and to ask that the information be removed from its databases. All students also have a responsibility to play their part in maintaining the privacy of information supplied to them in the course forums. While course materials are generally free for students to use (with appropriate credit) in preparing and enhancing devotional materials, presentations to local communities, and art projects, forum discussions should be kept completely private. Other students’ ideas, comments, questions, etc. should never be shared outside of the course platform without explicit consent.

The Wilmette Institute maintains strict confidentiality and security of records in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), in addition to other federal and state laws.

Wilmette Institute student data is contained in four main places.

Cvent is a leading events management technology provider, used by the US Bahá'í Office of Education and Schools. Their in-house Risk and Compliance Team is dedicated to ensuring that they align or comply with leading security standards and regulations. Cvent privacy policy. 

Moodle was first released as an open-source platform in 2001. It is a very widely-used educational software. Both the Institute’s Moodle website and public (Wordpress) website are housed on secure servers in the offices of a Canadian-based contractor. Moodle privacy notice.

G Suite is a set of cloud computing, productivity and collaboration tools, software and products developed by Google. G Suite for Education privacy notice.

Survey Monkey is a very popular online survey development cloud-based software as a service company. Survey Monkey privacy policy.

Wordpress is an open source content management system. The Institute’s public website ( is maintained using Wordpress. Wordpress privacy policy.

Also see the Wilmette Institute’s Records Retention Policy.

Faculty and Staff Roles in Maintaining Privacy

The Wilmette Institute instructor to student ratio (20:1) allows our faculty to provide high quality follow up for each student. Wilmette Institute faculty and staff members are responsible for maintaining the privacy of any personally identifiable information transmitted to them by students. This includes but is not limited to:

In extreme cases, deletion by faculty or staff of a student’s forum post or posts may be warranted. The student who created the post(s) should always be made aware of the deletion, and of the reason for deleting the post(s).  Repeated infraction of privacy rights should be reported to the Director, and is grounds for expulsion from the learning platform.

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Community and Technology Requirements

Student Expectations

The Wilmette Institute’s program is based on interactive teaching, learning, and communication. Learners, faculty, and staff are responsible for maintaining high standards of scholarship and collegiality. Faculty and learners actively contribute to one another’s learning through critical dialogue, integrative learning, and collaborative learning. As learners interact with faculty and other learners they can expect to be challenged and to feel a sense of accomplishment, to be treated with respect, and to become part of the Wilmette Institute community. Diversity—of thought, values, and opinion—is valued at the Wilmette Institute. All members of the Wilmette Institute community are expected to be respectful of diverse perspectives.

Required Skills and Equipment

It is strongly recommended that learners have a broadband (cable modem or DSL) Internet connection, and their own computer or laptop with up-to-date software, including the free Adobe Acrobat Reader. The Moodle course management platform works through the Internet, and can be easily accessed on either a Windows PC or a Mac. Moodle also has mobile apps for both Apple and Android devices (see or visit your App Store). Each learner must have their own email address, and must be able to speak and write English. Basic computer and Internet browsing skills are required of all learners.

Technical Assistance

The Wilmette Institute has a small staff, and its ability to provide live assistance is limited. You can call us at 877-wilmette (877-945-6388). Please be aware that since listening to voice mails may be delayed, we cannot always respond immediately.

If you have difficulties following the guidance in our Tutorials, please feel free to get in touch with one of the administrative staff listed below. We will do our best to assist you.

The best way to get help is to email the Director, Robert Stockman, at He is generally available Monday through Friday, 9 to 4 Eastern Standard Time, as well as many nights and weekends within an hour or two. At odd times, it may take him 24 hours or more to respond. The Director can change passwords and deal with many basic problems using Moodle.

The Registrar/Student Services Specialist, Niki Daniels is available at  She can change passwords, assist with registration, and grant tuition support. She can also answer questions about Moodle course pages, social media postings, and internet resources.

Student Policies

Student Code of Conduct

(see also “Community & Technology Requirements”)

Every time a student takes a course, they are directed to read the following information.

The purpose of Wilmette Institute courses is to promote knowledge, insights and service in a unified manner. To enhance the learning experience for all participants, we have provided the following guidance for posting in Wilmette Institute forums. By using the forums you are agreeing to follow these guidelines.

