Jun 26, 2022  
2009 - 2010 Catalog 
2009 - 2010 Catalog Archives - Prior Version

Academic Information


Students are expected to attend all class sessions. The completion of all requirements specified in the course syllabus is the responsibility of the student.

Student Evaluation

Students are entitled to frequent feedback on their academic progress. The instructor is encouraged to employ, but is not limited to, the following criteria: attendance, class participation, weekly quizzes, periodic hourly exams, graded homework assignments, lab reports, oral reports, journals, and notebooks.

Final Exam Period

Final examinations are scheduled during a specified period at the end of a semester. Students must complete the examination in order to receive a grade for the course.

Grading System

Letter Grade Grade Points Description  
A 4 Superior/Excellent  
B 3 Good/Above Average  
C 2 Satisfactory/Average  
D 1 Pass/Unsatisfactory  
I 0 Incomplete  
F 0 Failure  
W 0 Withdrawal  
S 0 Satisfactory  
U 0 Unsatisfactory  
RD 0 Report Delayed  
AU 0 Audit  

Incomplete Grades

Students wishing to pursue an incomplete grade should discuss the request with the course instructor. The decision to grant the student’s request is at the discretion of the instructor. The Petition for Incomplete Grade Form must be completed and signed by both the student and the instructor. The completed form must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office with the final grade roster.

Grades Policy

Only teaching faculty members can assign grades.  No student’s grade may be altered without the approval of the faculty member assigning the grade, in consultation with the Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs, except as follows:

  1. If a faculty member leaves the employment of the College for any reason, the College shall assume the responsibility for grading the students.
  2. If a student has successfully appealed his/her grade through the appeals process, the faculty member or Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs will change the grade.  If the Vice President changes the grade, the faculty member will receive written notification of the grade change.

Academic Grievances

The student academic grievance procedure is available to students who have concerns regarding matters such as final grade appeals.

If resolution cannot be achieved through discussion with the faculty member and the student seeks additional mediation, the student may initiate the formal process as outlined below:

  1. A student must submit a letter to the appropriate Associate Dean of Instruction within ten calendar days of the date in which the incident or the complaint occurred. In the case of a final grade discrepancy, the letter should be submitted within fifteen calendar days of the release of grades. In the written complaint, the student should describe his or her concerns, the events that led to those concerns, and provide any supporting documentation.
  2. The Associate Dean of Instruction may choose to meet with both the student and the faculty member involved in an attempt to resolve the issue. If the issue is not resolved, the Associate Dean of Instruction will convene the Academic Grievance Committee.
  3. The Academic Grievance Committee will review the written grievance and all documentation. The Committee may or may not interview both the student and the faculty member. A member of the Committee will notify the student in writing of the Committee’s decision within five working days.
  4. If the student remains unsatisfied with the decision issued by the Academic Grievance Committee, the student may make a final appeal to the Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs. This appeal must be in writing and submitted no later than five working days from the date of the decision issued by the Academic Grievance Committee. The appeal must specify in detail why the decision of the Academic Grievance Committee was unsatisfactory and must be supported with compelling justification. Within ten working days of receipt of the student appeal the Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs will issue a decision regarding the appeal. This decision will either uphold the decision of the Academic Grievance Committee or will issue other remedies as the Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs deems appropriate. The decision of the Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs is final.

In the case where a complaint is levied against any member of the Academic Grievance Committee, the Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs will appoint a substitute.

Academic Level Advancement

Students successfully completing 1 to 24 credits within an academic program are considered freshman-level students. Students successfully completing 25 or more credits are considered sophomore-level.

Academic Integrity Policy

The maintenance of an atmosphere of academic integrity is the responsibility of all students, faculty, and staff of the College. Complete academic integrity in fulfillment of requirements is expected of all students and faculty. Students must in no way misrepresent their work, fraudulently or unfairly advance their academic status, or in any way abet other students who fail to maintain academic integrity.

