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2015-16 College Catalog

Online Catalog

Academic Procedures

Learning Outcomes Assessment and Accountability

Howard Community College (HCC) is committed to the philosophy of educational accountability. In order to determine that students are attaining the knowledge and skills appropriate to various courses and programs, regular and planned assessment activities are ongoing and include standardized assessments, placement tests, faculty-developed evaluations, focus sessions, and surveys. These measures may require the use of class time. When that is the case, students are expected to participate. Confidentiality of responses is ensured.

Statement on Academic Freedom

Institutions of higher education exist for the common good and not to further the interest of either the individual faculty member or the institution as a whole. It shall be the policy of Howard Community College to maintain and encourage full freedom, within the law, of inquiry, teaching, and research for all faculty.

Although academic freedom is fundamental to the rights of the teacher and the student, it carries with it related duties and responsibilities. The faculty member is entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing subject matter but should be careful not to introduce controversial topics which are not related to the course. The faculty member is responsible for ensuring that the course content includes material specified by the college in the course description and course objectives.

The college faculty member is a citizen, a member of a learned profession, and an officer of an educational institution. When speaking or writing as a citizen, the faculty member should be free from institutional censorship or discipline. However, the special position of the faculty member in the community imposes special obligations. As a person of learning and an educational officer, he/she should remember that the public may judge the institution or the profession by statements made by individual faculty members. Therefore, accuracy, exercise of appropriate restraint, and respect for the opinion of others should be displayed on and off campus. The faculty member should also make every effort to indicate that the opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the institution.

Statement on General Education and Liberal Learning

A liberal education prepares students to lead ethical, productive, and creative lives and to understand how the pursuit of lifelong learning and critical thinking fosters good citizenship. General education courses form the core of a liberal education within the higher education curriculum and provide a coherent intellectual experience for all students by introducing the fundamental concepts and methods of inquiry in the areas of mathematics, the physical and natural sciences, the social sciences, the arts and the humanities, and composition. General education courses develop students’ abilities to communicate effectively in oral and written English and to perform numerical analyses at a college level; develop students’ abilities to think and express themselves analytically, critically, and creatively, and to read with comprehension; foster qualities of open-mindedness, inquiry, and the rational assessment of data; provide opportunities for students to apply their knowledge and skills in solving complex problems and to apply ethical principles to inquiry; prepare students to adapt to the increasing integration of information technology in all fields of knowledge; encourage students to connect knowledge across these disciplines and to understand themselves as well as their social, aesthetic, political, and physical environment; and foster in students an understanding of and respect for diverse human cultures. Howard Community College recognizes the development of ethical judgment as an integral part of one’s education and supports the integration of ethical issues into the core curriculum.

Academic Complaints

To maintain the integrity of the academic environment and to ensure the rights of students in such matters, HCC’s administrative policies and procedures provide a framework to resolve student complaints of an academic nature. An academic complaint is defined as an issue related to classroom instruction or a grade dispute. A student who has an academic complaint, including a specific academic complaint involving a faculty member, that remains unresolved through informal means, may enter into a formal process of problem resolution. The student academic complaint procedures and the appropriate form may be obtained from the division offices. A student who wants to initiate a formal academic complaint must submit an academic complaint form no later than the end of the seventh week of the next full semester.
  1. The student must begin the formal complaint process by scheduling an appointment with the instructor to discuss the problem. Many times misunderstandings can be resolved by honest, open dialogue.
  2. If the student cannot resolve the problem during the meeting with the instructor, the student may contact the division office to schedule an appointment to see the appropriate division leader. Prior to scheduling the appointment, the student must submit the student academic complaint form, including a written description of the problem, the resolution the student is requesting, and the signature of the instructor to confirm that the initial required meeting has taken place. If the concern is not resolved at the division level, the student’s written complaint, the instructor’s written response, and the appropriate division leader's recommendation will be forwarded to the vice president of academic affairs. At this stage in the academic complaint process, the student has the right to meet with the vice president of academic affairs, but the student is not required to do so. A request for an appointment must be made within two weeks of the meeting with the division leader. If the student has not made a request for an appointment within two weeks, the student has waived the right to the meeting. If a request for an appointment has not been made within the two-week period, the vice president of academic affairs will make a judgment on the case.
  3. The decision of the vice president of academic affairs is final. This decision will be communicated to the student in a formal correspondence, and the faculty member and division leader will be notified of the decision.

Grading and Attendance Policy

The methods for evaluation and grading within a course are clearly stated in the course syllabus. Evaluation procedures are objective and appropriately related to the course’s objectives and content.

HCC does not have a college-wide attendance policy. Regular class attendance, however, is one of the most important responsibilities of the student and in many cases will count toward the final grade. Attendance requirements will be clearly stated in the course syllabus and discussed by the instructor.

