The academic year begins in August and covers a period of 40 weeks divided into two semesters. Each semester is approximately fifteen weeks; the summer semester may be divided into a three-week maymester, two terms of five weeks each or a ten-week term. Students may enter at the beginning of any term.
Planning Courses of Study
The responsibility for selecting a program of studies rests upon the individual student. Volunteer State Community College does, however, furnish its students with guidance and assistance in outlining and following through on a program of studies leading to the objectives envisioned by each student.
Upon admission to the College, some students may be required to meet further prerequisites to enter the program they select. In the best interests of the student, admission to a particular curriculum or to specific courses should be based upon evidence which would indicate a fair chance of satisfactory performance in the program of courses.
A student who is planning to transfer from Volunteer State at the conclusion of two year's work to a four-year institution should secure a copy of the catalog of the institution selected for use in planning his transfer program.
College Level Course Placement
The placement of a student in any given college-level course will depend upon his/her having met certain prerequisites for that particular course. Eligibility for any given course will be established on the basis of achievement on the related section of the ACT, and/or the achievement on other tests administered by the College during registration procedures for the applicant, and/or high school or other college courses completed. The placement procedures are designed to help guide the enrolling student into courses commensurate with his ability.
Admission Advising, Orientation, Testing, Educational Planning
An Admission Advising, Orientation, Testing and Educational Planning program is provided each semester for all new degree-seeking students. Admission advising is provided to help new students clarify their Educational Choices. In Orientation, students have an opportunity to learn the skills necessary for success in college. Required placement testing is administered each semester and during each registration activity. Once students have completed Orientation and Testing they are encouraged to schedule an appointment with a faculty advisor or an advisor/counselor in the Advising Center to develop strategies for completion of their education. The faculty advisor or advisor/counselor will guide students through an exploration of the various elements which affect academic decision-making.
Exemption From Physical Activity
Students who have been determined by a physician or certifying agency to be unable to engage in physical activity courses because of permanent physical disability may request exemption from physical activity course requirements for graduation. An affidavit or certificate signed by a physician or certifying agency representative which clearly states the extent of the physical disability must accompany the student's written request for exemption and must be submitted to the College Registrar.
If an exemption is granted, the student must take appropriate substitute courses which have been recommended by the student's academic advisor. Students who have been determined to have physical limitations should receive advisement prior to selecting the appropriate activity courses.
Classification of Students
For administrative purposes, a degree student will be classified as a freshman until the completion of 29 semester hours; after such time he/she will be classified as a sophomore. Those not accepted as degree students will be classified as special students (including audit students).
Credit Hours and Maximum Load
The unit of credit at Volunteer State Community College is the semester hour; semester hour is defined as the credit earned for the successful completion of one hour per week in class for one semester; or two (or three) hours per week of laboratory for one semester per week; or for two lecture or recitation hours and two laboratory hours per week; or for some other combination of these.) Each lecture hour presupposes a minimum of two hours preparation on the part of the student.
The minimum number of semester hours per term for classification as a full-time student is 12. Sixteen to 17 semester hours credit is the regular or normal load per semester. The maximum number of semester hours for a student with less than a "B" average (3. 00) is 18 (not including the required physical education activity course).
A student who has a "B" average for a semester may, with the permission of the Vice-President of Academic Affairs, schedule a maximum of 22 hours the following semester. Any student desiring to register for an overload must obtain approval from the Vice-President of Academic Affairs.
Students, who have part-time employment, either on or off the campus, are strongly urged to measure their academic load carefully.
Prerequisites Or Co-requisites
Many courses in the catalog list specific prerequisites or co-requisites. A prerequisite means that specific course(s) or other requirements must be completed before the student is permitted to register for the course which lists the prerequisite. A co-requisite means that the requirements are to be completed simultaneously.
In a number of course descriptions the prerequisite may be either (1) a certain amount of high school course work OR (2) a specific college course. If the student takes a college course that may be used as the prerequisite for another course, the college course will take precedence over the high school work.
