Aug 20, 2019  
Catalog/Handbook 2011-2012 
    
Catalog/Handbook 2011-2012 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Student Handbook/Regulations


Academic Regulations and Student Responsibility

Polk State College is responsible for publishing all rules and regulations regarding students’ responsibilities. Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with these rules and regulations and for their own conduct. Written rules, regulations, policies, and procedures in effect at the time are binding.

The material in this catalog is published to provide information on rules and regulations in effect at the time of publication; however, the College reserves the right to make changes to course offerings, curricula, academic policies, and other rules and regulations at any time. These changes govern currently and formerly enrolled students.

Copies of all official Board of Trustees rules and College procedures are available on Polk State College's website.

As the College periodically updates policies, students are urged to read all official notices posted on campus bulletin boards, on related web pages, or sent to the students' institutional e-mail address. A student being unaware of duly published rules and regulations is not considered a valid excuse for failure to comply.

Change of Regulations

Polk State College reserves the right to make changes in regulations, course offerings, curriculum, academic policies, fees, procedures, and other rules affecting students.

Placement Assessment

Polk State College provides a comprehensive placement assessment program in accordance with Florida law. Students may use scores that are less than two years old from the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and/or American College Testing (ACT) tests to determine placement in mathematics, reading, and English courses. All students who do not have recent SAT, ACT, or college placement test scores are tested for proficiency in reading, writing, and mathematics. Although frequently referred to as “testing,” a college placement test is not a pass/fail examination, but rather an assessment tool used to determine proper placement of students in college courses. A college placement test does not determine admission eligibility. Transfer students with passing grades in college-level English or mathematics courses are not be required to take placement testing. 

Students who have taken the ACT or SAT may use these scores to determine eligibility for college-level courses as defined by Florida Administrative Code 6A-10.0315. These exams are used only to determine college-level skills. If scores do not meet the college-level requirements, students must take another college placement test. For placement above the first college-level course (i.e. College Algebra or higher), a student must score within the range for that placement.

Students who have not taken the ACT or SAT may take the Postsecondary Education Readiness Test (P.E.R.T.) at Polk State College on the Winter Haven and Lakeland Campuses or the JD Alexander/Lake Wales Center. The current state standards for placement in college-level courses for the SAT, ACT and P.E.R.T. placement exam are:

Subtest ACT SAT  P.E.R.T.  placement
Reading 18 Critical Reading 440 104
Sentence Skills/English 17 Critical Reading 440   99
Elementary Algebra 19 Math 460 135

All students applying to take credit courses are required to present official scores on the ACT, SAT, or a college placement test prior to course registration. Initial course registration occurs during Orientation. Students are registered for an Orientation session when they submit an application.Students who are eligible for an exemption to providing these scores may include individuals transferring from other colleges with college-level English and mathematics credit with a minimum GPA of 2.00. Students not pursuing a degree or certificate (non-degree seeking students) also may be exempt from placement testing, but unless they provide evidence of previous college credit in English and mathematics, students are limited to enrollment in courses not requiring communication or computation skills.

College preparatory (college prep) courses in English, reading, and mathematics are required for students who score below state-mandated standards. Students are required to begin enrollment in all required college preparatory courses during their first 12 credit hours at Polk State College and must continue enrollment in these courses each subsequent term until all college preparatory courses have been satisfactorily completed. Students who place into three college preparatory areas are required to take SLS 1101 College Success in their first term at Polk State College. Students who place into two college preparatory areas are encouraged to take SLS 1101 in their first term. Students enrolled in college preparatory courses may also concurrently take courses in other curriculum areas for which they qualify. College preparatory courses do not apply toward graduation requirements.

Gordon Rule

The Gordon Rule, State Rule 6A-10.030, requires baccalaureate and AA program students to complete six semester hours of English and six semester hours of additional courses, in which the student must demonstrate college-level writing skills through multiple assignments. Additionally, BAS and AA program students must complete six semester hours of mathematics at the college level or higher. The mathematics portion of the requirement is satisfied by taking the appropriate mathematics courses. Because Polk State College uses a “Writing-across-the-Curriculum” approach to meeting the writing requirement, in addition to the required composition courses, any of the required social sciences and humanities courses also help fulfill this requirement. Students should talk with an advisor regarding the Gordon-Rule requirement. A minimum grade of C is required in all courses fulfilling the writing and mathematics portion of the Gordon Rule.

