Student Handbook - Academic Information & Policies

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Academic Programs & Disciplines | Academic Advising | Credit Hours and Course Load | Prerequisites | Transitional Courses | Course Substitution | Transfer of Credit | Registration | Change of Major | Credit For Prior Learning | Attendance | Change of  Schedule | Withdrawal | Exams | Grading System | Academic Progress | Graduation and Academic Honors | College Competencies 

Policy on Student Confidentiality

As outlined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a student has the right to have his or her educational records remain confidential. FERPA affords students certain rights with respect to their
educational records. They are:

1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the College receives request for access. Students must submit to the Student Records Office a written request specifying the record(s) they want to inspect. The Registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place to inspect the record. If the Student Records Office does not maintain the records the student requested, the Registrar will advise the student of the correct official to contact.

2. The right to request the amendment of education records that students believe are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA. Students may ask the College to amend a record by writing to the College official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA. FERPA was not intended to provide a process to question substantive judgments, which are properly recorded. The rights of challenge do not apply, for example, to an argument that the student deserved a higher grade in a course if the grade recorded is the grade submitted by the faculty member. See page 19 for policies applying to grade appeals.

If the College decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the College will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Students who wish to appeal the decision should direct their request for an appeal to the office of the vice president for enrollment management. The College will provide the student with specific information regarding the hearing procedures upon the receipt of a request for a hearing.

3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in a student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. 

One exception that permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the College has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, collection agent, insurance agent, or official of the National Student Loan Clearing House); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.

A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.

The College may disclose education records without consent in certain other circumstances:

  • To comply with a court order or certain types of subpoenas
  • To appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency
  • To officials of another school, upon written request, in which a student seeks or intends to enroll
  • In connection with a student’s request for or receipt of financial aid, as necessary, to determine the eligibility, amount or conditions of the financial aid, or to enforce the terms and conditions of the aid
  • To certain officials of the U.S. Department of Education, the Comptroller general, to state and local educational authorities, in connection with certain state or federally supported programs
  • To accrediting organizations to carry out their functions
  • To organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of the College
  • The results of an institutional disciplinary proceeding against the alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence may be released to the alleged victim of that crime with respect to that crime

4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures of the College to comply with the requirements of FERPA. Contact the office that administers FERPA at: Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave. SW, Washington. DC 20202-4605.

5. The College designates the following as public or Directory Information that may be released without a student’s written consent, unless the student specifies to the contrary as described below:

  • Student name, address, phone number and e-mail address
  • Major field of study and degree sought or completed
  • Dates of attendance
  • Degrees and awards received
  • Expected date of completion of degree requirements and graduation
  • Full or part time enrollment status and classification (freshman or sophomore)
  • Most recent previous education agency or institution attended
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Height and weight of athletic team members
  • Date of birth

Delaware County Community College will release only the following directory information to telephonic requests: student name, degree sought or completed, expected dates of completion of degree requirements or graduation, and enrollment status.

6. Students may restrict the release of Directory Information, except to school officials with legitimate educational interest and those listed in #3 above. A student must make the request in writing at the student records office within two weeks of the beginning of the semester. Requests are valid for one year
from the date of submission. Students must understand that withholding directory information prevents the College from verifying attendance or graduation to potential employers, publishing the student’s name in a graduation program or dean’s list, and makes athletes ineligible to participate in any activity
requiring publication of a team roster. For purposes of compliance with FERPA, the College considers
all students independent.

Notification of Rights under FERPA

The College notifies students of their rights under FERPA through the Delaware County Community College Catalog, the Delaware County Community College Student Handbook and communications to new students from the vice provost for student services and instructional support. 

Notice of Publication of Campus Crime Statistics and Graduation Rates

As required by the College and University Security Information Act, security information and campus crime statistics are published every year. They are also available from the Security Office. In addition, as required by Student Right to Know legislation, graduation and transfer rates are available on the College’s website.