Course Numbering System
Courses numbered 001 to 0999 are developmental/Learning Support in nature; 100 to 1999 are on the first year or freshman level; 200 to 2999 are on the second year or sophomore level
Records of each student's grades are kept on permanent file in the Office of Records and Registration. Since these records are permanent and are frequently referred to for the purpose of supplying information to legitimate sources, each student should be acutely conscious that he/she is building his/her future, and that his/her good attitude and diligent study will stand him/her in good stead for graduation.
Confidentiality of Student Records Notification of Rights Under FERPA
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their educational records. They are:
- The right to inspect and review the student's educational records within 45 days of the day the College receives a request for access. Students should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The College official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the College official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
- The right to request the amendment of the student's educational records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the College to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the College official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. 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/her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
- The right to consent to disclosers of personally identifiable information contained in the student's educational records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to a school official with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic or 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, or collection agent); 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/her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an educational record in order to fulfill his/her professional responsibility.
- The right to file a complaint with the U. S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the State Colleges to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA may be obtained from the College Registrar.
Directory information concerning students is treated as public information and is released to the public unless otherwise requested by the student. Directory information includes the following: name, address, telephone number, email address, date of birth, major fields of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of athletic team members, dates of attendance, enrollment status, degrees and awards received, and most recent educational institution attended. Personally identifiable student record information other than that listed as Directory Information will not be released except as provided by FERPA, 20 U.S.C. § 1232g and T.C.A. § 10-7-504.
As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education's FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which your education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records - including your Social Security Number, grades, or other private information - may be accessed without your consent. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities ("Federal and State Authorities") may allow access to your records and PII without your consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is "principally engaged in the provision of education," such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution. Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to your education records and PII without your consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when we object to or do not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive your PII, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without your consent PII from your education records, and they may track your participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about you that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.
If you have any questions regarding the provisions of this Act, contact the College Registrar.
Grades and Quality Points
At the end of each term, instructors report to the Office of Records and Registration the standing of all students in their classes. The grade of a student in any course is determined by the progress of the student as outlined in each course syllabus.
The instructor's evaluation of the quality of the student's work is expressed by letters as follows:
Grade Instructor's Evaluation Quality Points Awarded Per Semester Hour
A Superior 4.0
B Above average 3.0
C Average 2.0
D Passing but below 1.0
F Failing 0.0
For the purpose of computing averages, grades are converted to quality points (as indicated above). The scholastic standing of a student is expressed in terms of a scholarship ratio, or quality point average.
The quality point average is determined by dividing the total number of quality points earned by the total number of credit hours which the student attempted.
A student has the privilege of repeating a course in which he or she earned a grade of "C", "D", "F" or "W". Students may be permitted to repeat courses in which a grade of "B" or higher was earned only with the approval of the Vice President of Academic Affairs. Learning Support Courses may not be repeated once passed.
The grade earned the last time the course is taken will be considered the final grade. A symbol of "W", "I", "N", "P", "CR", or "NC" received for any course cannot replace a grade of "A", "B", "C", "D", or "F" received for the same course taken at an earlier time. In the event that a student repeats a course more than twice, the grade and hours attempted in the third and subsequent attempts will be used in determining the quality point average. The course can only be used once to meet graduation requirements. A course with a symbol of "W" does not count as a time attempted when calculating grade point average.
Other marks which may appear on the instructor's grade report (and on the student's permanent record) are as follows:
CR/NC Alternative credit (assigned only in certain courses)
N Audit: no grade or credit
The mark of "CR" indicates the student has satisfactorily completed the minimum competencies in a special credit course. A student may earn up to six (6) semester hours of "CR" credit in one term with a maximum of twelve (12) credit hours total. The mark of "CR" is not computed in the quality point average.
The mark of "NC" indicates that the student did not satisfactorily complete the minimum competencies in a special credit course. The mark of "NC" is not computed in the quality point average.
The grades of "P" and "F" are used with the Pass/Fail grading option. The "P" is not used in computing the grade point average. When a "P" is assigned the hours earned are increased, but quality hours attempted and quality points earned are not affected. The "F" is used in computing the grade point average by including the number of hours of the course in the quality hours attempted and including zero grade points in the grade points earned.
