Academic Policies

Instructional Philosophy
Austin Community College is committed to the belief that in a free and democratic society, all persons should have a continuing opportunity to develop skills and knowledge as well as to enhance their understanding of the responsibilities in that society. The college takes as its guiding educational principle the proposition that, insofar as available resources permit, instruction should be adapted to student needs. This principle requires both flexibility in instructionalstrategies and maintenance of high academic standards.

Academic Standards


Grading System, Semester-Credit
The following grading system is used at Austin Community College:

Grade
Interpretation
Grade Points PerSemester Hour
A Excellent 4
B Good 3
C Satisfactory 2
D Minimum Passing 1
F Failing 0
I Incomplete Not Computed
IP In Progress Not Computed
PF (Applies to Developmental Education Courses
Only)
Pass/Fail Not Computed
W Withdrew Not Computed
AU Audit Not Computed
CR Credit Given for
Non-Traditional
Transfer Work
Not Computed
X Not Reported by
Instructor
Not Computed

The grade point average is calculated by dividing the number of hours credit into the total grade points.

Student Course Load, Semester-Credit Programs
A full-time student is defined as a student who:
1. Registers for twelve or more credit hours in any combination of terms within the sixteen-week semester.
2. Registers for twelve credit hours within the eleven or nine week summer sessions.
3. Registers for six credit hours in one 5.5 week summer session, or six credit hours in each 5.5 week session.
A student must obtain written permission from the Campus Dean of Student Services or his or her designee before registering if the student wishes to:
1. Register for more than eighteen hours in any combination of terms within a sixteen-week semester.
2. Register for more than twelve hours in any combination of terms within the eleven-week summer semester.
3. Register for more than six credit hours in a 5.5 week summer session.

Good Standing and Acceptable Academic Progress, Semester-Credit Programs and Grade Point Average.
Good Standing

Good standing is the maintenance of a cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 2.00 or better (on the 4.00 scale used at Austin Community College). A 2.00 GPA is the same as a “C” average. In order to graduate from any degree or certificate program, a student must have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or better. In calculating a student’s cumulative GPA, all course work attempted at Austin Community College for which a grade of A, B, C, D, or F was awarded will be considered. The student’s permanent record shall reflect two grade point averages:
1. All college work taken at Austin Community College, including developmental courses, if the student took such courses.
2. College work taken at Austin Community College, which excludes any developmental courses.

Incomplete Grades
The grade of “I” (for incomplete) may be given by an instructor for a course in which a student was unable to complete all of the objectives for the passing grade. A grade of “I” cannot be carried beyond the established date in the following semester or session. The completion date is determined by the instructor, but may not be later than two weeks prior to the end of the semester. The Task Force Chair or Program Coordinator will approve a change from “I” to a performance grade (A, B, C, D) for the course prior to deadline.
Consideration should be given to course load, job and family obligations when carrying an “I” grade into a new semester for completion. Grades of “I” that are not resolved by the deadline will automatically be converted to a grade of “F.”
In extreme cases, permission may be granted to carry an “I” grade for longer than the following semester or session deadline; this must have the approval of the Dean.

In Progress Grades
The IP (In Progress) grade is used for students in developmental education courses. “In Progress” (IP) may be awarded to students who remain in the class, are attending, are progressing, but are not achieving the standards for earning a C or better in the course. The IP grade is a final grade for the term and counts toward the student’s term hour load but carries no grade points or credit toward graduation. An IP grade does not mean successful fulfillment of the objectives of the course or completion of remediation. Students who earn an IP and continue at ACC must re-register in the same course for the next term that they enroll, unless TASP requirements are otherwise met, in which case the IP becomes the final grade.
An IP grade is not to be used as an alternative to an Incomplete (I) grade or a failing (F) grade. TASP-mandated students who have excessive absences do not qualify for an IP grade.
Students may earn an IP grade in the same course two times. On the third attempt, the student is not eligible for an IP grade. The student must earn an A, B, C, D, or F.