Academic Programs & Disciplines

Delaware County Community College offers a wide variety of academic programs and disciplines through six instructional units. 

Associate Degree/Dual Degree/Certificates 
Academic degree programs at Delaware County Community College lead to an associate degree, the recognized award for successful completion of a two-year program. Certificates of proficiency and certificates of competency are awarded for programs of shorter duration.

Students can earn degrees in two curricula at the same time, but must meet all requirements for both degrees. An application for graduation and payment of a fee are required for each degree. Some programs cannot be used together to obtain two degrees. For example, a student cannot earn degrees in Natural Science and Science for Health Professions. General Studies cannot be used as a dual or second degree.

For more information, consult the College Catalog.

Academic Advising

The mission of the academic advisement system is to help students gain the knowledge and skills and develop the attitudes and values needed to become good, responsible decision-makers regarding their educational, career and personal goals. Students are assigned advisors during the first few weeks of the semester. The advisor will talk with the student to be sure he or she is in the correct program to meet his or her academic and career goals. Advisors are available at Southeast Center, Chester County Campuses and the Marple Campus. Advisors are assigned by the Assessment Center, 610-359-5322.

Credit Hours and Course Load

Each course is assigned a number of credit hours according to the total amount of time that the class meets in one semester and the type of class. Associate degree programs require a total of at least 60 credit hours. A certificate of proficiency is awarded for 30 credits of an approved career program; a certificate of competency is earned for approved programs of less than 30 credits.

The normal course load for a full-time student is from 12 to 18 credit hours. Special permission must be obtained from an advisor, with approval from the associate dean for student success, to register for more
than 18 credit hours during any semester. Students may register for no more than seven credit hours during each summer session.

Employed students should adjust course loads according to the number of hours worked. It is recommended that students consult with a counselor or academic advisor about work schedules and course loads.

Prerequisites

Many courses have prerequisites, which indicate that a certain level of accomplishment is necessary before enrollment. For example, to enroll in Organic Chemistry I, a student must have successfully completed General Chemistry I and General Chemistry II. All prerequisites are listed in the College catalog. Students should consult course prerequisites before registering for classes.

Transitional Courses

To ensure that students are prepared to be successful in college-level courses, incoming students are placed in classes according to the results of placement tests. Based on the results of placement testing,
transitional course work in English, reading or math may be necessary.

The College requires that students complete transitional courses as soon as possible. Students must complete these courses before registering for more than 12 college-level credits.

Course Substitution

Students who want to substitute another course for a course required in their program must consult an advisor or counselor. Course substitutions must be approved by the appropriate dean.

Transfer of Credit

A student who transfers to the College from another college can request the transfer of credits by completing a petition for transfer of credit, available in the Assessment Center, Marple Campus, room 2195, or in the Student Services Office at each campus. In addition, students
may access the petition on the College website. The student must also have an official transcript sent to the Records Office. This is the student’s responsibility; it is not done automatically. Transfer credits that are accepted will be listed on the transcript. A maximum of 36 credits applicable to a major can be transferred from other colleges.

Students who plan to transfer from the College to a four-year college can obtain information from the Transfer Office, Room 1325, or the Student Services or Learner Services Office at each campus. Catalogs, course equivalency guides, transfer agreements, and staff assistance are available
at www.PATRAC.org or www.collegetransfer.com.

Registration

Continuing students can register early for courses they plan to take the next semester. Early registration occurs in October/November (for spring semester) and March/April (for summer and fall semesters), and
can help students obtain seats in courses scheduled at times convenient for them. Not all courses are offered every semester. Students are encouraged to contact their academic advisor for an appointment
during early registration periods.

Change of Major

Students who want to change from one program of study to another should meet with their academic advisor or counselor. The advisor can discuss the options available and furnish the necessary petition for
change of curriculum. This petition should be signed by the advisor and submitted to the Assessment Center when completed. Students changing their program of study may request that grades of “D,” “F,” “N” and “WF” earned in the former curriculum be excluded in computing the new grade point average (GPA), if these grades were in courses that are not required in the newly chosen curriculum.

