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CVCC Academic And Instruction

Policies - Academics and Instruction


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2.1 Academic Freedom

Catawba Valley Community College is committed to the provision of and protection of academic freedom. The college seeks to foster an academic learning environment that allows for the advancement of knowledge and critical thinking on the part of faculty, staff, and students through ethical teaching and research practices. Faculty, staff, and students are expected to use reasonable judgment as they exercise their academic freedom.

The college and its instructional personnel share a unique employer/employee relationship. The relationship must be both mutually beneficial and protective; moreover, the relationship between employee and employer must equally benefit and protect students and trainees. As an employer, the college reserves specific employer rights, as established by state and federal law and the North Carolina Community College System. Such rights include the following:

  1. The right to determine initial employment, employment status, continued employment, and dismissal processes for institutional positions;
  2. The right to determine appropriate descriptions and academic content of programs and courses (as dictated by the North Carolina Community College System);
  3. The right to assign section numbers, delivery formats, scheduling, and supplemental materials (including textbooks and other required tools and/or equipment) to instructional personnel;
  4. The right to determine which students may be registered for specific courses and trainings;
  5. The right to develop class specifications, to assign titles and salary ranges, and to require specific employment responsibilities (including committee membership and certain restrictions on secondary external employment) for each position of employment; and
  6. The right to make administrative decisions that reflect, in the judgment of upper administrative personnel, the best interest in the college’s continued operation.

In regard to the concept of Academic Freedom, the institution accepts and promotes the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom published by the American Association of University Professors:

  1. Teachers are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of their other academic duties; but research for pecuniary return should be based upon an understanding with the authorities of the institution.
  2. Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject. . . . [see AAUP 1970 Interpretive Comments #2 and #3 contained in Endnotes #4 and #5].
  3. College and university teachers are citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of an educational institution. When they speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As scholars and educational officers, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence they should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution.


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2.2 Internal Audits

The Chief Academic Officer shall ensure that internal audits are conducted in accordance with North Carolina Community College System guidelines and that the results of those audits reported to the Board of Trustees.

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2.3 Course Prerequisites and Co-requisites

CVCC and each student are responsible for ensuring that prerequisite and co-requisite requirements have been satisfied.

If requisite competencies are not documented in the student’s CVCC transcript but are evidenced by completion of academic experiences at other regionally-accredited institutions or completion of certain testing administered by other institutions, then satisfaction of the requisite shall be documented in the student’s record on the student database following processes specified by the Chief Student Services Officer or designee.

If requisite competencies are not documented in the student’s CVCC transcript and are not evidenced by academic experiences completed elsewhere as outlined above, the Dean of the School that houses the course may authorize enrollment in the course if the requisite competencies are evidenced by other life experiences such as work experience or industry recognized certifications. Such authorization shall be documented in the student’s record on the student database following processes specified by the Chief Student Services Officer or designee.

» 2.3 Course Prerequisites and Co-requisites Procedure
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2.4 Waiver of Developmental Courses

Developmental courses may be waived by meeting one of the following requirements:

  • Achieving eligible scores by completing placement testing with NCCCCS-approved testing instrument(s);
  • Meeting Multiple Measures qualifications according to NCCCS policy found at ;
  • Completing appropriate developmental coursework with a grade of P or C- or better at another regionally-accredited institution; or
  • Completing a college-level course at another regionally-accredited institution with a grade of C- or better that is equivalent to a course listed in the NCCCS Combined Course Library that has the appropriate developmental requisite.

» 2.4 Waiver of Developmental Courses Procedure
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2.5 Curriculum Course Repetition

A student may attempt a course a maximum of two times. A course is considered attempted when any one of the following grades is recorded on the student’s transcript:  A, B, C, D, F, WP, WF, AU, CS, P, or R. The highest grade received will be used in the computation of the student’s grade point average. An academic program may have a more restrictive policy regarding the number of permissible attempts to fulfill a program requirement. Students should be aware that satisfactory academic progress requirements exist for students applying for or receiving financial aid and that repeated attempts of a course may have an undesirable effect on these satisfactory progress measures. Exception to the 2-attempt maximum may be granted if the student has not completed the course with a grade of A, B, C, or P and if the student provides documented evidence of extenuating circumstances, academic intervention which increases the likelihood of success in the course, or three year break in enrollment. Petition for exceptions should be directed to the Chief Student Services Officer or designee.

» 2.5 Repeating Curriculum Courses Procedure
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2.6 Auditing a Course

Students may attempt a course as an audit student one time. Students may not audit a class for which they have received credit unless justified by a clear benefit connected to a current program of study at CVCC. A change from an auditing status to a credit status (or vice versa) on or after the start date of the class must be approved by the instructor of the class and the Chief Student Services Officer or designee. 