Credits

Credit hours are the units by which Polk State College measures its course work. The number of credit hours assigned to a course usually corresponds with the number of hours per week a class meets.

Polk State College uses a semester plan. A semester credit hour is based on classes meeting one hour per week during the length of a 15-week term; therefore, a three-semester-hour class usually meets three hours each week during a 15-week term. Summer terms or other terms shorter than 15 weeks require additional hours per week to meet the minimum state-mandated hours necessary for generating semester hour credit.

Transfer credits earned from institutions using quarter plans are converted to semester hours as follows:

Quarter Hour   Semester Hours  
1 = 0.66  
2 = 1.33  
3 = 2.00  
4 = 2.66  
5 = 3.33  
6 = 4.00  
7 = 4.66  
8 = 5.33  
9 = 6.00  
10 = 6.33  

When calculating for graduation requirements, fractions of hours are not rounded up to the nearest whole number. For example, if a student earns 59.5 hours toward a 60 credit-hour degree requirement, the student does not yet qualify for graduation.

Maximum and Minimum Course Load

During Terms I, II and III (Fall, Spring, and Summer Terms), the minimum course load per term for full-time students is 12 semester hours.  Anything less than this minimum is considered part time. The average academic load during Terms I or II is 15 semester hours.

The maximum course load during Terms I and II is 20 semester hours per term, and 12 semester hours for the summer term. However the maximum number of credit hours cannot be taken in one accelerated term. Students maintaining a cumulative 3.0 GPA or higher, and who have completed at least 15 semester credits, may exceed the credit maximums with the approval of the Dean of Student Services. Those wishing to appeal this regulation are required to do so prior to the first regular registration day.

Students who plan to work while attending school are encouraged to adjust their schedules accordingly and register for classes early in the registration period in order to maximize scheduling options.

Grades

Grades are recorded on the student’s permanent record in the Registrar's Office and are issued in the form of a transcript upon request. Term grades are available online through the College's PASSPORT portal at no charge.

Final grades are based on any or all of the following: course assignments, special reports, quiz grades, research papers, course participation, laboratory assignments, field work, and examinations. Specific grading polices and course requirements are provided by the professor at the beginning of each course. Students who believe the final grade posted is in error should contact the professor to discuss a possible grade change. Grade-change petitions, including withdrawals, must be submitted no later than the end of the following term.Grades and grade-point values are listed below:

A – Superior

4 Grade Points

B – Above Average

3 Grade Points

C – Satisfactory

2 Grade Points

D – Below Average

1 Grade Point

F – Fail

0 Grade Points

I – Incomplete

0 Grade Points

S – Satisfactory

 

U – Unsatisfactory

 

W – Withdrawal

 

Auditing Courses

Both non-credit and regular college-credit courses are available for audit. College preparatory courses are not available for audit. Courses in limited-admission programs may be audited only with the prior permission of the appropriate Dean and appropriate Program Director. A student may not audit a course in which the student received a grade of C or higher unless it is determined it is necessary for the student’s future academic success. To audit a course, a student must meet College admission requirements, be a matriculated student at Polk State College, and be able to demonstrate, if required, that he/she meets the placement standards for the course to be audited. Students must petition the Campus Dean of Student Services to request to audit a course after the student has had a previous for-credit attempt with a grade of C or higher on the student transcript.

A credit student should identify the intention to audit a course at the time of registration. A student who has enrolled in a credit course as a credit-seeking student may convert that registration to “audit” status. However, this declaration must be made no later than the last day of the course’s designated Drop/Add period. A credit course may not be converted to “audit” status if the course is being paid for by a third party (such as through Financial Aid, scholarships, Workforce In Action funds, veteran’s benefits, Vocational Rehabilitation, etc.). A student who is auditing a course is responsible for paying course tuition and fees as assessed, according to his/her residency status, and the fee schedule made public by the College.

