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Academic Policies

POLICIES RELATING TO STUDENT ADMISSIONS, CURRICULUM CHANGES, GRADES, ACADEMIC STANDING, AND OTHER RELATED POLICIES ARE LOCATED IN THE RBC COLLEGE CATALOG. SEE ALSO THE RBC STUDENT HANDBOOK FOR ADDITIONAL STUDENT-RELATED POLICIES.

Academic Calendar

Responsibility for Maintenance: Dean of Faculty and Chief Academic Officer

I. Policy Statement
RBC shall set an academic calendar and include it on the College website and in the College Catalog.

II. Reason for Policy
The policy is designed to ensure that the Academic Calendar, which provides useful dates to help navigate through the semester, is available to students and faculty. Important dates include days to register and withdraw from classes, examinations, college closings, and breaks. The Academic Calendar must include the requisite number of class meetings for each academic course exclusive of holidays and other closings.

III. Applicability of the Policy
All members of the College community should be familiar with this policy.

IV. Related Documents

V. Contacts
Academics
Dean of Faculty and Chief Academic Officer
(804) 862-6210
office.academics@rbc.ed  

VI. Procedures
The Dean of Faculty and Chief Academic Officer, in consultation with the Faculty Assembly and the department chairs, will set the Academic Calendar. Changes to the Academic Calendar will be posted online.


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Approval of Curricula

Responsibility for Maintenance: Dean of Faculty and Chief Academic Officer

I. Policy Statement
RBC College curricula shall be changed in accordance with this policy.

II. Reason for Policy
The policy is designed to ensure that changes to RBC curricula are made with due consideration of academic, college, and administrative concerns.

III. Applicability of the Policy
All members of the College community involved in formulating changes to academic curricula should be familiar with this policy.

 IV. Related Documents
Honor Code

V. Contacts
Academics
Dean of Faculty and Chief Academic Officer
(804) 862-6210
office.academics@rbc.edu

VI. Procedures

Procedure for Adding a Course to the Curriculum

  1. The faculty member proposing the addition of a new course will fill out a Proposal for New Course form and sign it.
  2. Copies of the proposal will be distributed to all members of the Division where the course will be taught, and a Division meeting will be held to discuss the proposal.
  3. After the proposal has been discussed in the Division, the faculty member will submit it to the Instructional Program/Curriculum Committee.
  4. The Instructional Program/Curriculum Committee will set a meeting date and distribute a copy of the Proposal for New Course form to all members of the faculty as part of the agenda for the meeting.
  5. The Instructional Programs Committee will approve or disapprove the proposed course and submit such recommendation to the Faculty Assembly.
  6. The Faculty Assembly will submit their recommendations to the President’s Council.
  7. The President’s Council will recommend to the President either approval, with any appropriate modifications, or disapproval of the course.

Procedure for Prioritization of Academic Disciplines for Curtailment or Discontinuance

During times of financial and enrollment constraint, it is essential that institutions of higher education periodically review their academic disciplines in order to make reasonable and educationally sound decisions regarding the overall allocation of funds and personnel for their particular institution.

Decisions of this nature that affect the viability and financial well-being of the institution may be necessary due to a substantial decline in student enrollment, a reduction in State allotments or appropriations, loss of other income received from non-State sources, or an internal reallocation process.

Guidelines for the Review of Academic Disciplines:

Listed below are several broad areas that shall be used for the purpose of making decisions involving academic discipline curtailment or discontinuation. Each of the areas is followed by questions illustrating some specific kinds of inquiry that should be developed.

