Academic and Student Affairs Policies

7.0 Instruction

7.3 Textbooks

  1. Every course shall have an adopted text. Course packs and electronic media can be considered textbooks.
  2. Textbooks shall be adopted for no less than two consecutive years.
  3. Textbooks shall be adopted through the process established by the respective department/discipline and ordered by the Department Head/Program Director or their designee.
  4. Textbooks, which are adopted by the department/discipline, shall be used by all faculty teaching that course.
  5. Textbook selection will include the following three primary considerations: 1) quality of content to meet course learning outcomes, 2) cost to students, and 3) equal access as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment (ADAA, Section 504 of the Civil Rights Act of 1973).
  6. Variation from this policy and unusual text selection circumstances shall be resolved with the Department Head/Program Director and with the appropriate Dean or Associate Dean.
  7. Departments that order textbooks that are electronic or are bundled with electronic media containing courseware or software applications must acquire a sufficient

Textbook Policy


7.10 Grading

The college must have a student grading system to effectively record and rate students’ classroom, lab and other learning. This policy outlines the grades faculty will issue for student work and the process for students to grieve their grade if needed.

Grading Policy


7.12 Faculty Ethics Policy

Established codes of ethics serve several different functions that contribute significantly to their professional and institutional value. Examining these functions individually clarifies the importance of developing and maintaining a vital code of professional ethics within an institution: The first function served is aspirational — these codes outline the core values we aspire to and strive to manifest in our professional conduct. Secondly, professional ethics codes are educational — with these codes we educate others in our profession and institution about the values, beliefs and behaviors that we have decided are central to ethical conduct. Finally, professional ethics codes function in a manner that is self-regulatory — these codes serve as proof that the faculty at GRCC agree to a set of minimally acceptable standards, and to give fair notice that departures from these standards undermine the mission of the college. Peer differences that may benefit from the assistance of a third party may be brought for review to the AGC Faculty Ethics Committee, a committee composed only of other faculty members, who may implement a review process.

Faculty Ethics Policy


7.13 Course Credit Hour Definition

A credit hour gives value to an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement of those outcomes. A credit hour requires a minimum of one hour of direct faculty instruction and two hours of out-of-class student work each week for the equivalent of fourteen weeks.

Many academic experiences are integral to courses or programs because they allow students to practice and apply their learning in the laboratory, studio or workplace. Each of these requires additional contact hours to earn a credit hour.

  • Clinicals require a minimum of 1.75 hours of student participation each week for the equivalent of fourteen weeks for each credit hour.
  • Laboratories, Music Ensembles, Studios, Practica, Internships, and Fieldwork require a minimum of 2 hours of student participation each week for the equivalent of fourteen weeks for each credit hour.
  • Co-ops require a minimum of 5 hours of student participation each week for the equivalent of fourteen weeks for each credit hour.
  • Lecture/Labs are a way to implement an instructional strategy particular to a discipline. The department/program defines the credit hour/contact hour ratio according to the type of work required of students to meet the outcomes of those courses.

Course Credit Hour Definition Policy


7.14 Seminar Course Definition


A seminar course focuses on a topic that is not included and/or studied in depth in the discipline’s regular course offerings. In a seminar course, a group of students work with a faculty member to study this special topic. A seminar course topic is not intended to become a regular course in a curriculum. The purpose is to provide a unique opportunity for a group of students and a faculty member to explore a special or new topic. The topics of seminar courses in a discipline will typically not be routinely repeated.

Policy on Numbering of Seminar Courses: Seminar courses are designated by the following numbers: 291 (one credit hour seminar), 292 (two credit hour seminar), 293 (three credit hour seminar), 294 (four credit hour seminar). The particular topic of the Seminar must be included in the Seminar title.


Policy on Limits for Students: Students may not use more than twelve (12) credits of a combination of Seminar and Independent Study courses toward the fulfillment of the requirements for any associate’s degree. Further, no more than two (2) credits of the twelve may be in Independent Study courses. Students also should be aware that Seminar and Independent Study courses may not be accepted by a transfer college.