Repeating Courses
An asterisk (*) by a course grade on the student’s transcript indicates that the course has been repeated. In general, when non-developmental courses are repeated, only the highest grade earned for the course will be used in calculating the grade point average.

Academic Probation, Suspension and Dismissal

The College monitors academic standards of progress to identify those students experiencing academic difficulty and limits enrollment and course selection to increase the chances that students will succeed at ACC. Students are responsible for knowing whether they are on probation, suspension or dismissal. Ineligible students who register for college credit classes are subject to dismissal with forfeiture of one-half of all tuition and fees.

1. Students who fail to maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 after earning 6 credits will enter the Early Alert system. Admissions and Records will notify students of their Early Alert status and send them a list of college support services available to Early Alert Students.
2. Students who on or after the end of their second semester fail to earn a completion rate of 50% of the credit hours for which they have enrolled at ACC will enter the Early Alert system. Admissions and Records will notify students of their Early Alert status and send them a list of college support services available to Early Alert students.
3. Students on Early Alert status who either fail to earn a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or fail to earn a cumulative completion rate of 50 % will be placed on Academic Probation. Admissions and Records will place a registration hold on the records of students placed on academic probation; a Performance Improvement Plan must be developed with a counselor to remove the hold. When students raise their cumulative GPA to 2.0 and their cumulative college credit completion rate to 50%, the Admissions and Records Office will change their status from Academic Probation to Academic Good Standing.
4. Students on Academic Probation who fail to maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or cumulative completion rate of 50% will be placed on Academic Suspension. Admissions and Records will place a registration hold on the records of students placed on Academic Suspension. The hold will be removed only after the student has been out of ACC for one full semester or has successfully appealed the suspension through a college-wide appeals process. Students readmitted after suspension or for whom an appeal is granted must develop a Performance Improvement Plan with a counselor, and abide by any registration restrictions established as a condition of readmission.
5. Students readmitted after Academic Suspension who fail to maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or cumulative completion rate of 50 % will be placed on Academic Dismissal. Admissions and Records will place a registration hold on the records of students placed on Academic Suspension. The hold will be removed only after the student has been out of ACC for one calendar year or has successfully appealed his/her dismissal through a college-wide appeals process. Students readmitted after Academic Dismissal or for whom an appeal is granted must develop a Performance Improvement Plan with a counselor, and abide by any registration restrictions established as a condition of readmission.
6. Students readmitted after Academic Dismissal who fail to maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or cumulative completion rate of 50% will again be placed on Academic Dismissal for one calendar year. The same re-entry procedures as outlined above will apply to repeated periods of Academic Dismissal.
7. Students receiving financial aid also must comply with the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for Financial Aid Recipients.

Grade Changes: Requesting the College to Review a
Performance Grade


Review of Course Grading Guidelines
Grades shall be assigned by the instructor teaching the course. The instructor is expected to provide information to the students at the beginning of the semester regarding the course, including the guidelines for grading. If the student has questions about or objections to the grading policy in a course, those must be brought up during the semester. Such questions or objections should first be addressed to the instructor and then, if the student believes it is appropriate, to the instructor’s supervisor. These questions are not relevant when determining whether an error occurred in assigning a
performance grade.

Review of Course Grade Assignment

The very nature of teaching and learning demands that the instructor exercise professional judgement in the assignment of grades. The instructor also has an obligation to discuss the grade and the basis upon which it was assigned with the student, at the student’s request. If a student believes that an error has been made in the assignment of a grade, he or she should bring it to the attention of the instructor within six months and ask for the error to be corrected. In almost all cases, the decision of the instructor about whether there was an error is final.
Occasionally, it is appropriate for someone other than the instructor to deal with the question of reviewing a possible error in a grade. If the instructor has departed from the institution and cannot be reached or if the student alleges that the instructor is prejudiced in his/her refusal to correct the error, the student may request that the grade be changed. This request should be made in writing to a committee of faculty members in the discipline. The committee has the authority to change the grade to a different performance grade. This request is handled by the Procedure for Determination of Error of a Performance Grade, not by the Student Grievance Procedure.