A student auditing a course is required to adhere to the attendance, testing, and any other course requirements as established by the professor in the specific course being audited. An audited course is posted on the student’s transcript. However, students auditing a course receive no credit for the course. An audit course is not counted or used when calculating GPA, academic standing, graduation requirements, veteran’s benefits, other financial aid eligibility, or for certifying enrollment for outside agencies. A course declared for audit cannot be converted to a course for credit at a later date; however, the course may be subsequently repeated for credit as long as the repeat does not violate Polk State College's Forgiveness Policy or other College regulations.

Incomplete Grades

If a student cannot complete course requirements by the end of the term due to extenuating circumstances as verified by the professor, the professor may assign a grade of I, provided this occurs after the withdrawal date. The withdrawal date occurs at approximately the 70% point of the term. If the extenuating circumstances occur prior to the withdrawal date, students should be withdrawn from the course and not given a grade of I. By assigning a grade of I, the professor indicates that the student can receive a passing grade by satisfactorily completing the unfinished course work within a reasonable amount of time that has been agreed upon by both student and instructor; the course must be completed and grade posted by the end of the next term at the latest. Further, the professor assumes the responsibility for grading the additional work and completing a Grade-Change Form. If the student fails to meet the objectives by the conclusion of the following term, the I converts to an F.

When a faculty member has agreed to assign a grade of I, the Incomplete Course Work Completion Plan form must be completed, signed, and filed with the appropriate Academic Dean.Students who have applied for graduation in a given term must complete all required course work by the graduation date. An incomplete grade in a course needed for graduation prohibits graduation.

Forgiveness Policy

Polk State College’s state-mandated grade forgiveness policy allows students to repeat only those courses in which they earn a grade of D, F, or W. Students are allowed only three attempts in any one course: one initial enrollment and two repeats. The third attempt at a course is charged at a cost equal to the full cost of the instruction rate. Although all course attempts appear on the transcript, only the grade earned in the most recent attempt is calculated in the cumulative GPA. Students are not allowed to withdraw from the third course attempt. Before repeating a course, students should consult the Financial Aid Office to determine what impact, if any, repeating a course has on financial aid status.

NOTE: Other institutions to which students eventually may transfer do not necessarily have the same grade forgiveness policy as Polk State College. These schools may recalculate student GPAs or reassess eligibility for financial aid.

Standards of Academic Progress

The regulations regarding academic progress apply to all credit students regardless of the beginning date of attendance at Polk State College. College credit, vocational credit, and College Preparatory credit are combined to determine academic progress. "Attempted courses" are defined as all courses for which a student registers and remains enrolled beyond the last day of the Drop/Add period.

The term “Standards of Academic Progress” refers to policies and procedures the College uses to define students' progress as they complete academic course work at the College. Standards of Academic Progress are designed to help students monitor progress and standing in regard to the grade point average (GPA) requirement. A minimum overall 2.0 GPA is required for graduation from the College with a BAS, AA, AS, or AAS degree. A minimum cumulative program GPA of 2.0 is required for graduation with a credit, vocational, or applied technology diploma. The seven (7) levels of academic standing are:

  • Good Academic Standing
  • Academic Warning
  • Academic Probation
  • Academic Suspension
  • Probation After Suspension
  • Academic Dismissal
  • Probation After Dismissal

The College helps students monitor their standing and progress. For any term in which a student earns a GPA of less than 2.0 or fails to complete 50% of attempted coursework, a statement indicating the student’s standing is printed on the student’s individual grade report and degree audit, as well as noted in the student's PASSPORT information.

The College welcomes transfer applicants with demonstrated success at other institutions. Students who transfer from other institutions are bound by the College’s Standards of Academic Progress, and may enter the institution under one of the following five (5) levels of status:

  • Good Academic Standing
  • Academic Warning
  • Academic Probation
  • Probation After Suspension
  • Probation After Dismissal

Students who are on Academic Suspension at the institution from which they transfer may not enroll at Polk State College in the term immediately following the term in which the suspension was incurred. A student may, however, enroll under the appropriate status in the next succeeding term or subsequent terms thereafter.In application and operation, this system complies with the federal regulations of minimum standards of progress for all students receiving federal financial aid.

Academic Terms Defined

Drop/Add Deadline: This refers to the date after which a student can no longer add or drop courses without a financial obligation or record on the transcript.