Students wishing to audit a course must satisfy all requisite requirements for the course just as do students taking a course for credit.  These requirements include complying with class attendance expectations, assignments, and participating in class activities.  Students who audit a course are not required to take examinations unless specified by the academic department.

Students who audit a course will not receive a grade (other than AU) or credit for the course. Credit will not be granted under advanced placement procedures after enrolling in a course as an audit student. Tuition and fees for auditing a course are the same as those for enrolling in a course for credit.

Students should be aware that audited credit hours do not qualify for federal financial aid, VA education benefits, and certain other grants and/or scholarships.

» 2.6 Auditing a Course Procedure
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2.7 Enrollment Status (full time vs. part time)

CVCC considers 12 credit hours to be a full time load for a curriculum student in the fall and spring semesters. CVCC considers 9 credit hours to be a full time load for a curriculum student in the summer semester. See below for policy regarding classification for financial aid. 

CVCC follows guidelines established by the State of North Carolina for purposes of classification as a full time student for tuition payment.

CVCC follows guidelines/regulation established by the appropriate federal and state agencies for purposes of determining classification of students as full time or part time for federal financial aid, state financial aid, and veteran’s benefits.

A freshman is any student who has earned fewer than 32 semester credit hours. A sophomore is any student who has earned 32 or more semester credit hours.

» 2.7 Enrollment Status Procedure (full time vs. part time)
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2.8 Class Attendance and Membership

Catawba Valley Community College does not have a college-wide institutional attendance policy.  However, best practices indicate that successful course completion is correlated to attendance.  Therefore, each academic school may have an attendance expectation.  Each faculty member is required to communicate attendance expectations to his/her students.  These attendance expectations should be included in the course document and faculty members’ syllabi for each course.

Faculty members are required to maintain and submit accurate attendance and/or membership reports for their classes in accordance with 1G SBCCC 200.93 and according to instructions provided by the Chief Student Services Officer or designee.  Attendance and/or membership records shall comply with all federal and state guidelines related to the disbursement of financial aid and Veterans’ benefits.  Procedures to ensure the recording and reporting of attendance and/or membership in accordance with the above policies shall be monitored by the Chief Financial Officer.

Students shall be permitted excused absences from all classes two days per academic year for religious observances as recognized by the faith of a student. Students shall be provided reasonable opportunity to make up any tests or other work missed due to an excused absence for a religious observance. Specific procedures that students must follow to obtain authorization for an excused absence for a religious observance shall be established by the Chief Academic Officer.  These procedures shall, at a minimum, require the student to submit a written request for the absence sufficiently in advance to permit the faculty member and student to develop a sound plan for making up any missed class work. All students must plan absences from a class so that their total absences, including any absences authorized in accordance with this policy, do not violate the attendance expectations specified by the faculty member, a certifying board, or an accrediting agency. For purposes of this policy, an academic year begins on the first day of the fall semester and ends on the last day of the summer semester in the following calendar year.

If an unplanned and/or unexpected event causes a faculty member to be late to class, every effort should be made to communicate the arrival time to the students in the class. 

» Class Attendance Membership Procedures

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2.9 Course Document and Instructor Syllabus

At the beginning of each course, students will be provided with a course document and an instructor syllabus. The course document provides essential information about each course and communicates basic course information with consistency and accuracy.  Course documents are housed on a server and maintained by the Educational Technology Department.

Information included in a course document include items like the course title, course description, and number of hours specified for lecture, for laboratory, for clinical, and for total semester credit hours -- course facts all mandated by the North Carolina State Board of Community Colleges.  In addition, prerequisites and co-requisites are given as well as the student learning outcomes.   Other information that varies little from semester to semester includes the course grading policy, disability statement, religious observance statement, the academic honesty policy, and the CVCC emergency procedures.

In contrast, the faculty syllabi will contain more specific information about the course and information that will change or may change with each semester such as course calendars, assignment due dates, and textbook requirements. 

Course documents and faculty syllabi shall be maintained in accordance with the procedures established by the Chief Academic Officer.

» 2.9 Course Document and Instructor Syllabus Procedures
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2.10 Off Campus Instructional Activities

Field trips and other off campus instructional activities must be planned well in advance and approved in accordance with procedures established by the Chief Academic Officer.

» 2.10 Procedures for Conduction Off-Campus Instructional Activities and Extra-Curricular Activities
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2.11 Food and Drink in the Classroom

The allowance of food and/or drink in classrooms, the Library, and Learning Assistance Center is a decision to be made by faculty member or appropriate supervisors. If allowed, drinks must be in closed containers. If the faculty member allows food or drink in the classroom, the room must be left clean for the next faculty member and students.  Food and/or drink shall not be permitted in laboratories or classrooms if such permission presents a safety concern or might result in damage to college equipment.