Web-based forums have unique limitations

It is very important not to read negative feelings into other’s postings. In Wilmette Institute courses the students come from many cultures and may not understand English well. We urge you to be as courteous and polite as possible. If you think you might have hurt someone’s feelings, it may be a good idea to apologize. You can write students and faculty privately if that might help smooth the waters; the course provides a way to do this.

Post useful messages. If everyone sent a post saying “I agree” or “good point” when they read someone’s posting, we would be flooded with superficial messages. But if everyone liked something and no one says anything, the poster may feel his comments were ignored or disliked. There is no easy solution to this problem. We suggest that everyone send their messages to the Forum in a detached manner without expecting any comments back. If you have a short, specific question, email it to your mentor.

Emotional or controversial topics. If we were sitting in a classroom and an emotionally difficult subject came up, the instructor could gauge the class’s reaction by body language. If someone is looking mad but doesn’t seem to want to speak, the teacher can help the person express his or her thoughts. But if someone in an online forum is angry, no one else will know until they say so. This can result in a very unsatisfactory discussion. Swearing, insults, and other nastiness is highly inappropriate and in extreme cases could result in someone being removed from a course. We urge people who are feeling upset to send a private message to their mentor before posting to everyone. Even a mildly angry posting to the forum can cause some sensitive students to refrain from posting, and since they won’t say anything, no one will even know why they are silent.

Loss of the distinction between private and public speech. In a classroom you can turn and whisper to the person next to you. The equivalent in an online course is private messaging. It is best to reply to personal comments off the forums.

Best practice in posting. Your first discussion posts within each unit should address the discussion topic. Additional postings should provide comments that are thoughtful, relevant, and help to extend the discussion.


If “flaming” or other major violations of the above etiquette policy occur, the Director or Associate Director should be informed immediately. Responses to violations include:

  1. Warning the student privately by email or by telephone.
  2. Suspending the student’s access to the course for 3 to 6 days.
  3. Expelling the student from the course.
  4. Banning the student from the Wilmette Institute.

The response chosen will be determined by the Director or Associate Director in consultation with the faculty.

Student Integrity and Academic Honesty

Students are expected to conduct themselves with the highest ethical and academic standards and to commit no acts of cheating, plagiarism, or falsification of records.

Definitions: Cheating is an act of obtaining or attempting to obtain credit for work by the use of dishonest, deceptive or fraudulent means; plagiarism is the act of taking ideas, words, or specific substance of another and offering them as one’s own; falsification of records is a misrepresentation of statements in submitted records.

As members of an academic community, students and faculty assume certain responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is to engage in honest communication. Academic dishonesty is a serious violation of the trust upon which an academic community depends. Students must not submit work that reproduces ideas, words, or statements of another person without appropriate acknowledgment. A student must give credit to the originality of others and acknowledge an indebtedness whenever he or she does any of the following:

If a faculty member suspects plagiarism, after doing research s/he should present the evidence to the Associate Director. Together they will consult with the student to determine whether a simple error was made, whether the plagiarism policy was not understood, or whether the plagiarism was deliberate. Penalties for the first violation can range from an F on that assignment to an F for the entire course. The penalty for a second violation can range from an F for the entire course to expulsion. The penalty for the third violation is expulsion.

Withdrawal policy and tuition reimbursement

Sometimes, students inform a faculty member of their desire to withdraw from a course. Sometimes students are willing to continue in the course as an auditor and retake it the next time it comes around. The faculty member should inform the Registrar of the student’s desires, who can discuss the matter further with the student. If the student withdraws, the Registrar will inform the faculty.

The Wilmette Institute typically retains a $10 to $25 administrative fee, depending on the length of the course. See Tuition Fees (Tables) for details.

Expulsion from a course or program

A student may be removed from a course, or in some cases from the Moodle learning platform, for repeated infractions of Academic Honesty, for repeatedly violating the Privacy Rights of other students, or for other breaches of Student Conduct. The final decisions on expulsion cases is made by the Office of the Director. (see The Academic and Non-Academic Dismissal Policy)

Semester (credit) hours

The Wilmette Institute’s semester hours shall be equivalent to the commonly accepted and traditionally defined units of academic measurement in accredited institutions. Academic degree or academic credit-bearing distance learning courses are measured by the learning outcomes normally achieved through 45 hours of student work for one semester credit, that is, 15 hours of academic engagement and 30 hours of preparation. This formula is typically referred to as a Carnegie unit and is used by the American Council on Education in its Credit Recommendation Evaluative Criteria.

