May 18, 2024  
2019-2020 Academic Catalog 
2019-2020 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Policies and Procedures

Academic Calendar

  • Southwest operates on a semester calendar system.
  • The fall semester begins in late August and ends in mid-December.
  • The spring semester begins in mid-January and ends in mid-May.
  • Each semester is approximately 15 weeks long. Within the summer semester, which is fast-tracked, are two summer sessions, each approximately five weeks in length; and an extended summer term of approximately 10 weeks.
  • The flex semesters, which are two fast-tracked sessions, are offered during the fall and spring semesters only, each approximately seven weeks in length

Academic Load

  Full-Time - 12 credits or more
  Three Quarter Time - 9-11 credits
  Half-Time - 6-8 credits
  Less than Half-Time - 1-5 credits

Maximum Fall and Spring Load

The maximum number of credits in which a student may enroll for the fall or spring semester is 18. Exceptions to these limits must be approved by the appropriate department chair and dean.

Maximum Summer Load

The maximum number of credits in which a student may enroll for summer is a total of 15 credits with no more than eight credits in any one of the five-week sessions. Exceptions to these limits must be approved by the appropriate department chair and dean.

Transfer Credits

Southwest grants transfer credit in accordance with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges policy “The Transfer or Transcripting of Academic Credit”. In addition, Southwest accepts credits from postsecondary institutions that are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education and a recognized regional accrediting association. Awarding of transfer credit from proprietary colleges is considered on a case-by-case basis.  

The academic credits earned in a student’s chosen academic program will be accepted when the course content and teaching faculty can reasonably be assumed or determined to be equal to that at Southwest.

All transfer coursework will be scripted to the Southwest transcript. If credit for a particular course is not accepted by Southwest, the student may appeal to the appropriate department chair for analysis and reconsideration of acceptance of the credits. Once the credit becomes a part of the student’s official record at Southwest, it will not be removed. Southwest recognizes transfer credit from collegiate and non-collegiate institutions, examinations, military training and experiential learning. The maximum number of transfer credits including alternative forms of credit acceptable towards a student’s academic program is two-thirds (2/3) of the program’s required credits.

Alternative Credit

Many students have previous work or military experience which may be applicable to a degree program. Therefore, the College offers several programs designed to give adult students “advanced standing” in a specific associate degree program. Credit is only awarded in areas offered within the curriculum of Southwest and must be related to the academic program in which the student is enrolled.

Alternative credit programs include the following:

Advanced Placement (AP) Examination

Advanced Placement (AP) is a program offering college-level curriculum and examinations to high school students. Students who complete the Advanced Placement Examination with a score of 3 or higher may receive credit for required or elective courses in their programs of study at Southwest.

To apply for advanced placement credit, a student should have AP test scores sent to the Admissions and Records Office where a list of courses awarded for satisfactory scores on AP examinations is maintained.

Credit earned will be identified by a “P” on the student’s transcript and will not be calculated into the student’s GPA, but will be included in credits earned. 

Credit/Advanced Placement for Licensure/Certification

Students who have completed training, passed a national or state registry examination for licensure, certification or equivalent, and hold a current license or certification may be eligible to earn credit or advanced placement by providing a copy of the current/active licensure, certification or its equivalent (licenses or certifications that have expired will not be considered).

The dean of the division or designee that supervises the program of study will review the student’s eligibility and will determine the course credit to be awarded.

Military Service

The American Council on Education collaborates with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to review military training and experiences and recommend appropriate college credit for members of the Armed Forces.

  • ACE’s credit recommendations appear in the Military Guide and on military transcript which is evaluated by the department chair or designee.
  • Credit is only awarded in areas offered within the curriculum of Southwest and must be related to the academic program in which the student is enrolled.

United States Air Force Instruction (USAFI)/Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES)

  • Southwest grants credit for any USAFI/DANTES Subject Standardized Test (eDSST and eCLEP) in accordance with American Council on Education’s (ACE)
    recommendation for acceptable score and award of credit hours. A student who has earned an acceptable score may be awarded college credit.
  • Credit is only awarded in areas offered within the curriculum of Southwest and must be related to the academic program in which the student is enrolled.

Credit earned will be identified by a “P” on the student’s transcript and will not be calculated into the student’s GPA but will be included in credits earned. 

Credit by Examination

Each academic department will determine which courses, if any, are appropriate for credit by examination. Exams will be given at the discretion of the department and/or instructor. 

Departmental Exam

A student who has registered for a course and believes that he/she has appropriate knowledge and/or skill to successfully demonstrate competence may request that the instructor allow the option of testing out of the course.

If the course is appropriate for credit by examination, instructor will provide an examination which is equivalent in scope and content to the final examination for the course. Based on the exam, the student will receive a letter grade.

