College Catalog 2019-2020 
    
    Nov 20, 2019  
College Catalog 2019-2020

Academics



Academic Honors

Richard Bland College recognizes outstanding achievement among its students. For academic honors, non-credit developmental courses are not included in determining full-time status or grade point average.

President’s List

A full-time student who in any Fall or Spring semester earns a grade point average of at least 3.8 with no grade below a “C” will be placed on the President’s List. This recognition is noted on the student’s academic transcript.

Dean’s List

A full-time student who in any Fall or Spring semester earns a grade point average of at least 3.25 with no grade below a “C” will be placed on the Dean’s List. This recognition is noted on the student’s academic transcript.

Phi Theta Kappa

PTK is an international honor society for two-year college students. A student who has completed twelve (12) semester hours (not including developmental courses) at Richard Bland College and achieved a minimum grade point average of 3.50 is eligible for membership. In order to remain a member of PTK, a student must graduate with a 3.2 or better cumulative grade point average. Richard Bland College’s chapter, Alpha Beta Omicron, was chartered in 1971.

RBC Honors Distinction

Students who complete the requirements of the RBC Honors Program will graduate with RBC Honors Distinction. Requirements include but are not limited to community service, Honors curriculum completion, and campus engagement. To be admitted into the Honors Program, students must apply prior to each academic year. 

 

Graduation Honors Distinction

Recognition is given at Commencement to students who have excelled in academic work. The minimum cumulative grade point averages required for graduation honors are:

  • Cum Laude: 3.25 GPA
  • Magna Cum Laude: 3.50 GPA
  • Summa Cum Laude: 3.80 GPA

Academic Status

Richard Bland College has three levels of academic status for its students: Good Standing, Academic Probation, and Academic Suspension. In order to continue in college, a student should normally maintain at least a 2.0 grade point average on all work attempted. If the grade point average is deficient, the student should be able to remove the deficiency within two semesters of full-time study in order to achieve the minimum 2.0 grade point average required for graduation.

Good Standing

To continue in Good Standing, a student must meet or exceed the following minimum academic requirements:

  • At the end of the first semester (9-11 semester hours minimum, not including developmental hours), the student must have attained a grade point average of 1.0
  • At the end of the first semester (12 semester hours minimum, not including developmental hours), the student must have attained a grade point average of 1.50
  • At the end of the second semester (24 semester hours minimum, not including developmental hours), the student must have attained a cumulative grade point average of 1.75
  • At the completion of 45 semester hours (not including developmental hours), the student must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.0

Academic Probation

A student who has not met the minimum academic requirements in the preceding semester to maintain Good Standing will be placed on Academic Probation. The student will be notified of this action by a letter from the Office of Academic & Student Development. A student on Academic Probation must meet the following conditions during the probation semester:

  • The student’s academic load may not exceed thirteen semester hours except by permission of the Provost.
  • The student must earn at least a 2.00 grade point average for the semester while on academic probation, or meet the requirements of Good Standing.

A student in violation of either of these two conditions will be subject to academic suspension from the College. At the end of the probation semester (or completion of 12 academic hours), the student may be:

  • Returned to Good Standing if the student has met the conditions of the probation semester and earned sufficient quality points, or
  • Continued on Academic Probation if the student has met the conditions of the probation semester, but has not earned sufficient quality points to regain Good Standing. In such case, the student will be allowed to continue in college, but only on continued Academic Probation. If Good Standing is not regained at the end of the second semester of Academic Probation, the student will be placed on Academic Suspension if the student has not met the conditions of the first probation semester. (See Academic Suspension) The student will be notified of such status by a letter from the Office of Academic & Student Development.

A student admitted to Richard Bland College under Academic Probation from another college or university is subject to the same requirements as continuing Richard Bland College students under Academic Probation.

Academic Suspension

A student placed on Academic Suspension is required to withdraw from the College for a minimum period of one semester. A student will be placed directly on Academic Suspension at the end of twelve (12 hours attempted if the cumulative grade point average is below 0.0. Students placed on Academic Probation may be subject to Academic Suspension after one semester if the grade point average is not appropriate for the total number of credit hours attempted (See Academic Status – Good Standing, or “Probation and Suspension Standards – Table 1.0” below). A student will be notified of Academic Suspension by a letter from the Office of Academic & Student Development. A student who is on Academic Suspension from RBC or any other college is not permitted to enroll in any program of the College for one full semester after suspension. If a student on Academic Suspension wishes to return to Richard Bland College, an application for readmission must be completed and forwarded to the Admission Office. Academic status (Good Standing or Academic Probation) will be determined at the time the student is readmitted. A student who has been suspended for a second time from Richard Bland College or from any other institution of higher education may not be considered for readmission/admission.

