Academic Policies and Procedures
Credits: Each semester hour of credit given for a course is based on the “academic hour,” which is 50 minutes of formalized, structured instructional time in a particular course weekly for fifteen weeks. This is a total of 750 minutes of instruction. In addition to this instructional time, appropriate evaluation will be required. If this evaluation is a final examination, a minimum of 50 minutes of evaluation time shall be scheduled for each course, not to exceed a total of 150 minutes per course. Any exception must have prior approval by the requestor’s Chief Academic Officer or designee. Credits may be assigned to the activities as follows:
- Lecture - One academic hour of lecture (including lecture, seminar, discussion, or other similar activities) per week, generally for 15 weeks, plus the evaluation or examination period, equals one collegiate semester-hour credit.
- Laboratory - Two to five academic hours, depending on the discipline, of laboratory, clinical training, supervised work experience, coordinated internship, or other similar activities per week, generally for 15 weeks, plus the evaluation or examination period, equals one collegiate semester-hour credit.
- Asynchronous Distance Learning Courses - In the case of asynchronous distance learning course offerings or hybrid courses that employ a mix of traditional contact hours and learning activities with students and faculty separated by time and place, colleges must demonstrate through faculty peer review that content and competency coverage and student outcomes are equivalent to those of traditional sections of the same class. In the event the only section of the course being taught in the VCCS is an asynchronous or hybrid course, faculty peer review will be employed to confirm that content and competency coverage and student outcomes are appropriate for the course credits awarded.
- General Usage Courses - Variable academic hours from one to five credits for general usage courses.
- Variable Credits - A college may request that a course vary from the existing credit value, but by no more than one credit. Existing variable credit ranges may not be extended. Credit variability will not be approved for purposes of deleting laboratory hours or of making laboratory hours optional. General usage courses and courses numbered 1-99 are exempt from this policy.
Grading System for Credit Classes
Students must satisfy required course prerequisites or placement testing requirements before entering a course that has requisite requirements. In order to receive any letter grade, a student must have attended a minimum of one class meeting or the equivalent in the case of a distance learning course. In a distance learning course, initial student attendance is determined by course participation as measured by accessing and using course materials, completion of a class assignment, participation in a course discussion, or other evidence of participation. Students who enroll in a class but do not attend a minimum of one class meeting or the distance learning equivalent by the census date or earlier date as defined and published by the institution must be administratively deleted from the course by the college.
The grades of A, B, C, D, P, and S are passing grades. Grades of F and U are failing grades. An “I” is an interim grade. Grades of P, R, S, W, and X carry no credits.
Usually, if a student transfers to a four-year college or university, only grades of A, B, and C will be accepted for credit in courses equivalent to those offered at the four-year college or university.
The quality of performance in any academic course is reported by a letter grade, the assessment of which is the responsibility of the instructor. These grades denote the quality of study and are assigned quality points as follows:
|A - Excellent
||4 grade points per credit
|B - Good
||3 grade points per credit
|C - Average
||2 grade points per credit
|D - Poor
||1 grade point per credit
|F - Failure
||0 grade points per credit
|P - Passing
||0 grade points per credit
|S - Satisfactory
||0 grade points per credit
Re-enroll (R): This grade is to be used for developmental courses (numbered 01-99) or special courses as approved by the Vice President of Academic Affairs. The “R” grade will be given in only those courses in which the student can re-enroll the following semester and complete the remaining objectives without taking the entire course over. The Vice President of Academic Affairs keeps a list of courses in which the “R” grade may be used and must approve each course eligible for an “R” grade. When students re-enroll for a course, they must pay for the course again. No credit is awarded until the course objectives are finished.
Incomplete (I): The “I” grade is to be used only for verifiable unavoidable reasons that a student is unable to complete a course within the normal course time. To be eligible to receive an “I” grade, the student must (1) have satisfactorily completed more than 60% of the course requirements and attendance and (2) request the faculty member to assign the “I” grade and indicate why it is warranted. The faculty member has the discretion to decide whether the “I” grade will be awarded. Since the “incomplete” extends enrollment in the course, requirements for satisfactory completion shall be established through consultation between the faculty member and the student. In assigning the “I” grade, the faculty member must complete documentation that (1) states the reason for assigning the grade; (2) specifies the work to be completed and indicates its percentage in relation to the total work of the course; (3) specifies the date by which the work must be completed; and (4) identifies the default (B, C, D, F, P, R, or U) based upon course work already completed. Completion dates may not be set beyond the last day of the subsequent semester (to include summer term) without written approval of the chief academic officer of the campus. The student will be provided a copy of the documentation. Colleges will establish procedures to ensure that all “I” grades that have not been changed by the faculty member through the normal grade change processes are subsequently changed to the default grade assigned by the faculty member. An “I” grade will be changed to a “W” only under documented mitigating circumstances which must be approved by the Vice President of Academic Affairs.
