Instructional Policies and Procedures
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Academic freedom allows all faculty to seek and present knowledge in their respective disciplines. Faculty members are free to explore problems and issues, without fear of interference from administrators, the Board of Trustees, governmental agencies, the public, students or parents of students. Faculty members have a basic responsibility to promote freedom of thought, expression and the pursuit of knowledge.
Faculty members have an obligation to protect students’ rights to freedom of inquiry. In using potentially controversial materials, the faculty member has the obligation to ensure the material meets the valid educational objectives of the class. Faculty members have the responsibility to exercise reasonableness and good judgment in their presentations and to function within the ethics and standards of their respective disciplines and the teaching profession.
Students are expected to maintain a high standard of honesty in their academic work. Cheating and plagiarism are specifically prohibited under the college’s Student Rights and Responsibilities provisions.
Acts of cheating may include submitting for credit work that is not the student’s own, copying examination answers from fellow students or other sources or assisting other students in acts of these kinds.
Plagiarism, the presentation of another’s writing or ideas as one’s own, can take a number of forms - failing to cite sources, copying source texts or online sources without quotation, or inadequately paraphrasing or synthesizing source materials.
Students who are unsure of what might constitute plagiarism or cheating are encouraged to consult their instructors, class materials and other college resources for guidance.
Highline’s Academic Standards Policy was established to maintain excellence in academic standards and to encourage students to assume responsibility for their own academic progress. Academic standards also ensure that students with educational difficulties are informed of the many resources available at Highline.
The Academic Standards Policy applies to all Highline students enrolled in credit courses.
First Quarter Probation
A student attempting six or more credits in graded courses at Highline College will be placed on first quarter probation when his or her cumulative grade point average (GPA) falls below 2.0.
All students on first quarter probation will receive a notification letter about his or her academic status and steps to take to improve educational success. A student placed on first quarter probation must meet with an adviser to discuss his or her educational plans and campus resources prior to registering in classes for the next quarter.
A student on first quarter probation will not be able to register for a future quarter before meeting with an adviser. Students on first quarter academic probation who do not have a faculty advisor or who are unable to schedule an appointment with their faculty advisor should come to the Educational Planning and Advising Center and meet with an academic advisor.
A student on first quarter probation may not take more than 15 credits without written permission from the director of the Educational Planning & Advising Center or a faculty adviser.
Second Quarter Probation
A student on first quarter probation who attempts six or more credits in graded courses at Highline College and earns less than a 2.0 cumulative GPA, will be placed on second quarter probation unless his or her quarterly GPA is 2.25 or higher, in which case the student will remain on first quarter probation.
A student placed on second quarter probation will not be able to register for a future quarter before meeting with an adviser. Students on second quarter academic probation who do not have a faculty adviser or who are unable to schedule an appointment with their faculty adviser should come to the Educational Planning and Advising Center and meet with an academic adviser.
A student on second quarter probation may not enroll in more than 15 credits without written permission from the director of the Educational Planning & Advising Center or the faculty adviser.
If a student on second quarter probation attempts six or more credits in graded courses at Highline College and earns less than a 2.0 cumulative GPA, the student will be suspended unless his or her quarterly GPA is 2.25 or higher, in which case the student will remain on second quarter probation. The office of the vice president for Student Services will notify these students. A suspended student who has already registered will have his or her registration cancelled and the tuition and fees refunded.
A student who is suspended from Highline College will not be permitted to enroll for any credit courses for three consecutive quarters from the end of the quarter for which the suspension occurred. A student who returns after suspension will automatically be placed on first quarter probation status.
A student who fails to maintain the required academic standards due to special or extraordinary circumstances may petition the Scholastic Review Committee for conditional reinstatement. Petition forms are available in the office of the Vice President for Student Services in Building 6, room 218.
Students are expected to attend all sessions of their classes. Some instructors may require class attendance as part of their grading criterion. Only students in a valid enrollment status may attend classes.
Auditing a Class
Students may enroll in a course and choose the audit option if they meet the course prerequisites. This option allows students to participate in courses to explore or review a subject and not receive a grade. An audit does not calculate into the quarterly or cumulative GPA and is not included in the number of credits attempted or completed. A grade of “N” will be reflected on the transcript. Regular tuition and fees are charged. Students interested in auditing a class must have their instructor sign a Registration Add/Drop Form approving the audit. This form must be submitted to the Registration and Records Office by the Friday of the first week of the quarter (or the Thursday of the first week of summer quarter). Students who choose to audit may participate in the course to the extent that they desire, and are encouraged to discuss their desired outcomes with the instructor early in the quarter. Courses approved for audit may not be changed to credit classes.