If a Richard Bland College student is suspended at the end of the spring semester and is pre-registered for a course during the Intersession (short term immediately following the Spring semester), the student will be permitted to complete that term and will receive credit for the course(s). However, the student will not be permitted to enroll in additional classes until the upcoming Spring semester. Pre-registration for any other Summer term following the Spring suspension will be terminated and tuition refunds will be issued. Credits earned while under suspension from this or any other college will be subject to review before being accepted by Richard Bland College.

Developmental courses do not figure into calculations for credits attempted nor for cumulative GPA for purposes of academic probation or suspension. [EE1] 

The relation between academic progress and institutional action may also be visualized in the following table:

 

“Probation and Suspension Standards – Table 1.0”

Credits Attempted

Cumulative GPA

Institutional Action

9 to 11

0 to 1.0

Probation

12+

0.0

Suspension

12 to 23

0.1 to <1.50

Probation

24 to 45

0.1 to <1.0

Suspension

24 to 45

1.0 to <1.75

Probation

46 to 60+

0.1 to <2.0

Suspension

 


 

Academic Amnesty

Although all credits and grades earned at Richard Bland College are a part of the permanent record, a student may petition through the Office of the Provost for forgiveness of part or all of the academic record. This amnesty policy is a privilege extended to students who began their academic careers at Richard Bland College, or at any other college, and for whatever reasons experienced academic difficulty. Academic amnesty may be granted to students who have had at least a five-year interruption in college education, and upon re-enrollment in Richard Bland College, have established a satisfactory record.

To be forgiven, those courses in which a “D” or “F” was earned at Richard Bland College, the student must first complete an equivalent of twelve (12) semester credits and then petition the Provost in writing. The Provost will determine if there is sufficient evidence to consider that the student is better able to succeed academically. After being granted amnesty, the student will retain credit and quality points for courses taken at Richard Bland College in which at least a “C” is earned. Courses for which academic amnesty have been granted will indicate “Amnesty” on the student’s transcript. The cumulative grade point average will not include the hours attempted and quality points earned (if any) for those courses. Eligibility for academic honors, however, is determined on the basis of the student’s entire academic record. If the student is a previous recipient of federal financial aid and is determined to be ineligible for financial aid because of not meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress guidelines as mandated by the federal government, the ability to receive financial assistance may not be granted until the student has completed a semester and has satisfactory grades meeting the requirements.

Challenging Academic Records

All course grades and changes in academic status become part of the student’s permanent record. If a student wishes to challenge a change in status to Academic Probation or to Academic Suspension, the student may provide a written petition to the Academic Standards & Appeals Committee. Such a petition should be requested through the online SAP/Academic Progress Appeal Form for Reinstatement. It may be that sufficient personal circumstances exist, not reflected in the mathematically derived grade point average, to warrant the Committee’s waiving certain academic requirements in a given case or recalculating the student’s grade point average.

The Academic Standards & Appeals Committee will review student documentation and consult with faculty members and Learner Mentors in order to reach its decision. The recommendation of the Committee will be reported to the Provost, who will make the final decision and notify the student. The Committee is not authorized to change a grade.

Academic Assessment

Academic programs and support services are evaluated to ensure their quality. Occasionally, 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.

Attendance Policy

Regular and punctual class attendance is expected of all students. Each student is allowed absences without penalty for the number of hours equal to the credit hours for a course. For example, a student is allowed three (3) hours of absence from a three (3) credit hour class. It is the responsibility of the student to make up missed work for such absences; and being absent does not excuse a student from the responsibility to complete any work or assignment on time.

In addition to absences without penalty, in recognition of special circumstances (e.g., family or medical emergency, official school business, military obligation, bereavement, religious observance, etc.), the instructor and the Provost may excuse absence from class. Whenever possible (e.g. military obligation), the student must notify the instructor of the planned absence in advance. Valid written documentation must be submitted to the instructor to excuse class absences within five (5) weekdays. Class excuses are not granted for transportation problems or athletic practices.

College officials responsible for a student representing the College on officially approved trips must notify the student’s instructors in advance. An instructor so notified must not penalize the student, although the student is responsible for material missed.

Instructors are expected to include the class attendance policy in the course syllabus issued to the students. They are required to maintain attendance records on all students and, at the request of the Provost or the Registrar, to report any student who exceeds the maximum number of unexcused absences as established by the instructor. A student who exceeds the maximum number of unexcused absences may receive academic penalty in the course at the discretion of the instructor or be administratively withdrawn at the discretion of the Provost.