Withdrawal (W): A grade of “W” conveys no credit and is awarded to students who withdraw from a course after the add/drop period but prior to the completion of 60 percent of the session. After this time, the student will receive a grade of “F” except under mitigating circumstances which must be documented. A copy of that documentation is placed in the student’s academic file. Members of the military who are called into active duty service during a semester after the withdrawal date for their courses, may be eligible for a withdrawal for mitigating circumstances. If a withdrawal is given, the student is ineligible for a refund.
Audit (X): A student who audits earns no credit. Permission of the instructor or other appropriate administrator is required to audit a course. An auditing student may be dropped from the course if that student’s place is needed for a student taking the course for credit. Full tuition and fees apply.
Pass (P) and Unsatisfactory (U): Grades available under the Pass/Unsatisfactory option are “P” and “U.” A student under this option receives one or the other of these two grades, except where an “R,” “I,” or “W” is appropriate. The pass/unsatisfactory grading option is used for non-punitive purposes. The use of this option requires the approval of the division dean responsible for the course or other designated academic administrator.
The P/U grading option may be used for an entire section of any course, but not for a single individual within a course. Pass grades are not included within GPA calculations. A maximum of seven (7) semester credit hours from courses for which the “P” grade has been awarded may be applied toward completion of a degree, diploma, or certificate. This maximum may be extended to fifteen (15) semester credit hours in experiential learning programs approved by the Vice President of Academic Affairs.
S - Satisfactory: No grade point credit. Used only for satisfactory completion of developmental studies courses and ESL courses.
Developmental or preparatory programs shall be offered to prepare individuals for admission to the college transfer programs and the career/technical programs in the community college. These developmental programs shall be designed to develop the basic skills and understandings necessary to succeed in other community college programs. MGCC is prohibited from enrolling public or private high school students or homeschooled students in developmental courses.
Students not making satisfactory progress in developmental studies shall be graded Unsatisfactory and advisors will recommend consultation with the instructor to determine the subsequent sequence of courses for the student who receives a grade of “U.”
Grade Point Average
A grade of “S” (Satisfactory) shall be assigned for satisfactory completion of a developmental studies courses numbered 1-9 and ESL courses. “S” grades are not included in grade point average calculations.
Students making satisfactory progress but not completing all of the instructional objectives for a developmental studies course (numbered 1-9) or an ESL course shall be graded with an “R” (Re-enroll). To complete the course a student must re-enroll.
Students not making satisfactory progress in a developmental studies course or an ESL course shall be graded “U” (Unsatisfactory). Counselors shall recommend consultation with the instructor to determine the subsequent sequence of courses for the student who receives a grade of “U.”
The “I” and “W” grades may be utilized according to conditions noted above.
Final grade reports are available on-line through the student information system at the end of each semester. All final grades are part of the student’s permanent record and will be recorded on his or her official transcript.
Grade Appeal Policy and Procedure
The faculty of Mountain Gateway Community College is unequivocally committed to the principle that evaluation of student work and assignment of grades is a responsibility and a prerogative to be exercised solely by the faculty. Therefore, at no point may an administrator change a grade assigned by an instructor. When a student believes that a final grade has been determined incorrectly, the student must file a written report with the instructor, (with a copy to the Vice President of Academic Affairs) identifying specifically the reason(s) for the appeal and including any supporting documentation. Grounds for the appeal are limited to the following:
- A computational error in the grade.
- Grade computation in a manner other than that listed in the course of study or as amended with advance notice.
- Computation of grade in a manner other than that used for other students in the class.
This written report must be filed with the instructor as soon as possible and no later than ten calendar days after the first day of class of the next subsequent term. If the matter is not mutually resolved at this level, the student may appeal to the Program Head (where appropriate) and finally to the Vice President of Academic Affairs.
At each level of appeal, each response to the appeal and subsequent appeal must be made in writing within ten calendar days. No new matter may be appealed at any higher level which was not identified by the student in the original written appeal to the instructor. If appropriate, at the sole discretion of the Vice President of Academic Affairs, the Vice President may appoint a faculty committee to review the case. If the Vice President does not appoint a committee, the grade assigned by the faculty member will remain unchanged. The decision of the Vice President as to whether or not to appoint a committee cannot be appealed by either party. Should a committee be appointed by the Vice President it will consist of three (3) instructional faculty from a variety of disciplines.
