Compliance Certification Report - Comprehensive Standards

Comprehensive Standard 3.4.4
The institution has a defined and published policy for evaluating, awarding, and accepting credit for transfer, experiential learning, advanced placement, and professional certificates that is consistent with its mission and ensures that course work and learning outcomes are at the collegiate level and comparable to the institution’s own degree programs. The institution assumes responsibility for the academic quality of any course work or credit recorded on the institution’s transcript.


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VMI has clearly defined and published polices for evaluating, awarding, and accepting transfer and advanced placement credits. These policies were developed by and are monitored by the Academic Board, and regular reviews of the regulations are conducted. These policies, which are published in the Academic Regulations, are made available to faculty, staff, and students on the VMI website [1]. VMI rigorously enforces these policies and thus ensures that all courses accepted for credit from outside institutions are evaluated and certified to meet curricular content and accreditation standards. These policies are in accordance with both Institutional curricular requirements and SACS guidelines [2].

Transfer Credit

All courses requested for transfer are evaluated by the department head of the appropriate curriculum to determine whether they meet the standards for curricular content and instructional methodology [3]. VMI requires that the department head governing the course review its catalogue description in order to determine whether it is equivalent to a particular VMI course or, if it is not, whether it may be used as an elective credit. Transfer credit is awarded only for courses passed with a grade of C or better at accredited institutions. No credit is awarded for courses taken as pass/fail. Quality points are not transferable. Quality points earned at other colleges before a student transfers to VMI are not counted in the computation of the 2.0 quality point average required for VMI graduation. Cadets must complete a minimum of one-half of the total degree requirements at the Institute [4].

Any course taught by an accredited institution will be accepted for transfer credit by VMI, provided that the VMI department head certifies that the course meets VMI’s curricular content standards and the transfer request is approved by the cadet’s curricular head. If the semester-hour value of a course taken at another college is greater than that of the VMI course for which it is substituted, only VMI's number of hours will be transferred. If the semester-hour value of a course taken at another college is less than that of VMI, the deficient semester hours will have to be earned in order to reach the total required for graduation.

Students enrolled in another college or university must submit an official transcript and catalogue in order to have these courses evaluated by the appropriate VMI academic department head. Students enrolled in courses offered by the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) are directed to view the VCCS course listing [5] to determine transferability of credits before enrolling in any course. Foreign students are encouraged to have their transcripts evaluated by a company providing foreign credential services to ensure that the maximum number of credits can transfer [6]. Additionally, all transfer credit policies are outlined in the VMI Transfer Guide [7] publication updated periodically by the Admissions Office.

A cadet who wishes to earn transfer credit for a course taken at another accredited college must submit a written description of the course and the VMI Course Approval for Transfer Credit Form [8] to the appropriate department head and secure his or her written permission before registering for the course. A cadet may transfer no more than one-half of the total hours required for graduation from VMI. A maximum of 18 semester hours may be transferred from summer sessions, inter-semester sessions, and Internet courses provided by other colleges. Summer hours earned before matriculation or in the VMI sponsored summer study abroad programs are not included in this 18-hour limit. It is the responsibility of the cadet to see that an official transcript is sent directly from the other college to the VMI Registrar. Grades are not posted until an official copy of the transcript, certifying the final grade, has been received by the Registrar. Transcripts are not accepted directly from a cadet unless delivered in a signed and sealed envelope from the attending college. If the transcript reports a numerical grade, it is translated into equivalent letter grades at VMI. 

Credit is not awarded toward a cadet’s degree program until appropriate approvals have been completed and official documentation has been received:

  1. Authorization of Approval: completed Course Approval for Transfer Credit Form [9] outlining institution, course, credit equivalency, term of attendance, approval by the department head of the appropriate curricular area, and approval by the department head of the cadet’s major.

  2. Official Transcript or Supporting Documentation from Certifying Agency: documents certifying course completion and final grade or official test score results [10].

Courses taken on the quarter hour system are transferred to VMI as follows: Five (5) quarter hours must be transferred in order to receive credit for a three (3) semester hour course. Three (3) quarter hours may be transferred for a two (2) semester hour VMI course, but cannot be used as credit towards a three hour VMI equivalent. 

Any cadet who has met VMI's residency requirement and has a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or above may transfer a maximum of 10 credit hours towards the final completion of his or her degree requirements. All courses must be pre-approved, and the cadet must coordinate his or her completion with the Registrar's Office in order to be properly tracked for completion.