Audit/Credit Status

A student may register for a course on an “audit” status. Audit students are charged the regular rate of tuition and fees, and an audit class is counted as part of the student’s semester course load. However, a student registered on audit status is not required to take tests or final examinations. Failure to attend classes regularly may jeopardize audit status. A student enrolled on audit status is not given a final grade, but the permanent record is marked (O) to indicate Audit. Audit is recorded without certification of class attendance or course accomplishment.

A change in registration from Credit to Audit or Audit to Credit must be completed by the end of the first week of classes for fall and spring semesters and prior to the first class meeting for summer terms. (See the Academic Calendar  for the pertinent dates.) In each case, the student must complete the appropriate form at the Office of Records & Registration.

Credit cannot be given for a course taken on audit status beyond the Class Change period or after the course has been completed. However, a student who has audited a course may later enroll in the same course on a credit status.

It is the responsibility of each student to determine the effect of auditing a class on financial aid, insurance policies, and participating in clubs and organizations.

Traditional Student

  • First Year – The student who has completed fewer than 24 semester hour credits or has earned fewer than 48 quality points
  • Sophomore – The student who has completed at least 24 semester hour credits and has earned at least 48 quality points

Non-Degree Student

Students enrolled as non-degree may take no more than nine (9) hours of coursework per semester for a maximum of 18 hours, after which they must seek admission as traditional degree- seeking students. Students enrolled under the non-degree category are not eligible for financial aid. Students must complete all required forms, pay the standard one-time application fee, and all applicable tuition and fees. Continued enrollment as a non-degree student is contingent upon satisfactory academic status.

Students in the category are identified as:

  • Students who, at the time they enroll, do not wish to pursue a degree program but do wish to receive credit for coursework taken on campus, off campus, or during summer sessions or
  • Students enrolled in teacher recertification courses, courses required for employment, or courses taken for personal enrichment

Students falling under this definition must meet the following requirements:

  • Students must be at least 17 years of age
  • Students must have a valid high school diploma or GED

Second Associate Degree

Richard Bland College does not confer two degrees concurrently. A student who has already received an Associate Degree may earn a second but different Associate Degree by meeting the following requirements:

  • Completing a minimum of 15 semester hours of additional course work during the semester in which the requirements for the second Associate Degree are met at Richard Bland College, after the date on which the first degree was earned,
  • Meeting all prerequisite and course requirements for the first Associate Degree, as well as degree requirements for the second degree, and
  • Earning a grade point average of 2.0 or higher in course work completed for the first and second Associate Degree.

Examinations

All non-activity courses will have scheduled final examinations. Unless otherwise announced by the instructor, the examination will take place in the same classroom in which the course has been held. Students are required to take all examinations at the time scheduled. No changes will be permitted except when:

  • Two or more examinations are scheduled at the same hour or
  • A student has three or more consecutive examinations. (In this case, the student must take all examinations during examination week.)

Written requests to reschedule examinations must be submitted to the instructor for approval. An excuse for missing an examination for illness will not be accepted without a physician’s note and notification in advance whenever possible. No student will be allowed more than three hours for an examination, unless a student has academic accommodations to support additional time.

Grade Appeals

In matters involving grade appeals, the student should consult with the faculty member who issued the final grade for the course. If the student still believes a grade has been assigned unfairly, the student may appeal to the division chair and further to the Provost. If the issue cannot be resolved at any of these levels, the student has the right to appeal formally to the Academic Standards & Appeals Committee. This written appeal must be submitted within ninety days of issuance of the student’s final grade. A form for facilitating the appeal process is available by contacting provost@rbc.edu.

It shall be the responsibility of the Academic Standards & Appeals Committee to hear the student’s appeal and to interview anyone the student chooses to speak on his/her behalf. The faculty member issuing the grade also has the right to appear before the Committee for the purpose of presenting pertinent information and also may have witnesses present if desired. The recommendation of the Committee will be reported to the Provost, who will make the final decision and notify the student. The Committee is not empowered to change a grade.

In these proceedings, the burden of proof is on the student to prove that a change of grade is the appropriate action.

Quality Points (QPA)

Final semester grades are given quality-point ratings in accordance with the following scale:

  • A = 4 quality points per semester-hour credit
  • B = 3 quality points per semester-hour credit
  • C = 2 quality points per semester-hour credit
  • D = 1 quality points per semester-hour credit
  • F = 0 quality points per semester-hour credit

To determine the quality points earned in a given course, multiply the points for the final grade by the semester-hour credit for that course.