This policy also applies to elective courses in which these grades were earned when a student changes from a college-transfer curriculum to a career program and vice versa. The appropriate dean must approve the exclusion of grades. A student may make this request only once. All courses taken and grades earned remain on the transcript as part of the student’s academic history; only the student’s GPA is recalculated.

Credit For Prior Learning

Students may be eligible to receive or earn credit for knowledge you’ve acquired through life and work experiences that are closely related to the learning objectives of the College’s credit courses. This knowledge may have come through on-the-job experiences, professional workshops, non-credit classes at business or technical schools, volunteer activities, personal study or other pursuits.

  • Portfolio Development
  • College Level Examination Program (CLEP)
  • Credit by Examination
  • Credit for Military Training Schools
  • Transfer Credits from Other Colleges
  • Advanced Placement

Students interested in pursuing credit for prior learning options should contact the Assessment Center, 610-359-5322

Attendance - Traditional and Hybrid Courses

Students are expected to attend all class sessions for courses in which they are enrolled. The student is responsible for withdrawing by the announced date.

Change of Schedule (Drop/Add)

The Drop/Add procedure allows students to change a course or The Drop/Add procedure allows students to change a course or change from one course section to another during the first week of class. It is possible to add a course from Monday through Wednesday only during the first week of classes. (Exceptions are made for students whose first official class begins after the official drop/add period.) Since it is more difficult to add a class than to drop one, it is important to add the new class before dropping the old one. Students should consult an advisor before making schedule changes to be certain of fulfilling degree requirements.

Students can drop a class and receive a “W” (a no-penalty grade) until approximately the tenth week of classes. Students are advised to talk to the instructor before dropping a class. Students must withdraw officially on the Web, at the Records Window or at the off-campus office. Students who do not officially withdraw could receive a grade of “F.”

Withdrawal Initiated by the College

No Show Withdrawal (NS) is initiated by the instructor and is issued for all students who register for a course, but never attend any class during the first 3 weeks of classes (or in the case of internet courses for never having any online activity during the first 3 weeks of classes), or for having attended only the first class (or logged in only once during the first week) as documented by the Instructor’s attendance records.
The NS is issued through the registrar’s office and results in no refund of tuition and fees to the student.

Provost’s Withdrawal (TW) is initiated through the Vice Provost for Student & Instructional Support Services at any time during the term. The TW is issued for certain violations of the Student Code of
Conduct, and if issued, results in no refund of tuition and fees to the student. The TW decision can be appealed to the Student Conduct & Discipline Committee.

Withdrawal Initiated by the Student

Dropped Course (DC) is initiated for any reason by the student and is issued by the Registrar. Students who wish to drop a course by the end of Week 3 for the Fall and Spring semesters, or through the 20% point in the accelerated, Summer I & II sessions, and Winter Terms will receive a grade of “W.” To drop a course students may go to the Records window or off-campus office, or may log in through delaGATE. A prorated refund schedule of tuition/fees applies, as outlined on page 15 in the College Catalog. The privilege of withdrawal without academic penalty will be denied to students who cheat or plagiarize.

Student Withdrawal (SW) is initiated for any reason by the student and is issued through the Registrar. The SW is used from Week 4 through Week 10 of the semester, or through the 60% point for in the
accelerated, Summer I & II sessions, and Winter Terms for any reason. The SW results in no refund of tuition/fees to the student, and has no effect on the student’s GPA.

Letter of Credit Withdrawal (MW) is initiated by the student and issued through the Registrar. The MW is used for a medical reason, call to active military duty in the U.S. armed services, or because of a life changing event with extreme and extenuating circumstances. Appropriate documentation is required. Tuition and applicable fees will be credited only after the student’s account is paid in full and the
reconciliation of financial aid and/or payment plan, where applicable, has been completed. The MW applies to a full and total withdrawal of all courses, and may be requested anytime during the term or within 60 days following the term for which the credit is requested. The credit may be applied to future charges at the College, and expires two years from the term for which the credit is issued.