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2.12 Classroom Safety 

Faculty shall promote a safe class environment and shall establish appropriate safety guidelines and procedures for their classes.

» Emergency Response and Evacuation Procedures (this document it posted throughout the campus.)

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2.13 Equipment and Furniture

Employees, students, and visitors are expected to use CVCC equipment and furniture properly, carefully, and safely. Improper or unsafe use of equipment should be reported to an appropriate CVCC administrator. Any damage to or loss of equipment should be reported to the Chief Financial Officer or designee. 

Laboratories containing expensive equipment should be locked at all times when faculty members  or other designated CVCC representatives are not present.

CVCC equipment may be used at an off-campus location when such use is an integral part of a CVCC- sponsored activity. Otherwise, equipment shall not leave CVCC premises unless approved in accordance with procedures established by the Chief Financial Officer. Equipment may not be loaned or removed from CVCC premises for personal use by either students or employees.

» 2.13 Equipment and Furniture Procedure
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2.14 Cancellation of Classes

Class cancellations must be approved in accordance with guidelines established by the Chief Academic Officer.

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2.16 Academic Honesty

Students at CVCC are expected to be honest in all academic pursuits, whether class, lab, shop, or clinical. Acts of academic dishonesty are considered unethical and subject to behavior sanctions. Examples of academic dishonesty include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Sharing information about the content of quizzes, exams, classroom/lab/shop/clinical assignments (scheduled or make-up) without approval of the instructor. Sharing includes, but is not limited to, unauthorized copying, collaboration, or use of notes, books, or other materials when preparing for or completing examinations or other academic assignments (scheduled or make-up);
  2. Buying, selling, or otherwise obtaining a copy of a quiz, exam, project, term paper, or like document, without approval of the faculty member;
  3. Plagiarism, which is defined as the intentional representation of another person’s work, words, thoughts, or ideas (from any source) as one’s own;
  4. Failing to follow approved test taking procedures by performing such acts as the following:
    1. Looking on another student’s test;   
    2. Use of unauthorized notes; (written, electronic, or otherwise);
    3. Changing answers after exam is scored; and   
    4. Verbal, non-verbal, or electronic communication with another student during an exam.

Additionally, students have an obligation to report any acts of academic dishonesty to the relevant faculty member or appropriate campus authority when reasonable grounds exist for such a report.  Students also have a responsibility to cooperate in the investigation of any alleged acts of academic dishonesty.  Failure to report acts of academic dishonesty could result in a behavior sanction as outlined in Policy 3.18: Student Code of Conduct.

Faculty members are authorized by Policy 3.18.1: Student Behavior Sanctions to impose Loss of Credit or a Grade Sanction for acts of academic dishonesty relative to classes under their supervision.   
» 2.16 Academic Honesty Procedure
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2.17 Academic Credit

The Chief Academic Officer or designee will ensure appropriate procedures and guidelines exist for the granting and recording of academic credit.

CVCC shall award credit for all curriculum courses completed at CVCC with a final grade of D or higher.

Additionally, credit may be awarded as a result of the following processes.  Credits awarded through  these processes shall not exceed sixty-five (65) percent of the total credit hours required for graduation in a student’s program of study.


  1. CVCC will review official transcripts for possible transfer credit for any course(s) completed at a regionally accredited institution that is (1) relevant to the student’s program of study, (2) evidences competencies that are equivalent to those required for successful completion of the equivalent CVCC course, and (3) when the course was completed with a final grade of
    C-minus” or higher.

    CVCC will not accept or evaluate transfer credit that was earned on the quarter system unless the regionally accredited institution is currently operating on the quarter system. CVCC will not allow transfer credit earned on the quarter system to be used as a sufficient pre-requisite to gain entrance into a higher level course. Students may petition for credit of these courses to be granted through a credit by exam assessment with the appropriate Department Head or Director. (See section D).  Any exceptions to this procedure must be approved by the Dean of the School of Access, Development, and Success or designee;
  2. CVCC will grant transfer credit for a course completed at a foreign (outside the United States) institution provided that the coursework is (1) relevant to the student’s program of study, (2) the competencies required for successful completion are at least equivalent to those required for successful completion of the equivalent CVCC course, and (3) the course was completed with a final grade of C-minus or higher. The Chief Academic Officer or designees will determine relevance to the program of study and equivalence of competencies. Students desiring transfer credit must submit transcripts that have been evaluated by a current member of NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) at (The name the student is currently using should appear on the transcript as well as the date of birth.) The evaluating agency for post-secondary transcripts (college/university) must send the evaluation report directly to CVCC’s Student Records Office. Student copies of evaluations will not be accepted;
  3. CVCC participates in the awarding of community college articulated credit for high school Career and Technical Education courses. 
  4. Students enrolled in degree, diploma, or certificate programs and special students may petition for credit by exam.  To be eligible for credit by exam, the student must provide evidence of prior education and/or experience which would likely have provided skills, knowledge, and/or abilities similar to those provided in the CVCC course. The Dean for the school in which the course is offered will determine the credit to be allowed, if any. Credit will be based upon the minimum attainment of a grade of “B” on oral, written, and/or manipulative tests and the credit hours indicated for the appropriate course in the current catalog; or
  5. Students may earn credit by successfully completing (score of 3 or better) Advanced Placement (AP) exams sponsored by the College Entrance Examination Board and/or by successfully completing (scores per ACE guide) College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams.