A student’s quality-point average (QPA or GPA) is computed by dividing the number of quality points earned at RBC by the number of credits attempted at RBC. This computation includes semester hours in which a grade of “F” is earned. If a course is repeated, the highest grade is used to compute the quality point average; however, both the original and second grades are recorded on the student’s permanent record. The grades of accepted transfer courses, audit courses, developmental courses, and courses officially dropped before the academic penalty date are not included in the quality-point average.

Registration Procedures

Online registration procedures are on the Richard Bland College website and in the course schedule for each semester and summer session. An Alternate PIN is required for registration, and is available only from the Learner Mentor to whom the student has been assigned.

Students should make appointments with their Learner Mentor as soon as possible after course schedules are published to plan schedules and review degree requirements.

Students may also register with their Learner Mentor or at the Office of Records & Registration.

Repeat of Courses

Students are limited to three attempts in the same course. After the second attempt, further attempts require completion and submission of the Class Repeat Application to the Office of Records & Registration. The application is available at the Office of Records & Registration in the Enrollment Services Center on campus, and on the Records and Registration link of the RBC website at https://www.rbc.edu/admissions/administrative-offices/records-registration-office/forms/

Repeat courses may impact your financial aid; please contact the financial aid office for more details.

All original courses and grades will appear on the student’s transcript. Although Richard Bland College adjusts cumulative grade point averages for successful repeats, some four-year institutions may compute the grade point average using all courses attempted.

Note: The following examples illustrate the rules concerning repeats:

  • Original grade is “I” (Incomplete) and the student registers for the same course the following semester. The original course will remain on the student’s record but will be dropped without academic penalty and the new course will not be shown as a repeat on the student’s record.
  • Original grade is lower than the grade for the repeated course: The cumulative grade point average is calculated including “I” (located in the column to the right of the course). The attempted hours and quality points earned for the repeated course and the attempted hours and quality points earned (if any) for the original course are excluded “E” (located in the column to the right of the course).
  • Original grade is equal to or higher than the grade for the repeated course: (See rule concerning “Fs” below.) The cumulative grade point average is calculated including “I” (located in the column to the right of the course) the attempted hours and quality points earned for the original course and excluding “E” (located in the column to the right of the course) the attempted hours and quality points (if any) for the repeated course.
  • Original grade is “F” and the grade for the new course is “F”: The cumulative grade point average is calculated including “I” (located in the column to the right of the course) the attempted hours for up to three (3) “F’s” for a course.
  • Original and second grades are “Fs” and the grade for the new course is “D” or higher: The cumulative grade point average is calculated including “I” (located in the column to the right of the course) the attempted hours and quality points earned for the new course and the attempted hours for the two “Fs” are excluded “E” (located in the column to the right of the course).
  • Original, second, and third grades are “Fs”: On occasion a student must complete the course to fulfill degree requirements. Therefore, a third repeat is warranted. If a third repeat is granted by the Provost and the course is passed, the cumulative grade point average is calculated including “I” the attempted hours for the three “Fs” and the attempted hours and quality points earned for the new course.

Credit Hour Load (Student)

To enhance the opportunity for early success, students admitted to the College under probationary status must enroll in the following prescribed list of courses during their first semester or until they have successfully completed all developmental courses (earned a C or better).

The general full-time student credit load during the regular session consists of four or five courses representing a minimum of twelve (12) and a maximum of eighteen (18) semester-hour credits. Exceptions to this general credit load include the following:

  • A student may, with the approval of the Provost, carry an overload beyond eighteen semester credit hours by using the Student Credit Hour Overload form.
  • A continuing student on Academic Probation may not exceed thirteen semester credit hours.
  • The maximum summer session credit load is two courses or six credit hours in each term. Students may earn up to fifteen credits during the summer.

For administrative purposes, a student who is enrolled in twelve or more credit hours is considered a full-time student. A student enrolled in fewer than twelve credit hours is considered part-time.

