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3.4 All Educational Programs

Comprehensive Standard:

3.4.6 The institution employs sound and acceptable practices for determining the amount and level of credit awarded for courses, regardless of format or mode of delivery. (Practices for awarding credit)

Statement of Compliance:   In Compliance.

Narrative:

The University of West Georgia academic calendar is organized on the semester system. There are two semesters of approximately fifteen weeks, a three-week term in May, and summer sessions of approximately four and eight weeks. The policy, which guides all decisions made regarding the amount and level of credit awarded for courses is the University System of Georgia Board of Regents "750 Minutes Rule" [1]. The "750 Minute Rule" mandates that each hour of credit awarded requires the equivalent of 750 minutes of instructional engagement. Thus, a three-credit hour course offered at the University of West Georgia must include the equivalent of 2,250 minutes of instruction (750 x 3).  Most courses offered at the University of West Georgia are structured to allow students to earn three credit hours unless otherwise noted in the Catalog of Courses [2]. Additionally, the University Faculty Senate has recently approved an additional policy that provides the definition of the credit hour that covers the documentation of both in-class and out-of-class activity (Faculty Senate Minutes, December 7, 2012 (page 3) [3]. This policy aligns with both Federal Requirement 4.9 and the SACS "Credit Hours" policy [4]

Information concerning academic program content, which includes program sheets and credit hour requirements, is found on individual colleges/schools websites. More details and links are available in the narrative for Core Requirement 2.7.2.  Additional details on the policy and processes the University of West Georgia uses for evaluating, awarding, and accepting credit can be found in the report for Comprehensive Standard 3.4.4.

In addition to the Board of Regents policy governing the awarding of academic credit, a UWG Registrar’s Office policy, also, addresses students transferring from institutions that are not regionally accredited [5]. The transfer credit policy stipulated in the Undergraduate Catalog [6] requires that upper division courses will be evaluated by the appropriate academic department, which will determine whether or not credit from other institutions is accepted. Generally, this is conducted by the program director/department chair or a group of departmental faculty members (see examples: [7], [8]). The transfer policy stipulated in the Graduate Catalog allows transferring only up to 9 credit hours [9].

Moreover, the University of West Georgia awards academic credit for coursework taken on a noncredit basis when there is documentation that the noncredit coursework is equivalent to a comparable credit-earning experience. The report for Comprehensive Standard 3.4.8 covers noncredit options in depth.

Importantly, courses offered online and face-to-face use the same learning outcomes thus assuring that the amount of credit awarded is equivalent in both modes of delivery.  Furthermore, regardless of the mode of delivery, the expectations of student work both in and out of the classroom are the same. Therefore, UWG is in compliance with the SACS policy on "Distance and Correspondence Education" [10].  For example, the Bachelor of Science with a Major in Criminology (face-to-face) [11] has the same learning outcomes and the same program content as the online Bachelor of Science in Criminology [12].

Supporting Documentation: