Academic Information

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D.1 Academic Freedom


As cited in the Master Agreement:


“It is the policy of the college to maintain and encourage full freedom, within the law, of inquiry, teaching, research, and publications. In the exercise of this freedom, the faculty member is free to discuss his/her subject in the classroom. Faculty may not, however, claim as their right the privilege of discussing personal viewpoints which have no relation to the subject. In his/her role as a citizen, the faculty member has the same freedoms as other citizens. However, in his/her community utterances as a private citizen, he/she has an obligation to indicate that he/she is not an institutional spokesperson.


Faculty members are entitled to academic freedom in the selection of textbooks, audiovisual and other teaching aids. The library as an integral academic resource is also fully covered under all academic freedom provisions of this agreement.


College purchasing guidelines must be followed in the selection of materials.”

Further reference to this issue is included in the Master Agreement.


D.2 Academic Integrity


D.2.1 Instructor Obligation


The instructor retains the primary responsibility for establishing and maintaining an effective teaching/learning relationship with and among students. He/she must assure classroom conditions are such that they promote each student’s development, but not at the expense of other students. More specifically, the instructor is responsible for establishing and implementing academic standards, establishing and maintaining communication, and enforcing behavioral standards in the classroom that support these academic standards. If a student feels that an instructor has been remiss in honoring this responsibility, he/she may utilize the student grievance procedure to pursue resolution.


D.2.2 Instructor Actions for Infractions


It is understood that each instructor must determine when the frequency, duration, or intensity of inappropriate student behavior is beginning to compromise the instructional environment. This determination allows for differences in style, tolerance, and content and context of the course.

Step One: The instructor may warn the student, during class, that the behavior is unacceptable. If the behavior persists:

Step Two: Instructor will discuss the problem behavior with the student outside of the classroom. This discussion should include a clear statement of what the instructor expects and what will happen if the behavior continues. If the behavior continues, the student may be asked to leave class. If the behavior does not improve and the instructor’s choice is to ask the student to leave class, the instructor is to notify the Dean of Instructional Services that the student may have to be removed from the class.

Step Three: The instructor may withdraw the student from the class, with approval of the Dean of Instructional Services. The attempted corrective actions should be documented by the instruction and accompany the withdrawal form.

Step Four: If the disruptive behavior is occurring in other classes, or is of sufficient duration, intensity, or frequency, the Dean of Instructional Services may impose a two week disciplinary suspension.

Step Five: Within the suspension period, the student will attend a hearing with the President with the possible consequence being expulsion.


It should also be noted that students do have a grievance procedure in those cases where they believe they have been mistreated by an instructor. Refer to the current college catalog for information detailing the student grievance procedure.


D.3 Academic Quality and Consistency


D.3.1 Full-Time Faculty Credentials


All faculty members will be required to have a Master’s degree with a major or minor in the course or subject area taught; or a Bachelor’s degree with three years teaching experience in the course subject area and an approved graduate plan of study to receive a Master’s degree in a reasonable length of time, as approved by the administration. Exceptions to this qualifications statement will be made with the approval of the Dean of Instructional Services and may reflect equivalent experiences and/or qualifications. Article 1.9.1 of the Master Agreement defines full-time faculty as: individuals “whose major role is in classroom instruction and academic advising of students, or teaching faculty on released time for para-curricular or administrative duties, and whose duties constitute a full-time position during the life of this contract.” Additional detail regarding qualifications may be found in the appendix.


D.3.2 Adjunct Faculty Credentials


Faculty who teach over ITV may be eligible for additional compensation or workload adjustment. See BP/CP 5-3: ITV Instructor Compensation.


Adjunct faculty will meet the minimum qualifications of full-time faculty whenever possible. This especially applies to courses taught within the MUS Core Transfer Curriculum. As with full-time faculty, exceptions will be allowed with approval of the Dean of Instructional Services. Adjunct faculty members are defined as: “faculty whose major role is instructional and academic.” Adjunct faculty are divided into two categories:

1. Part-time faculty are those faculty members whose duties are instructional, para-curricular (e.g., academic advising, etc.) and who are employed by the college at least one half, but not full-time.

2. Special lecturers are faculty whose duties are primarily instructional or academic, and who are employed on less than a one-half time basis.


D.3.3 Course Approval Procedures


All courses offered by DCC must have on file in the office of the Dean of Instructional Services a completed syllabi prior to the course being offered. This includes all courses, workshops and independent study classes.

1. New Courses: a course syllabus form should be completed and submitted to the Department Chair for approval. Following the approval of the Department Chair, the syllabus should be submitted to the Dean of Instructional Services for review and action. If approved, the course may then be offered.