  1. Mission
    1. What is the relationship of the discipline to the mission of the College?
    2. How is it related to the mission of the Division?
  2. Quality
    1. What is the overall quality of the discipline at present in terms of instruction?
    2. What is the performance of the students currently enrolled in the discipline?
    3. What is the quality of the faculty affiliated with the discipline in terms of their academic preparation, teaching, and professional service?
    4. What is the quality and quantity of library holdings for the discipline and how do they compare with established standards?
    5. What is the quality of equipment, facilities, and laboratories dedicated to the program?
  3. Cost and Revenues:
    1. What are the direct and indirect costs associated with the discipline per year/biennium?
    2. How much revenue does the discipline generate from tuition, fees, and other sources of funding?
    3. What is the cost effectiveness of the discipline?
    4. What resources will be required to maintain the discipline at its present level or to raise it to a desired level of excellence within a reasonable period of time?
    5. What is the cost per student credit hour in the discipline? How does it compare with the College average and similar disciplines at other institutions?
    6. What revenue loss will be anticipated if the discipline is discontinued?
    7. What is the cost of continuing employment for faculty members, both tenured and non-tenured, as well as for clerical and other non-faculty personnel directly associated with the discipline for the next two biennia?
    8. What is the significance of the discipline’s curtailment or discontinuation on the College’s financial situation?
  4. Enrollment and Productivity:
    1. What is the pattern of the discipline’s current and past (5 years) enrollment in terms of numbers and types of students?
    2. What are the enrollment projections for the discipline for the next five years?
    3. Can the discipline’s enrollment be improved by some simple efforts?
    4. What has been the discipline’s retention rate over the past five years?
  5. Relationship with Other Programs:
    1. How does the discipline relate with others offered or planned by the College?
    2. To what extent is the discipline’s faculty involved with those of other disciplines in joint instructional activities?
  6. Distinctive Program Features:
    1. Is the discipline unique in concept, design, or implementation?
    2. Does the discipline address specific local or regional needs that cannot be met in any other manner?
    3. Does the discipline have a demonstrable significant value to the area and population served by the College?
  7. Comparable Disciplines:
    1. Are there disciplines comparable to the one being considered for curtailment or closure offered by other institutions in Virginia?
    2. If such disciplines are offered by other institutions in Virginia, can they respond adequately to the needs of the College’s service area residents?
  8. Impact of Discontinuation:
    1. What would be the impact of the discipline’s curtailment or discontinuation on other College units and programs?
    2. What will be the effect of curtailing or closing the discipline on the educational opportunities available in the College’s service area?
    3. Will the curtailment or closure of the discipline have an adverse effect on the recruitment efforts of the College?
    4. How will the discipline’s curtailment or closure affect the College’s affirmative action goals?
  9. Alternatives to Curtailment or Discontinuation:
    1. As an alternative to the discipline’s curtailment or closure, what are the possibilities of cost reduction, merger with another discipline, or development of a joint or cooperative offering with another institution?
    2. Is there a viable educational or fiscal alternative to discipline curtailment or closure that can be recommended?
    3. Have any of the following been considered: voluntary early retirements, voluntary reductions in salary, outside funding, or summer teaching as a part of regular load?

The procedures detailed below shall be followed in the review of academic disciplines for the purpose of possible curtailment or discontinuance:

  1. The Dean of Faculty and Chief Academic Officer shall charge the Instructional Program/Curriculum Committee to undertake the review of any discipline or disciplines that may fall under the purview of this policy.
  2. After a thorough review, the Instructional Program/Curriculum Committee recommendations shall be communicated to the Faculty Assembly and the Dean of Faculty and Chief Academic Officer.

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Determination and Assignation of Academic Credit

Responsibility for Maintenance:  Dean of Faculty and Chief Academic Officer

(Approved June 2, 2017)

Scope:
This policy defines academic credit hours awarded by Richard Bland College of William & Mary (RBC) at all levels and in all programs. This policy does not address non-credit instruction.

Purpose:
This document provides general definition and school-specific requirements for the awarding of academic credit hours. It includes requirements articulated by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Policy:
Federal Definition of the Credit Hour (from USDOE): For purposes of the application of this policy and in accord with federal regulations, a credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates:

  1. Not less than one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours out-of-class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or
  2. At least an equivalent amount of work as required outlined in item 1 above for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

In the document “Regulations Governing Certification of Certain Institutions to Confer Degrees, Diplomas, and Certificates,” the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) further notes: “Emerging delivery methodologies may necessitate determining a unit of undergraduate … credit with non-time-based methods. These courses shall use demonstration of competency, demonstration of proficiency, or fulfillment of learning outcomes to ensure these courses are equivalent to traditionally delivered courses.”

RBC adopts the federal and state definitions of credit hour as outlined above, regardless of the mode of delivery including, but not limited to, self-paced, online, hybrid, lecture, seminar, and laboratory. RBC further acknowledges credit-hour stipulations required by accrediting agencies for specific schools and levels.

Responsibilities: 

  1. The Dean of Faculty and department chairs are required to ensure that credit hours are appropriately awarded in accordance with this policy and federal guidelines.
  2. In the process of approving courses, faculty committees governing educational policy shall ensure that the proposed instruction, required learning activities, and stated learning outcomes meet this credit-hour standard.
  3. In the process of building the schedule, the Dean of Faculty and department chairs are responsible for ensuring that credit hours are accurately established.

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Substantive Change Policy

Responsibility for Maintenance: Dean of Faculty and Chief Academic Officer

(Approved June 7, 2016)

I. Policy Statement
Richard Bland College’s accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS) requires that it report substantive changes consistent with federal policy.  Substantive change is defined by SACS as “a significant modification or expansion in the nature and scope of an accredited institution.”

II. Reason for Policy
Richard Bland College requires this policy and accompanying procedures to remain in compliance with accreditation standards.

III.
The policy applies to all employees of the College who are in a position to institute applicable programs, procedures, or institutional changes.