Withdrawal Deadline: This refers to the date after which a student can no longer withdraw or be withdrawn from a course, which occurs at no more than 70% through the course. The student may withdraw or be withdrawn without academic penalty between the drop/add deadline and the withdrawal deadline, unless it is the student’s third attempt. Whether the student withdraws online or with an advisor, the student takes full responsibility for the financial aid and academic implications.Term Hours Earned: This refers to the total number of hours in a given term for which a student earned a passing grade.Attempted Hours: This refers to the total credit hours attempted that are used in the set of courses grouped together to produce a GPA. For example, the term hours attempted include the total credit hours for all courses attempted in the given term.Term GPA: This refers to the grade point average for all work attempted (that contributes to the GPA) for a given term.Overall Cumulative GPA: This refers to the grade point average for all cumulative work attempted (that contributes to the GPA) since entering college, including transfer work from all previously attended institutions.Transfer GPA: This refers to the grade point average for all cumulative work attempted that has been accepted from other institutions when transferring to Polk State College that contributes to the GPA.Local GPA: This refers to the grade point average for all cumulative work attempted at Polk State College that contributes to the GPA.Program GPA: This refers to the grade point average for all cumulative work that contributes to the completion of program requirements.GPA Calculation: To calculate a GPA, grades and grade-point values must be used as follows:

A – Superior

4 Grade Points

B – Above Average

3 Grade Points

C – Satisfactory

2 Grade Points

D – Below Average

1 Grade Point

F – Fail

0 Grade Points

To calculate a GPA, students should follow this example:

1.  Add the Total Attempted Hours that contribute to the GPA. Total Attempted Hours
2.  Add the Course Grade Points of the same courses to get the
     Total Grade Points.
3.  Multiply the Total Attempted Hours by the Total Grade Points. x Total Grade Points
4.  This equals the Total Quality Points. = Total Quality Points
5. Divide the Total Quality Points by the Total Attempted Hours. ÷ Total Attempted Hours
    This equals the Grade Point Average (GPA). = GPA
Good Academic Standing

A student is in Good Academic Standing when all of the following conditions are met:

  • The GPA for the last term was 2.00 or higher. 
  • The student does not fall into the academic status of Warning, Probation, Suspension, or Dismissal.
Academic Warning

A student is placed on Academic Warning under any of the following conditions:

  • The student’s Overall Hours Attempted is 12 hours or more, and the student’s Overall GPA is less than 2.00.
  •  The student’s Term Hours Earned is less than 50% of the Term Hours Attempted for the term attended.  

A student remains on Academic Warning until he/she returns to Good Academic Standing or falls to Academic Probation status.


Academic Probation

A student is placed on Academic Probation under any of the following conditions:

  • The student’s Overall Hours Attempted is 30 hours or more, and the student’s Overall GPA is less than 2.00.
  • The student is on Academic Warning and fails to earn a Term GPA of 2.00 or greater for the next term attended.
     
  • The student is on Academic Warning, and the student’s Term Hours Earned is less than 50% of the Term Hours Attempted for the next term attended.

A student may register for courses on while on Academic Probation only after seeking academic advising and with specific course approval.


Academic Suspension

A student is placed on Academic Suspension under any of the following conditions:

  • The student’s Overall Hours Attempted is 45 hours or more, and the student’s Overall GPA is less than 2.00.
     
  • The student is on Academic Probation, and fails to earn a Term GPA of 2.00 or greater for the next term attended.
     
  • The student is on Academic Probation, and the student’s Term Hours Earned is less than 50% of the Term Hours Attempted for the next term attended.

A suspended student may not enroll at the College for one term following suspension.

Probation After Suspension

A student is placed on Probation After Suspension under the following conditions:

  • The student is on Academic Suspension and has fulfilled the terms of the suspension. A student is then permitted to register for courses on Probation After Suspension status only after academic advising and with specific course approval. The student must complete 50% of all courses attempted and maintain a 2.00 Term GPA, or he or she is placed on Academic Dismissal for one Academic Year from the end of the term for which he/she was dismissed.
Academic Dismissal
 

   A student receives Academic Dismissal under the following conditions:

  • The student is on Probation After Suspension or Probation After Dismissal and fails to earn a Term GPA of 2.00 or greater for the next term attended.
     
  • The student is on Probation After Suspension or Probation After Dismissal, and the student’s Term Hours earned are less than 50% of the Term Hours attempted for the next term attended.