If the student is not satisfied with the grade or fails the exam, he/she may remain and complete the course. 

Challenge Exam

Any student who is enrolled in good standing at Southwest may, by passing a challenge examination, earn credit for some courses offered by the College. Some laboratory, clinical, and performance courses require long-term evaluation of competence and therefore cannot be challenged for credit by exam. These examinations are designed and administered by full-time faculty members who have the appropriate academic credentials to teach the course. Credit by Challenge Examination is not available for all courses. Students need to contact the appropriate Department Chair to get a list of courses available for Challenge Examination.

Prior to enrolling in a course, an admitted student who is qualified to accelerate his/her studies may request a challenge examination which is equivalent in scope and content to the final examination for the selected subject.

Procedures for Challenge Examinations
  • The student will contact the appropriate department to determine if the challenge exam is available for that particular course.
  • The student will pay the required fee which is not refundable if a student fails to obtain credit. Financial aid and other forms of tuition waivers are not available to cover the cost of the exam.
  • The student will schedule the examination with the appropriate department.
  • If the student satisfactorily passes the exam with a C or better, the credit earned will be identified by a “P” on the student’s transcript and will not be calculated into the student’s GPA but will be included in credits earned.
  • An unsuccessful attempt will not be recorded on the student’s transcripts. Students who fail the exam must take the course.
  • The challenge exam is not an option for students who desire to earn credit for courses previously failed or to improve grades for courses previously completed.

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

Southwest grants credit for satisfactory scores on CLEP tests in accordance with American Council on Education’s (ACE) recommendation for acceptable score and award of credit hours. A student who has earned an acceptable score on either the general or subject examinations may be awarded equivalent college credit. The awarding of CLEP credit is subject to the following conditions and limitations:

  • Southwest will transfer CLEP credit awarded from other institutions if the credit satisfies the minimum standards.
  • The course equivalencies, number of semester credit hours awarded, and the minimum scores required for each subject and general CLEP examinations will be maintained in the Admissions and Records office.
  • Credit earned will be identified by a “P” on the student’s transcript and will not be calculated into the student’s GPA but will be included in credits earned.

CLEP examinations are as follows:

Exam Score Course Credits
American Government 50    3
American Literature 50 ENGL 2110  and ENGL 2120   6
Introductory Business Law 50 BUSN 2370 3
Calculus 50 MATH 1830   3
French Language - Level 1 50 FREN 1010  and FREN 1020    
French Language - Level 2 59 FREN 1010 , FREN 1020 , FREN 2010 , FREN 2020   12
Spanish Language - Level 1 50 SPAN 1010  and SPAN 1020   6
Spanish Language - Level 2 63 SPAN 1010 , SPAN 1020 , SPAN 2010 , SPAN 2020   12
English Literature 50 ENGL 2210  and ENGL 2220   6
College Composition Modular 50 ENGL 1010   3
Chemistry 50 CHEM 1010   4
Biology 50 BIOL 1010   4
History of the United States I: Early Colonization to 1877 50 HIST 2010   3
History of the United States II: 1865 to the Present 50 HIST 2020   3
Human Growth and Development 50    3

Humanities (only 2 of 3 will be given CLEP credit for a maximum of 6 hours of credit)

50 ART 1030, MUS 1030, THEA 1030 6
Information Systems and Computer Applications 50 INFS 1010 3
Precalculus 50 MATH 1710   3
Principles of Management 50 BUSN 2330 3
Introductory Psychology 50 PSYC 1030 3
Introductory Sociology 50 SOCI 1010   3
Principles of Marketing 50 MKTG 2000   3
Principles of Macroeconomics 50 ECON 2100   3
Principles of Microeconomics 50 ECON 2200   3

Experiential Learning Credit

  • A student may receive credit for college-level learning that has taken place on the job or in other life situations unless a specific program-accrediting agency does not allow portfolio or experiential credit.
  • A student applying for experiential credit must have completed any required learning support courses and be registered during the semester in which he/she is applying for credit.
  • In consultation with the appropriate academic department, a portfolio for experiential credit must be submitted at least two semesters prior to graduation and the completed portfolio must be submitted at least one semester prior to applying for graduation.
  • The student will be required to document the accomplished learning in a portfolio as it relates to the learning outcomes of the college course for which the student is seeking experiential credit.
  • The student will submit the portfolio to the department chair who will have an appropriate faculty member review the portfolio and make a recommendation to approve/disapprove the portfolio for the requested credit.
  • If approved, the chair will forward the recommendation to the Dean for final approval. If experiential credit is approved, the Dean will notify the Admissions and Records Office.
  • Students who have failed courses cannot challenge them by portfolios nor can a course already taken be replaced with experiential credit.