Audits may not satisfy the requirements of various special funding, visa status and dual-enrollment programs including Running Start, High School Completion, Adult Basic Education, English as a Second Language and is not an option for students who utilize funding from Veteran’s Affairs (VA), Financial Aid, Workforce Education and/or Workfirst.
Highline’s catalog contains general information about the college and its programs, courses, services, staff and policies. Information is subject to change between catalog updates. It is the student’s responsibility to become familiar with all academic and administrative regulations and procedures that relate to his or her course of study.
Students are responsible for meeting the requirements of any course in which they are enrolled. Instructors will inform students of course requirements in the course syllabus.
Courses offered during the instructional year are assigned credit values of one or more credits. In general, a class that meets two hours a week awards two hours of credit per quarter; one that meets five hours a week awards five credit hours. Some classes, such as laboratories, may vary from this pattern.
Necessary preparation time will also vary according to the class and the student’s background.
Credits are earned only for courses in which students are officially enrolled.
One semester credit hour is equivalent to one and one-half quarter credit hours.
Students intending to enroll in more than 18 credits must meet the following conditions:
• Have completed at least 15 credits of college level (100 or above) coursework
• Have a 3.0 or better college-level GPA
The maximum enrollment is 23 credits per quarter.
Students seeking an exemption from the policy must submit a written request to their advisor of record. When the advisor of record is a faculty member, the request may be approved by that instructor or that instructor’s division chair. When there is no assigned advisor or the assigned advisor is a Student Services staff member, the request may be approved by the Vice President for Student Services (or designee). In either case, the decision of the reviewer is final.
Advanced Placement: Students may receive college credit for a score of three or above on an Advanced Placement test taken in high school. In some subjects, 10 to 15 credits may be awarded for a score of five. Advanced Placement credit may be used to satisfy distribution or elective requirements.
For a list of Advanced Placement course exams and their credit equivalency, see the “Advanced Placement Equivalency Table ”.
Note: Advanced Placement credits used at Highline may not transfer to other colleges or universities. Students need to check with the individual schools.
Military Service Schools, Military Experience, DANTES, CLEP and Other Training: Credit may be granted for training received at other institutions as recommended by the American Council on Education. To receive credit, a student must present evidence of satisfactory completion of such education to the credentials evaluator in the Registration office in Building 6. Credit for this type of learning may be used for restricted/grey area credit only and is limited to 15 credits for the transfer associate degree.
Examination or Challenge: A currently enrolled student who believes previous professional, business or educational experience, or private study has provided the skills and knowledge required for passing a course offered by Highline may be permitted to challenge that course by examination.
Courses that may be challenged and procedures for challenging can be obtained from the department that schedules the course.
Credit for this type of learning may be used for distribution or elective credit and is limited to 15 credits for the Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees. For details, speak with the credentials evaluator in the Registration office in Building 6.
International Baccalaureate: Highline will grant five credits for each higher level subject in which a score of five or higher is achieved. These credits may be used to satisfy distribution or elective requirements.
Note: International Baccalaureate credits used at Highline may not transfer to other colleges or universities. Students need to check with the individual schools. To request your IB official transcript, please see the following:
In order to evaluate/transfer your AP/IB courses, you must request this from Registration and Records. Please go here to find form and directions: http://registration.highline.edu/transcript.eval.php
Departmental Placement: Individual departments have different requirements.
English. All English writing courses have prerequisites of either previous courses, high school transcripts, or minimum scores on either the Reading COMPASS or ESL COMPASS placement tests. Students should check the quarterly class schedule before enrolling in an English course.
Mathematics. Most MATH or MATH& courses have prerequisites of either a previous course in college or high school or a minimum score on the MyMathTest (MMT), Highline’s placement test. Students should check the quarterly class schedule before enrolling in a mathematics course. For information, contact a mathematics instructor.
Reading. Many courses require a minimum COMPASS reading score.
World Languages. Most world language courses have prerequisites of a previous course, grade and/or minimum score on the COMPASS placement test. Students can usually select the right level for their first college foreign language course by using these guidelines:
- Students who have not studied - or who have very minimal study in - a foreign language, enter 121;
- Students who have successfully completed (grade 2.0 or better) two years of a high school language are ready for 122;
- Students who have successfully completed three years of a high school language are ready for 123;
- Students who have successfully completed more than three years of a high school language enter 221;
- Students who have considerable preparation other than high school and college and some fluency in the language can enter 221;
- Native speakers of a language must register for 221 or higher.
