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Raritan Valley Community College    
 
    
 
  Jul 24, 2017
 
2014-2015 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Regulations


 

Course Credits 

Course credits are measured in Semester Credit Hours. Semester Credit Hours are awarded, in a standard 15-week semester (14 weeks of instruction plus a final examination), as follows:

  • Lecture, seminar, or discussion format – One credit hour represents one hour per week of scheduled lecture/seminar/discussion plus two additional hours of work by students outside of class.
  • Laboratory format – One credit hour represents one hour per week of scheduled lecture/discussion, plus 1-2 hours per week of either scheduled and supervised laboratory instruction or independent laboratory work, plus two additional hours of work by students outside of class.
  • Supervised or independent practice format (clinical rounds, visual or performing art studio, student teaching, field work, etc.) – One credit hour represents 3-4 hours per week of supervised or independent practice.     

For courses offered in a longer or shorter academic term, the times indicated for a standard 15-week semester are appropriately prorated. For courses taught in non-traditional formats, the academic department offering the course is responsible for ensuring that the levels of faculty and student activity are appropriately comparable to those for the same course taught in a traditional format. 

Grading System

A grade reflects the faculty member’s evaluation of a student’s achievement in a specific course. The grading system at RVCC is a follows:

Grade

Interpretation

Grade Points/Credit Hour

Excellent 

4.0

B+

Very Good 

3.5

Good 

3.0

C+

Between Satisfactory and Good 

2.5

 C 

Satisfactory 

2.0

 D

Lowest Passing Grade

1.0

 F 

Failing

0.0

 W 

Withdrawal 

Not Applicable

 X 

Satisfactory Progress*

Not Applicable

 I

Incomplete 

Not Applicable

AU

Audit

Not Applicable

Pass* 

Not Applicable
 

*Applies to developmental courses, ENGL 070, MATH 015 and MATH 020s.

Incomplete Grades

An Incomplete grade (I) is only given when a documented emergency occurs after the final Withdrawl date for that course, thus preventing a student from completing all of the required work.

A student receiving an Incomplete grade has four weeks from the end of the semester in which the grade was assigned to complete the missing work. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the faculty member to make arrangements to complete the missing work. When the work is completed the faculty member assigns a final grade, replacing the “I” on the student’s permanent academic record. If the required work is not satisfactorily completed within the four-week time period, a grade of “F” is assigned, replacing the “I”.

Repeating a course for which an Incomplete grade was received has no effect on the resolution of the original grade. An Incomplete grade is counted as an “F” in computing a student’s cumulative grade point average for the awarding of a degree or certificate.

Satisfactory Progress Grades 

A Satisfactory Progress grade (X) may be given in certain developmental courses. To complete a course in which a Satisfactory Progress grade was assigned, the student must repeat the course and earn a credit-bearing grade. Courses in which Satisfactory Progress grades are assigned are not counted in computing a student’s grade point average.    

Pass Grades

A Pass grade (P) may be given in certain developmental courses. Courses in which Pass grades are assigned are not counted in computing the student’s grade point average.

Withdrawal Grades

No entry is recorded on a student’s permanent academic record for a course withdrawal executed before the official enrollment certification date. For a withdrawal executed after the official enrollment certification date, a Withdrawal (W) grade is entered on the student’s record. Withdrawal dates are published in the term Schedule of Classes.

Reminder:  It is soley the student’s responsibility to drop or withdraw from a course in accordance with printed and published deadlines.

Grade Point Average

A student’s grade point average (GPA) is computed by dividing the total number of grade points earned by the total number of semester hours counted, which may vary according to the use for which the GPA is intended.

 GPA = [Total Grade Points Earned
             [Total Credit Hours Counted]

Only credit hours and grades in courses taken at RVCC are used in computing a student’s RVCC grade point average.

 

How to Compute a GPA

Course Credits Grade & Honor Pts. Credits Attempted Value Points
History 3 W(-) - -
English 3 A(4) 3 12
Psychology 3 C(2) 3 6
French 4 D(1) 4 4
Basic Arithmetic 3NC* C(-) - -
Totals 16   10 22

 *A developmental course for no college credit.

Grade Point Average (GPA) =Value Points =  22  = 2.2
  Credits
Attempted
 10  

  
Final Examinations

A final examination is given at the end of each course at the time and place published by the Registrar’s Office. Faculty members may not alter their examination schedules unless a specific change has been authorized by the Dean of Academic Affairs.