A student on Academic Dismissal may not enroll at the College for one Academic Year following the end of the term he/she was dismissed. A student must petition for readmission. To be considered, the petition must be submitted to the Student Services Offices at least thirty (30) working days before the beginning of the term for which the student is seeking readmission. The student is notified of the decision regarding re-admittance in writing.

 Probation After Dismissal

   A student is placed on Probation After Dismissal if:

  • The student is on Academic Dismissal, has fulfilled the terms of dismissal, and has received approval of his/her petition for readmission. A student on Probation After Dismissal is permitted to register for courses only after academic advising and with specific course approval. The student must complete 50% of all courses attempted and maintain a 2.00 Term GPA. A student who fails to meet these requirements is again placed on Academic Dismissal and is considered for readmission only after a minimum of one year from the end of the term for which he/she was dismissed.

Class Attendance

General Policy: Class attendance is a critical part of the teaching and learning process. Students are expected to arrange their schedules in order to maintain regular and prompt attendance in all of their classes. Professors may provide course-specific attendance policies, such as those indicating that excessive absences from class may result in withdrawal or failure.

Policy for International Students: International Students are required to maintain full-time enrollment status (12 or more credits per term) and to abide by the attendance policy established for each course in which they are enrolled. They are also expected to meet the standards established in the College’s Academic Standards of Progress, PSC Procedure 5017. Failure to meet the requirements of either policy may have a negative effect upon the student’s visa status.

Policy for Veterans and VA-Benefit Students–Credit Courses: Records of attendance for students are maintained for all courses in order to determine the last day of attendance. Withdrawal shall be consistent with the professor’s policy regarding attendance for all students, including veterans or other students attending through VA benefits. VA-benefit students may be withdrawn from a credit course by the withdrawal deadline if the professor determines that an attendance-policy violation prevents satisfactory completion of a course. A a VA-benefit student who violates the attendance policy for a course is decertified by the school, the benefits are terminated for unsatisfactory progress, and the student is required to refund monies received that term.

Policy for Veterans and VA-Benefit Students–PSAV Certificate Courses: Veterans and other persons eligible to receive VA education benefits who register in a PSAV certificate course and accumulate 4 days of unexcused absences within any calendar month are decertified for lack of attendance. This action leads to decertification by the school, termination of benefits for unsatisfactory progress, and the student is required to refund monies received that term.

Policy for Law Enforcement and Corrections Certificate Programs: Students enrolled in law enforcement and corrections certificate programs are required to attend the full number of hours for each course. Unexcused absences and absences for which the time and work are not made up may result in students being dropped from a course. Absences approved by the Training Center Director for illnesses, subpoenas, and emergencies are permitted or excused; however, students must make up all missed time and work. Students must submit requests for authorized absences to the Course Coordinator or Center Director. Trainees returning from any absences are required to submit a written notice to the appropriate training-center staff member detailing the total time absent from class, as well as the time in which the individual returned to class.Policy for Readmission of Students after Suspension from Disciplinary Action: Students are not to be readmitted to class without written notice from the Campus Dean of Student Services or the Vice President for Academic and Student Services when students have been suspended under disciplinary action. Faculty members are notified prior to a student's re-admittance.

Honors

Students graduating with an overall GPA of 3.5, graduate with Academic Honors. Students graduating with an overall GPA of 4.0, graduate with Highest Academic Honors. These distinctions are part of the student’s permanent record and appear on the diploma and official transcript.

Drop/Add Period

Each term offers several different sessions. The length of the class is dependent on the number of weeks in the session. Typically a class offers instruction face-to-face, or via hybrid or pure Internet classes using a 15 hours-per-credit-hour schedule with time for breaks. Each session has a Drop/Add Period which allows the student to add classes or drop classes on his or her schedule without academic or financial obligation. Athletes, international students, dual-enrolled students, and students on their third attempts of a course may have restrictions during the Drop/Add Period. Students are responsible for the outcomes of dropping a class which could include financial aid award reductions, extension of the student's expected completion date, or the inability to re-register should the student attempt to do so.