Students are urged to discuss preparation for world language study with their adviser or the instructor of the language so that satisfactory placement can be made. Instructors will help place students through the end of the registration period.
Caution: Some four-year colleges and universities do not grant credit for 101 or 121 to students who entered college in fall 1987 or later if they had two or more years of that language in high school.
Highline College grants academic credits toward its degrees for courses completed at other regionally accredited institutions. To have other colleges’ transcripts evaluated, an official transcript must be sent to the credentials evaluator in Building 6, along with a “Request to Evaluate Official Transcripts from Other Institutions” form. The form is available in the Registration office in Building 6. Students will receive a copy of the transcript record upon completion of the evaluation.
All examinations must be taken at the times scheduled by the instructors. A request to take an examination at any other time must be approved by the instructor.
Final Examinations for Courses
A final examination or evaluation is part of each course. Students are required to take the final examination or participate in the evaluation at the scheduled time in order to complete the course and receive credit. A final examination schedule is included in the quarterly class schedule.
Grades and Transcripts
Grade Point Average
Grade point average (GPA) is a measure of a student’s overall academic achievement. GPA is computed on both a quarterly and cumulative basis from those courses in which students have received grades. The cumulative GPA shown on the student’s transcript is based solely on courses taken at Highline and specifically excludes transfer credits.
GPA is computed by dividing the total cumulative grade points by the total possible credits for courses taken. Grade points are calculated by multiplying the number of credits by the numeric value of the grade for each course. The sum of the grade points is then divided by the total possible credits.
Credit or pass grades are printed on the transcript as CR and do not count in the quarterly or cumulative GPAs, but do count as credits earned. I, N, W and NC grade symbols do not count in the quarterly and cumulative GPAs and do not count as credits earned toward graduation.
Students are encouraged to review their transcripts carefully. Questions about grades, grade points or credits should be immediately presented to the instructor of the class or the registrar.
Grades are available approximately five days after the quarter ends at https://secure.highline.edu/wts/student/waci002.php.
Highline uses a numerical grading system to measure and evaluate student performance. Instructors are responsible for measuring and evaluating the performance of their students and must provide a course syllabus that clearly defines the grading requirements for each course.
Instructors may report numerical grade points within a range of 0.7 to 4.0, in 0.1 increments. The grade of 0.0 does not satisfy minimum academic standards for earning credit.
Numerical grades measure achievement according to the following standards:
4.0 Highest achievement
2.0 Satisfactory achievement
0.7 Minimum achievement for credit
0.0-0.6 No credit
Note: Students are responsible for checking with appropriate departments for minimum grades required for program completion or as prerequisites for higher-level courses.
Other Grading Symbols
In addition to numeric grades, the following letter grades are also used. Of these, only the CR (credit) grade will be awarded college credit. Explanations of each symbol follow this list:
CR: Credit. A grade of Credit (CR) may be granted for completion of course requirements at the 2.0 level or above. A CR grade must be initiated by the student at the time of registration or by the 15th instructional day of the quarter (an equivalent date is listed in the quarterly class schedule for summer).
The instructor will provide a numerical grade point evaluation, and if it is 2.0 or above, it will automatically be converted to CR by the registrar’s office. Otherwise, the numerical grade given by the instructor will be entered.
Only 15 CR credits are applicable toward the Associate of Arts Option A degree. CR credits may or may not be recognized by other institutions. Other degrees and programs will designate the maximum number of applicable CR credits. Divisions may designate specific courses which are only graded CR/NC.
I: Incomplete. An instructor may issue an I when the following conditions apply:
- A student was still registered for the class after the official withdrawal date;
- A student satisfactorily (grade of 2.0 or higher) completed at least 80 percent of the total coursework but was not able to complete all coursework due to extenuating circumstances;
- A student and instructor have agreed on a date of completion to occur within the following 12 months;
- A student and instructor have completed an “Incomplete Grade Contract” and submitted to Registration.
The I will be converted to a numerical grade or CR/NC upon completion of the course requirements. If the I is not removed through the completion of the requirements after 12 months, it will be converted to the grade earned, as shown on the “Incomplete Grade Contract.” This converted grade may not be changed. If an I grade is submitted and the instructor and student fail to file an Incomplete Grade Contract within one quarter, the grade will automatically convert to a 0.0.
N: Audit. Students may enroll for a course on an audit (N) basis. Regular tuition and fees are charged. The N does not carry decimal points.
NC: No Credit. NC indicates a student did not satisfactorily complete course requirements at the 2.0 level to receive credit. The NC grade is used only for courses designated by an instructional division as CR/NC, and carries no GPA calculation.