Seminar Course Definition Policy


7.15 Prior Learning Assessment

Prior Learning Assessment is an alternative approach for analyzing prior learning in a non-academic setting and to grant credit for that learning in a non-academic setting.

  1. Increase access to college programs and decrease graduation time
  2. Eliminate unnecessary repeated learning
  3. Recognize respect for skills and knowledge acquired outside traditional classroom settings
  4. Award academic credit for college level learning which leads to degrees
  5. Comply with Higher Learning Commission Criteria: Academic Programs-Quality, Resources and Support (3-1.g)

Prior Learning Assessment Policy


7.16 Common Syllabus Components

All full-time and adjunct faculty are required to have common components included as a part of their course syllabus. Faculty may include additional information in their course syllabus, but the common components constitute the minimum expectations. This policy creates consistent components in the syllabus for each course at Grand Rapids Community College. It establishes clear expectations for students regarding General Information, Section Policies, and College Policies.

Common Syllabus Components Policy


7.17 Library Collection Development

The purpose of the GRCC Library collection is to support and enhance the curriculum and instruction programs at GRCC in order to promote learning and achievement. The Library serves a diverse community of learners and the collection will reflect an extensive range of subjects, with emphasis placed on general research sources. Library faculty must adequately develop and maintain the collection using the guidelines set forth in this policy to satisfy the purpose of the collection, the mission of the Library, and the mission of the College.

Library Collection Development Policy


7.18 Curriculum Model Policy

A. The Curriculum Model establishes guidelines and standards for GRCC curricula, including degrees,programs and courses. The model is based on the following principles:

  1. Academic programs and courses are purposefully defined in the context of the goals and expectations of students and their learning needs.
  2. The curriculum is outcomes-based and learning is defined by measurable student learning outcomes at the institutional, program and course levels for all offerings.
  3. Degrees are defined and granted by the institution.
  4. All GRCC programs will result in a meaningful credential and prepare students to immediately enter the workforce, enhance their skills or knowledge in a particular area to support their continued employment or transfer to another institution to continue their education.
  5. Programs are created and delivered within schools and departments.
  6. Programs and courses provide the same opportunities regardless of delivery method.
  7. General education will be included in all programs that lead to a degree

B. Curricula are built by aligning content and competencies seamlessly through degrees, programs and courses.

The model integrates these curricular components systematically to facilitate curriculum development, delivery and evaluation. The model provides definitions of Degrees & Certificates, Academic Programs, General Education, Institutional Learning Outcomes and Courses.

C. The policies that guide GRCC curricula are contained in the GRCC Curriculum Model document.

Curriculum Model Policy



8.0 Students

8.1 Dual Enrollment

The Dual Enrollment program at Grand Rapids Community College is open to qualified high school juniors and seniors. Dual Enrollment applicants must:

  1. Be at least 16 years of age and/or high school juniors or seniors.
  2. Have cumulative GPAs of 2.5 or higher.
  3. Be approved by their high school counselor and/or principal.
  4. Currently be pursuing their high school diploma.

Dual Enrollment Policy


8.2 Mandatory Placement

GRCC students whose placement testing scores indicate that they need developmental coursework (in English, reading or math) will be required to enroll in and pass that coursework before taking college-level English and math courses, and other specified college-level courses.

Mandatory Placement Policy


8.3 College Sponsored Travel

The College may offer learning opportunities, service learning programs or other activities that require students or other participants to travel away from the main campus. College faculty and staff members who travel as an instructor, group coordinator, coach or chaperons must exercise standards of care and enforce College policies and regulations.

College Sponsored Travel Policy


8.5 Catalog Policy

GRCC students are required to fulfill the graduation and program requirements of the Catalog in effect at the time they officially declare their program as a degree-seeking student. If students change their program, they must fulfill the graduation and program requirements of the Catalog in effect for the academic year in which the student made the change. Students may petition to fulfill the graduation and program requirements of the Catalog in effect at the time of graduation instead of being governed by the above two guidelines.

For students declaring multiple academic programs, the date of declaration determines the Catalog requirements for each academic program.

Catalog Policy



The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a Federal law protecting the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools receiving funds under any applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

Federal Law (The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) afford students the following certain rights with respect to their educational records.