The following are violations of Academic Integrity and as such will not be tolerated:

  • PLAGIARISM: Failure to acknowledge the source of all information gathered in the preparation of all class work. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the direct quotation, paraphrasing, and other use of information or facts which are not common knowledge, whether published or not, without acknowledging the source through standard means of citation.
  • CHEATING: Intentional or attempted use of materials, information, or study aids other than those specifically authorized by the faculty member to complete any class assignment and/or examination.
  • FABRICATION: Falsification or invention of any information or citation in the laboratory, on an internship, or in any other academic exercise.
  • ETHICAL MISCONDUCT: Knowing violation of an ethical standard of conduct forming part of or incorporated into a specialized program of study.
  • ACADEMIC DISHONESTY: Obtaining and/or distributing, in whole or in part, any unadministered examination, quiz, test or similar device or changing or altering an assigned grade.
  • FACILITATION: Knowingly aiding or attempting to aid another to commit an act in violation of this Academic Integrity policy.

Faculty Obligations

In fairness to all students, faculty are required to inform students at the beginning of the semester of their obligation to respect the ethical standards of the academic community by not committing the violations herein contained. In addition, faculty are expected to inform students of the appropriate use of sources and documentation/citation and to clarify what constitutes appropriate resources for their examinations and assignments.

All infractions of Academic Integrity will be reported to the Office of the Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs including the student’s name, course and section number and nature of the infraction.


Students who commit a violation of Academic Integrity will be denied the privilege of withdrawing from that course without academic penalty. Further penalties will be initiated against the student at the discretion of the faculty member and/or the College.

The faculty member and/or the College may:

  • Assign a grade of ‘F’ for the examination, test, quiz, assignment or similar academic exercise, regardless of the effect such a grade will have on the student’s final grade in that course.
  • Assign a grade of ‘F’ for the course regardless of the quality of the other work completed by the student in the course.
  • Drop the student from the course and bar the student from further participation in the course.

The College may:

  • Suspend the student for a period of time of the College’s discretion.
  • Expel the student from the College.

Penalties imposed at the discretion of the College will be posted to the student’s permanent record.

Faculty members have the responsibility for determining final grades for their course. Students have the right to discuss their final grade with the responsible faculty member. If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of this discussion and has evidence that the grade is in error, the student may initiate the Academic Grievance Procedure.

Academic Standing

Pennsylvania Highlands faculty and staff consider student learning and academic success to be their top priorities. Whether or not a student achieves success, however, will depend largely on student effort, time management and study habits, class attendance, and his/her willingness to constructively utilize the College’s many learning support resources. 

Any time a student’s Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) falls below a 2.0, the student is said to be “NOT in Good Academic Standing.” The student is thereby on notice that significant changes may be necessary to meet the student’s educational and career goals since no student may graduate with less than a 2.0 GPA.       

The College will monitor a student’s grades and issue notices of warning or probation when grades do not meet these standards. Students who stay in Good Academic Standing are more likely to advance from one course to the next as needed and earn their degree in a timely fashion.     

Students who fail to maintain Good Academic Standing will be notified of their status and any conditions required for their continuation. Students who have extenuating circumstances or specific grounds to appeal either their grades or their academic standing may do so as outlined in the Academic Grievance Procedure.

Standards for Academic Standing

Cumulative Credit Hours Attempted

Cumulative Grade Point Average Below 2.0  
1 - 15
  0.00 - 0.99
16 - 30 1.75 - 1.99 ACADEMIC WARNING
31 and up 1.80 - 1.99 ACADEMIC WARNING


This status serves to inform students that their performance is below the level required for successful completion of an academic program. Students in this status are strongly urged to seek academic support and assistance. Students who fail to meet the standards for academic standing at the completion of an academic semester or summer session will be placed on academic warning. While on academic warning, students should consider limiting the amount of credits they take during any subsequent semester. Students are removed from warning only when the cumulative GPA is a 2.0 or higher.


Students whose grades place them in more serious academic jeopardy as outlined above will be placed on Probation. While on Academic Probation, a student may schedule no more than twelve credits per semester. Students on Probation are strongly urged to meet with their faculty advisor and/or Student Success Center staff to assess their educational goals, learning strategies and styles, priorities, time management, and other needs.