The mark of "I" (incomplete) indicates that the student has not completed the requirements for a course during the semester for some unavoidable reason that is acceptable to his instructor. The student is thus on notice that he/she should contact the instructor immediately in an effort to complete course requirements. The mark of "I" will not be given unless the instructor is reasonably sure that it is possible for the student to complete the requirements for the course during the subsequent semester (not including Summer) and receive a grade of "D" or better. If the "I" is not completed by one week before the first day of final exams for the next semester, the "I" will convert to an "F", and will be reflected in the student's QPA. Under unusual circumstances the student may ask the instructor to request an extension of one additional semester to complete the "I" from the Academic Standards and Grade Appeals Committee. The request for an extension of the "I" grade must be made not later than one week before the first day of final examinations for the subsequent semester (not including summer). The mark of "N" signifies that the student has registered for audit.
The mark of "W" indicates that the student has withdrawn from a course.
The above symbols of "CR", "I", "N", "NC", "P", "S", "U", and "W" are not computed in the quality point average, but they are a permanent part of official records and transcripts.
The College has a grade appeal policy. For procedure, see the Student Handbook.
Non-Credit CEU Grades
Requirements for satisfactory completion of non-credit CEU instructional activities are established in advance for each planned learning experience. These requirements are based on the purpose of the instructional activity and on intended learning outcomes. The grade or conditions for satisfactory completion of a student in any course is determined by the progress of the student as outlined in each course syllabus. Grades are based on the ability of a participant to demonstrate what he or she has learned, on a predetermined level of attendance at scheduled sessions, or on a combination of performance and attendance. CEU grades are "S" (satisfactory completion), "U" (unsatisfactory completion), "I" (incomplete) or "W" (withdrew). An appeal process is in place for students who wish to challenge a CEU grade. Grades are not mailed. A transcript will be issued upon written request and signature of student. A Continuing Education Transcript Request Form is provided on the Continuing Education website (www.volstate.edu/ContinuingEd) under the Important Continuing Education Forms.
Students at Volunteer State Community College are expected to give their scholastic obligations first consideration. Prompt and regular class attendance is considered necessary for the student to make the greatest possible progress in a course. Attendance policies are spelled out in the syllabus for each course in which the student is enrolled and should be followed to insure success.
All reasons for absence should be submitted as soon as possible to the instructor. This should be presented in advance if possible. The satisfactory explanation of absences does not in any way relieve the student from responsibility for the work of his course during his/her absence. The instructor in charge of a course determines in all instances the extent to which the absences and tardiness affect the student's grade. Absences are counted from the first day the student is registered in a course after the beginning of the term.
Attendance in Learning Support courses is required as stated in the syllabus for each course.
Persistent unexcused absence is cause, upon recommendation of the instructor and approval of the College Registrar and the Vice President of Academic Affairs for administrative withdrawal from that class. Students on financial aid are subject to the policies regarding attendance associated with their aid and any persistent failure to attend class will be reported as required.
Permission to Audit Courses
Permission for a student to audit a course must be obtained at the time of registration or during the add period. Permission to audit a course, upon the recommendation of the division dean, may be obtained from the College Registrar.
If a student registers for audit, he/she cannot change to credit later in the term; or if he/she registers for credit, he/she cannot change to audit later in the term. An audit student is one who is attending classes, does not take the final examination, does not receive a grade, and does not receive official credit.
Cancellation of Scheduled Classes
Any scheduled class may be discontinued by the College. The right is reserved to cancel any class when the number enrolled is deemed insufficient or if other extenuating circumstances prevail.
Adding and Dropping Courses
Students can make schedule adjustments through the process of adding and/or dropping courses through the online registration system. Courses may be added only during the first three days of classes (two days for terms less than fifteen weeks, including summer sessions). Students can withdraw from courses through the published last date to withdraw. A mark of "W" (withdrew) will be awarded if a student withdraws from a course more than 14 days after the beginning of the term. Students who fail to follow official procedures for withdrawing from a course will receive the grade earned for the course and the grade will be calculated in the grade point average. A student may be permitted to withdraw from a course or courses after the published last date to withdraw and still receive a "W" only if the student can present documented evidence of serious personal illness, death in the immediate family, or employer mandated transfer.
Students should contact the Office of Records and Registration if they have questions.
Withdrawal from The College
Credit students finding it necessary to withdraw from the College should do so officially to maintain good standing and to assure readmission or honorable release. A student must follow the proper procedures before discontinuing class attendance whether it be from one course or the College.