IV.
http://sacscoc.org/pdf/081705/SubstantiveChange.pdf

V. Contacts
Dean of Faculty and Chief Academic Officer
(804) 862-6491
office.academics@rbc.edu

VI. Definitions
“Substantive change” is defined by SACS as “a significant modification or expansion in the nature and scope of an accredited institution.”  

VII. Procedures
Richard Bland College’s accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS) requires that it report substantive changes consistent with federal policy.  Substantive change is defined by SACS as “a significant modification or expansion in the nature and scope of an accredited institution.”  These modifications may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Initiating distance education constituting 25% or more of a degree program
  • Initiating programs or courses offered through contractual agreement or consortium
  • Initiating off-campus sites
  • The establishment of a branch campus
  • The establishment of an additional location geographically apart from the main campus at which the institution offers at least 50% of an educational program
  • Initiating joint or dual degree programs with another institution
  • Initiating a certificate program at a new off-campus site or that is a significant departure from previously approved programs
  • Altering the length of a program significantly
  • Changing from clock hours to credit hours
  • Initiating degree completion programs

Questions about whether a proposed change/academic action represents substantive change may be directed to the SACS Liaison (Academic Dean).  For further information about what constitutes substantive change, please see the SACS Substantive Change Policy.

Procedures and Responsibilities

An academic department or unit that is considering a substantive change or program modification, including significant on-line program delivery or new degree programs, must discuss the required notification with the SACS Liaison.  Depending on the specific change, notification to SACS must be made between 3 and 6 months before the change is made. Most substantive changes require the preparation of a comprehensive prospectus, and the majority require approval from SACS before implementation.

The SACS Liaison is responsible for ensuring that all such proposed changes comply with SACS regulations regarding substantive change, for reviewing proposed changes in a timely fashion, for assisting departments and other units in identifying the best way in which to meet the regulations, and for ensuring that administrators (Coordinators, Chairs, Deans) meet their responsibilities with regard to substantive change. The SACS Liaison is responsible for notifying the President and others as appropriate about any changes in the SACS policy on substantive change.

VI. Procedures:

  • The SACS Liaison will be notified of changes such as those listed above that are under consideration.
  • The SACS Liaison will determine if the proposed change is one that falls under the definition of Substantive Change.
  • The department or unit proposing the change will complete the prospectus required by SACS.
  • The prospectus will be reviewed by the SACS Liaison before being transmitted to SACSCOC. Click hereto read ‘The Content of the Substantive Change Prospectus.’
  • The President will send the prospectus and other required materials to SACSCOC.

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Reporting and Use of Assessment Results

Responsibility for Maintenance: Dean of Faculty and Chief Academic Officer

I. Policy Statement
Academic programs and support services at Richard Bland College are evaluated to ensure their quality. In addition, students are surveyed to obtain information on their satisfaction with faculty and staff. Faculty members are evaluated on teaching methodologies and effectiveness each semester. Students are surveyed upon graduation to measure their satisfaction with the College. The results of this process are used internally and are reported to the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools periodically. All data collected for assessment is held under strict confidence and is never used to evaluate or identify individual student performance.

II. Reason for Policy
This policy is intended to ensure efficient and productive use of outcome assessment data.

III. Applicability of the Policy
All members of the College community should be familiar with this policy.

IV. Contacts
Dean of Faculty and Chief Academic Officer
(804) 862-6210|
office.academics@rbc.edu

Dean of Enrollment Services
(804) 862-2107
office.academics@rbc.edu


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Faculty Handbook

Responsibility for Maintenance: Dean of Faculty and Chief Academic Officer

I. Policy Statement
Policies and procedures relating exclusively to teaching faculty at Richard Bland College are located in the Faculty Handbook.

II. Reason for Policy
The Faculty Handbook sets forth the College’s expectations regarding its teaching faculty and provides procedures that apply to instructional staff and related matters.

III. Applicability of the Policy
All full- and part-time teaching faculty are covered by the Faculty Handbook.

IV. Related Documents
Faculty Handbook

V. Contacts
Academics
Dean of Faculty and Chief Academic Officer
(804) 862-6491
office.academics@rbc.edu

VI. Procedures
Amendments to the Faculty Handbook can be made in accordance with the procedures outlined in that document.


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College Off-Campus Trips or Classes

Responsibility for Maintenance: Dean of Faculty and Chief Academic Officer

I. Policy
The College may sponsor off-campus trips or classes to enrich the learning experiences of students. Such experiences should be provided as economically as possible, while maintaining fiscal accountability. Students may be charged fees to cover costs of off-campus trips or classes sponsored by the College.  However, students will be informed at the time of registration if any off-campus trip or classes fees are required for participation in a course.

II. Procedures
A member of the College faculty or staff, designated as the coordinator of the trip or class, must accompany the group off campus. The coordinator and applicable dean/director, as well as the Dean of Finance and Administration, are responsible for facilitating the off-campus trip or class for students.

