Academic Information & Policies

Academic Year

The school year is divided into three parts – 2 semesters (Fall and Spring) and a sum- mer session. Each semester is approximately 15 weeks in duration, while the summer session lasts eight (8) weeks. The final exam period is included in the number of weeks counted.

 Add and Drop

During the first week of each semester or Summer session, students are given the opportunity to adjust their course schedules by adding or dropping classes. They should obtain the approval of their academic advisor before doing so, because changes could negatively impact their graduation. A course that is dropped is automatically removed from a student’s transcript, and could result in a tuition reimbursement. Adding a course will result in additional tuition being charged unless it is offset by dropping a course of equal credit value. Students who are required to carry a full-time course load,

e.g. international students and those on scholarships, should make sure to maintain the required minimum 12 credits in a semester or 6 in the Summer session, when dropping courses. The add and drop dates are available in the Academic Calendar.

Attendance Policy

Students must not attend classes for which they are not registered, or attempt to take two courses concurrently. They are required to attend all classes regularly and promptly. An 80% attendance, including actual and excused attendance, is required for each class. Excused absences can be approved for reasons such as illness, emergencies (such as death or illness in the family), etc. overseas travel, unless for medical attention, is not considered a legitimate reason, and neither is travel related to a student’s employ- ment. In cases of illness or emergency, the student must notify the lecturer as soon as possible and, if known at the time, the duration of absence. Absence for medical reasons must be supported by a doctor’s certificate and, in the event of non-medical emergen- cies, by other forms of acceptable documentation. Permission to be absent from classes to represent the University College or the Cayman Islands in sporting and other events should be sought from the Dean of Academic Affairs.

 Auditing a Course

A student may audit a course by attending classes without submitting coursework or sitting the final exam. He/she must register for the course by the final day to add a class, and pay the full tuition. Audited courses will be recorded on the transcript with a grade or ‘AU’ and will not count towards degree requirements or affect the GPA. Written permission to audit must be obtained from the lecturer or department chair. It is not possible to change a course from audit to credit.

 Certificate Programmes

Certificate programmes are usually of one year’s duration. The Continuing Education Department also offers certificate courses lasting 7 and 14 weeks.

 Change of Major

A Request for Change of Major form must be completed and signed by the student’s academic advisor and chair of the new department before submission to the Registrar’s Office. The new major will become effective in the following Fall or Spring semester, unless the change is effected during the first week of a semester during the Add and Drop period. Changing a major may result in a student having to pursue additional courses which could lead to a delay in Graduation.

 Change of Name

Students applying to change their names and other biographical data such as marital status, must present acceptable documentary proof of the change along with the Change of Name form to the Registrar’s Office.

Challenge Examinations

Challenge examinations afford registered students the opportunity to prove adequate mastery of a 100-level course for which they wish to obtain a waiver. The passing grade is a B- and grades are recorded as pass/fail on the students’ transcripts. These exami- nations are offered in the first three days of classes (during the Add and Drop period) in the Fall and spring semesters. This timeframe enables students to register for the class, in the event the challenge is unsuccessful. Students may not challenge courses which they failed or audited at UCCI. The cost to challenge a course is 50% of the tuition. The Challenge Exam form is available online or at the Registrar’s Office.

 Change of Personal Data

Students applying to change personal data on file with the University College should complete and submit the Change of Personal Data form, supported by acceptable documentary proof of the change(s), and submit both to the Registrar’s Office.

 Completion Timeframe

Associate Degrees

Students are given a fixed period of time in which to satisfy the requirements for their programme of study after enrolment. The timeframe for completing the Associate degree is as follows:

Full-time Associate degree programmes                                 3 years

Part-time Associate degree programmes                                6 years

 Bachelor’s Degree

Students are allowed a fixed period of time in which to satisfy the requirements of their programme of study after enrollment. Irrespective of classification (full-time or part- time) or route – Associate degree or direct (Freshman) enrolment in 4-year programme

– a student will be allowed 9 years to satisfy the requirements of all Bachelor’s degree programmes.

 Conversion (Programme)

Students who are confirmed by the Registrar’s Office as having completed a programme, or pursuing their final course, should submit a completed Application for Conversion form seeking approval to move on to an Associate or Bachelor’s degree programme. Certificate programme graduates require a cumulative GPA of 3.0 to convert to an Associate degree programme.