Students dually-enrolled through MGCC shall follow their local school district grade appeal policies unless the course is taught by a MGCC faculty member. In this case, the procedures described in this policy will apply.
The student should be aware that the committee review process may result in the grade being raised, lowered, or unchanged. The committee will meet and report its findings within fifteen calendar days from its appointment by the Vice President. The decision of the committee is final and binding and will be reported to the Vice President of Academic Affairs with copies to the Director of Student Services, who will record the grade. A copy of the finding of the committee will be placed in the student’s file in the Registrar’s Office.
Students desiring to attend a course without taking the examination or receiving credit for the course may do so by registering to audit that course. Students desiring to audit a course will register in the regular manner and pay the regular tuition and fees. Audited courses carry no credit and do not count as part of the student’s course load. Students desiring to change from audit to credit must do so within the official add/drop period. Changes from credit to audit must be made by the official last day for students to withdraw from a class without penalty. A student auditing a course may be dropped from the course if that student’s place is needed for a student taking the course for credit.
Repeating a Course
Normally, a student is limited to two (2) enrollments in the same credit course. The limitation also includes students receiving grades of “R”, “W”, or “X”. A student desiring to take a course more than twice should formally request permission through an advisor in Student Services. This request will be forwarded to the Director of Student Services.
Classification of Students
Curricular Student: A curricular student is one who has satisfied all college admission requirements and has been admitted to one of the curricula of the College.
Non-Curricular Student: A non-curricular student is one who is not formally admitted to one of the curricula, but who is classified according to the following student goals or conditions: (1) upgrading employment skills for present job, (2) desiring skills for new job, (3) career exploration, (4) personal satisfaction and general knowledge, (5) transient student, (6) non-degree transfer student, (7) high school dual enrollment student, (8) general or curricular requirements pending and (9) auditing a course.
Full-Time Student: A full-time student is carrying twelve or more credits of course work.
Part-Time Student: A part-time student is carrying less than twelve credits of course work.
Freshman: Students are classified as freshmen if they have completed 0-29 credit hours in a designated curriculum.
Sophomore: Students are classified as sophomores when they have completed 30 or more credits in a designated curriculum. Transferred credits are included, providing they apply toward meeting the requirements of the student’s curriculum.
President’s List: Students who carry a minimum of twelve non-developmental credit hours, earn a grade point average of 3.91 and do not have a grade of I, D or F will be on the President’s List for that semester.
Vice President’s List: Students who carry a minimum of twelve non-developmental credit hours, earn a grade point average of 3.25 or higher and do not have a grade of I, D, or F will be on the Vice President’s List for that semester.
Students are encouraged to contact their academic advisor or their faculty advisor to review their graduation credentials two semesters prior to graduation. Information about graduation can be found at www.mgcc.edu. MGCC degrees are conferred after each semester.
Appropriate honors are awarded for degrees and certificates based upon the student’s cumulative grade point average as follows:
- 3.8 grade point average-Summa Cum Laude (with highest honors)
- 3.5 grade point average-Magna Cum Laude (with high honors)
- 3.2 grade point average-Cum Laude (with honors)
In awarding students an additional degree, diploma, certificate, or career studies certificate, the College may grant credit for all completed applicable courses which are requirements of the additional degree, diploma, certificate, or career studies certificate. However, the awards must differ from one another by at least 25% of the credit. (VCCS Policy Manual: 220.127.116.11 Credits Applicable to Second Degree, Diploma, or Certificate)
Any student who fails to maintain a grade point average of 2.0 for any semester or who fails any course will receive an “Academic Warning.”
Students who fail to maintain a cumulative GPA of 1.5 shall be on academic probation until such time as their cumulative average is 1.75 or better. The statement “Academic Probation” shall be placed on their permanent records. Students may be required to carry less than a normal course load the following semester and must consult with their advisor about appropriate courses and academic support. Students shall be placed on probation only after they have attempted twelve (12) semester credit hours.
Students on academic probation who fail to attain a GPA of 1.5 shall be placed on suspension only after they have attempted twenty-four (24) semester credit hours. Academic suspension normally shall be for one semester unless the student reapplies and is accepted for readmission to another curriculum of the College. The statement “Academic Suspension” shall be placed on the student’s permanent record. Students who have been informed that they are on academic suspension may submit an appeal in writing to the Director of Student Services for reconsideration of their cases. Suspended students may be readmitted after termination of the suspension period and upon formal written petition to the Director of Student Services.