Student work includes direct or indirect faculty instruction. Academic engagement may include, but is not limited to, submitting an academic assignment, listening to class lectures or webinars (synchronous or asynchronous), taking an exam, completing an interactive tutorial or computer-assisted instruction, attending a study group that is assigned by the institution, contributing to an academic online discussion, initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a question about the academic subject studied in the course, conducting laboratory work, and completing an externship or internship. Preparation is typically homework, such as reading and study time, and completing assignments and projects.

Therefore, a 3 credit hour course would require 135 semester hours (45 hours of academic engagement and 90 hours of preparation).


Students may be awarded a grade of “Incomplete” at the end of a course, but the work needs to be completed within 6 months of the end of the course or the grade converts to F.

Changing a Grade

Faculty may, at their discretion, change a final grade, but they need to include a justification for the change in the grade change report.

Certificates and Transcripts

Every student who completes a Wilmette Institute course and submits a Learning Self- Assessment will receive a Certificate of Completion by email.  There are no required papers or projects for non-credit students, and no grades are awarded.

Students who wish to take a course for possible college credit will be asked to fill out an application for credit form indicating whether they are currently in an academic program or have applied to be in one, and what level of study is appropriate for them. Courses can be taken at the 100 level (simple undergraduate, suitable for junior college), the 300 level (advanced undergraduate, suitable for someone majoring in a related subject or attending a university with higher expectations), or the 500 level (graduate level, which can be tailored to the student’s needs based on the research paper they write).

Transcripts indicating the student’s course, course dates, level of study, and grade, will be sealed by the Registrar with the Institute’s official seal. One copy will be mailed to the student, and another to the student’s educational institution, to the contact person named in the application for credit form. 

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Academic and Non-Academic Probation and Dismissals

Academic Probation and Dismissal

In order to remain in a Wilmette Institute Certificate Program, undergraduates and graduates are expected to maintain the minimum GPA requirement in the Grading Policy. If a student's GPA drops below the minimum requirement, the student will be placed on academic probation, with the expectation that the student’s GPA will return to the required level by the end of the next academic term. If not, the student will be dismissed from the Wilmette Institute Program they are registered in. The student should consult with the Certificate Program Coordinator during the probation period.

Non-Academic Probation and Dismissal

The Wilmette Institute aspires to be a close community of colleagues with common intellectual pursuits. Each individual in this close community must uphold mutual and respectful interactions with each other in our courses and common social spaces. Anyone who engages in an egregious act of disrespect or in a pattern of disrespect will be placed on non-academic probation with the understanding that a repetition or continuation of such behavior will result in immediate dismissal from the extension course or certificate program. To appeal dismissal, see the Grievance Procedure below.

No refund or credit of tuition, fees, or other costs associated with attendance of the Institute will be made to students when discipline sanctions are imposed which result in the student being deprived privileges and/or access to services.

In the case of serious violations, a notation of the discipline matter will be placed on a student’s academic transcript until it is cleared. In the case of dismissal from Wilmette Institute, the record is permanent.

Discipline records are confidential in accordance with federal and state laws. The contents of the student discipline record may not be released to anyone not associated with campus discipline except upon written approval of the student or a court-ordered subpoena or according to FERPA guidelines.

The following disciplinary actions may apply:

Written Reprimand: A written reprimand to the student by the Office of the Director on whom the penalty is imposed, which will be placed in the student’s permanent discipline record.

Warning Probation: A notification by the Office of the Director that further violations of any sub-heading of this policy will result in more severe discipline action. Warning Probation may be imposed for a period of not more than one calendar year.

Disciplinary Probation: In writing notification that further violations of any sub-heading of this code may result in suspension. The terms of disciplinary probation shall be determined by the Office of the Director.

Suspension of privileges: In writing prohibits participation in or attendance in a classroom in which enrolled, restricts use of Wilmette Institute student email access and specific student privileges.

Cancellation of registration or denial of credit may be imposed in cases where the student is found responsible for withholding information relating to the student’s admission, academic status, records, academic honesty, etc.

Suspension: may be used in the event of a threat of safety to the Wilmette Institution community or if a student refuses to answer a summons.