Course Cancellation

On rare occasions, the University College may need to cancel a course. In these instances, depending on how many weeks have transpired since the start of the semes- ter/session, affected students will be permitted to switch to another course. Failing this, the course will be dropped/deleted from students’ transcripts and the full tuition reimbursed.

 Course – corequisite

A corequisite course is one to be pursued simultaneously with another of the same level. Corequisite courses are listed at the end of course descriptions in the Catalogue.

 Course – developmental

Developmental courses cater for those students whose skills are not at the college level, and need instruction to improve their skills and knowledge base in order to handle college-level work. These courses are numbered from 0–99.

 Course drop

A dropped course is removed from a student’s academic record and will result in a refund of tuition. Courses may be dropped only during the Add and Drop period during the first week of classes in a semester or Summer session.

 Course – prerequisite

A prerequisite course is one a student must pass before being allowed to pursue the next course in a sequence. Students registered for a prerequisite course may register for the next course in the sequence, pending successful completion of the prerequisite in the current semester. If the student fails the prerequisite, s/he will be required to drop the higher course at the start of the next semester.

 Course Repeat/Re-sit

A student who fails a course three times, may repeat it if the grade is a C- or lower. Additional repeats will not be allowed, except with the special written permission of the Department Chair. In such cases, the student will be required to satisfy any additional conditions that may be stipulated. In the case of a course which is required to graduate, the student must pass it with the required minimum grade, unless a substitute course is approved by the Department Chair.

 Course – repeating for extra credit

Certain designated courses, usually in the performing arts (MUS, DAN, etc.), may be repeated for credit. A one-credit course may be repeated twice to earn three credits. MUS 202: Music Theory may be repeated as an elective.

Courses Taken at Other Institutions

Current students desirous of taking courses at other tertiary educational institutions and obtain transfer credits at UCCI, must apply for approval by completing and submit- ting the Transient Registration Form to the Registrar’s Office. Course equivalencies will need to be documented prior to the granting of approval, which will be given only in respect of institutions approved by UCCI. UCCI will not accept credits obtained through private arrangements between an institution and a student. Only students who are in good academic standing with a minimum GPA of 2.0 qualify for approval to become transient students. Courses failed at UCCI may not be repeated elsewhere for transfer credit.

 Course Waiver/Substitution

Students are required to strictly follow the course requirements in their curriculum and degree plan as laid out in the catalogue, because unauthorised deviations will likely affect their eligibility for graduation. Authorization to waive a course requirement should first be obtained from the academic advisor, followed by the department chair. A waived course does not reduce the number of credits required for graduation, but allows the student to do an additional elective. In the case of a substitution, the alternative course to be done by the student must be agreed with the academic advisor and department chair before approval is granted. The student should submit the completed and signed Course Waiver/Substitution Request form to the Registrar’s Office, and retain a copy for future reference.

 Course Weight/Credit Value

Under the credit system, each course is assigned a credit weighting that reflects the number of contact hours per week and the type of course. One credit reflects 15 hours of classroom instruction or discussion. Most courses are scheduled for three hours per week for fifteen (15) weeks and so, are weighted as three credits. Courses with a lab component meet for an additional hour or hour and a half per week and are 4 credits in value.

 Coursework Submission

All coursework submitted after the deadline will receive a mark of zero. The lecturer may opt to mark the material for formative purposes only (no grade awarded). Students who are unable to meet the deadline should inform the lecturer ahead of time. In the event of an emergency, satisfactory evidence of extenuating circumstances which prevented the deadline being met should be provided for the lecturer’s consideration.

Credit Load/Overload

Full-time students are required to carry 12–15 credits per semester. In the case of the Summer session, a minimum of 6 credits constitutes a full-time load. Students desirous of exceeding the maximum number of credits must obtain the approval of their aca- demic advisor and department chair. A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required to obtain approval to pursue more than 15 credits

 Credit Transfer (Internal and External)

A completed Transfer of Credits request form supported by an official transcript addressed to the Registrar is required in order for transfer credits to be processed. Only courses passed with a minimum grade of “C” at another approved tertiary institution are eligible for transfer credit. Eligible grades must not pre-date the transfer request by more than 10 years. However, courses in certain disciplines, e.g., Information Tech- nology, the contents of which easily become non-current over time, may be deemed ineligible for transfer credits. The course must be similar in title and level and reflect at least 80% of the content of the course it is replacing. In cases where the course being transferred is of a higher credit value, only the value at UCCI will be credited. External transfer credits are represented on transcripts with a ‘TR’ instead of an actual grade. Courses completed at UCCI may be transferred using the actual grade, to another inter- nal programme, regardless of age, provided their content is still current. Transfer requests will be evaluated only after the prospective student has applied to UCCI and paid the application fee.