2. Prior to becoming part of DCC regular and permanent offerings and being included in the College Catalog, the course must also receive approval of the Academic Affairs Committee. In this instance, the course syllabi must be submitted to the Academic Affairs Committee for review and approval.

3. Each semester, faculty must also submit copies of approved syllabi to the Instructional Services Office where a permanent file of syllabi will be maintained.


D.3.4 Evaluation and Professional Development


1. Adjunct faculty members will be evaluated each semester that they teach, non-tenured faculty members will be evaluated on an annual basis as per BP/CP 2-13 and tenured faculty members every third year as per BP/CP 2-15.

2. Course evaluations will be completed on all courses taught by non-tenured and adjunct faculty members. Tenured faculty members will evaluate one course per semester.

3. All adjunct faculty members will be invited to attend faculty meetings, orientation, and staff development functions. In addition, adjunct faculty members will be required to participate in an organized orientation program before beginning to teach.

4. The results of faculty evaluations will be discussed with the faculty member by the Dean of Instructional Services. Areas needing improvement will be considered areas for professional development. Whenever possible, budget obligations for workshops, seminars, etc. will reflect those professional development needs.


D.4 Assigned Teaching Loads


D.4.1 Assignment and Approval


1. All courses must be approved by the Dean of Instructional Services before being added to the course schedule. All courses taught by faculty (full-time and adjunct) which have been assigned as part of a faculty member’s teaching load by the Dean of Instructional Services will be assumed to have the necessary approval as they are placed on the schedule. This includes evening and extension classes as well as day classes. These courses will be listed on the faculty member’s “Load Sheet” as classes for regular pay. Any classes assigned in this manner that exceed the faculty member’s teaching load (as specified in their full- or part-time contract) will be paid as “overload pay.” Arrangements for negotiating and paying for “overload” will observe the guidelines in the Master Agreement. If the number of credits assigned for a faculty member is less than his/her contracted teaching load, a “reduced load assignment” will be negotiated. Reduced load agreements and overload pay agreements must be negotiated and approved by the Dean of Instructional Services prior to the end of the semester in which the modification must be made and included as an addendum to the faculty member’s full- or part-time contract.

2. Requests to teach courses which are not part of a faculty member’s assigned load must be made to the Department Chair. This includes all day, evening, and extension classes. As much as possible, full-time faculty will be given first choice at teaching additional scheduled classes. If approved by the Dean of Instructional Services, these classes will be listed on the “load sheet” as classes for “extra pay.” All extra pay classes will be paid at the rate of $500.00 per credit. A minimum enrollment may be required for the class to be taught. This will be determined by the Dean of Instructional Services.

3. Any courses taught by adjunct faculty will be assigned as part of scheduled classes as described above, or requested by the faculty member. As previously established, all applications for teaching a class and instructor credentials will be reviewed by the Department Chair and the Dean of Instructional Services.

4. Contracts for regular full-time faculty will be distributed according to the Master Agreement. Part-time faculty will receive academic year contracts that stipulate the potential for adjustment according to enrollment. Adjunct faculty or special lecturers will receive contacts on a semester-by-semester basis according to assignments.

5. Adjunct faculty members who have had their credentials reviewed and approved will be considered as potential instructors for courses. The Dean of Instructional Services or his/her designee will appoint and assign adjunct faculty members to specific classes.


D.4.2 Course Scheduling


1. All courses which have received the approval of the Department Chair and the Dean of Instructional Services will be placed on the Schedule Worksheet. The information from these worksheets will be drafted into a semester schedule and returned to the department for review and modification. This review should be completed at a department meeting thereby assuring faculty input.

2. The modified schedule is to be returned to the Dean of Instructional Services for review and second drafting. The second draft will then be returned to the departments for review. Departments should consider whether the changes that have been made are in the interest of the students, with minimal conflicts. Additional considerations will include faculty preferences.

3. The Department Chairs and the Dean of Instructional Services will then review the schedule, as a committee, to negotiate any final changes. When this meeting has been completed, the schedule will be finalized and distributed to students.

4. All main campus schedules be completed and distributed at least eight (8) weeks prior to the beginning of the semester. Extension schedules will be developed by the “Extension Coordinator” in collaboration with the Department Chairs nine (9) weeks prior to the beginning of the semester. This draft schedule will be submitted to the Dean of Instructional Services for final approval and distribution by the same eight (8) week timeline.


D.5 Audio Visual Aids


Audio-visual aids for faculty/staff are requested by completing the sign up sheet in the AV storage room. Other requests should be made through the library. These requests should be made 48 hours in advance. A current list of the audio-visual equipment is maintained by the Technology Coordinator. Many classrooms have been equipped with a VCR, monitor, and overhead project. In addition, several are now equipped with a microcomputer, pad camera, computer projector and/or television.