Students are not expected to take more than two final examinations on any given day. If a student has more than two final examinations scheduled on a single day, he/she may appeal to have one of the examinations rescheduled. The line of appeal is first to the faculty member(s) and then to the Dean of Academic Affairs.

Students are expected to take final examinations when they are scheduled or rescheduled. Missed examinations may be rescheduled at the discretion of the faculty member. Schedules for final examinations are posted in Lion’s Den.

Early Alert

Within the first few weeks of the semester, any student who is perceived by his or her instructor to be in academic difficulty—not attending, not submitting assignments, performing poorly on assessments, etc.—will be contacted by letter or e-mail by the Office of the Dean of Academic Affairs or the Office of the Dean of Student Services. Students who receive an early alert should consult with their instructors to determine ways to improve their academic performance; and should meet with an academic advisor to create additional success strategies; and should visit the Academic Support Center..

Midterm Warning Report

At midterm, students in academic difficulty will receive a midterm warning letter from the Director of Advising & Counseling. These letters are advisory in nature and will not become part of the student’s permanent record.

Students doing unsatisfactory work at this time should consult their instructors to determine ways to improve their academic performance. In cases where additional studying, tutoring, or changes in study habits cannot improve the student’s grade, withdrawal may be recommended.

Academic Standing

Academic Standing is recorded on the academic transcript at the conclusion of each term. Students whose comprehensive semester grade point average or cumulative college level grade point average falls below 2.0 will receive a Lion’s Den e-mail letter indicating their academic standing. Students should check final grades and academic standing on Lion’s Den and Lion’s Den e-mail each term.

Grade Point Averages Used to Determine Academic Standing

Comprehensive semester grade point average – The grade point average for the term, including developmental studies, English as a Second Language studies, and all other college level coursework.

Cumulative grade point average – The cumulative grade point average for all college level coursework at Raritan Valley Community College.

Good Standing
Students must maintain a comprehensive semester grade point average of 2.0 or better and a cumulative college level grade point average of 2.0 or better to be in Good Academic Standing.

Early Alert
Early Alert is an initial warning to students whose comprehensive semester grade point average or cumulative college level grade point average falls below 2.00 that they are not making satisfactory academic progress and that they may be placed on Academic Probation if their record does not improve.

Academic Probation
Students on Academic Alert whose comprehensive semester grade point average or cumulative grade point average is below 2.0 in their next enrollment term are placed on Academic Probation.

Students on Academic Probation whose comprehensive semester grade point average in their next enrollment term is 2.0 or higher, but whose cumulative grade point average remains below 2.0, remain on Academic Probation.

Academic Probation is a serious warning to students that they are not making satisfactory academic progress and that they may be placed on Academic Suspension if their record does not improve. Students on Academic Probation must have the approval of an academic advisor or counselor for subsequent enrollments or enrollment changes while on Academic Probation. Students’ enrollment may be restricted to certain courses, or to a limited number of courses, as a condition of Academic Probation status.

Academic Suspension
Students on Academic Probation whose comprehensive semester grade point average in their next enrollment term is below 2.0 are placed on Academic Suspension.

Students on Academic Suspension are prohibited from enrolling in the next semester.  A student may petition for permission to enroll part-time to the Academic Standards Committee or to an academic advisor or counselor authorized by the Academic Standards Committee to hear such petitions. If a student’s petition is approved, the student is placed on Suspension Probation.

Suspension Probation
Students returning to the College after a period of Academic Suspension or Academic Dismissal, and students who, successfully petition to enroll from Academic Suspension, are placed on Suspension Probation.  Students on Suspension Probation must meet with an academic advisor or counselor before re-enrolling. These students’ enrollment may be restricted to certain courses, or to a limited number of courses, as a condition of Suspension Probation status.

Academic Dismissal
Students on Suspension Probation whose comprehensive semester grade point average in their next enrollment term is below 2.0 are placed on Academic Dismissal and are prohibited from enrolling for two calendar years. Students are subject to Academic Dismissal each enrollment term the comprehensive semester grade point average is below 2.0, until achieving Good Academic Standing.  Academic Dismissal is final and cannot be appealed.

Re-enrollment Following Academic Dismissal
A student returning to the College after a period of Academic Dismissal must petition the Dean of Academic Affairs. If reinstated, the student will be placed on Suspension Probation.