Procedure for Requesting the College to Review a Performance Grade
1. The student presents the facts to the instructor who awarded the grade and requests a different performance grade. (If the instructor is not available, the student should contact the instructor’s supervisor to determine when the instructor will be available. Between semesters, instructors are not expected to be available. Questions arising during that time must be postponed until the start of the next semester unless the instructor can be contacted and agrees to come in and address the questions.)
2. If no agreement is reached, the student may contact the instructor’s supervisor. The supervisor shall discuss the situation with the student and advise the student of the process by which a review of the grade may be requested. The supervisor shall encourage the student to make an appointment with an ACC counselor to discuss the process before beginning to prepare his/her formal request. In order to begin this process, the student shall file a written request. The written request must be presented to the supervisor of the instructor and state what error has occurred, and explain any relevant circumstances. The supervisor shall immediately forward the written request to his/her Dean.*
3. The student shall present the written request no later than six months after the grade was awarded. However, if there are extenuating circumstances which, in the opinion of the Dean, justify a delay, the Dean may accept the request later than six months after the grade was awarded. The review process must be completed within three months from the time the student files the written request for a review.
4. The Dean shall give the instructor a copy of the student’s written request and ask the instructor to provide a written explanation of the grading procedure used and any other information he/she believes to be relevant. The Dean shall then provide a copy of the instructor’s written statement to the student. If the instructor who awarded the grade is no longer employed by the college, the Dean shall make a diligent effort to locate the instructor to obtain a written statement. If the instructor is completely unavailable, the Dean, in consultation with the Program Coordinator or Task Force Chair, shall provide the student with a written statement of the information available to them about the instructor’s grading procedure and any other information they believe to be relevant.
5. During the process of writing and exchanging their statements, the instructor may choose to change the grade or the student may choose to stop the process. If neither of those happens, the Dean shall appoint a three-member faculty committee to consider the request. The members of the committee shall be faculty members from the same discipline. The committee may include faculty members from other campuses. The committee shall include at least one adjunct faculty member, unless there are no adjunct faculty members in that discipline, and shall exclude any instructor who is a current instructor of the student. The decision of the committee is final.
6. If there are not three faculty members in the same discipline to form a review committee, the Dean shall determine reasonable substitutions.
7. During the committee process, all parties may be questioned to clarify issues, all evidence and discussion must protect the confidentiality of student records, and only committee members shall be present during committee deliberations. If the committee’s decision is to change the grade, the committee shall explain the rationale, in writing, to the instructor, the supervisor, and the Dean, and communicate the result of the process, in writing, to the student. If the decision is not to change the grade, the committee shall explain the result and rationale, in writing, to the student. The Dean shall fill out the appropriate form and state that this was the result of a committee decision.

* If the Dean is the instructor who assigned the grade, the Associate Vice President of Workforce Education or Associate Vice President of Academic Programs, as applicable, shall act in place of the Dean.

Excessive Credits Earned Toward an ACC Degree
Students who entered a Texas public college for the first time in the fall of 1999 are subject to Texas statute 76R SB345 that limits the number of courses a student may take for which the State will pay. The limit for each community college student is 1.5 times the credits required for a two-year degree.
· The credits required for an ACC degree are determined by what is in the ACC Catalog
· Students who exceed the number of credits required for a degree by 50% may be charged additional fees.
· Courses for which students receive a grade of W (withdrawal) are included in the total credit calculation.
· Developmental courses are not included in the total credit calculations.
This rule also applies to university students and to community college students who transfer from ACC to Texas public colleges and universities.

Excessive Developmental Hours
A general academic teaching institution (university) may not receive funding for developmental courses taken by a student in excess of 18 semester credit hours. A public community college district or technical college may not receive funding for developmental courses taken by a student in excess of 27 semester credit hours or the equivalent.
Students may not enroll in developmental courses in excess of 27 semester credit hours.