Withdrawal Process

Students may officially withdraw from a course(s) during any given term, provided they follow appropriate policy and procedure. Following the conclusion of the Drop/Add Period, students may officially withdraw without academic penalty from any course, provided they do so no later than the published withdrawal deadline. The published deadline reflects approximately, but no more than, 70% of the term, based upon the course’s scheduled duration.

Students cannot use course withdrawal to avoid academic dishonesty penalties. Students who have been penalized for or accused of academic dishonesty in a course are not eligible to withdraw from the course.

Under the Forgiveness Policy, students are allowed only three attempts in any one course: one initial enrollment and two repeats. In certain circumstances, students may petition to repeat a credit course beyond the three attempts. Students should be aware that repeating courses may result in higher tution rates and fees. In college preparatory courses, students may petition for reduction of these fees. Students should visit an academic advisor for details regarding this process. Although all course attempts appear on the transcript, only the grade earned in the most recent attempt is calculated in the GPA. Students are not allowed to withdraw from a third course attempt. If a student stops attending class, the grade earned, usually an F, is assigned and posted.

Prior to repeating a course, students should consult the Financial Aid Office to determine what impact, if any, withdrawing from or repeating a course has on financial aid status. Students are responsible for the financial aid and academic status implications of withdrawing from courses.

Students are advised that withdrawing from and dropping a class each have different implications. Students who withdraw will have a W grade for the class and be financially obligated for the tuition and fees. In addition, withdrawing from a class can negatively impact the student's academic status under the Standards of Academic Progress.

NOTE: Other institutions may not necessarily have the same grade forgiveness policy as Polk State College and may recalculate student GPAs or reassess eligibility for financial aid. In addition, limited-admission programs at the College (Nursing, for example) have program-specific academic standards that address course withdrawals for students enrolled in these programs.

Cheating and Plagiarism

Polk State College considers academic dishonesty an assault upon the basic integrity and value of a college education. Cheating, plagiarism, and collusion in dishonest activities are serious acts that erode the College's educational role and tarnish the learning experience, not only for the perpetrators but for the entire community. It is expected that all Polk State College students understand and subscribe to the ideal of academic integrity and that they are willing to bear individual responsibility for their work. Materials (written or otherwise) submitted to fulfill academic requirements must represent a student's own efforts. The fundamental purpose of this rule is to emphasize that any act of academic dishonesty attempted by any Polk State College student is unacceptable and shall not be tolerated. Examples of academic dishonesty include:

  1. Cheating or plagiarizing on tests, projects, or assignments: Cheating is defined as the giving or taking of any information or material with the intent of wrongfully aiding oneself or another in academic work considered in the determination of a course grade. Plagiarism is defined (Black's Law Dictionary, Revised Fourth Edition) as "the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one's own mind." Plagiarism includes failure to use quotation marks or other conventional markings around material quoted from any specific source  without citing that source, or paraphrasing a specific passage from a specific source, or using any sequence of material or order of wording without accurately quoting and citing that source. Plagiarism further includes letting another person compose or rewrite a student's assignment.

    The following items have been identified, by the faculty and students at Polk State College, as a partial list of examples of cheating and/or plagiarism:

    1. Asking for information from another student before, during, or after a test, quiz, or exam situation.
    2. Copying answers from another's paper during a test, quiz, or exam situation.
    3. Knowingly letting someone copy from one's paper during a test, quiz, or exam situation.
    4. Using sources other than what is permitted by the instructor in a test, quiz, or exam situation.
    5. Copying material exactly, essentially, or in part from outside sources while omitting appropriate documentation.
    6. Copying or falsifying a laboratory report, clinical project, or assignment without doing the required work.
    7. Changing answers on a returned graded test, quiz, or exam in order to get the grade revised.
       
  2. Plagiarism in written assignments: Plagiarism also includes handing in a paper to an instructor that was purchased from a term paper service, created by another student or other individual, or downloaded from the Internet and/or presenting another person’s academic work as one’s own. Individual academic departments may provide additional examples in writing of what does and does not constitute plagiarism, provided that such examples do not conflict with the intent of this policy.
     
  3. Furnishing false information to any faculty member.
     
  4. Forgery, alteration, or misuse of any College document, record, or instrument of identification.

Violations of the College’s policies pertaining to academic dishonesty may result in academic penalties and/or disciplinary action at the discretion of the professor. Academic penalties may include, but are not limited to, a failing grade for a particular assignment or a failing grade for a particular course. Students charged with violating the Academic Dishonesty portion of this rule are not permitted to withdraw from the course.