Students who do not maintain at least a 2.0 GPA for the semester of reinstatement to the College after academic suspension shall be academically dismissed. Students who have returned from academic suspension must achieve a 2.0 GPA for the semester of their reinstatement, at which time they will be placed on academic probation.
Students remain on probation until their cumulative GPA is raised to a minimum of 1.5. Failure to attain a 1.5 GPA in each subsequent semester until the cumulative GPA reaches 1.5 shall result in academic dismissal. Academic dismissal normally is permanent unless, with good cause, students reapply and are accepted under special consideration for readmission by the Director of Student Services. The statement “Academic Dismissal” shall be placed on the student’s permanent record.
Students seeking to appeal their academic suspension status or gain readmission after their suspension period must complete the following procedures:
- Make an appointment with the program advisor and obtain an application for reinstatement Submit a completed application for reinstatement to the Director of Student Services
- Attend a personal interview or appeal before a committee, at the Director’s discretion
The student will be notified of the decision in writing. If the student is readmitted, the notification letter will include a Reinstatement Contract. Students who are denied readmission may appeal to the Vice President of Academic Affairs.
Academic dismissal is permanent. Students who believe that they have extenuating circumstances may appeal by using the aforementioned proceedings. It should be noted that without clear documentation of special circumstances, appeals of dismissal may be denied without an interview or appearance before a committee.
Students whose past academic record may indicate a lack of academic progress and who have not enrolled in the College for five consecutive years, may adjust their grade point average by applying for Academic Renewal. Students interested in Academic Renewal should contact Student Services for more information.
Students must follow the regular registration procedures as described in the current schedule of classes. Registration takes place at the beginning of each semester and during announced periods in the preceding semester. Students should follow established procedures for making any change in their programs after registration.
Upon full admission to a specific curriculum, most students are assigned an academic advisor. That person oversees the student’s academic progress, offers consultation on academic schedules, registration and dropping classes and assists the student to meet graduation and/or transfer requirements.
The normal academic load carried by students is 15-17 credits. The minimum full-time load is 12 credits and the maximum full-time load is 18 credits. A student wishing to carry an academic load of more than 18 credits should have a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher and must have the approval of either the Director of Student Services or Vice President of Academic Affairs.
Students who have received academic warning or academic probation may be required to take less than the normal semester course load. Since the maximum academic load is 18 credits, no curriculum may officially list in any publication more than 18 credits per semester.
Addition of a Course
A student may not enter a new class after the add/drop period of a semester. Any request for entry after that period must be approved by the instructor and the Vice President of Academic Affairs.
Regular class attendance is required. If absence from a class becomes necessary, it is the responsibility of the student to inform the instructor prior to the absence whenever possible. The student is responsible for the subsequent completion of all study missed during an absence. Any instruction missed and not subsequently completed will necessarily affect the grade of the student, regardless of the reason for the absence. Instructors may establish a definitive attendance policy for their courses.
A student may be withdrawn administratively for prolonged, unexcused absences from a course. (See Administrative Withdrawal).
All students are expected to take course examinations at the regularly scheduled times. No exceptions will be made without the permission of the Vice President of Academic Affairs and the class instructor.
Withdrawal from Class
A student may withdraw from a course within the first 60 percent of the semester and receive a grade of “W” instead of an “F” (see Academic Calendar for exact date). The student must contact instructors prior to requesting withdrawal. Students should contact Student Services for the correct procedures and forms.
However, a student may be withdrawn administratively for prolonged, unexcused absences from a course. (See Administrative Withdrawal). The student will be financially responsible for the cost of the course.
As announced by each instructor at the beginning of each course and specified in the course of study, a student can be withdrawn from a course on the written recommendation of the instructor for prolonged, consecutive, unexcused absences. After consulting with the instructor, the Vice President of Academic Affairs or an official designee may also administratively withdraw a student from a course for prolonged, consecutive, unexcused absences.
During fall and spring semesters an absence of one week is considered prolonged. For classes not meeting 15 weeks, this time period will be shorter. A student withdrawn from a course in this manner will receive written notification. During a one-week grace period beginning with the date of the administrative withdrawal, the student will be allowed to return to class. At the end of the seven-day period, the student’s name will be removed from the class roll. The student may appeal his or her removal to the Vice President of Academic Affairs within one week of the effective date of the withdrawal. Withdrawal procedures will be applied equally to all enrolled students.
Withdrawal from the College
A student who wishes to withdraw from the College must contact Student Services to determine the appropriate procedure. Failure to follow established procedures could place the student’s college record in jeopardy and prejudice his or her return to this or another college.