Grade Appeals and Academic Complaints

Student complaints of an academic nature should initially be discussed between the student and the student’s instructor. Failing a satisfactory resolution of the problem at this level, the student should consult with the appropriate department chairperson. Should the student still feel that a satisfactory resolution has not been achieved, the student may request the Dean of Academic Affairs to review the matter.

Students wishing to initiate a grade appeal must do so IN WRITING within four weeks of the beginning of the following semester, excluding Summer sessions. Other than in cases of computational or clerical error, grades may only be changed by following the grade appeal procedure.

Grade Appeal Procedure

A student who wishes to appeal a final grade shall proceed as follows:

  1. Submit a written request for a grade change along with the rationale for such a request to the faculty member who assigned the grade. The appeal must be filed by the fourth week of the following semester (Summer sessions not included).
  2. Within two weeks of filing such a request for a grade change by the student, the faculty member shall respond in writing rendering a decision about the request for change of a grade, copying the department chair as well.

If the student wishes to further challenge the decision of the faculty member as described above, he/she shall follow the following procedure:

  1. A petition for a grade change should be filed, in writing, with the appropriate chairperson after conferring with the instructor. The petition shall include a description of the student’s rationale for challenging the recorded grade with supportive documentation.
  2. The chairperson shall:
    1. Interview the student.
    2. Interview the faculty member who assigned the grade.
    3. Review written material submitted by the student and faculty member. The chairperson shall also consult with senior faculty members familiar with the discipline involved with respect to the graded material under challenge.
    4. The chairperson shall render a written recommendation to the student and faculty member involved within one month from the date the chairperson received the petition.
  3. If the grade was not revised through the above process, the student may further appeal to the Dean of Academic Affairs. The Dean will review all materials and determine whether a grade change shall be approved, and shall advise the involved student and faculty member in writing of the decision. The decision of the Dean of Academic Affairs shall be final.

Class Attendance

Students are expected to attend all classes, laboratories, and clinical sessions for every course in which they are enrolled. To accommodate students’ reasonable, personal situations that might prevent them from attending classes, each student is entitled to excused absences amounting to the equivalent of one week’s class time in a semester. Any absences in excess of this standard can prevent students from achieving the course learning outcomes as evaluated by the instructor.  It is the student’s responsibility to read his/her syllabus for course or departmental attendance policies.

Field Trips

A faculty member may schedule required or optional field trips in addition to, or in place of, regularly scheduled class meetings. Information regarding required field trips must be included in the course syllabus. If students are required to attend a field trip, the faculty member should make every effort to schedule the trip so that it does not conflict with students’ other classes, laboratory sessions, or other outside obligations or commitments. If such a conflict is unavoidable, students may be excused from participating in the field trip or from attending the conflicting class or laboratory session.

All field trips and related activities must meet the College’s obligation to comply with the applicable requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Field trips must be approved in advance by the appropriate department chair and/or administrator. 

Break in Enrollment

A student who has been continuously enrolled at RVCC must fulfill graduation requirements that were published at the time the student matriculated into the program, unless the student requests to update to a more recent catalog year.

A student who interrupts his/her studies for more than three years must apply for re-admission and fulfill the requirements in place upon re-enrollment. A student with a break of more than three years may use requirements in place during initial enrollment only if he/she had earned 50 credits prior to the break in enrollment and if the degree is still being offered.

A student whose program has been discontinued will be permitted two years to complete the program. RVCC will not award degrees for programs that have been discontinued for more than two years.

Auditing a Course

Auditing a course means enrolling in the course on a non-credit basis. A student who wants to attend the class meetings in a course, without receiving credit for the course, may request to audit the course. To audit a course the student must register for the course as a audit.

Unless otherwise exempted by the faculty member, a student auditing a course must meet all prerequisites and/or co-requisites for the course and must consult with the faculty member to determine course expectations and restrictions.

A student may request permission from an instructor to change from credit status to audit status in a course at any time prior to the last day to withdraw from a course as published in the College’s Academic Calendar. A student enrolling to audit a course in a particular term may not change to credit status in that course.

Credit hours in audited courses are not counted in the total number of hours used to determine the student’s full-time or part-time enrollment status. Credit hours in audited courses are counted in determining whether the student’s total credit hour enrollment is in compliance with any enrollment limitations or restrictions. Auditing a course does not satisfy any prerequisites for enrolling in subsequent courses. Courses taken under audit status do not count toward a student’s financial aid eligibility requirements.