R: Repeated Class. The symbol R prefixed by a numerical grade or CR, such as 3.2R, indicates the class was repeated. See statement on repeating a course following this section.
W: Withdrawal. The W grade indicates that the student withdrew from the course, in keeping with college withdrawal policies. The W carries no credit, indicates neither passing nor nonpassing work at the time of withdrawal and does not affect GPA. Some courses, identified in the catalog and/or quarterly class schedule, require group participation and are not eligible for a W without the instructor’s permission.
If a withdrawal to the registrar’s office is submitted on or before the 15th instructional day of the quarter (an equivalent date will be listed in the quarterly class schedule for summer) the class will not be reported on the transcript.
First-week nonattendance. In order to accommodate students waiting to register for a course, instructors have the discretion to initiate a withdrawal at the end of the first week of the quarter (or its equivalent for summer). This withdrawal may be authorized when students do not attend at least 60 percent of the class time during the first week. Students should contact their instructors to request an exception to this policy so that in the event of unavoidable absences they will not be withdrawn.
*: Missing Grade. An asterisk (*) indicates that no grade was received from the instructor.
Repeating a Course
Students may repeat courses taken at Highline in order to improve their skills or GPA. To repeat a course, a student must reregister and pay all necessary fees. Upon completion of the repeated class, a student must notify Registration and Records to request the GPA recalculation be performed. A course may not be repeated more than twice to improve the cumulative GPA.
Grade Forgiveness Policy
(Approved by Faculty Senate, June 2, 2010)
This policy provides an option for qualified students to set aside or exclude quarters previously attempted or completed from the GPA, when the coursework does not reflect their true academic ability.
With written approval of the adviser, students who meet the conditions outlined below may petition the Registrar to exclude from their transcript grades that negatively affect their cumulative credits and cumulative GPA. All courses and credits prior to the selected quarter will be excluded.
- Student has not been enrolled for at least 1 year.
- Student must have completed 15 credits with a 2.5 GPA or better (since returning to Highline).
- Student has less than a year’s break in enrollment.
- Student must have completed 30 credits with a 2.5 GPA or better (after the most recent quarter to be excluded)
Students cannot select individual courses or quarters for forgiveness. For example, if a student wishes to exclude courses in which failing or poor grades were received during the fourth quarter at Highline, all work taken during the first four quarters would be excluded.
Credits and grade points for excluded courses will be changed to zero (0) and will not be included in the Highline credit total and GPA. The course number, course title, and original grade will remain on the transcript.
Once forgiven, courses and credits may not be reinstated, may not be used as prerequisites, and may not apply toward degree requirements. Students will be allowed to have Grade Forgiveness applied once.
Financial Aid does not honor Grade Forgiveness.
Although Highline College makes provisions for Grade Forgiveness, students should not assume that other colleges to which they transfer will compute the GPA in the same manner. Only the Highline record can be set aside; the College cannot set aside records from other colleges.
“Grade Forgiveness Request” forms are available at the Registration Office, Building 6, lower level.
An official transcript is a grade report of academic achievement and carries the signature of the registrar and the college seal. Institutions receiving a transcript will interpret it according to their own policies.
Transcript request forms are available at the Registration office and www.studentclearinghouse.org. A fee for each transcript is payable at the time of the request. Current fees are available at registration.highline.edu/fees.php.
For an unofficial copy of a transcript, visit https://secure.highline.edu/wts/student/waci002.php
Transcripts from Other Schools
Highline does not release or certify copies of transcripts from other institutions. Transcripts that have been submitted to Highline from previously attended secondary schools and colleges become part of Highline’s official file and may not be returned to the student or the college.
Official transcripts from previously attended schools and colleges must be received by the Registration office in Building 6 directly from the sending institution.
June commencement is a ceremony for those students who have completed or plan to complete their degree or certificate during fall, winter or spring of the current academic year, or the summer quarter immediately following. Participation is not required. Ceremony participation does not guarantee degree completion.
Highline encourages all students to apply for graduation at least two quarters prior to the anticipated graduation date. The “Application for Graduation/Request for Graduation Evaluation” form is available at the Registration office in Building 6, lower level or online.
Submission of the application for graduation form initiates an evaluation of all coursework applicable to the degree indicated. Upon completion of this process, students are notified of the results. A degree or certificate will not be awarded until the application for graduation is on file in the Registration office and a credentials evaluator has determined all required coursework has been successfully completed. A student may not earn more than one transfer degree (AA-DTA) at Highline College.