Drop

A student who wishes to drop a class and potentially receive a refund must officially do so using myHCC or coming in person to the office of records, registration, and veterans' affairs (RRVA) during the specified period of time. A section may only be dropped during the first twenty percent of its scheduled meeting dates. Information about the refund period is published in myHCC. The percent of refund depends upon the date that the section starts and the date it is officially dropped. Classes that are dropped do not appear on the academic transcript. Drop periods are prorated for classes that have fewer meeting dates, and for late-starting classes. See Refunds for more information.

All students are strongly urged to consult with an academic advisor before making academic decisions. Additional procedures prior to dropping are required of the following students:

  • Students receiving financial aid and scholarships – Students receiving financial aid and scholarships must inform Financial Aid Services and obtain a signature from authorized staff in this office.
  • International (F1) students – International (F1) students must receive consent from an international student advisor.
  • Active duty service members, veterans, and their dependents – Students using veterans education benefits or tuition assistance must notify RRVA when dropping sections. Failure to do so may result in overpayment from the Veterans Administration or Department of Defense.

Never Attended Reporting

A student who registers for a section and does not report to class within the first twenty percent of scheduled class meetings will be reported by the faculty as having never attended which will appear as an "NA" grade on the student's transcript and will not be calculated into the student's GPA. A student who receives an "NA" is not eligible to receive a final grade in the course and may not begin attending the course after the "NA" is reported. "NA" grades may affect financial aid, veterans benefits, and tuition assistance, as well as student visa status and athletic eligibility.

Official Withdrawal

A student who wishes to officially withdraw from a course must do so online using myHCC, or in person at the office of records, registration, and veterans' affairs (RRVA). Students who stop attending are not automatically withdrawn from classes, and may have financial aid, veterans benefits, or tuition assistance affected.

The withdrawal period is between twenty-one percent and sixty-six percent of scheduled meeting dates. Withdrawal dates are in myHCC.

All students are strongly urged to consult with an academic advisor before making academic decisions. Additional procedures prior to withdrawing are required of the following students:

  • Students receiving financial aid and scholarships – Students receiving financial aid and scholarships must inform Financial Aid Services and obtain a signature from authorized staff in this office.
  • International (F1) students – International (F1) students must receive consent from an international student advisor.
  • Active duty service members, veterans, and their dependents – Students using veterans education benefits or tuition assistance must notify RRVA when withdrawing from sections. Failure to do so may result in overpayment from the Veterans Administration or Department of Defense.

Students withdrawing officially from a section will receive a grade of “W.” The “W” will appear on the student’s transcript and show as attempted credit, but will not be calculated into the student’s GPA. Students who withdraw may no longer attend that course. Withdrawal can affect academic standing, financial aid, veterans benefits, and tuition assistance (see Refunds and Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards for more information). Students who do not withdraw by the posted deadline must accept the final grade earned for the course.

Records and Registration Appeals Committee

A student who has an unexpected life event (illness or death in the immediate family, pregnancy or related issue, involuntary transfer/change in work hours, or called to active military duty via enlistment, activation, or deployment) during a semester may request an exception to Howard Community College’s dates and deadlines. In such extenuating circumstances, the student should submit a written request using the appeal form available at howardcc.edu/rrvaforms to the office of records, registration, and veterans' affairs, along with dated, supporting documentation. Appeals must be submitted no later than the end of the seventh week of the next major semester. The appeals committee makes its determination based on documentation of extenuating circumstances as cited in the student’s appeal request. Students whose appeals are denied may submit one additional appeal to the registrar.

Academic Persistence and Catalog Requirements

Students attending Howard Community College will follow the catalog requirements in effect during the semester they enrolled, or any catalog thereafter, provided they maintain continuous enrollment and do not have enrollment sanctions related to academic standing or the Student Code of Conduct. Students may take up to two calendar years off and still graduate under the catalog requirements they had been following as long as they complete a course in the last semester attended and complete a course in the semester they return (some exceptions can apply to nursing and allied health programs). Students who take more than two calendar years off must be readmitted to the college though they do not need to pay another standard application fee.

All students who change their learning program must follow the curriculum requirements of the catalog in place when the change is made. (Exceptions are possible only in extraordinary circumstances such as military deployment.)

Even when students select the same learning program, they must follow the program requirements in place when they are readmitted.

To officially change learning programs, students must complete a Change of Learning Program form, have it signed by an advisor, and submit it to the office of Admissions and Advising. This form is available in this office or on the college’s advising website (howardcc.edu/advising).

Students who have been granted course substitutions or who previously transferred credits into the college must also officially request a re-evaluation of their academic record based upon their new learning program and/or the new catalog they are following.