Unexpected Military Service
Students who are in the military, either active or inactive duty, including reservists, and are called into unexpected service, whether voluntary or involuntary, which forced a sudden withdrawal from the college shall be given the option to drop all of their courses in which they are enrolled at the time of their service. They will have all mandatory charges for tuition and fees refunded to them. There will not be a negative academic or financial impact on the student’s record. When the student chooses to return to MGCC, they will be fully reinstated at the level they were prior to the unexpected service. These students should contact the Director of Student Services prior to the deployment or beginning of the unexpected service and provide sufficient documentation if such unexpected service begins after the add/drop date of the term currently enrolled.
Cancellation of Classes
Students registered for classes which are canceled due to lack of enrollment will be dropped by the Academic Affairs division. Students should contact Student Services to find alternative courses.
The value of the College’s degrees and certificates depends on the academic integrity of the work done by each student; therefore, it is imperative that students maintain a high standard of individual honor in their scholastic work. Scholastic dishonesty, as a general rule, involves one of the following acts:
- Cheating on an examination or quiz.
- Giving or receiving, offering or soliciting information on any quiz or examination, including the following classes of dishonesty.
- Copying another student’s work.
- Use during the examination of prepared materials, notes, or tests other than those specifically permitted by the instructor.
- Collaboration with another student during the examination.
- Buying, selling, stealing, soliciting, or transmitting an examination or any material purported to be the unreleased contents of a coming examination or the use of any such materials.
- Substituting for another person during an examination or allowing such substitutions for one’s self.
- Bribery of any person to obtain examination information.
- Plagiarism, the appropriation of passages, either word for word or in substance, from the writings of another and the incorporation of these passages as one’s own in written work offered for credit.
It is always assumed that the written work offered for credit is the student’s own unless proper credit is given the original author by the use of quotation marks or other explanatory inserts. This includes the copying of laboratory reports and homework or the unchanged use of the essential ideas or conclusions of such work as well as the use of other themes, theses, books, web pages or pamphlets without credit.
Collusion, collaboration with another person in the preparation or editing of notes, themes, reports, or other written work offered for credit, must be approved in advance by the instructor. Examples of collusion include extensive use of another’s ideas for preparing a creative assignment or assistance in the preparation or editing of written materials.
Scholastic Dishonesty is a violation of the Code of Student Conduct and is punishable by the sanctions listed in Section 61.
The catalog to be used to determine graduation requirements is the one in effect at the time of initial enrollment in the curriculum from which the student is graduating. However, the student may elect to meet the requirements as published in a subsequent catalog. The graduation requirements as stated in this catalog shall remain in effect for no more than six (6) years.
Students may be required to participate in one or more tests, projects or capstone courses designed to measure general education achievement and/or achievement in selected major areas prior to graduation for the purpose of evaluation of academic programs. Program assessment test results will remain confidential and will be used for the sole purpose of improvement of the College. Students may have access to their own test scores upon request. Occupational competency and performance evaluations must be successfully completed for graduation.
VCCS Computer Competency Policy
The Virginia Community College System believes that all students should experience a teaching-learning environment that espouses computer and information literacy in accessing electronic resources and applying knowledge through technology. The VCCS endorses the principle of computer competency for all students who are intent on completing a curriculum in excess of 45 semester credits. Students must demonstrate proficiency in specific computer competencies defined within programs and by individual institutions. This requirement is typically satisfied by the successful completion of ITE 152-Introduction to Digital Literacy and Computer Apps.
Mountain Gateway Community College follows the intellectual property policy found in the VCCS Policy Manual Section 12 (See http://www.boarddocs.com/va/vccs/board.nsf/public#). This section outlines the procedures for employees and/or students of a VCCS college to follow in the event that intellectual property is created. The VCCS Intellectual Property Policy defines intellectual property broadly as “a potentially patentable machine, product, composition of matter, process, or improvement in any of these, an issued patent, a legal right which is part of a patent or anything that is copyright-able including published or unpublished written materials or works, course-ware including lectures, printed materials, images no matter the physical medium of expression, visual and/or record materials whether published or unpublished, and computer related materials including programs, procedures and any other documents involved in the operation and maintenance of a data processing system.” The policy defines a procedure to determine the value of intellectual property and the division of equity in such property.
Pursuant to VCCS Policy 12.0.2, the VCCS Intellectual Property Policy applies to all employees and students of Mountain Gateway Community College. Any student who has additional questions about intellectual property or copyright regulations should contact the Director of Library Services (540) 863-2868.