Early Exams

Students who go on active duty with the armed forces or merchant marines or who, as transfer students, must matriculate at another institution during the last two weeks of regular class may petition the College to take early final examinations in all courses for which they are registered and thereby complete academic requirements to receive final grades. The student should make this request to the professor and provide a copy of his/her active duty orders. The division dean approves all early exam requests in consultation with the professor involved. If the student is unable to finish the semester, he/she should provide a copy of their active duty orders to the Registrar’s Office to receive a letter of credit from the College.

Challenge Examination

Registered students who believe they have mastered the course content prior to the tenth week of the semester may apply to the instructor for a “Challenge Examination.” The appropriate form, available from
the deans’ offices, must be completed. If the instructor approves the application, the student will take an exam equivalent to a final exam. A pass/fail system is used with a notation on the transcript that indicates
the credit was awarded by examination (CR). Failing grades are not recorded. The student will continue to attend classes (also laboratory and clinical experiences) until the results of the exam are known. Failure
on the exam means that the student must continue taking the course.

A Challenge Examination attempt will be permitted only once per course. The student may make application for the Challenge Examination no earlier than the end of the third week of the semester
and no later than the end of the tenth week. The appropriate dean will inform the student when the exam will be given.

Final Examinations

To complete courses and receive passing grades, all students must take the final examination as stated in the instructor’s syllabus. Students failing to appear for final examinations may be given a grade of “F” for the examination unless there is prior approval or immediate notification of an emergency situation.

A student who will be absent from a final examination must obtain the instructor’s prior approval in order to take a make-up examination. If prior approval is not possible, the student must:

1. Contact the instructor as soon as an emergency situation is present.
2. If the instructor is not available, contact the instructor’s dean. The dean will contact the instructor for a decision on make-up exams and/or an incomplete grade. The dean shall recommend a grade of incomplete only when an instructor cannot be reached and verification of an emergency is present — e.g., a physician’s note.
3. Students may appeal the decision of the instructor or the dean in writing according to the Grade Appeals policy.

Grading System

Letter grades are distributed at the end of each session and are used to calculate each student’s grade point average (GPA). The following letter grades are included in the computation of a student’s GPA:

LETTER GRADES MEANING POINTS PER SEMESTER HR
A Excellent 4
B Above Average 3
C Average 2
D Below Average 1
F Failing 0
FA Failing for lack of attendance 0

Letter grades that do not count in the computation of a student’s GPA:

AU Audit  The only grade given when a course is audited; carries
no credit.
IN Incomplete This grade is given when extenuating circumstances prevent the student from completing the course work during the regular session. The student must complete the incomplete work before the end of the next college session. Do not reregister for the class. An incomplete changes to an F or NP if not completed by the next semester.
HP High Pass Student has completed the course requirements and has demonstrated excellence in meeting course competencies. 
P Pass Student has completed the course requirements and has demonstrated proficiency in meeting course competencies.
NP Non-Pass Student has not completed the course requirements and/or has not demonstrated proficiency in meeting course competencies.
NPA Non-Pass Student has not completed the course requirements due to lack of attendance.
IP In Progress Only students enrolled in individualized classes may receive the IP grade. Students receiving this grade have partially met course requirements in a satisfactory manner but must re-register and pay the tuition in order to complete the course. If the student does not register and successfully complete the course in the following semester, excluding summer sessions, the IP grade will change to a NP grade.
W Withdraw This grade is given to students who are authorized to withdraw from a course during the approved withdraw period.
T Transfer This grade is given for a course transferred into the College.
CR Credit Credit is awarded through Prior Learning Assessment.
NR No Record Grade is not reported by instructor. 

Transitional and developmental courses will be awarded the following grades: HP, P, IP, NP, NPA, W, IN and CR. These grades do not count in the computation of a student’s GPA. Instructors of transitional and develomental courses will define in their course syllabi the grading criteria that constitutes a HP, P, NP or NPA.