Grading System

Grades can be accessed by the students through Banner Web at the end of each semester or term. The College’s grading system for evaluating achievement in academic courses is:

  • A = Superior (90-100)
  • B = Good (80-89)
  • C = Average (70-79)
  • D = Poor (60-69)
  • F = Failing (<60)
  • W = Withdrew
  • W/F = Withdrew/Failing
  • M = Drop without Academic Penalty

In addition to the grades, A, B, C, D, and F, the following symbols are also used:

  • The grade of “I” (Incomplete) indicates the student has received permission from the instructor to postpone the completion of certain required work or for a deferred final examination. The student and instructor must complete the “Application for Incomplete Grade” to initiate the process. Incomplete course work and deferred examinations must be completed as soon as possible, but not later than the last date to complete “Incomplete” grades during the following semester (See Academic Calendar  for pertinent dates). An incomplete grade that is not removed within this period will automatically become an “F”. A student may elect to repeat an “Incomplete” course the following semester. If so, the “Incomplete” course will remain on the student’s record but will be dropped without academic penalty.
  • The symbol of “W” (Withdrew on or before Penalty Drop Date) indicates a course dropped after the Class Change period, but on or before the penalty drop date (See Academic Calendar  for pertinent dates). Any student withdrawing after the Penalty Drop Date receives a grade of “W/F”. Grades of “W/F” are included as an “F” in the computation of a student’s Richard Bland College grade point average.
  • The symbol of “M” (Medical/Extenuating Circumstance Withdrawal) indicates a course dropped after the penalty drop date due to medical/extenuating circumstances with appropriate documentation. Approval of the Provost is required.
  • The symbol of “O” (Audit) indicates a course being taken for non-credit.

Withdrawal from Richard Bland College

Students who desire to withdraw from the College must complete a “Withdrawal from College” form available from the Office of the Records & Registration or submit a letter to the Registrar stating the desire to withdraw. Students under the age of eighteen must furnish written permission from their parent or guardian to withdraw from the College. Students with outstanding debts to the College must settle their accounts before withdrawing.

If a student withdraws from the College after the penalty drop date (see Academic Calendar  for pertinent dates) or does not officially withdraw by notifying the Office of Records & Registration in writing, a grade of “F” will be assigned for each course. If extenuating circumstances exist, the Provost must be informed in writing and appropriate documentation may be required.

The Provost will determine if withdrawal without academic penalty is appropriate.

Refunds will be based on guidelines outlined in the Course Schedule on the website at www.rbc.edu.

Readmission to Richard Bland College after voluntary official withdrawal is not automatic. A student desiring to return to the College must apply for readmission.

Military Deployment

A student with certain military status who is called to active duty is given special consideration by the College in determining tuition refund or academic deferral of credit. Depending upon the circumstances and timing, such a student may be allowed to withdraw from the College without academic penalty and with full refund of tuition or the student will receive a grade of incomplete with the option of completing the course(s) at a later date or tuition credit for future enrollment.

Each case is determined on its own merits based on the College’s receipt of a copy of the appropriate military orders.

Withdrawing from One or More Classes (Dropping a Class)

After the conclusion of the Class Change period during the first week of classes, class drops are initiated by completing a “Class Drop” form available at the Office of Records and Registration’s page of the College’s website (www.rbc.edu). The form must be signed by the student and the Financial Aid Office (if applicable), and submitted to the Office of Records & Registration.

A course dropped after the Class Change period but before the Penalty Drop Date (approximately mid-semester) will have the notation “W” on the student’s permanent record.

A course dropped after the Penalty Drop Date receives a grade of “W/F” (included in the computation of the student’s Richard Bland College grade point average). If medical or extenuating circumstances exist, and appropriate documentation can be presented to and approved by the Provost, the grade of “M” (drop without academic penalty) will be assigned to the student’s permanent record. Please refer to the section concerning the College’s grading system.

Institutional Review Board (IRB)

According to 45 CFR 46 of the Code of Federal Regulations, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has mandated that research which occurs at an institution and which involves human subjects must be approved by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) to ensure the safety and the appropriate use of humans as subjects in research studies. All protocols involving human subjects must be submitted to the Protection of Human Subjects Committee at Richard Bland College, which serves as the College’s IRB.

Based upon the guidelines provided by the DHHS, the RBC Protection of Human Subjects Committee will either 1) exempt the protocol from formal review or require that it undergo either 2) expedited review by the Chair, and typically, selected members of the committee, or 3) review by the full committee during a convened meeting.

A properly completed protocol will include a brief rationale for the study, full procedures, description of the participants, copy of all tests, questionnaires, all interview questions, the informed consent form, and other pertinent information. Normal review times are three to four weeks for an expedited review, and more than one month for a full review, provided all the necessary detailed information has been included in the submission. If approved, human subjects protocols are valid for a term of one year. Projects which continue beyond the expiration date of the approval must submit a new protocol stating that the project is continuing, and all deviations from the original protocol should be modified in the new protocol submission.

Once submitted for committee review, every protocol undergoes a thorough review. A notice of approval will be sent electronically to the principal investigator(s) of record.