Coordinator Responsibilities:

1. Secure permission from the organization in charge of the facilities to be visited, when applicable.

2. Secure prior written authorization from the appropriate RBC senior leader, with concurrence from the RBC President, to conduct the off-campus trip or class.

4. For field trips, arrange for class and/or office coverage while on the field trip when applicable.

5. Arrange for transportation and for authorization for the students to be absent (if necessary) from classes in order to make the trip. A list of participating students shall be left with the division dean or director.

6. Require all participants to sign a waiver and release, as well as the applicable Notice and Warnings to Participants.

7. Orient participants concerning the objectives of the off-campus trip or class, possible hazards, and highlights directly after they sign the Notice and Warnings to Participants.


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Use of Copyrighted Works

Responsibility for Maintenance: Associate Dean Instructional & Learning Resources

I. Policy Statement
All members of the College community must respect and comply with copyright law (Title 17 of the United States Code). This obligation exists whether the original work is in a fixed, tangible medium, or consists of digital materials or software. Works protected by copyright include writings, recordings, photographs, videos, movies, digital works, and software.

It is against College policy for an employee (faculty or staff) or students to use College equipment or services to access, use, copy or otherwise reproduce, or make available to others any copyright-protected materials (tangible, digital, or software) except as permitted under copyright law (especially with respect to “fair use”).

Responsibility for the determination of the copyright status and securing permission rests with those persons wishing to reproduce, distribute, adapt, perform, or display the materials.

Generally, a fair use is any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner. Fair use requires a fact-specific analysis that should be considered carefully whenever deciding whether or not permission is required.

II. Reason for Policy
This policy exists to prevent copyright infringement. The exceptions to a copyright owner’s exclusive rights provided by law, especially the fair use provision, are integral to the balance between exclusive rights and productive, socially beneficial new uses of works.

III. Applicability of the Policy
All College employees and students must comply with this policy.

IV. Related Documents
http://www.copyright.gov/
http://www.copyright.gov/reports/studies/dmca/dmca_executive.html
http://www.educause.edu/library/digital-millennium-copyright-act-dmca
http://www.copyright.gov/legislation/dmca.pdf
Employee Computing and Communications Networks Usage Policy
Student Computing and Communications Network Usage Policy

V. Contacts
ILR
Associate Dean Instructional & Learning Resources
(804) 862-6150
office.library@rbc.edu

VI. Definitions
“Copyright” means the rights granted to the author of an intellectual or artistic creation. The author of the work has the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, adapt, perform, or display the work.

“Fair Use” provides a limited exception to the obligation to obtain permission of the copyright owner in order to use the copyrighted work. Whether a particular use is a fair use is a fact-specific judgment, and not a bright-line test.

VII. Procedures.
Allegations of violations of this policy should be reported to the Policy Contact listed above. If the alleged violator has made use of the College’s information technology network, the College reserves the right to remove the material prior to any determination that a violation has occurred.

Repeat violations of this policy making use of the College’s information technology network may result in a loss of privileges. (See policies on Employee Computing and Communications Network Usage and Student Computing and Communications Network Usage.)


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Honorary Degrees

Responsibility for Maintenance: The President of the Richard Bland College of William & Mary

(Approved by the William & Mary Board of Visitors April 22, 2016)

I. Policy Statement
Awarded by the Board of Visitors, the honorary associate degree is the highest form of recognition offered by Richard Bland College to persons of exceptional distinction.

II. Reason for Policy
The purpose of this policy is to honor demonstrated meritorious and outstanding service to Richard Bland College, to the Commonwealth of Virginia, and/or to the community at large, and to recognize persons whose lives serve as examples of the College’s aspirations for its students.

III. Applicability of the Policy
Nominees shall meet one or more of the following Criteria:

  • Individual who has made a significant, noteworthy contribution to Richard Bland College, the Commonwealth of Virginia, or the community at large.
  • Individual who has demonstrated an enduring commitment of commendable service to Richard Bland College.
  • Current faculty, staff, and members of the Board of Visitors are not eligible. Faculty, staff, and board members who have been separated from the College for at least five years are eligible.
  • Generally, the College will award no more than two honorary degrees in any academic year.

IV. Contacts
President
Assistant to the President
804-862-6221
President@rbc.edu

V. Procedures
Honorary degrees are awarded based on a recommendation from the RBC President. Coordination of the selection and nomination process for honorary degree recipients is the responsibility of the President, who may consult with representatives from the faculty, students, administrative staff, alumni, and other friends of the College.

For awards to be made at Commencement, nominations should be received by the Richard Bland College Committee by the April meeting date and considered for action at the April Board of Visitors meeting.

Honorary degrees are generally conferred at Commencement.


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Policy Manual

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