Students whose grades are significantly below 2.0 as outlined above may be suspended. Students who are suspended may not matriculate at Pennsylvania Highlands for a period of one semester. Students who are on suspension may enroll in Developmental classes as part-time, non-matriculated students and receive tutoring services during their suspension.

How to Calculate Your Grade Point Average

The Grade Point Average (GPA) is computed by multiplying the point value of each grade earned by the number of semester hours of creidt of the course for which the grade is received The total of these products is then divided by the total number of semeste hours of credit.

Example of Grade Point Average Calculation Point Values: A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1, F=0

    Point Value
of Grade
Semester Hours
of Credit
    Grade Points  
C =   2.0 X 3   = 6  
B =   3.0 X 4   = 12  
A =   4.0 X 3   = 12  
C =   2.0 X 3   = 6  
B =   3.0 X 3   = 9  

45 grade points divided by 16 semester hours = 2.81 grade point average or GPA.

Academic Amnesty

Students transferring from one program of study to another program of study may petition to have courses in which they earned a grade of D or F exempted from the calculation of their grade point average as required by the program from which they transferred. The grades will remain on the student’s transcript. Students shall be eligible for Academic Amnesty one time only. Further information on Academic Amnesty may be obtained by contacting the Registrar’s Office.

Academic Forgiveness

Students who return to the College after a two year absence may petition that the credits with D and F grades earned during their previous enrollment at the college be removed from the computation of the cumulative grade point average. The student shall meet with the Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs to initiate the process. This petition may be made only after the completion of 12 new credits with a grade point average of 2.0 or higher. Once the petition is approved by the Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs, previously earned credits with D and F grades are not used for calculating the student’s grade point average; however they remain on the transcript with an appropriate notation.

Academic Honors

Dean’s List

The Dean’s List is announced at the completion of each fall and spring semester. The list will include those full-time students who have a semester grade point average of 3.3 or better. Developmental credits attempted do not calculate into the total credits attempted for inclusion on the Dean’s List.

Phi Theta Kappa

Phi Theta Kappa’s purpose is to recognize and encourage scholarship among two-year college students. Phi Theta Kappa provides the opportunity for the development of leadership and service, an intellectual climate for exchange of ideas and ideals, lively fellowship for scholars, and stimulation of interest in continuing academic excellence. The Beta Epsilon Omega Chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society was officially chartered on May 2,1997. Invitations are sent to all eligible students, and members are inducted in a formal ceremony during each fall and spring semester.

The eligibility requirements include:

  • Registered student
  • At least 12 credits completed toward an associate degree program (excluding developmental courses)
  • Cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5.

Tau Upsilon Alpha

Tau Upsilon Alpha (TUA) of the National Organization of Human Services (NOHS) is the National Honor Society for Human Services. This honor society was established in 2007 which supersedes the former honor society of Alpha Delta Omega. TUA is a two and four year college honor society. Students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher in course work within a Human Services program, completing 12 credits or more, are eligible to apply for membership. In addition to evaluating academic achievements, the student’s commitment to excellence in the provision of services to others is also reviewed. Students are invited to join the organization at the beginning of the fall semester. Human Services professionals are also invited to join TUA as professional at-large or honorary members. An applicant must submit an essay describing commitment and philosophy of working within the helping professions.

Who’s Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Each year the faculty and staff at Pennsylvania Highlands nominate outstanding student scholars and leaders to be recognized by the Who’s Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges. To be eligible for nomination for this prestigious award, students must have earned 25 or more credits, have a cumulative grade point average of 3.3 or higher, and have exhibited outstanding leadership and scholarship at Pennsylvania Highlands and in the community at large.

Maximum Course Load

Pennsylvania Highlands has established maximum credits loads for our students based on semester length. For 15-week terms, students are permitted to register for up to 18 credits. For shorter terms the maximums are as follows: 12 credits for 12-week terms, 9 credits for 7-week and 6-week terms, 6 credits for terms shorter than 6-weeks. These maximums were created to provide the best opportunity for students to achieve academic success. Students who wish to register for credits above the maximums established are required to obtain written approval from an academic advisor and the Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs.