They are:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the College receives a request for access.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student's education record that the student believes is inaccurate or misleading.
  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests.
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Grand Rapids Community College to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

FERPA Policy


8.8. Attendance

Each faculty member is required to create and make available a course syllabus which clearly and explicitly describes the course attendance policy. Faculty members are encouraged to create an attendance policy that takes into consideration anticipated (such as College-related activities, personal issues, etc.) and unanticipated (such as trauma, military duty, court appearances, etc.) absences.

Students are responsible for contacting their instructors regarding absences. Students must understand that they are responsible for class work missed during an absence, doing any extra work that may be required to replace in-class activities, and that missing class will impact student learning and may negatively impact grades. Each faculty member’s attendance policy, as stated in the course syllabus, is the final authority on any academic consequences associated with missing a class.

Attendance policies must take into consideration the need to comply with requirements of state and federal laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title IX.

Each faculty member shall maintain an accurate daily record of the attendance of each student enrolled in each of the faculty member’s classes. This record should include date of last attendance in the case of a student receiving an E or a W in the course.

Attendance Policy

8.17 Academic Standing

GRCC requires all students to make satisfactory academic progress. Satisfactory academic progress is reviewed at the end of each semester/session of enrollment after a student has attempted at least 12 (cumulative) credit hours at GRCC. This policy applies to all credit students at GRCC regardless of degree status (personal interest, non-degree and degree), program of study, and financial aid status (recipients and non-recipients). Students in specific programs (both academic and support programs) at GRCC and students receiving financial aid and/or veteran’s benefits must also meet the specific academic requirements that determine continuation for these programs. Students who fail to meet the standards for Academic Progress will be placed on probation or suspension.

Academic Standing Policy


8.18 Children in the Classroom and on Campus

Children accompanying visitors, employees, or students of Grand Rapids Community College must be under the constant supervision of a responsible adult while on GRCC property or on the site of any approved off-campus class or other GRCC event. Members of the College community, such as, administrators, faculty, staff, or students are not authorized to assume responsibility for the caring of the children, unless the person is leaving the child in a College program sanctioned for children. Children on campus without the proper supervision may disrupt the educational process or work setting. Leaving the children unsupervised may also create a safety hazard for the children themselves or for others at the College.

  1. Classroom Policy

GRCC prohibits bringing children to class and/or leaving them unattended on campus, such as halls, the library, the student center, or computer labs.

  1. Campus Policy

Children accompanying visitors, employees, or students of Grand Rapids Community College must be under the constant supervision of a responsible adult while on GRCC property or on the site of any approved off-campus class or other GRCC event.

Children in the Classroom and on Campus Policy


8.19 No Show Notation Policy

The NS (No Show) notation is used to identify students who never attended class. Students who register for a class, but do not attend any class sessions and do not officially drop or withdraw from the class, will receive a notation of NS.

The NS notation should be made for students enrolled in online and hybrid classes if the student does not “actively participate” as defined by the faculty member. The Department of Education has clarified that simply logging into an online class without active participation does not qualify as academic attendance.

NS notation will not be used in calculating the grade point average but may affect student military benefits. NS notation will be used in determining if the student is meeting the terms of the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.

NS notations are final and students are not allowed to enter Class after NS has been issued.

No Show Notation Policy


8.20 Admission Application Cut-Off Date

GRCC will not accept new student applications five business days prior to the start of a semester. The reasons for this policy:

  • It promotes student success
  • It allows more opportunity for academic advising
  • It allows more time to deliver other needed services to students
  • It pushes students toward more responsible behavior and planning
  • It gives students more time to schedule their lives around their classes
  • It removes service bottlenecks

Admission Application Cut-Off Date Policy


8.21 Blocking Late Enrollment

GRCC will not allow students to enroll in a class after midnight of the day before the class meets for the second time. This policy does the following:

  • It allows for limited swaps if the second class has not met
  • It promotes student attendance in the first class
  • It promotes student responsibility and planning
  • It facilitates building a learning community from the start of a class

Blocking Late Enrollment Policy


8.22 Maximum Student Credit Hour Load Per Semester

Students who want to enroll in more than 18 credit hours in a semester must get permission from the appropriate Associate Dean (e.g. the AD for Faculty Evaluation and Hiring in the School which houses the student’s program or the course which takes the student over 18 credits).

