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Academic Procedures Procedure - 10.14.02

College Policy Number/Title:

Learning Outcomes Assessment and Accountability

Howard Community College (HCC) is committed to the philosophy of educational accountability. In order to determine that students are attaining the knowledge and skills appropriate to various courses and programs, regular and planned assessment activities are ongoing and include standardized assessments, placement tests, faculty-developed evaluations, focus sessions, and surveys. These measures may require the use of class time. When that is the case, students are expected to participate. Confidentiality of responses is ensured.

Grading and Attendance

The methods for evaluation and grading within a course are clearly stated in the course syllabus. Evaluation procedures are objective and appropriately related to the course’s objectives and content.

HCC does not have a college-wide attendance policy. Regular class attendance, however, is expected. Attendance expectations or requirements will be clearly stated in the course syllabus and discussed by the instructor.

Class Cancellation

Faculty are expected to conduct all assigned classes as scheduled. Classes will be cancelled only in the case of an emergency or with prior approval by the appropriate division leader as identified by each division’s guidelines. In the case of an emergency, the faculty member is required to contact the division office as soon as the faculty member becomes aware of the emergency and the inability to meet with the class. The faculty member should work within the division to find an appropriate substitute. An official class cancellation notice will be posted on the class door by the division office or in the learning management system to notify students.

In the event that a faculty member needs to be absent from class for other professional reasons, the faculty member should discuss the reasons with the appropriate division leader as soon as possible to decide on provision of alternate faculty coverage. It is important that the division leader and the division office be aware of such class changes so that student questions or concerns can be properly addressed.

Academic Complaints

To maintain the integrity of the academic environment and to ensure the rights of students in such matters, HCC’s administrative policies and procedures provide a framework to resolve student complaints of an academic nature based on a preponderance of the evidence. An academic complaint is defined as an issue related to classroom instruction or a grade dispute in which the student believes a grade was assigned in an arbitrary or inconsistent manner. A student who has an academic complaint, including a specific academic complaint involving a faculty member, that remains unresolved through informal means, may enter into a formal process of problem resolution. The student academic complaint procedures and the appropriate form may be obtained from the division offices. A student who wants to initiate a formal academic complaint must submit an academic complaint form no later than the end of the seventh week of the next major term. All written correspondence concerning this matter will be sent to the student using their HCC email account.

  1. The student must discuss the problem with the instructor prior to beginning the formal complaint process. Many times misunderstandings can be resolved by honest, open dialogue.
  2. If the issue is not resolved after discussing it with the instructor, the student may pursue the matter further by submitting a formal written complaint. The student should contact the division office to schedule an appointment with the appropriate designated division representative. A meeting will be scheduled ­between the division representative and the student to discuss the problem and outline the formal complaint process. The student may be accompanied by a support person of their choosing. This support person may include students, faculty, staff, or others who advise complainants. The support person’s role is to provide personal counsel and support to the complainant, but not to present the case or address the division representative. The support person may not generally serve as a witness in the complaint proceeding. Legal representation is only permitted when the student faces concurrent criminal charges.

    The student may then file a formal, written complaint that must include:
  • a written description of the academic issues in dispute;
  • any supporting evidence;
  • the specific academic complaint form with the student and faculty signatures or record of the electronic communications;

The written complaint must be submitted by the student to the division representative no later than the seventh week of the next full semester. The division representative will review the complaint and make a decision based on a preponderance of the evidence. Incomplete submissions will not be reviewed. This decision will be communicated to the student in a formal correspondence, and the faculty member and division leader will be notified of the decision.

  1. If the student wishes to appeal the division resolution, the student must notify the division representative within one week of receiving the written resolution from the division or meeting with the division representative regarding the resolution, whichever occurred last. The student’s written complaint, the instructor’s written response, and the division representative’s written recommendation will be forwarded to the vice president of academic affairs. The student has the right to meet with the vice president of academic affairs but is not required to do so. The student who wishes to have a meeting must contact the vice president’s office directly within two weeks of notifying the division representative of their intention to appeal, to schedule the meeting. The decision of the vice president of academic affairs is final and will be conveyed in writing to the student.

Non-Academic Complaints

Procedures for students to address non-academic complaints are addressed in the student handbook. These procedures are reviewed annually prior to publication of the student handbook.

Effective Date: 12/10/21

President's Office Use: VPAA/EDPROD - CAT

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