Minimal Credit Requirement

To earn an Associate Degree from Pennsylvania Highlands, students shall complete a minimum of 30 credit hours at the College.

The following types of successfully earned credits shall constitute the student Minimal Credit requirement:

  • Credits earned from Pennsylvania Highlands courses taught on or off-campus, including Dual Enrollment.
  • Pennsylvania Highlands distance learning courses originating from or received at the College.

Although Pennsylvania Highlands Community College evaluates prior learning and will apply credits as appropriate to degree, diploma, or certificate programs, the following types of credits do not contribute to a student’s minimal credit requirement:

  • Credits transferred from another institution.
  • Credit awarded for successful completion of a course examination (credit by exam).
  • Credit awarded through the College Level Examination Program (CLEP).
  • Credit awarded for Advance Placement Examinations.
  • Credit awarded for Military Training.
  • Credit awarded by an area Career and Technology Center.
  • Credit awarded for Life Experience.

Graduation Requirements

Meeting graduation requirements is ultimately the responsibility of the student. Students are encouraged to work with their academic advisors in selecting courses to meet their educational objectives. Students must apply for graduation before the specified deadline for the semester. Application due dates are announced throughout the year and are communicated through the Registrar’s Office via newsletters and communications. Applications are available at the Richland Campus, Ebensburg Education Center, and the College’s website. Commencement ceremonies are the culmination of the student’s program of study. Each spring Pennsylvania Highlands Community College conducts a graduation ceremony at which time faculty, staff, family, and friends come together to recognize the academic achievements of the year’s graduates. All eligible degree, diploma, and certificate candidates are encouraged to participate in commencement activities.

In order to be eligible to graduate, all students must have:

  • Satisfied all requirements for the course of study.
  • Taken at least 30 credits at Pennsylvania Highlands
  • Achieved a grade point average of 2.0 or better as required by program of study.
  • Fulfilled all of their financial obligations to Pennsylvania Highlands.
  • Filed an Application for Graduation.
  • Paid the $80.00 Graduation fee within the academic year.

Graduation Honors

Students who have earned a minimum of 30 credits in a certificate, diploma, or degree program and have graduated with at least a 3.5 grade point average will be eligible for graduation honors. Students who have earned an overall GPA of 4.0 are graduated Summa Cum Laude (highest honors). Students who have earned an overall GPA of at least 3.75 and below 4.0 are graduated Magna Cum Laude (high honors). Students who have earned an overall GPA of at least 3.5 and below 3.75 are graduated Cum Laude (honors).

4.0 Summa Cum Laude
3.99-3.75 Magna Cum Laude
3.74-3.5 Cum Laude

Second Associate Degree

A second associate degree is awarded only when all the degree requirements for the second degree have been met. Appeals for a waiver of this policy must be made in writing to the Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs.

Options for Earning College Credit

Students may receive academic credit for prior learning enabling them to begin college work at advanced levels and shorten the time required to obtain degrees, diplomas or certificates. Credit for prior learning may be graded by any of the following methods: transfer credits, courses taken at area career and technology centers, College Level Examination Program (CLEP), credit for examination, and credit for experiential learning.

Credit can be granted only for those courses which are listed in the Pennsylvania Highlands catalog. The courses must meet the requirements of the program in which the student is enrolled. Credits obtained for prior learning are not used in the computation of the grade point average. These credits are not applied to VA benefits, Selective Service deferment, Social Security benefits, or scholastic honors. A maximum of half of the credits needed for degree completion may be awarded to a student for all credits earned for prior learning.

Transfer of Credit

Credits earned at other regionally accredited colleges may apply to programs at Pennsylvania Highlands. Transfers should be directed to the Registrar’s Office for processing. Coursework older than ten years is generally ineligible for transfer but will be evaluated on a course by course basis.

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

Credit may be awarded to students who achieve satisfactory scores on the CLEP general examinations and selected CLEP subject examinations. A list of all acceptable CLEP test scores is available at the Pennsylvania Highlands Student Success Center. Test scores must be sent directly to the Student Success Center from the College Entrance Examination Board. Contact the Student Success Center or the Admissions Office for further information.