D.6 Class Changes and Withdrawals


All withdrawals from courses and additions of courses must be formally recorded with the Registrar. Students who add classes after the semester has begun must do so early in order to keep pace with the rest of the class. In all semesters, the last day to add classes is the 15th instructional day. To either add or drop a class, a student must obtain the proper form from the Business Office, fill it out and get the required signatures before returning it to the office. It is the student’s responsibility to assure that the completed form is returned to the Business Office. In the fall and spring semesters, the last day to drop classes is the 45th instructional day or pro-rated for evening, non-full term and summer classes. The last day to drop summer classes is the end of the second week of classes.


Additions after the 15th instructional day must be approved by the Dean of Instructional Services as well as the instructor involved. These additions may require payment of additional tuition and fees. Withdrawal from a class after the 45th instructional day may be appealed to the Dean of Instructional Services if the student feels he/she can show exceptional circumstances. Failure to complete and turn in a drop/add slip within the specified time is not considered an extenuating circumstance. This appeal should be in writing to the Dean of Instructional Services. The Dean, after conferring with the student’s advisor and instructor, will render a decision within two (2) days. Failure to withdraw from a class, without going through proper channels, will result in a permanent letter grade being assigned.


Emergency withdrawals before the 45th instructional day: If a student is unable to complete the formal withdrawal process, he/she may contact the advisor who will discuss the student’s circumstances with the instructor(s). The advisor and instructor(s) will then complete the withdrawal from and forward it to the Registrar.


Emergency withdrawals after the 45th instructional day: The student will complete drop slips and the “Emergency Withdrawal from School” form. If, after discussion with the advisor, the Dean of Instructional Services approves and signs the form, it and the drop slips will be forwarded to the Registrar.


When a student is unable to physically follow the regular procedure, or because of the personally sensitive nature of the reason for withdrawal, he/she may contact the Instructional Services Office directly. The Dean of Instructional Services will then collect the necessary information to make a determination as to the validity of the student’s special circumstances. If approved, the Dean will complete the “Emergency Withdrawal from School” form and forward it to the Registrar to be processed.


D.7 Class Interruptions


Class interruptions should and will be kept at a minimum. Discretion is advised in scheduling assemblies and other events which might interfere with scheduled classes.


D.8 Class Roll and Student Attendance


Instructors must take attendance in all of their classes. The recording of attendance by all instructors may encourage attendance by students and demonstrates the importance that the college places on assuming this responsibility. An attendance record is also useful in explaining to students their performance in the class. Whenever absences are seriously affecting a student’s work, the instructor is encouraged to report such a deficiency to the student’s advisor.


Absences will be excused for participating in approved field trips, intercollegiate athletic games and other college trips approved by the administration (e.g., concerts, course-related tours, music/drama performances). A list of the students involved shall be filed with the main office and distributed to the faculty by the supervisor at least one week prior to the activity.


Additionally, instructors may note discrepancies in class rosters maintained in the main office. Any discrepancies noted should be forwarded to the Registrar’s Office so accurate permanent class rosters can be printed. A suggested procedure is as follows:

  • A class roll is printed on stock computer paper and distributed to faculty following registration (and on request). This roster could be used for taking roll during the first 15 days of class.
  • An Official Temporary Class Roll is printed after the 15th day of the semester. This roster includes all drops/adds to this date. This roster, combined with the drop/add requests after the 15th instructional day, will be the permanent record of enrollment for the class. Instructors should review this roster carefully and notify the Registrar of any discrepancies. Failure to do so could result in a student attending a class he or she is not enrolled in, or not attending a class in which he or she is enrolled in. When permanent grade reports are printed, the student then either does not receive a grade, or receives a failing grade, respectively, for the examples in the preceding sentence. Copies of Drop/Add Requests are returned to instructors after they have been processed. The instructor is encouraged to update their Class Roll each time these are received. Drop/add forms will be processed as they are submitted and class rosters will be updated accordingly.
  • The Official Class Roll and Final Grade Report is printed at the end of the semester and distributed to instructors. It is essential that all students who have been attending class, and completing coursework, be included on this printout for the student to receive a permanent grade. Students who have completed the course but are not registered will not receive a grade.


D.9 Course Description


Accurate and brief descriptions of all current courses are provided in the college catalog. Revisions or change of these descriptions should be submitted to the Department Chair and approved by the Dean of Instructional Services early in the spring semester. A course description of all courses taught will be on file in the Instructional Services Office.


