10.1 ACADEMIC POLICIES
The institution publishes, implements, and disseminates academic policies that adhere to principles of good educational practice and that accurately represent the programs and services of the institution.
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North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (N.C. A&T) publishes and disseminates academic policies that adhere to principles of good educational practice and accurately represent the programs and services of the institution. The policies that govern the educational and practices of the university are aligned with its mission and have evolved from collaborative process that include the university’s administration, faculty and staff. Whenever possible, students and alumni are also represented.
Policy Approval and Publication
The approval process for N.C. A&T’s policies is provided in the Policy on Policies. The university has three types of official policies: University Policies, Administrative Policies, and Unit Policies. As defined in the Policy on Policies,
a. University Policies are those policies that concern the governance of N.C. A&T or have application to more than one division within the university.
b. Administrative Policies are those policies that are required by law; or that are required by The Code of the University of North Carolina or the University of North Carolina Policy Manual; or that affect matters of operation rather than governance and affect only one division within the university.
c. Unit Policies affect only one division within the university.
Policies that have been approved according to the Policy on Policies are published on the N.C. A&T Policies, grouped by Divisions, e.g., Academic Affairs and Business and Finance. As discussed below, official policies are also disseminated through links on other websites and in relevant publications that are directed to faculty and students, e.g., the Faculty Handbook and the Student Handbook. In addition, other sites host guidelines and procedures, which though not official policies, are of interest to a specific population. For example, the Office of Financial Aid posts procedures that are of interest to students seeking financial assistance.
For official policies, the approval process has two steps.
· First, the policy must be approved by the Chancellor’s Cabinet for posting as a draft. The draft policy is then posted on the Draft Policies website for at least two weeks to allow for comment. A notice is disseminated through the University Communications listserv to notify the campus community that a draft policy has been posted for comment. In addition, the Provost, the Chair of the Faculty Senate, and the Chair of the Staff Senate are notified of the draft posting so that they can inform deans, department chairs, members of the Faculty Senate, and others in the university community; the Faculty Senate, deans, and department chairs then disseminate the information to other faculty. Comments are collected and sent for review to the person or committee responsible for drafting the policy.
· Following the two-week comment period, a final draft of the policy is brought back to the Chancellor’s Cabinet for approval. An Administrative Policy or Unit Policy is finally approved once the Chancellor’s Cabinet approves the final draft policy; a University Policy must be approved by the Board of Trustees. Once a policy has received final approval from the appropriate body, it is posted on the N.C. A&T Policies webpage.
After a new policy or a revision of a policy has received final approval and has been posted an announcement is sent through University Communications alerting the University Community to the fact. The Division of Legal Affairs guides the policy approval process.
Academic policies are primarily disseminated through the Faculty Handbook, which contains policies that are of special interest to the faculty, such as policies on faculty committees (Chapter V), services of interest to faculty (Chapter X), regulations on academic freedom, tenure, and due process (Appendix B-2), and regulations on post-tenure review (Appendix B-3). The Faculty Handbook, like all officially approved policies, is posted on the N.C. A&T Policies webpage. In addition, links to the Faculty Handbook, including an electronic version, can be found on the Provost’s webpage, under Faculty Resources and on the Faculty Senate webpage.
The Faculty Handbook Committee (see Chapter IV, Subsection 4.4.8.G of the Faculty Handbook) is a standing committee of the Faculty Senate that regularly reviews the Faculty Handbook and recommends necessary revisions to keep the information in the Faculty Handbook relevant, up-to-date, and accurate. Revisions of the Faculty Handbook are approved by the Faculty Senate before receiving final approval pursuant to the Policy on Policies. Because the policies are disseminated online, it is very easy to update the list as new policies are approved.
The Undergraduate Bulletin contains policies that are of special interest to undergraduate students, such as the University’s grading policies applicable to undergraduate courses, withdrawals, and degree completion requirements for the baccalaureate degree. The policies cited in the Undergraduate Bulletin are summaries of the official policies, which are posted on the N.C. A&T Policies website; Section II—Academic Affairs. Staff in the Provost’s Office review the Undergraduate Bulletin each year to ensure the information is up-to-date and accurate.
The Graduate Catalog contains policies that are of special interest to graduate students, such as the university’s grading policies applicable to graduate level courses (pp. 38-40), withdrawals (pp. 55-56), degree completion requirements (pp. 35-36), and graduate assistantships (pp. 27-30). The policies found in the Graduate Catalog are summaries of official policies, which are posted on the N.C. A&T Policies website. Each summer, staff in the Graduate College review the Graduate Catalog, to ensure the information is up-to-date and accurate for the upcoming academic year.