Advanced Placement Examinations

Credit may be awarded to students who attain a score of three or higher on the College Board Advanced Placement Examination.

Developmental Classes

Developmental classes provide the student with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college-level courses. They are designed to provide the student with basic skills in mathematics, English, and reading. Developmental courses are assigned institutional credit, which applies only at Pennsylvania Highlands and will not count toward graduation, will not earn college credit, and will not be used in grade point average (GPA) calculations. Students are required to take developmental classes their first semester of attendence.

Credit for Military Training

College level courses taken while in the U.S. Armed Forces and submitted on college transcripts or on transcripts from the military may be transferable. Military courses may be submitted and reviewed on an individual basis. Credit is normally awarded based upon the recommendation of the American Council on Education.

Credit for Life Experience

Guidelines for awarding credit for life experience are essentially those suggested by the American Council on Education. A student may present a proposal describing the broad outline of the learning experience. A comprehensive, detailed portfolio is then prepared under the direction of the evaluation committee. The committee will evaluate the specific detailed portfolio and will recommend the credit to be given. The student is charged according to the published fee schedule. Complete details and procedures are available from the Director of the Student Success Center.

First Year Experience Course

First Year Experience is a required course in every degree program. The purpose of this class is to provide students with the skills needed for success in a college environment. Students develop proficiency in study habits as well as an understanding of general college procedures. Students evaluate their learning styles and develop strategies to enhance their learning experience. One of the objectives of the First Year Experience course is to address the need for information-literacy, which is accomplished through extensive library and information literacy instruction. This class is best taken in the first semester a student is enrolled at the College.

ACESS Course

ACESS is an acronym for Accelerating Commitment to Excellence through Student Success. This course is based on recognition of the need to model the relationships between students, goals, and instructional delivery. Student outcomes are tied into a process that encourages students to become actively involved in the teaching learning process and serves as a means of measuring personal and academic growth.

Distance Education

Distance Education courses offer students the opportunity to earn college credit at the time and location convenient to them. Distance Education includes online coures, hybrid courses, and coures enhanced through the use of technology. For more information, visit the Distance Education page at www.pennhighlands.edu/distance_education.

Online Courses

Online learning is learner-driven, internet-based instruction delivered via an online platform. Online learning is ideal for students with work obligations, family obligations, travel constraints, or time/schedule conflicts. Students are able to access their online materials 24 hours a day, seven days a week via any internet-accessible computer.

Online courses are led by Pennsylvania Highlands faculty and utilize the Internet to deliver instructional materials, assignments, exams, and discussions. Online courses require the same competencies as equivalent campus courses, and are considered more academically challenging and writing intensive because all communication is written. Coursework may consist of online assignments, group work, class discussions, quizzes, exams and more. Online courses allow students to complete work and assignments at their convenience, however weekly participation as well as on-campus meetings, labs or proctored exams may be mandatory.

For more information about online courses, course offerings and descriptions, and technical requirements for online courses, see the Distance Education website at http://www.pennhighlands.edu/distance_education.

Student-Faculty Evaluation

At least once each term, students will be asked to provide an evaluation of their classes, their faculty and the methods in which they receive instruction. These student assessments are used in the ongoing process of program evaluation and development.

Delivery of Academic Programs

Courses in academic programs are taught using a variety of methods including traditional classroom and laboratories, internet-based courses, and telecourses.

Pennsylvania Highlands assumes that distance education will be infused into the academic environment as an accepted tool for responding to the changing educational environment, for ensuring quality on-campus and intercampus delivery, and as an integrated aspect of systemic curriculum planning.

Independent Study

Requests for independent study are initiated by the student’s academic advisor and must be approved by the appropriate Associate Dean of Instruction four weeks prior to the start of the semester in which the course will be offered.

ACT 34 PA Child Abuse History Clearance

The received official document should read that “No record exist in the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare’s statewide Central Registry …” or the existing record must comply with section E of the ACT 34 of 1985 Background Clearance Procedures as amended.