Grade Point Average

Student achievements are measured in the form of a grade point average (GPA), which is calculated each semester as follows.
1. Determine the points earned in each course.
2. Multiply the number of points by the number of credits given for each course to determine the quality points.
3. Divide the sum of the quality points by the total number of graded or GPA credit hours.

The result is the grade point average.

Cumulative Grade Point Average

A cumulative grade point average is calculated in the same manner as the GPA, except that all of the work at the College is taken into account. Here’s a sample:

SUBJECT GRADE POINTS   CREDITS QUALITY POINTS
English B 3 x 3 = 9
History A 4 x 3 = 12
Math C 2 x 3 = 6
Science D 1 x 4 = 4
Elective F 0 x 2 = 0
TOTAL       15 = 31

Total of Grade Points/Total GPA credit hours = Grade Point Average 31.0 Grade Points ÷ 15 Credits = 2.066 Average GPA = 2.07

Grade Appeals Procedures

A student who is dissatisfied with a grade should first discuss the situation with the course instructor. If the student is not satisfied with the instructor’s reason for awarding a certain grade the student may appeal to that instructor’s dean. Grade appeals not resolved with the course instructor must be submitted in writing to the appropriate dean within one year of receiving the grade.

The appropriate dean will examine the facts and make a decision.

Students may appeal the decision of the dean by submitting a written appeal to the provost. The provost will study the facts and make a decision, with notification of the decision. The provost’s decision is final.

The following chart summarizes the appeal process:

Grade Appeals Chain

CONTACT FORM OF APPEAL DECISION PERIOD
1. Instructor Verbal Immediate
2. Dean Written 10 days
3. Provost Written Decision final


Repeating a Course

Students may repeat a course to improve their grade point average if the initial grade was “D,” “NP,” NPA,” “W,” “F,” or “FA.” When a student repeats a course for the first time, the initial hours attempted, hours earned and lower grade points are not included in the calculation of his/her grade point average. This privilege is given once per course. If the student should need to take a course a third time, as in the case of a repeated failure, the hours attempted for the course the second time remain in the grade point average calculation. Credit for a course is given only once, unless designated in the College catalog.

The courses must remain listed on the student’s transcript in all cases, with an explanatory notation on the transcript.

Academic Progress

Status (Freshman and Sophomore)
A regularly enrolled student who has completed fewer than 30 semester hours or the equivalent at Delaware County Community College or another institution is considered a freshman.

A student who has finished 30 hours or more and is seeking an associate degree or a certificate of proficiency is considered a sophomore.

Satisfactory Progress
All students must complete a reasonable portion of the courses in which they enroll and maintain progress toward their academic goals.

The Academic Affairs Committee reviews the status of students who have failed to complete satisfactorily a reasonable portion of courses attempted as shown below.

Students registered for Must have completed
19 credits 6 credits
32 credits 12 credits
48 credits 20 credits
60 credits 40 credits


Academic Probation

A student who has completed six or more graded credits and whose cumulative grade point average is less than 2.0 (“C”) will be on academic probation during the next session in attendance.

Progress in Transitional Courses

The provost may ask the Academic Affairs Committee to review the status of students who do not pass a transitional course after a second attempt. The Academic Affairs Committee may recommend dismissal
from the College.

Dismissal

The provost or designee may ask the Academic Affairs Committee to review the status of a student who remains on probation for more than one session. If, in the judgement of the Committee, the student is not
making satisfactory progress, the Committee may recommend dismissal from the College.

Any student on academic probation will be subject to dismissal from the College if his/her cumulative grade point average for credits accepted by or attempted at the College drops:

• Below 1.5 with a total of 16 credit hours, or
• Below 1.75 with a total of 32 credit hours, or
• Below 1.9 with a total of 48 credit hours

Procedure for Appealing Academic Dismissal

A student dismissed for academic reasons may appeal for readmission. The student must file a letter of appeal for readmission with the office of the vice provost for student and instructional support services. That appeal must include information requested by the letter of dismissal, and be received in the timeframe indicated. The student must also meet with a designated counselor and sign a contract. The Academic Affairs Committee will review all appeals decisions and notify the student of its decision.