In addition to policies of general interest to students, the Student Handbook contains policies governing student conduct and discipline, as well as a comprehensive list of services and programs available to students. The Student Handbook is available to everyone online. The Student Handbook is reviewed updated as needed, each year.
Academic policies are implemented by the appropriate administrators. For example, N.C. A&T’s policies governing grades and withdrawals and the policy on degree completion for undergraduate students are implemented by the Registrar’s Office, and the policy on degree completion for graduate students is implemented by The Graduate College.
N.C. A&T has two policies governing grades, one for undergraduate students, entitled Undergraduate Grades and Grade Point Average, and one for graduate students, entitled Graduate Grades and Grade Point Average. These policies set out the permissible grades, including both letter grades and non-letter grades, and the method by which the grade point average is calculated. Both policies require the instructor to evaluate each student’s performance resulting in a course grade. Both policies charge the instructor with implementing grading procedures that are fair and equitable. At the end of the semester, the course grades are entered into the Banner System, which automatically checks whether the course was a letter-grade course or a non-letter-grade course and ensures that the grade assigned is appropriate. For each student, the Banner System automatically calculates the grade point average.
The policy entitled Withdrawal from the University governs the withdrawal process from N.C. A&T for all students. The policy requires a student who wishes to withdraw to complete the withdrawal process before the deadline. The withdrawal process is described in the Undergraduate Bulletin. If a student completes the withdrawal process in a timely manner, the student will receive a grade of “W” for each course in which he or she was enrolled, as evidenced by the attached completed withdrawal forms (1; 2) and corresponding transcripts (1; 2). If the student does not complete the withdrawal process in a timely manner, the student will receive the final grade earned in each course during the semester. This is usually a grade of “F” as the student stopped attending without officially withdrawing.
N.C. A&T’s policy on degree completion for undergraduate students is entitled Minimum Requirements for a Baccalaureate Degree. This policy sets out the requirements for completing the undergraduate degree, which include, among other requirements, earning a minimum of 120 semester credit hours, earning a final cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher, and earning a final grade point average of 2.0 or higher in all courses in the major field of study. Prior to a student’s anticipated graduation, the student’s advisor or department chairperson completes a form known as a “Confirmation of Graduation” (“COG”), which lists the necessary requirements and shows that the student has met the requirements or will have met the requirements by the end of the semester in which they applied for graduation. The COG is signed by the Dean and forwarded to the Registrar. The Registrar’s Office verifies that the student has completed all requirements before the student is officially awarded a baccalaureate degree. A sample COG for an undergraduate student is included.
N.C. A&T’s policy on degree completion for graduate students is entitled Graduation Requirements. This policy sets out the requirements for completing a graduate degree, which include, among other requirements, filing a plan of study by the end of the student’s second semester after admission to a program of study and meeting the requirements in the plan of study with an overall grade point average of 3.0 or higher. As with undergraduate students, a COG must be completed for a graduate student by the student’s advisor prior to the anticipated graduation. The COG shows the requirements for the student as provided in the student’s plan of study. The COG is signed by the department chairperson or graduate coordinator and forwarded to the Graduate College (formerly the Graduate School) for confirmation before the student is officially awarded a graduate degree. A sample COG for a graduate student is included.
The application of N.C. A&T’s academic policies does not change according to the instructional delivery mode. Although distance education presents some special considerations as compared to face-to-face instruction, all academic policies apply equally to students regardless of the form of delivery. Special considerations pertinent to distance education are addressed in the policy entitled Distance Education. Section 10.6 has more discussion of the special considerations applicable to distance education students.
2. N.C. A&T Policies website
a. Announcement of Policy Posting for Comments
b. Announcement of Newly Approved Policy
9. Provost Office Website—Faculty Resources
12. Section II—Academic Affairs Policies
13. Graduate Catalog
14. Graduate Catalog, Pp. 38--40
15. Undergraduate Grades and Grade Point Average Policy
16. Graduate Grades and Grade Point Average Policy
17. Withdrawal from the University Policy
18. Withdrawal from the university
a. Example 1
b. Example 2
19. Transcript showing “Ws” (2 examples)
a. Example 1
b. Example 2
20. Graduate Catalog, Degree Completion Requirements, Pp. 35-36
21. Graduate Assistantships—Graduate Catalog, Pp. 27-30
22. Minimum Requirements for a Baccalaureate Degree
23. Graduation Requirements (for Graduate Students)
25. Sample Confirmation of Graduation (COG)—Undergraduate Student
26. Sample Confirmation of Graduation (COG)—Graduate Student
27. Distance Education Policy