ACT 151 PA Criminal Record Check

The received official document should read that “… has no criminal record in Pennsylvania based on a check based on the above identifiers - refer to control …” or the existing record must comply with section E of the ACT 34 of 1985 Background Clearance Procedures 24 PS 1-111 as amended.

ACT 114 FBI Finger Print Clearance

The received official document should read that the subject has “No record” or the existing record must comply with section E of the ACT 34 of 1985 Background Clearance Procedures 24 PS 1-111 as amended.

NOTE: Additional information concerning clearances referring to teaching in Pennsylvania can be found at http://www.teaching.state.pa.us/teaching/cwp/.

General Education

General Education is the foundation of the educational experience at Pennsylvania Highlands Community College. To demonstrate the commitment to General Education, a General Education Philosophy was developed that establishes three competencies that describe the learning outcomes of a Pennsylvania Highlands graduate: to be able to think logically, communicate effectively, and act responsibly. These General Education competencies can be applied in many contexts and are to be developed over a lifetime. They provide a set of broad skill expectations within which learning goals can be set and assessed within and across many disciplines.

This foundation demonstrates the College’s vision of an informed, literate and educated person. It also expresses its commitment to developing a dynamic and renewed regional community through the contributions of our graduates.

In order to graduate, students must complete the degree, certificate or diploma requirements, which include the general education requirements. The general education subject areas and credit hour requirements are identified under each major.

Library Services

The College offers full library services to all students. Library services include access to library materials at campus libraries, an online catalog, complete inter-library loan services, and remote access to library databases. The College has adopted an information-literacy strategy that incorporates library research in all academic programs. Information-literacy instruction is available to all students and is offered through First Year Experience and other courses.


Tutoring is available to all students enrolled in courses at the College. Tutors must be requested by completing a Tutor Request Form. These forms are available in the Library at the Richland Campus or at the Information Desk at the Ebensburg Education Center. Tutoring is dependent upon tutor availability.

Peer Tutors

Students with an overall grade point average of 3.0, an “A” in the course they wish to tutor, and a recommendation from the course instructor are eligible to become peer tutors. Interested students may pick up a Request to be a Tutor Form in the Library at the Richland Campus.

Act 48

Pennsylvania Highlands is an approved provider for Act 48 courses/training in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The College is fully accredited and offer a wide variety of course selections to suit all educators. The College’s flexible schedule and affordable tuition make Pennsylvania Highlands a popular choice for needed credits.

Educators wishing to take Pennsylvania Highlands courses for Act 48 credit should review all course selections with their appropriate administrators prior to enrolling.

When registering at Pennsylvania Highlands for Act 48 credit, the educator must complete the Act 48 Continuing Professional Education Requirement Form.


Internships are coordinated by the appropriate academic program coordinator. The purpose of internships is to integrate classroom study and practical work experience for academic credit. Students intern with a host organization for a required number of hours based on credit assignment. Internships enhance the partnership between the College and the community.

Please review the pages in this catalog regarding your program of study to verify if an internship is required. Because students are expected to be prepared to succeed in entry level projects, interns must have completed at least 2/3 of their program of study and earned at least a 2.00 grade point average. Some programs may have additional conditions of eligibility so students are urged to consult with the appropriate internship advisor for further information.

Students must begin the internship process in the semester prior to the internship semester by contacting their academic advisor.

Postsecondary Partnerships

Some Associate of Applied Science degree programs are offered in articulation with area vocational-technical schools. In each of these programs, students complete specialized or major courses at the participating school and the general education core courses at Pennsylvania Highlands. Students must apply separately to both the participating school and Pennsylvania Highlands. A maximum of 30 credits may be transferred to Pennsylvania Highlands under this program.

Dual Enrollment

Pennsylvania Highlands has articulated programs with area school districts which provide the opportunity for high school students to earn dual credit. Upon matriculation, the credits earned in this program may be used towards degree completion at Pennsylvania Highlands. Further information on the dual enrollment program may be obtained from the Admissions Office or the high school guidance office.