Class Attendance

Attendance Policy, Semester-Credit Courses
A student at Austin Community College is expected to attend classes in order to progress satisfactorily toward completion of course objectives. Because objectives can vary from department to department and from course to course, the instructor shall inform the student of specific course objectives at the first class meeting. A student who is not meeting course objectives may be withdrawn from the course at the discretion of the instructor. It is the student’s responsibility to consult with instructors and seek support services when course objectives cannot be met. Instructor withdrawals may be appealed by the student within 10 days.

Withdrawals from Semester-Credit Courses

When Withdrawals May Occur
Course withdrawals may occur at any time after the official reporting date of a semester and up to the established deadline for withdrawals in each semester. The established deadline is listed in the course schedule and on the Web.

Initiation of Withdrawals
Withdrawals from a course result in a grade of “W” and may be effected through action taken by either the student, the course instructor, or the instructor’s immediate supervisor in the instructor’s absence.
Students who wish to withdraw from specific courses should initiate withdrawal procedures with the Campus Admissions and Records Office prior to the published deadline for withdrawals. Students who are not withdrawn as of the established deadline will receive a performance grade (A, B, C, D, or F). Students must present a picture I.D. to withdraw from the course.

Student Appeal of Instructor-Initiated Withdrawal
When a student is withdrawn by the instructor, notice will be sent to the last address of the student in the student’s permanent file, and shall constitute written notice. The withdrawal may be appealed by the student within 10 days after the written notification. A 10-day period for student appeal will commence 5 days after postmark of the College notice of withdrawal. The appeal shall be made to the course instructor.
Further appeal may be made to the appropriate campus administrator, whose decision will be final. The student may continue to attend class until either the expiration of the 10-day period or until final disposition of the appeal.

Obligations to the College
Until a student’s obligations to the college are met, he or she may be barred from future registration, not be allowed to graduate, and/or administratively withdrawn from class. The college is authorized to place “holds” on student records under the following conditions:
· Unpaid debt to the college
· Failure to make good a returned check
· Failure to make payment on a promissory note or financial aid overpayment
· Failure to return material or pay fines for issued, lost, damaged, or overdue materials from the Learning Resource Services or from any agency/institution with which ACC has a written agreement
· Ineligibility for aid for which student is registered; overdue loan; failure to complete files
· Failure to compensate for destruction of, or damage to, college property equipment or supplies
· Failure to file required documents; enrolling under false pretenses
· Failure to meet assessment requirement
· Charge back of tuition and fees which were charged to a credit card

Auditing Courses
Students who wish to audit a course (register for a course without receiving credit) must do so only on the last day of final registration for the semester in which they plan to attend (See official college calendar for dates). Registration is subject to availability of space. Entrance requirements (except TASP) as well as all other rules and regulations of the college apply to the auditing student. Tuition and fees for auditing are the same as those rates charged to students enrolled for credit. Students may request a change of status from credit to audit prior to the official census date.

Graduation
Austin Community College holds annual commencement exercises at the end of the spring semester. To graduate, students must satisfy ten requirements:
· Fulfill all obligations to the college including the submission of official transcripts from each institution attended.
· Request an evaluation of transcripts and military credit prior to the semester in which they plan to graduate.
· Complete all courses listed in the official degree plan.
· Maintain a grade point average of 2.00 on a 4.00 scale for all courses work transferred and used in the degree plan (The GPA’s from ACC and from transfer work remain separate; they are not averaged together for one GPA).
· Complete at least 25% of the semester hours used in the degree plan in residence at ACC. Residence hours are to be satisfied by attending classes. Credit by exam or other nonattendance credit is excluded.
· Students may not earn more than one Associate of Arts degree or more than one Associate of Science degree at ACC.
· Students may not receive an Associate of Arts degree in General studies at the same time or after receiving another Associate degree.
· Students may not receive a certificate at the same time or after receiving an Associate of Applied Science degree in the same program.
· TASP students must pass the certification form of the TASP Test to graduate from any associate degree program or any certificate program having nine (9) or more hours of general education courses.
· A student who meets these requirements must complete the Graduation Application Form and submit it to the campuses Admissions and Records Office prior to the deadline date set in the official college calendar. Graduates are encouraged to participate in commencement exercises. Applicants for graduation will be notified of their status by mail. The diploma will be mailed to the address on file with the Graduation Office.