All requests to withdraw from the College should be made to the Advising Center. The withdrawal request should be made in person using a "permission to withdraw" form or by sending a written communication to the Advising Center. The student should call the Advising Center for instructions on submitting a withdrawal request by a written communication. A "permission to withdraw" form is available in many administrative offices on campus (Advising Center, Records, Student Services).
Withdrawal should be requested by the student only. If it is impossible for the student to follow the procedure of withdrawal in person (due to serious illness, death in the family, or extreme circumstances), a parent or person acting as an agent of the student should do so with written permission of the student. The "permission to withdraw" form will be signed by an Advisor/Counselor in the Advising Center. If the student is a financial aid student, contact will be made to the Financial Aid Office by the Advising Center for a signature clearance. The student will complete an on-line survey in the Advising Center before the "permission to withdraw" form is released to the student. Finally, the "permission to withdraw" form is then submitted to the Office of Records and Registration for processing. After this final step for the student, the withdrawal permit will be sent to the Business Office to make a final settlement of financial obligations (including any refund of fees or the payment of any unpaid fees).
After a deadline date each semester, withdrawal from the College with grades of "W" is not permitted. The College calendar in the front of this catalog lists the last day to withdraw with a grade of "W." Unusual and verifiable circumstances, such as documented evidence of serious personal illness or death in the immediate family or employer mandated transfer, are the only exceptions in granting permission to withdraw and receive a "W" after the date specified in the catalog. When a student experiences unusual and verifiable circumstances which compel the student to discontinue enrollment after the published last date to withdraw, the student must contact the Office of the Vice President for Student Services to request an exception to the withdrawal policy of the College.
A student who stops attending class and does not follow the published withdrawal procedures will remain on the class roll and the grade will be reported as "F".
NON CREDIT STUDENTS
Non-credit students who desire to withdraw from the College may do so by submitting a written request to the Division of Continuing Education and Economic Development. The request may be in the form of a letter to the Assistant Vice President for Continuing Education and Economic Development or on the official College withdrawal form. Settlement of financial obligations applies as for students withdrawing from credit classes. The deadline varies based upon the starting date of the class.
Mid-Term Deficiencies Report
The College faculty will keep students informed of their progress during the two regular terms of the academic year (and not during the two terms of the summer semester). Students who are in danger or receiving a grade below the accepted minimum at mid-term will receive notices indicating the lack of satisfactory progress.
Students who receive deficiency notices are advised to contact the instructors of the courses on the deficiency notice for advice on continuing successfully in those courses.
Academic Fresh Start
Any student who has not been enrolled in a college or university for a period of four years and who re-enrolls at Volunteer State Community College, or transfers to Volunteer State may petition to have grades on previously failed course work at Volunteer State disregarded in calculating his/her cumulative grade point average. The student should send a written request for academic fresh start and a Volunteer State Community College transcript to the College Registrar to be submitted for approval to the Vice President of Academic Affairs. If the request is approved, the student's permanent record will remain a record of all work at Volunteer State Community College, however, the previously failed course work at Volunteer State Community College will be excluded from the cumulative GPA calculation. (Courses with a D grade will also be excluded from GPA calculation when a grade of C or better is required in the student's current major.)
Previously satisfied ACT COMPASS or ASSET requirements will not be forfeited. ACT COMPASS or ASSET requirements at the time of previous enrollment and whose academic plan includes completion of a college-level English or mathematics course must meet current Academic Assessment and Placement Program ACT COMPASS or ASSET requirements regarding enrollment in college English and mathematics courses.
A student who plans to transfer to another institution should contact that institution to determine the impact of Academic Fresh Start prior to implementing the program at Volunteer State. Students may contact the VSCC College Registrar for assistance.
Awards and Honors
Recognition of scholarly achievements at Volunteer State is accomplished through a publication of a Dean's List and Honor Roll each semester.
The Dean's List is composed of those students who have completed a minimum of 12 semester hours in collegiate level courses in the current semester with a grade point average of at least 3.750. (Dean's list recognition is based on calculations made at the end of the semester and cannot be updated later to reflect grade changes, such as the removal of incomplete grades.)