Expulsion: may be used in the event of a threat of safety to the Wilmette Institute community.

If the student is suspended or expelled before the published automatic “W” grade deadline date, the student will receive a “W” in currently enrolled course(s). If the student is suspended or expelled after the published automatic “W” grade deadline date, the student will receive an “F” in currently enrolled course(s).  A grade of X is given for failure to comply with administrative policies, including plagiarism, and failure to complete examinations, and are not computed in the grade-point average.

A written report is made indicating the imposed sanctions. The student may appeal the sanctions of the Office of the Directors to the Executive Committee. Requests for appeals must be submitted in writing to the Office of the Director within 10 working days of the notification of the administrative sanction.

Bar Against Readmission: written notification issued to a student who has left Wilmette Institute that he/she will not be allowed to re-enroll until the pending discipline matter has been resolved. The penalty terminates on clearance of the discipline matter. This sanction may also be imposed in cases of severe disciplinary infractions and/or in the event of a threat of safety to the learning community. Students may appeal to the Office of the Director for readmission after one year.

Complaints and Grievances

The Institute will deal with complaints that concern these Codes of Practice/Policies in accordance with its complaints and grievances procedure as set out below. Students who make complaints through the procedure will not be disadvantaged for having done so in good faith. However, the Institute expects that students will not engage in frivolous or malicious complaints. If it is found that a complaint has been brought with mischievous or malicious intent, this may prove grounds for disciplinary action against the complainant.

Grievance Procedure

If, for any reasons, a student has a complaint, grievance, or dispute with the Wilmette Institute, the student has the right to seek a satisfactory resolution through the following process:

1) Notification – The student must submit a written letter or email postmarked no later than 30 days after the occurrence to: Associate Director, Wilmette Institute, Bahá'í National Center, 1233 Central St., Evanston, IL 60201; The letter must state the basis for the complaint, grievance, or dispute, provide details of the matter, and describe the requested remedy. The Associate Director shall respond with a decision in writing within 15 days of receipt of the written letter or email.

2) Appeal – If the requested remedy is denied, the student may appeal in writing via mail within an additional 30 day period to: National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States, Kenneth Bowers, secretary, Bahá'í National Center, 1233 Central St., Evanston, IL 60201; Failure to submit an appeal letter within the additional period will indicate that the student has accepted the initial decision as final and the matter shall be closed. Upon submission of the appeal letter, the secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly shall review the grievance and render a decision. The decision of the secretary shall be final.

Students who are still dissatisfied with any action or decision of the Wilmette Institute may also elect to contact the Illinois Board of Higher Education. Their Institutional Complaint System may be found here:

Students may also contact the Distance Education Accrediting Commission if a complaint cannot be resolved using the school’s grievance procedure including the appeals process.

Distance Education Accreditation Council
1101 17th Street NW, Suite 808
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 234-5100


Students may seek advice on any of the above issues from their Department Head, the Registrar/Student Services Specialist, or the Associate Director. For details of the main responsibilities of each staff and faculty member, use the table below.

Staff Role 

Contact Details

Main Responsibilities



Registrar & Student Services 

Nicola (Niki) Daniels
Phone: (847) 733-3466 
(leave a message)

*Registration & Payments

*Tuition Support (scholarships) 

*Course Info:
    course lists & content (general)

     schedules/dates & syllabi

     teaching methods (general)

*Refunds & Withdrawals

*Moodle Support: 

     password reset, tutorials

*Student Surveys

* Updating Student Contact Info

Faculty Mentors

Log in to your course and check the Classroom page (near the top, before the course summary) for email addresses

*Advise students on course content

*Report broken links/other errors to Instructional Designer
*Assist students with Personal Learning Plans, Learning

  Self-Assessments, and Projects
*Course Zoom sessions, teaching methods (specific)

Associate Director 

Chitra Golestani

*Bahá'í Campus Associations

*Social Transformation Webinars
*Course Feedback (Social Trans.)

*Student Grievances


Derik Smith

Phone: (847) 337-7750

*University Initiative

*University Credit Courses, *Applications for Credit

*Course Feedback  
*Webinars & Newsletter 

*Academic Misconduct

*Grades & Grading Schemes

*Accreditation & Faculty:



Wilmette Institute students have access to various important libraries for their study and research.