Credit Limit

Degree-seeking students may enroll for a maximum of 19 credit hours during Fall or Spring Semesters, 12 credit hours during Summer Sessions I, II and III and only for 1 course during the Winter Session unless permission is granted. Non-degree students are limited to 9 credits per semester.

Exceptions must have written approval from an advisor or counselor in Advising & Counseling Services or the Dean of Academic Affairs.

Student Classification

Students with 29 or fewer credits will be classified as freshmen. Students with 30 credits or more will be classified as sophomores.

Directed Study

The College offers students the opportunity to study individually with an instructor. The two methods available are Independent Study and Guided Study. Any student interested in either of these options should contact the appropriate department and have all forms completed before registering.  All forms must be signed by the Assistant Dean or Dean of Academic Affairs.

Guided Study

Guided study is an existing course independently taught by an RVCC faculty member to accommodate student needs due to difficulty caused by College scheduling. The course number and outline will remain consistent with the College catalog.  All forms must be signed by the Assistant Dean or Dean of Academic Affairs.

Independent Study

Independent study is a new course independently taught by an RVCC faculty member to enhance student learning. The faculty member will design the course outline to meet the student’s goals and needs. The course number will be assigned by the Office of Academic Affairs as an independent study and the syllabus will remain on file in that office.  All forms must be signed by the Assistant Dean, Associate Dean or Dean of Academic Affairs.

Independent Study is generally  allowed for students who have completed all course levels in a particular area. However, there can be exceptions with permission of the instructor.

Repeating Courses

Students may repeat any college-level course once without specific authorization. To repeat a college-level course more than once, a student must have the approval of the Dean of Student Services.

Courses in which students have received grades of W, AU, or P are not included in counting repeated courses.

When a college-level course is repeated, all enrollments in the course are included on the student’s permanent academic record, but only the highest grade earned at RVCC will be included in the student’s grade point average (GPA).

Developmental courses (course numbers below 100) are not governed by this policy.

Students receiving financial aid should consult with the Financial Aid office before repeating a course, since some financial aid programs do not pay for repeated courses.

Foreign Language Policy: A student may not repeat (for a grade) a foreign language course once the next course in the sequence has been successfully completed (C grade or higher). 

Academic Renewal Program

The Academic Renewal Program is designed for students who attended RVCC, compiled an unsuccessful academic record, and subsequently left the College for an extended period of time. As a result of their work experience, maturity, or new interests, these students may now wish to return to college to pursue a program of study towards a degree.

To qualify for the Academic Renewal Program, a student must:

  • Be matriculated into a degree or certificate program
  • Have been away from RVCC for a minimum of five years (60 months)
  • Upon returning to RVCC, complete a minimum of 12 credit hours, earning a GPA of 2.4 or better
  • Be currently enrolled

Under the Academic Renewal Program:

  • All grades earned prior to the five-year period are eliminated from the student’s GPA calculation
  • Only the GPA is affected by this program. All other previous academic records will remain on the transcript
  • Grades earned after returning to RVCC will be included in the new GPA calculations, including the 12 credits required to qualify for this program
  • All courses taken prior to the five-year absence in which a grade of C or better was earned may be used to meet graduation requirements
  • Credits awarded through evaluation (transfer, CLEP, credit by in-house examination, military experience and Advanced Placement) are not changed by this program, regardless of their date.

Students are cautioned that not all colleges honor academic renewal. Transfer institutions may recalculate the GPA based on all credits attempted for purposes of admission consideration, scholarship and award eligibility, program admission, and other matters regarding academic standing.

Academic renewal will not affect Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid recipients. All courses in a student’s academic history are considered for financial aid eligibility. Students receiving Veterans Administration benefits will not be reimbursed for repeating courses that have already been passed.

The Academic Renewal option may be used only once; it is not available a second time, even after another five-year separation from the College.

Graduation Requirements and Commencement

Graduation Requirements

Students should generate a Degree Evaluation Record, available on Lion’s Den, to determine whether all graduation requirements are met.

At the beginning of the semester during which graduation is anticipated, a student must complete an Application for Graduation and submit it to the Student Enrollment Center.  Deadlines to apply for graduation are usually one month after the first day of each semester. 