Transfer credits, credits granted based on advanced placement assessments, and credits earned by successful completion of AP/CLEP exams may be used to satisfy program of study requirements but will not be included in the calculation of semester or cumulative grade point averages (GPAs).

Tuition and/or charges may apply for certain non-credit course assessments.

» 2.17 Academic Credit Procedure

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2.18 Continuing Education Unit

The awarding of curriculum credit and the CEU is mutually exclusive. CEU's may not be awarded in conjunction with curriculum credits by the college. This policy of mutual exclusivity is in compliance with the guidelines contained in The Continuing Education Unit: Criteria and Guidelines, 2000 and with SACS.

» 2.18 Guidelines for Policy Procedure
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2.19 Grades and Grade Changes

A student’s final grade for a course is determined by the faculty member for the course and submitted to Student Records. Student Records is responsible for making the grade available to the student through a web/Internet portal or some other means. Subsequent changes to a grade submitted by a faculty member generally must be authorized by the same faculty member, by the Chief Academic Officer in extenuating circumstances, or by the Chief Academic Officer upon recommendation by a Student Grievance Committee.

A student who has a grievance regarding a final course grade may have their grievance reviewed in accordance with Policy 3.19: Student Due Process.

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2.20 Grading System (non-credit courses)

For continuing education courses, a grade of S signifies satisfactory progress and a grade of U designates unsatisfactory progress. Grades earned in continuing education courses are not included in GPA calculations.

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2.21 Grading System (curriculum/credit courses)

The measure of a student’s overall academic performance for curriculum courses attempted at CVCC and with a course number greater than or equal to 100 shall be a per credit hour grade point average (GPA) based on a 4.0 scale. A student shall receive 4 grade points per credit hour for excellent performance (letter grade A), 3 grade points per credit hour for above average performance (letter grade B), 2 grade points per hour for average performance (letter grade C), 1 grade point per hour for below average performance (letter grade D), and 0 grade points per hour for failing performance (letter grade F or WF).

Valid grades for developmental courses (courses with a course number less than 100) are P (indicates satisfactory completion), R (unsatisfactory completion-student must retake the course), and WP (indicates withdrew passing).  Developmental courses shall be included in the computation of attempted credits and earned credits but shall be excluded from all GPA computations
The Administrative Instructional Council shall establish the numerical averages (numerical scale) to be used to assign the letter grades specified above. Such numerical averages shall be used by all curriculum faculty when assigning letter grades. CVCC Grading Procedure.
When a student is unable to meet the attendance expectations of the course as defined by the faculty member’s syllabus, the student may exercise the option to withdraw officially from the class.  If such action occurs before the census date of the class, no grade shall be recorded.  If such action occurs on or after the class census date and on or before the 60% point of the class, the student’s grade shall be WP (Withdrew Passing).  If such action occurs after the 60% point of the class with a course number greater than or equal to 100, the student’s grade shall be a WF (Withdrew Failing) unless the instructor authorizes a WP based upon appropriate circumstances. If such action occurs after the 60% point of a class with a course number less than 100 (a developmental course), the grade shall be a WP (Withdrew Passing). A grade of I (Incomplete) may be temporarily recorded if, in the judgment of the faculty member of the class, extenuating circumstances exist. A grade of I must be replaced with the final course grade by the end of the subsequent semester unless additional time (not to exceed an additional semester) is granted by the Chief Academic Officer

The Chief Student Services Officer or designee shall ensure that the grade system, and the processes used for record keeping purposes comply with the above policy.

Valid grades other than those discussed above may appear on transcripts due to enrollment activity recorded under previous grading systems at the College.

Further details regarding the current grading system is available on the CVCC Procedures webpage titled Grading Procedure. These details include the numerical averages (numerical scale) established by the Administrative Instructional Council to be used to assign the letter grades outlined in this policy.

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