The Graduation Review Board considers requests for substitutions and waivers to degree requirements. Such requests must be submitted in writing to the Graduation Review Board at the Registration office in Building 6.
Highest Scholastic Achievement Award
The Highest Scholastic Achievement Award is presented each commencement to the graduating student(s) who has attained the highest GPA and who has completed all degree requirements by the end of the spring quarter of the academic year of graduation. “Highest Scholastic Achievement Award” will be printed on the transcript.
Honors at Graduation
A student completing an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree who achieves a college-level cumulative GPA of 3.5 to 4.0 is eligible for honors at graduation. The transcript will indicate “Honors”. Winter quarter GPA is used for students who are scheduled to complete degree requirements during spring or summer quarter.
Students with a 3.5 GPA or higher, who have completed the 35 required honors credits, will graduate as Highline Honors Scholars. For information, see “Honors Scholar” in the Other Instructional Programs section.
Quarterly President’s and Vice President’s Lists
A student completing 12 or more credit hours of courses numbered 100 and above during any quarter at Highline College with a quarterly GPA of 3.5 to 3.99 and with no grade below 2.0 or an incomplete (I grade) is placed on the Vice President’s List for the quarter. A student with a 4.0 GPA will be placed on the President’s List. The transcript will indicate’ “Vice President’s List” or “President’s List” for the quarter(s) involved. Honors are generally posted to the transcript the third week of the following quarter.
College Year: The college instructional year consists of fall, winter and spring quarters of approximately 11 weeks each and a summer quarter of about eight weeks.
During the instructional year, class sections are offered during the early morning, late afternoon and evening hours at the college and at other sites throughout the district. Transfer, professional-technical and basic skills courses are offered during summer quarter, as well.
College Quarters: Highline offers classes on a quarterly schedule. Fall quarter classes begin in late September, winter quarter begins in January and spring quarter begins in late March or early April. Summer quarter begins in June.
Instructional Grievance Process
Highline College provides a process through which students can seek resolution of complaints about instructional matters. Typically, these matters include grades and classroom practices. Excluded from this process are those complaints for which other specific remedies are provided such as Title IX discrimination claims.
An attempt should be made to resolve all instructional complaints in an informal manner. The interests of all are best served when complaints are resolved at the lowest possible level of the administrative structure.
Step 1: Discussion with Faculty Member
The student should first discuss the situation with the faculty member involved, before meeting with anyone else. Any employee of the college receiving a complaint concerning a faculty member shall encourage the complainant to meet with the faculty member involved.
Step 2: Discussion with Department Coordinator and/or Division Chair
If the student has already discussed the matter with the faculty member or refuses to do so, and desires to pursue the complaint, the student will be directed to meet with the division chair if the complaint is against a full-time faculty member, or with the department coordinator if the complaint is against a part-time faculty member.
Upon hearing the complaint, the chair or department coordinator should attempt to facilitate resolution by encouraging further discussions between complainant and the faculty member, using a third-party intermediary if necessary.
Step 3: Written Grievance to Division Chair and Faculty Member
If all attempts at an informal resolution have failed, the student must submit in writing to the chair and the faculty member involved the complaint and a chronology of the attempts at resolution. The faculty member may choose to send the chair a written response to the complaint.
After reviewing the complaint with the parties involved, the chair will provide, in a timely manner, a written response to the complainant and faculty member, which includes the chair’s resolution to the complaint. Failure of the faculty member to comply with the resolution, if applicable, will be considered the same complaint and will be appealed to the chair.
Step 4: Appeal to the Vice President for Academic Affairs
If the student wishes to pursue the matter, he or she must provide to the vice president for Academic Affairs all written materials initially provided to the chair and the response from the chair.
Upon reviewing the complaint with the appropriate parties, the vice president for Academic Affairs (or designee) will provide an opportunity for the faculty member and the complainant to submit additional materials related to the written complaint. The vice president for Academic Affairs (or designee) may consider other related complaints in reaching a resolution.
Prior to issuing a written response, the faculty member will have the opportunity to review all written materials the vice president for Academic Affairs (or designee) has considered in resolving the complaint(s). Copies of the vice president for Academic Affairs’ (or designee’s) resolution will be sent to the complainant and the faculty member.
Progress Standards for Financial Aid Recipients
Students applying for or receiving financial aid should review the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy in order to ensure continued eligibility for financial aid. Copies of the policy are available in the Financial Aid office in Building 6 or online at financialaid.highline.edu/FormsResourcesPolicies.php.
Student Complaint Policy
The Student Complaint policy and process is published in the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 132I-310, which is available online at apps.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=132I-310-010.