Students who have applied for graduation but fail to meet the requirements at the conclusion of the semester must re-submit an Application for Graduation when they intend to graduate.

In addition to all course and credit requirements, students must also have a minimum grade point average of 2.0, both overall and within their program. Courses numbered below 100 are not applicable toward graduation requirements.

A student who has been continuously enrolled at RVCC must fulfill graduation requirements that were published at the time the student matriculated into the program, unless the student requests to update to a more recent catalog year. A student who interrupts his/her studies for more than three years must fulfill the requirements in place upon re-enrollment. A student with a break of more than three years may use requirements in place during initial enrollment only if he/she had earned 50 credits prior to the break in enrollment and if the degree is still being offered.

Students may transfer up to 45 credits toward an associate degree or 75 percent of the required credits for a certificate program, including those from other accredited institutions and those earned through other means. The course requirements of some selective programs may limit the application of transfer credits to degree requirements.

Students who have studied at RVCC and transfer prior to receiving a degree or certificate may transfer back coursework in order to complete graduation requirements, if the degree or certificate program is active at the time of readmission.

Students whose programs have been discontinued will be permitted two years to complete the program. RVCC will not award degrees for programs that have been discontinued for more than two years.

Commencement

RVCC holds Commencement Exercises in May of each year. A student may participate in Commencement Exercises if he/she meets any of the following criteria.

  • Completed all program requirements at the end of the previous Fall Semester or at the end of the previous Summer Session.
  • Will have completed all program requirements at the end of the current Spring Semester.
  • Has three or fewer courses remaining to be completed to fulfill all program requirements and is enrolled in those courses in the following Summer Session. 

Graduation-with-honors designations for the Commencement Ceremony are based on the student’s Grade Point Average (GPA) as follows.

  • Summer and Fall Graduates – GPA at the end of the Graduation term.
  • Spring Graduates – GPA at end of the previous Fall Semester.

Recognition of Academic Achievement

Dean’s List

The Dean’s List of outstanding students is compiled and published at the end of each Fall and Spring Semester by the Office of the Dean of Academic Affairs. To be included on the Dean’s List a student must meet all of the following requirements.

  • Have earned a minimum of 12 cumulative credit hours at RVCC in college-level courses.
  • Earn a minimum of six college-level credit hours in the current Fall or Spring Semester.
  • Achieve a minimum semester GPA of 3.5 in college-level courses.
  • Receive no grade lower than a “C” in any course for the semester.
  • Not be eligible for inclusion on the President’s List of outstanding students.

President’s List

President’s List – The President’s List of outstanding students is compiled and published at the end of each Fall and Spring Semester. To be included on the President’s List a student must meet all of the following requirements.

  • Earn a minimum of 12 credit hours in college-level courses in the current Fall or Spring Semester.
  • Earn “A” grades in all courses for the semester.
  • Have no “W” or “I” grades for the semester.

Degrees and Certificates with Honors

Students completing associate degree requirements and meeting all of the following additional requirements receive degrees with honors.

  • Achieve a minimum total cumulative RVCC GPA of 3.5.
  • Achieve a minimum cumulative RVCC GPA of 3.5 on all courses applied toward the awarded degree.
  • Receive no grade lower than a “C” in any college-level course applied toward the awarded degree.
  • Complete, at RVCC, a minimum of 30 credits hours in courses applied toward the awarded degree.

Students completing certificate requirements and meeting all of the following additional requirements receive certificates with honors.

  • Complete a certificate requiring at least 30 semester credit hours.
  • Achieve a minimum total cumulative RVCC GPA of 3.5.
  • Achieve a minimum total cumulative RVCC GPA of 3.5 on all courses applied to the awarded certificate.
  • Receive no grade lower than a “C” in any college-level course applied toward the awarded certificate.
  • Complete, at RVCC, a minimum of 15 credits hours in courses applied toward the awarded certificate.

Honors are awarded on the basis of the student’s cumulative RVCC GPA on all courses applied to the awarded degree or certificate as follows.

3.50 – 3.79   Cum Laude (with honor)
 
3.80 – 3.99   Magna Cum Laude (with high honor)
 
4.00  Summa Cum Laude (with highest honor)


Honors Achievement Award

To receive the Honors Achievement Award a student must meet all of the following requirements.

  • Complete a minimum of 15 credit units in Honors-level courses.
  • Receive no grade lower than a “B” in any of the Honors-level courses being counted for the award. 


 



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