Policies concerning transfer credit are published as a part of the Academic Regulations on the VMI website [11]. At the directive of the Attorney General’s Office, VMI publishes on its website all information pertaining to calendars, events, and institutional policies [12]. This practice ensures that pertinent information is available in one centralized location. Furthermore, these policy postings are kept up-to-date based on current regulations and procedures. Officials assigned to specific policy areas are responsible for updating this information. 

Advanced Standing Credit:

VMI awards semester-hour credit to all cadets earning a score of 5 (high honors) or 4 (honors) on the Advanced Placement Examination, or a grade of 5 on International Baccalaureate courses. All credits are evaluated by the appropriate department heads and awarded only with their approval [13].

Advanced Standing Placement:

VMI may grant advanced placement, but not semester-hour credit toward graduation for a score of 3 (creditable) on the Advanced Placement examination, or a score of 4 on International Baccalaureate courses (with some exceptions). Advanced Placement waives the requirement; however, the cadet must substitute an elective course to complete the total number of hours required for graduation. All credits are evaluated by the appropriate department heads and awarded only with their approval [14].

ROTC Credit and Waivers:

Cadets pursuing an Army commission can receive credit for the Army ROTC Basic Course (first and second year) by attending a four-week Leadership Training Camp at Ft. Knox, Kentucky.

For Naval ROTC, the first and second years of training may be fulfilled by attending a seven-week summer program at the Naval Science Institute. Generally, Naval ROTC credit is not given for Army ROTC or Air Force ROTC training. The Professor of Naval Science can review records and seek waivers, where appropriate, on a case-by-case basis.

Air Force requirements for the Air Force ROTC General Military Course (first and second year) may be waived by attendance at a six-week Air Force Field Training program, credit for honorable military service, credit for Junior AFROTC, or transfer credits from another Air Force ROTC program.

All transfer and waiver requests must first be approved by the department head of the respective ROTC unit and then by the Deputy Superintendent for Academics and Dean of the Faculty before any credit or waiver can be awarded [15].

Credit Not Accepted at VMI:

  • CLEP – College Level Examination Program

  • DANTES – Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support

  • Placement or Competency Examinations

  • Credit taken at non-accredited institutions

Evaluation:

With all credit required to be approved by the department head of the respective curriculum areas, VMI conducts a continual review of the content, delivery, and appropriateness of the course to the VMI curriculum.

The evaluation of transfer credit practices and policies and cadet appeals of existing transfer policies are conducted through the following processes:

  1. Cadet appeals:

A formal appeal is made in writing by the cadet through the Committee on Academic Appeals (CAA). This appeal process is in place to hear individual exceptions to the VMI Academic Regulations [16] . The Committee on Academic Appeals consists of a board of four academic department heads who consider the appeal request. A recommendation is then forwarded to the Deputy Superintendent for Academics and Dean of the Faculty who makes a final determination as to whether a waiver of the existing policy is warranted.

  1. Institutional review of transfer credit practices:

a)   A formal request is made in writing through the Deputy Superintendent for Academics and Dean of the Faculty, who refers the request for a policy review to the Academic Policy Committee [17]. The Academic Policy Committee is charged with completing a review of the current academic regulation, with a recommendation made to the Academic Board [18] regarding whether the policy should be revised or maintained in its current form.

b)   The Academic Board reviews the findings of the Academic Policy Committee, and makes a recommendation to change or uphold the existing policy. A permanent change to an existing policy requires a majority vote of the Academic Board, and two readings before a policy can be officially changed.

c)   Once a new policy is affirmed by the Academic Board, the change is communicated Post-wide and the new policy is incorporated into the Academic Standards for formal publication.

Supporting Documentation and Evidence: 

Sources

[1] VMI Academic Regulations

[2] SACS – Transfer of Academic Credit

[3] VMI Academic Regulations – Transfer Credit Guidelines

[4] VMI Academic Regulations – Transfer Credit Guidelines

[5] VCCS – Virginia Community College Transfer Equivalency

[6] VMI Transfer Policy – Prior to Matriculation

[7] VMI Transfer Guide

[8] Transfer Credit Approval Form

[9] Transfer Credit Approval Form

[10] VMI Academic Regulations - Transfer Credit Guidelines

[11] VMI Academic Regulations - Transfer Credit Guidelines

[12] VMI Website

[13] VMI Academic Regulations – AP Credit Guidelines

[14] VMI Academic Regulations – AP Credit Guidelines

[15] ROTC Transfer Credit / Waiver Policy

[16] Committee on Academic Appeals (formerly the Individual Privilege Committee)

[17] September 2001 Academic Board – Proposed Academic Board Committee Charter

[18] Academic Board Duties