Independent Study

A student who exhibits the capability of mastering the content of a given course by self-study and who meets the normal prerequisite requirements may request independent study. The student must obtain approval of both the advisor and the department chair. Independent study is also subject to the availability of faculty. Students may not pursue courses in which they have received a grade, or earned credit in an equivalent or more advanced standing course. Only grades of “A”, “B”, “C”, “F” and “W” will be assigned to independent study.

Servicemembers Opportunity College (SOC)

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has designated Southwest as a Servicemembers Opportunity College (SOC). SOC, a consortium of National Higher Education Associations with more than 1,900 members, functions in cooperation with the DOD and the military services to help meet the voluntary higher education needs of service members. SOC institutional members subscribe to certain principles, criteria, and guidelines as outlined in the SOC Guide to ensure that high quality academic programs are available to military students.

Southwest is committed to upholding these principles, criteria, and guidelines. Southwest grants academic credit for military training and experience, plus knowledge acquired through other nontraditional modes of training based on recommendations made by the American Council on Education. Such credit may be applied to meet degree requirements when applicable to a service member’s program. For more information regarding this program or for a Joint Services Transcript (JST) evaluation, please call (901) 333-4030 or 333-5384.

Repeated Courses

 A student may repeat a course regardless of the grade received. However, permission from the chief academic officer or designee is required to repeat a course in which the student earned an “A” or “B” grade. No permission is needed when repeating a course required for entry into a College program. 

In computing the student’s QPA, only the last grade earned in a repeated course will be used (even if the last grade is lower than a previously received grade).  However, with courses repeated more than twice (three attempts), the grades in the third and subsequent attempts will be used in calculating the quality point average.

Grade Changes

At Southwest, the instructor of record, or the department chair when the faculty member is no longer available, may change an officially posted grade. The instructor of record begins the process by completing the Change of Grade form and submitting the form to the department chair and appropriate dean for endorsement. With all appropriate endorsements, the completed form should be submitted to the Admissions and Records Office for posting to the student’s academic record.

Grade of Incomplete

The grade of “I” (Incomplete) may be assigned when the student is passing a course but is prevented, by documented extraordinary circumstances, from completing a course on schedule. The instructor of record determines whether such circumstances pertain. A student who receives an “I” grade must complete all required work and remove the incomplete “I” grade by the deadline indicated on the academic calendar. Failure to complete work by the deadline results in automatic failure. A grade of “F” will be posted for the course on the student’s permanent academic record. Upon the student’s completion of the required work, the instructor of record will calculate and post the student’s earned grade by filing a signed Change of Grade form with the Admissions and Records Office.

Grade Appeal

Any student may initiate an appeal of any course grade within six (6) months after the conclusion of the semester in which the grade was earned. The procedure for appealing a course grade is as follows:

  • The student must make an appointment and meet with the instructor to discuss the grade, bringing any supportive documentation such as course outline, originals, or copies of papers, lab reports, themes, and examination grades.
  • If the student still believes that further appeal is warranted, the student must submit a “Grade Appeal” form to the department chair involved.
  • If the response from the above step is not satisfactory, the student may forward the record of written appeal to the division dean.
  • Should further resolution be requested beyond the dean’s involvement and response, the student must notify the division dean who will forward the request to the Grade Appeals Committee of the Faculty Senate.
  • After consideration of the student’s request, the faculty member’s response, the recommendations of the division dean and the Grade Appeals Committee, the Provost/Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs will make the final determination and notify the student.

Academic Misconduct

Plagiarism, cheating and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited. A student guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, is immediately responsible to the instructor of the class. In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed through regular College procedures as a result of academic misconduct, the instructor has the authority to assign an “F” grade or a zero for the exercise or examination, or to assign an “F” grade for the course. College sanctions for academic misconduct may include suspension or dismissal from the College. If a grade of “F” is assigned to a course as a result of academic misconduct, a student may not withdraw from or drop that course.

When a student believes that he/she has been wrongfully accused of academic misconduct, he/she should:

  • Seek resolution with the instructor
  • If resolution is unacceptable, seek resolution from the instructor’s department chair
  • If resolution is unacceptable, seek resolution from the academic dean of the department
  • If resolution is unacceptable, file a grievance by presenting the facts of the case in writing, with any supporting documentation, to the Provost/Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, who will schedule a hearing before the Academic Appeals Committee

The student is responsible for moving through the process as expeditiously as possible and the grievance must go to the Academic Appeals Committee within thirty (30) days of the incident. The instructor charging the student with academic misconduct must report the incident, including all pertinent facts, to the department chair within five (5) business days after the charge has been made. The incident report must include any action taken against the student by the instructor for the academic misconduct. Members of the Academic Appeals Committee will review the incident report upon the student filing a grievance.

General Misconduct

Any student engaged in disruptive conduct violating the general rules or regulations of the College will be subject to disciplinary action