 Dean’s List

Students who earn a minimum semester GPA of 3.5 while taking a minimum of three courses or nine credit hours, will earn a place on the dean’s list.

 President’s List

Students who achieve a minimum GPA of 3.75 will be placed on the president’s list.

 Degree Plan

The degree plan is a student’s roadmap to graduation. It lists all the required and elec- tive courses and the levels, the credit value of each, and the number of credits needed to graduate. Students are required to strictly adhere to the courses on their plan and not deviate unless written approval is granted by their academic advisor and depart- ment chair, on the relevant form. New students should confirm with their advisors that they are being guided by the correct degree plan for their programme. Plans are avail- able at new student registration sessions and from the Registrar’s Office.

Examinations – midterm and final

Students sit midterm and final examinations during the scheduled periods of a semester or Summer session. Midterm exams are administered in class, while finals take place in the auditorium during the final examinations period. The final exam schedule is published about four weeks before the start of examinations. Only duly registered students whose names appear on the examinations roster are permitted to sit final examinations.

 Examinations – missed finals

Students who will be unable to sit a final exam must notify their lecturer in advance, save in an emergency, and complete the Final Exam Absence form and submit to the Registrar’s Office together with acceptable documentation supporting the absence. Acceptable events include medical or family emergencies (e.g. death), or other events beyond the student’s control. Acceptable documentation includes medical or death certificates. If approval is granted, the student will receive an “I” grade until a final grade becomes available.

 Full-time/Part-time Status

A student’s registration status is defined by the number of courses or credits for which she or he is registered in a semester. Full-time students are those registered for a minimum of 12 credits, while part-time status is for those taking 11 or fewer credits. The minimum full-time credit load for the Summer session is 6 credits.

 Grade Appeal

A student may appeal a final grade if he/she considers that it is not a true reflection of performance, or that an error was made in arriving at the grade. The Final Grade Appeal form, available on the UCCI website or from the Registrar’s Office should be completed and submitted to that Office within one week (5 working days) of grades being posted online. A detailed explanation for the appeal should be provided on the form. The Grade Appeal Committee will review all appeals, and the resulting grade will be final, even if lower than the grade originally awarded by the lecturer.

 Grade – Deferred

A deferred grade (DG) is applicable to courses spanning more than one semester, and is awarded at the end of the first. A “DG” must be converted to a final grade by the end of the semester following the one in which it was granted. The grade submitted for the second semester will replace the DG. Courses requiring a DG must be completed in a maximum of 12 months.

Grade Forgiveness

Grade Forgiveness enables a student who scored a C- or lower in a class taken at UCCI, to retake it in the hope of attaining a better grade. The student must first repeat the course at UCCI and then formally apply for grade forgiveness using the Application for Grade Forgiveness form. Grade forgiveness is granted only three times during a pro- gramme, for three different courses or the same course; a course that is failed twice needs to be forgiven twice. Courses taken prior to the policy enactment date, and those taken at other institutions, are not eligible for grade forgiveness. Full Grade Forgiveness Policy available on pages 50–51.

 Grade of Incomplete

A student who fails to complete all requirements of a course by the end of a semester/session and who has earned a passing grade for work completed up to that date, may apply to the lecturer for a grade of “I”ncomplete. If the lecturer deems it pos- sible for requirements to be met by the end of the stipulated deadline, both parties should agree on a timetable for completing the course requirements. If a final grade is not submitted to the Registrar’s Office by the deadline, the “I” grade will be converted to a final grade of “F”. “I” grades earned in the Fall semester must be converted by the end of the fifth week of classes in the Spring; by the end of the third week of classes in the Summer session for grades earned in the Spring semester (if the student attends in the Summer); and by the end of the fifth week of classes in the Fall semester for those earned in the Spring semester or Summer session. Students should not register for a course graded “I”, but should make provisions for the extra load in deciding on their course load for the semester/session.

 Grade – Never Attended

Students who no longer wish to continue in a course in which they are registered are required to either drop it during the first week of classes or withdraw from the course by the stipulated deadline. Those who drop a course, but fail to remove it from their class schedule, will be awarded a grade of ‘NA’ by the lecturer, provided s/he never attended the class or sat any examinations. An “NA” will result in the course being deleted from the student’s class schedule by the Registrar’s Office. The award of an “NA” will not result in a refund of tuition.

 Grade Point Average (GPA)

A student’s GPA is the weighted average of the grade points earned taking into account the number of credit hours attempted. All grades attempted (including non-required courses) in college-level courses will be included in the GPA calculation. The minimum cumulative GPA to qualify for graduation is a 2.0 or the equivalent of a “C” grade. The GPA obtained upon graduating from a programme is final and cannot be changed by courses completed subsequently.

 Grading Policy

It is UCCI’s policy to provide continuous assessment of a student’s performance rather than relying solely on final examinations. Assessment includes grades for coursework, a midterm and a final exam. A final grade based on a scale ranging from A to F, is issued for each course at the end of each semester and summer session, with each grade hav- ing an equivalent grade point. All final grades are posted on a student’s transcript and are combined to arrive at a Grade Point Average (GPA).

 Graduation – Conferral of Diplomas

Graduation diplomas are conferred at the annual commencement ceremony usually held in early November. It is the responsibility of students to ensure that all require- ments (academic and financial) have been met. Students intending to graduate should consult with their academic advisor during the first week of the Fall semester of their final year, to confirm that they are on track. Additional information on Graduation is available at the end of this section.

 Holds on Accounts

A hold is a block placed on a student’s record in Blackbaud, due to unmet requirements, e.g., unsatisfactory academic progress, overdue tuition and fees, registration problems, or failure to submit required documentation.

 Honours Convocation

Students who make the President’s or Dean’s List in a semester will be recognised at the honours convocation in Fall or Spring.

 Identification Card

Each student is provided with a UCCI picture ID card, which is valid for one academic year, at the time of registration. The ID card is required to gain access to the library, final examinations and the campus in general. Students are required to display their ID cards upon the request of a member of the UCCI staff or faculty. The ID card fee is payable at the time of registration.

 Independent Study Course

A student who wishes to conduct research or explore a topic in depth may do so by registering for an Independent Study course, after receiving the approval of the Department Chair. The student should submit a work plan to the Department Chair who will assign the supervisor/lecturer. The Chair should communicate the course information to the Registrar’s Office, so the information may be included in the schedule of classes.

 Major/Minor

Bachelor’s degree students may elect to pursue a secondary field of study, or a minor, in an area related to their major, provided the minor has been approved, is listed in the catalogue, and the courses required are offered. To qualify for the award of a minor, students must complete a minimum of 4 courses or 12 credits at the 300 and 400 levels. These courses may also count towards their major. At least 9 of the 12 credits for a minor must be taken at UCCI. No grade lower than “C” will count towards a minor. In order for a minor to be awarded, it must have been declared using the Major-Minor Approval form (for a Minor in a Bachelor’s Degree Programme), signed by the student’s academic advisor and submitted at the start of the relevant Bachelor’s Degree pro- gramme. The award of the minor will be recorded on the student’s graduation diploma and transcript.

 Online Courses

A limited number of courses are offered online, allowing students the flexibility of pur- suing them from off-campus locations. Prior to registering for an online course, students should ensure that they meet the technical requirements. This information is available from the Information Technology Services (ITS) Department.

 Pass/Fail Courses

These courses attract a grade of P or PA for a pass or F for a failure. These grades are not included in calculating a student’s GPA.

 Plagiarism

Plagiarism is “. . . the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results or words without giving appropriate credit.” Plagiarism may be accidental or blatant and there is even self-plagiarism*. However, students are held to the same standards whether or not they knew they were plagiarizing, or whether or not they were plagia- rizing their own or someone else’s ideas or work.

 Accidental or Unintentional

It is the students’ responsibility to make certain that they understand the difference between quoting and paraphrasing, as well as the proper way to cite material.

*Office of Research Integrity (2011)

Blatant

In these cases, students are well aware that they are plagiarizing, i.e., purposefully using someone else’s ideas or work without proper acknowledgment. This includes turning in borrowed or bought research papers as one’s own.

 Self

Turning in the same term paper (or substantially the same paper) for two courses without getting permission from one’s instructor is self-plagiarism.

Any student believed to have plagiarised all or part of any assignment or examination will be required to appear before an ad hoc disciplinary board, which will investigate the matter fully. Consequences for those found guilty will range from receiving a zero (0) for the work in question, failing the course, or being removed from the UCCI community temporarily or permanently.