Maximum Student Credit Hour Load Per Semester Policy


8.23 Student Medical Withdrawal Policy

GRCC is committed to supporting students in achieving success in their intellectual and extracurricular endeavors. When documented illness or injury prevents a student from successfully meeting the requirements of his or her course of study, it is the College’s policy to consider requests for withdrawal from the College to enable the student to regain his/her health.

Student Medical Withdrawal Policy


8.24 Generated Graduation

Students will automatically be awarded the degrees and certificates that they earn at GRCC. Students will have the opportunity to decline these credentials.

Generated Graduation Policy


8.25 Mandatory First Year Experience

Beginning Winter 2014, students new to GRCC who are enrolled in a degree seeking program and have a high school GPA of less than 3.0 are required to complete a college learning success course, CLS 100 (Introduction to College: New Student Experience). [Students placing into two or more developmental courses are required to enroll in PY097 instead of CLS 100]

Students have the option of attempting a CLS 100 Challenge Exam. Passing this exam will exempt a student from the course.

Students must complete the course requirement [CLS 100 or PY 097] their first semester of classes taken at GRCC.

A degree-seeking student who has already successfully completed 12 or more credits of college-level courses at GRCC, another college or university or has received GRCC transfer credit for these courses will not be required to complete CLS 100.

Mandatory First Year Experience Policy


8.26 Multiple Associate Degrees

The College recognizes that there are instances where students may require additional degrees for employment or for personal growth and satisfaction. This policy applies to any Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) student who has received a degree from GRCC or any other accredited institution of higher education in a similar program.

  1. Students may be awarded a second associate degree subject to the following stipulations:
  2. Students may earn only one transfer degree (Associate of Arts and only one Associate of Science).
  3. The Associate of General Studies degree may not be earned as an additional degree.
  4. Subsequent associate degree(s) must each include a minimum of an additional 15 unique semester credit hours earned at GRCC.
  5. Degree and program requirements for the additional degree will be based on the catalog that is in effect when the student officially elects the new degree and/or program.
  6. No additional degree will be granted in the same program or curriculum in which the first degree was earned.

Multiple Associate Degrees Policy


8.27 ACT Cut Score Policy

Admission to Grand Rapids Community College is open to all high school graduates, or those who have satisfactorily completed the General Education Development (GED) test or individuals 18 years or older. Grand Rapids Community College requires degree-seeking students to submit high school transcripts with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher and an American College Test (ACT) score of 18 or higher in the subject areas of math, reading and English.

ACT Cut Score Policy


8.28 Mandatory Student Orientation Policy

All students new to GRCC who are seeking degree or certificate are required to attend a mandatory New Student Academic and Financial Advising session prior to enrollment in courses. Excluded from this policy are students who transfer in 12 credits taken at another college. New students who enter with a high school GPA of 3.0 or higher will have the option to participate in an online version of the New Student Academic and Financial Advising program. An appeal may be made to participate in the online version if the student has extenuating circumstances and cannot attend the in person event (e.g. currently deployed in the military, only taking classes at a distance, etc.). These appeals need to be submitted in writing to the Director of Admissions and Enrollment.

Mandatory Student Orientation Policy


8.29 Transfer Policy

Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) abides by transfer policies created by the governing bodies of the institution, in accordance with all federal compliance guidelines. GRCC Transfer Polices incorporate policies regarding credit awarded from accredited institutions, foreign institutions, experiential learning and non-traditional adult learning programs. GRCC offers full disclosure of all transfer policies. All GRCC Transfer Policies contain a statement of criteria established by the institution regarding transfer of credit earned at another institution.

Transfer Policy


8.30 Student Code of Conduct Policy

Students attending GRCC are responsible for adhering to GRCC’s Student Code of Conduct, rules and regulations, college policies and for compliance with all local, state and federal laws.

Student Code of Conduct Policy