Bahá'í Reference Library, This free online library maintained by the Bahá'í World Centre has electronic copies of all authoritative texts that have been published by the Báb, Bahá'u'lláh, `Abdu'l-Bahá, Shoghi Effendi, and the Universal House of Justice. Topical compilations are also available. Texts are provided in pdf, Word, or HTML formats. In addition to English, one can obtain the texts in the original Arabic ( or Persian ( languages. A few additional non-authoritative texts are available at .

The Bahá'í Library Online, This is a free online library maintained by a private individual with thousands of authoritative texts, books, articles, and newspaper materials. The table of contents is copied below. A selection of Persian materials is also available at .

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

The Bahá'í Writings

Articles/papers, published

Compilations from the Bahá'í World Center

Articles/papers, unpublished

Compilations prepared by individuals

Articles, encyclopedia

Documents from the Universal House of Justice

Articles, newspaper

Letters from the Universal House of Justice

Short articles, essays

Documents from National Spiritual Assemblies


Letters from National Spiritual Assemblies


Documents from the Bahá'í International Community

Book excerpts, historical mentions

Letters from the Guardian, unpublished

Reviews of books, articles, music

Historical documents, memoirs, interviews

Personal letters

Pilgrims' notes


Provisional translations

Theses / dissertations

Legal / government documents

Talks by Bahá'í notables


Multimedia, etc.

About the Bahá'í Faith


Study Guides of the Bahá'í Writings

Introductory materials

Research notes

Presentations: Powerpoint / PDF

Chronologies / timelines / genealogies

Audio lectures/talks





Catalogues of Libraries / archives

Visual materials


National Bahá’í Library.  The National Bahá'í Library is primarily located in the Archives Office, located in the basement of the Bahá'í House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois. A basic library containing duplicates and less valuable works is available at the Bahá'í National Center at 1233 Central St., Evanston, Ill.  Its physical size is approx. 1,000 linear feet.

Holdings: approximately 15,000 Books, 5,000 Pamphlets, 60,000 Periodical individual items, 2,500 Study Materials, and 15,000 other items (Annual Reports, Cards, Directories, Sheet Music, Ephemera).

The coverage is strongest for materials dating in the 1900-1979 time range.  More recent published items are no longer sent to the library by default and Bahá’í communities have quit issuing paper newsletters. Relatively few digital copies of local newsletters are available.

The materials are cataloged in the Follett/Destiny library system. The catalog is available online. Materials can be viewed by guests by appointment.

Bosch Bahá'í Center of Learning Library, Santa Cruz, CA.  The library at Bosch Bahá’í Center of Learning has about 2,500 books in circulation that serves staff, volunteers, and guests throughout the year.  The books organized around the 12x36’ room are categorized into sections including: Bahá'í Faith and Other Religions, Children’s Literature, Music, Biographies, History, and separated shelves for the Writings of the Báb, Bahá'u'lláh, `Abdu’l-Bahá, and Shoghi Effendi.  A conference table with chairs is located at the center of the library where people can study, work on projects, or have meetings on the big screen.

The Archives Library contains the Eshraghieh and Mahmoud Rabbani Collections.

Green Acre Bahá'í Center of Learning Library, Eliot, ME. Green Acre has a large and well developed library that is available to guests and visitors, but the library currently has no librarian, so information about its collection is not available. It is comparable in size to the Louhelen library.

Louhelen Bahá'í Center of Learning Library, Davison, MI.  Louhelen’s library dates back to its founding in 1931. The current library is located in a room with beautifully designed custom built wooden stacks, with an adjoining room for rare and or extra books. The library had a complete overhaul in 2011 when the work began to record all books in the Follett/Destiny library system using the Library of Congress data and is in line with the library at the National office.  There are currently almost 6,000 books recorded. The books are available to visitors and guests.

Guide to printing sections from this Handbook

This document updates automatically every 5 minutes. We do not recommend that you print the whole Handbook, as it is in development and will be updated frequently. The first page of the Handbook is a Table of Contents, which shows at a glance all the policies and information it contains. Clicking on any of the entries in the Table of Contents will take you to the page you need. Note that you will not see page numbers or page breaks in the document. This will make printing a section of the document easier. Simply highlight the text you want to print, and ask your printer to print “Selection,” or “Selection only.” See screenshot below.

Date Adopted: 01.01.2022                           Date Revised: 02.15.2022          Page  of