Catalog in Effect
Students may graduate under the terms of the catalog in effect when they entered Austin Community College or any subsequent catalog under which they attended, provided: A) said catalog is not more than five (5) years old, and B) the students particular degree or certificate plan has not been discontinued by the College. Students with majors that are discontinued will be allowed two years in which to complete such plans before the official deactivation of the affected instructional program. Students needing more information about this policy should contact an academic adviser or counselor.

Academic Honors (Dean’s List)
Academic honors are awarded only for semesters in which the student has completed 12 or more hours of credit. Students enrolled in only developmental courses are not eligible for Academic Honors.

Scholastic Achievement Awards
Scholastic achievement by Austin Community College students will be recognized by the college at the completion of each fall and spring semester. Notification of the achievement will appear on the student’s transcript. Upon graduation, notation of the honor will appear on the diploma, if the student’s cumulative GPA qualifies the student for a scholastic achievement award.

Scholastic Leadership Roll
A student who has completed 12 or more semester-credit hours of college-credit course work at Austin Community College and who has achieved and maintained a grade point average of 3.50, but less than 3.75 (on the 4.00 scale used at ACC) will be eligible for nomination and inclusion in the Scholastic Leadership Roll for that semester.

Scholastic Excellence Roll
A student who has completed 12 or more semester-credit hours of college-credit course work at Austin Community College and who achieved and maintained a grade point average of 3.75, but less than 4.00 (on the 4.00 scale used a ACC), will be eligible for nomination and inclusion in the Scholastic Excellence Roll for that semester.

President’s Honor Roll
A student who has completed 12 or more semester-credit hours of college-credit course work at Austin Community College and who achieved and maintained a grade point average of 4.00 (on the 4.00 scale used at ACC) will be eligible for nomination and inclusion in the President’s Honor Roll for that semester.

Phi Theta Kappa
Since its founding in 1918, Phi Theta Kappa has been the only nationally recognized International Honor Society for American community/junior colleges. The Alpha Gamma Pi chapter of Phi Theta Kappa was chartered at Austin Community College in October 1977. In accordance with the international organization’s goals, the purposes of the Alpha Gamma Pi chapter are the recognition and promotion of scholarship, the development of leadership and service, and the cultivation of fellowship among students at ACC. Students who meet chapter criteria will receive invitations during the fall and spring semesters.

Transcripts
1. Official transcripts are issued at the Cypress Creek, Eastview, Northridge, Pinnacle, Rio Grande, and Riverside Campus locations.
2. A fee of five dollars ($5.00) per copy is payable in advance for each copy. Checks should be made payable to Austin Community College.
3. Requests will be honored as quickly as possible in the order of application. During peak periods, such as commencement and registration, transcripts should be requested two weeks in advance. All requests must be made in writing by the student. Requests by persons other than the student will not be honored without the student’s personal signature (f. c. Federal Rights and Privacy Act of 1974).
4. The Social Security number of the student is required to properly identify the student’s file. All financial and other obligations to the college must be cleared before transcripts can be released. Transcripts and duplicate certificates for Technical/Vocational Certificate and Continuing Education students are issued by the Continuing Education Office located on the 4th floor of the Highland Business Center at 5930 Middle Fiskville Road, Austin, Texas 78752.

Policy and Procedures for Inclement Weather

Classes at Austin Community College may be canceled due to inclement weather. If classes are not in session, notification is made through local radio and television stations, as well as ACC’s Channel 19. These local media sources should be consulted regarding resumption of classes. In compliance with the Texas Education Code, make-up classes may be scheduled to satisfy contract hour requirements. In such cases, students will be notified through their Campus Manager. Continuing Education classes will be rescheduled.

 

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