The Honor Roll is composed of those students who have completed a total of at least 18 semester hours in collegiate level courses at Volunteer State with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.750. Honor Roll recognition is based on calculations made at the end of the semester and cannot be updated later to reflect grade changes, such as the removal of incomplete grades.
Students completing 30 hours at Vol State and graduating with the following overall quality point averages at the beginning of their final semester will receive the corresponding honor designations on their diplomas:
3.80-4.00 summa cum laude
3.60-3.799 magna cum laude
3.30-3.599 cum laude
(In computing averages for honors, the grades of the final semester of the graduation term will not be included.)
For detailed information on specific requirements, refer to the section on Graduation with Distinction. Only collegiate level courses will be used in awarding honors at Vol State.
The Outstanding Graduate Award is given at the Spring graduation ceremonies to the graduating student, who, in the opinion of the College faculty, has contributed most to the advancement and betterment of Vol State. An appropriately inscribed plaque is awarded the student.
Academic Status And Retention Standards
The Office of Records and Registration of Volunteer State Community College is responsible for monitoring the academic performance of students to determine whether or not they are meeting the retention standards of the institution. The academic retention standards of Volunteer State are uniformly applied to all students and are enforced at the close of each semester of enrollment. Successful completion of an academic program depends upon a well planned system of orientation and careful monitoring of each student's academic progress. Identification and referral of a student with learning problems should occur as soon as possible.
A student who does not meet the criteria for academic progress will be placed on Academic Probation for the next fifteen-week term of attendance including the summer semester. A notice of Academic Probation will be sent by email to the student. Academic Probation status may be removed by maintaining a 2.00 GPA or by meeting the cumulative QPA as stated below during the term of Probation.
If a student does not meet the criteria for academic progress at the conclusion of the term the student is on Academic Probation, the student will be suspended. A Notice of Suspension will be mailed to the suspended student. After the student has completed his term of suspension, the student may apply for readmission to the College. Upon being readmitted, the student will be designated as having Academic Probation status. If a student is notified of suspension status at the end of the Spring Semester, the summer term may not be counted as the term of suspension. The student will not be allowed to re-enroll until after the Fall Semester. If there are extenuating circumstances and/or hardship, a student may appeal suspension to the Vice President of Academic Affairs. To initiate the suspension appeal procedure, the student MUST (1) submit the appeal in writing to the V.P. of Academic Affairs prior to Official Registration day, and (2) follow-up by making an appointment to meet with the V.P. of Academic Affairs prior to the first day of class.
A student transferring from another college or university may be permitted to attend Volunteer State for one semester regardless of academic standing at the last institution attended. During the initial term of enrollment at Volunteer State, the student's transcript will be evaluated and the Academic Status and Retention Standards of the College will be applied to determine academic status. A student who does not meet the requirements of the standards will be placed on Academic Probation and will be notified by the Office of Records and Registration. Upon completion of the initial term of enrollment, the student's eligibility for continued enrollment will be determined by the Academic Status and Retention Standards of Volunteer State.
The uniform application of the retention standards requires that students make academic progress according to the following criteria:
Combined Semester Quality Hours Attempted (includes Learning Support and collegiate hours) Cumulative GPA Minimum
0 -14 None
57 or more 2.0
Technical Certificate students must maintain the following cumulative GPA:
Combined Semester Quality Hours Attempted (includes Learning Support and collegiate hours) Minimum Cumulative GPA
28 or more 2.0
Quality Point System
The following quality point system is used in determining averages:
For each credit hour of A - 4 quality points
For each credit hour of B - 3 quality points
For each credit hour of C - 2 quality points
For each credit hour of D - 1 quality point
For each credit hour of F - 0 quality points
The quality point average (QPA) is determined by dividing the total number of quality points earned by the total number of credit hours which the student attempted. In the event that a student repeats a course more than twice, the grade and the hours attempted in the third and subsequent attempts will be used in determining the quality point average.
Dismissal and Suspension
A student may be dismissed, subject to due process, from Volunteer State Community College for any of the following reasons:
- Failure to meet the minimum academic standards or to obtain Academic Clearance as stated in the section, Academic Status and Retention Standards, of this catalog.
- Conduct of an unacceptable nature.
- Failure to attend classes regularly.