D.10 Curriculum Development


Curriculum improvement and development is an on-going process and is the responsibility of every faculty member. Any recommendation for change should be submitted first to the Department Chair and to the Dean of Instructional Services. The recommendations will be submitted to the Academic Affairs Committee, and then to the President for final approval.


D.11 Desk Copies


Desk copies are usually supplied by the publishing companies and are obtained by the instructor. Any textbook purchased by the college for review or reference purposes becomes the property of the college and must be properly marked and remains in the institution. These purchased copies may not be sold to used book companies by the instructor. If no complementary copy is available when needed, the instructor may check out a copy of the book from the Bookstore. If a complementary copy arrives at a later date, the first copy should be returned to the Bookstore or the respective department will be billed the cost of the text.


Unsolicited review copies of textbooks that are not in use at DCC will be considered the property of the instructor and may be handled accordingly. Complementary, desk copies of textbooks will also be the property of the instructor.


D.12 Examinations / Finals Schedule


The Montana Board of Regents of Higher Education require 75 instructional days inclusive of finals so all faculty are required to utilize scheduled final periods. Final examinations are scheduled in a two and a half or three-day block. The examination schedule will be published prior to the start of the school year. Any exceptions to regularly scheduled exams must be approved by the Dean of Instructional Services. Faculty members are expected to utilize the days scheduled for final exams to administer exams or complete some other culminating activity for the course.


D.13 Field Trips and College Sponsored Activities


Field trips and activity trips should be planned and approved well in advance. The Dean of Instructional Services should be informed of all field trips and departmental excursions and provided with an itinerary. A complete list of participating students should be distributed to the Deans, faculty, and Business Office at least one week prior to the trip.


Absences will be excused for participation in college sponsored activities, field trips, athletic games and other college sponsored events approved by the administration.


D.14 GED Test


Dawson Community College administers the majority of tests published by the American College Testing Program, the Psychological Corporation and the Educational Testing Services and a number of special exams. Information on all tests is available in the office of the Dean of Student Services.


The college is also authorized by the Montana Department of Public Instruction to administer the General Education Development Test. This examination is designed for high school non-graduates who wish to enter college, advance in professional or technical fields, or to improve themselves. The Montana Department of Public Instruction grants a High School Equivalency Certificate to those attaining qualifying scores on the examination. Examinees must be 19 years old or older at the time of the test. Special arrangements can be made for 17 and 18 year-old persons. Examinees must be legal residents of Montana. A high school review course is offered each semester for those wishing to prepare for the examination through Student Special Services/Learning Center.


D.15 Grade Reporting


Final grades are due three days after the close of each semester. Failure to comply with this request delays the entire procedure of grade reporting. There will be no exceptions to this rule. Instructors wishing to change a student’s grade which has been recorded on the student’s official transcript can do so by submitting a completed “Report of Grade Change” form to the Registrar.


D.16 Limited Enrollment Classes


Some classes, by nature of the course content or limitations of space or equipment, necessitate limitations in enrollment. Any and all enrollment limits are set by the Dean of Instructional Services. Proposed enrollment limits should be submitted to the Dean of Instructional Services on the Department Schedule Worksheet. If approved, the Dean of Instructional Services will notify the registration officials.


D.17 Midterm Progress and Warning Reports


A midterm progress/warning report is required for all students who are doing less than average work. These students will be referred to their advisors for counseling and development of an action plan to address any deficiencies.


D.18 Registration and Pre-Registration


All faculty members are expected to be present for advisement during registration and pre-registration days. Dates will be scheduled, prior to the beginning of each semester, for students to pre-register for classes. Students will be encouraged to arrange advising times with their advisors and complete the pre-registration procedure. Pre-registration increases the probability that a student will be enrolled in classes with limited enrollment. Procedures will be established to allow sophomore students to pre-register first. Pre-registration will include evening and extension classes as well as regular day classes.


D.19 Syllabi


A current, up-to-date syllabus for every course taught at Dawson Community College must be on file in the Instructional Services Office. Syllabi should be distributed to the students on the first day of class. Annual review is the responsibility of the instructor of record. The syllabus should contain the principle objectives of the course, the methodology used to attain the objectives, and a bibliography of supplementary reading.


D.20 Textbooks


The college policy concerning textbook selection and ordering is:

  • Textbooks and manuals for classes will be selected by the instructor teaching the class and approved by the Department Chair.
  • Textbooks adopted for all courses will be used for at least a two year period, if at all possible.
  • The current textbook will be re-ordered for those courses not requesting a change.

Prior to adopting a new textbook, conversations should occur with the Department Chair and other instructors teaching the same course. Discretion should be exercised when deciding to change a text. If a change is necessary, the Bookstore Manager should be notified immediately.

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