If the appeal is denied, the student may appeal in writing to the provost within 10 days of receiving the letter. The student must inform the provost that he/she is appealing the ruling of the Academic Affairs Committee. The provost or designee will inform the student of the decision within 10 working days. This decision is final.

Students readmitted by the Academic Affairs Committee or the provost will be placed on academic probation and must follow the rules of the decision.

Loss of Financial Aid

Any student dismissed by the College and then readmitted will be ineligible for financial aid for at least one semester, or until the vice president for enrollment management determines that academic progress
is evident. Unsatisfactory academic progress may result in loss of financial aid. Students can obtain more information regarding satisfactory academic progress from the Financial Aid Office, Marple Campus, room 3507, 610-359-5330 or an off-campus financial aid staff member.

Academic Bankruptcy

A returning student who has not attended Delaware County Community College for two consecutive years may request that “F” and/or “D” grades of courses taken prior to readmission be excluded from the grade point average. However, courses and grades will remain on the transcript. A request to the provost’s office must be in writing and must specify that the student does not expect any excluded grades to be used in any way toward fulfilling degree requirements. The College, in return for this declaration of academic bankruptcy, will exclude grades and courses as requested. This request will be considered only after the returning student completes at least 24 credits of graded course work with a grade point
average of 2.7 or above.

Graduation and Academic Honors

Dean’s List and President’s List
Students who complete a minimum of 12 degree credits in the semester with a 3.0 (“B”) average or better will be included on the Dean’s List at the end of the semester. Students who complete 12 or more degree
credits with a 3.5 grade point average or better will be included on the President’s List.

Graduation Requirements
To graduate from the College a student must:

• Earn at least 60 credits exclusive of transitional and continuing education courses. Of these, at least 24 must be earned at the College. Of the 24 hours of Delaware County Community College credit required for graduation, at least 15 of these must be in graded courses for the associate degree, and at least six of the 15 semester hours in graded courses for a certificate.
• Have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 (“C”) or better (transfer credits are not used in the computation of the College GPA.)
• Complete an approved course of study satisfactorily (that is, all required courses and electives)
• Complete an application for graduation at the beginning of the semester in which he/she plans to graduate.
• Pay the graduation fee, which pays for the cap, gown and diploma.

Graduation Honors
Students who receive a degree or certificate from the College and have earned an overall GPA of 3.0 to 3.49 in courses applicable to the degree will graduate with Honors. Students who achieve an overall GPA of 3.5 or better will graduate with High Honors.

Academic Excellence Award
A $100 award is given to the graduate with the highest GPA of the academic year. In case of a tie, the recipient is the student who attempted and completed the greatest number of credit hours.

Academic Achievement Awards
The faculty present Academic Achievement Awards to students with distinguished accomplishments in specific curricula, areas and disciplines. Criteria for selection include: a GPA of 3.5; no final grade
lower than “A” in the curriculum, area or discipline; completion of more than half the credits required for the certificate or degree; and distinguished performance as observed by the faculty.

Outstanding Student Achievement Award
Each year, the Outstanding Student Achievement Award recognizes a student’s achievements in leadership and service to the College and/or community in addition to his/her academic achievement. The College faculty and staff nominate students for this honor and the Student Affairs Committee choses the award recipient.

Who’s Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges
Who’s Who is an annual national reference book that recognizes students from more than 2,000 institutions of higher learning in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and several foreign nations. The College faculty select sophomores for this honor using the following criteria:

• Above-average scholarship
• Outstanding citizenship
• Participation and leadership in academic and/or extracurricular activities
• General promise of future benefit to business and society 

College Competencies

The College competencies are the result of a concentrated effort to define and describe the skills and knowledge expected of all the College associate degree graduates. The competencies can be found in the College Catalog.