Additionally, a student in violation of the Student Code of Conduct may be referred to the Dean of Student Services at the campus or center where the offense took place. Any student suspected of violating the Academic Dishonesty section of the Student Code of Conduct is subject to sanctions and provided due process as outlined in the Polk State College Academic Dishonesty procedure.

Interim Suspension for Non-Academic Reasons

The Dean of Student Services or the Vice President for Academic and Student Services may suspend a student for an interim period pending disciplinary proceedings, or a medical or psychological evaluation. Interim suspensions are indicated whenever there is a reason to believe that the continued presence of the student on the College campus poses a possible threat to himself, to others, or to the stability and continuance of normal College functions.

Student Appeal/ Complaint Policy

Polk State College students are assured the opportunity to express informal appeals and complaints and to initiate formal appeals and complaints regarding the operation of the College and the actions of its employees performing their duties as stated in the DBOT Rule 4.26, 4.01, and 3.27; and College Procedure 6076.

Students are encouraged to pursue resolution of their appeals/complaints with the appropriate College staff in the informal phase. If resolution is not achieved, the formal phase may be pursued. Students who pursue the formal phase of the process should confer with the Campus Dean of Student Services, who can provide information regarding this process.

Petitions

Students who feel the College's regulations are not interpreted or applied fairly may petition Polk State College's Petitions Committee. The Petitions Committee reviews each individual's written request and makes a recommendation. Information about the petitioning process is available from academic advisors.

A student who wishes to appeal a residency determination may complete a petition with an advisor, who then submits this document to the Registrar's Office for review by the Residency Committee.Students with disabilities who feel the College has not met their needs appropriately (other than issues of substitutions) may appeal to Polk State College's Equity Committee for an appeal hearing. The decision of the Equity Committee is final. Students should visit with an academic advisor for information about the Equity Committee. 

Graduation Requirements

Students completing college transfer programs receive an associate in arts degree (AA) and are certified as completing General Education requirements.

Some technical courses cannot be used as electives in the AA degree programs, nor do college preparatory courses apply toward graduation. Students should visit with an advisor for information regarding degree requirements and applicable courses. AA degree candidates are also required to meet college-level academic standards.

Students completing occupational/technical degree programs receive either an associate in science (AS) or associate in applied science (AAS) degree, depending upon the program option selected. Students in health-related programs may be required to earn a grade of C or higher in all discipline-specific courses. College preparatory courses do not apply toward either AS or AAS degree requirements.

Students completing a four-year degree receive a Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Supervision and Management degree or the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. College preparatory courses do not apply toward the BAS or BSN degree requirements.

All students planning to graduate must apply for graduation through Polk State College's online student portal, PASSPORT, no later than the deadline published on the website. Polk State College maintains a Graduation page on its website with further details.To qualify for graduation at Polk State College, the student must:

  1. Complete all degree-seeking admission requirements, including the submission of all necessary transcripts and other required documents.
  2. Complete the required credit hours in a prescribed program of study.
  3. Complete any other applicable requirements. For example, some occupational/technical programs require a grade of C or higher in all program courses.   Another example is that students interested in a baccalaureate degree in Education must pass the General Knowledge (GK) portion of the Florida Teacher's Certification exam to be admitted to Education programs in Florida colleges and universities. 
     
  4. Have an overall cumulative GPA of at least 2.00. A minimum cumulative program GPA of 2.0 is required for graduation with a credit or vocational certificate or applied technology diploma. 
     
  5. Complete at least 25% of the credit hours required for the degree or certificate earned through instruction offered at Polk State College.

Additional graduation requirements specific to the baccalaureate degrees are:

  1. Satisfy the foreign-language requirement for graduation. Any of the following items satisfies the language requirement for a baccalaureate degree:
     
    1. Two years of high school foreign-language study in the same language.
    2. Two college semesters of foreign-language classes in the same language for a total of 8-10 credit hours.
    3. Minimum scores on a CLEP (e.g., Spanish, French, or German) foreign-language exam as outlined in this catalog.
    4. Equivalent high school diploma from a foreign country where the student studied in a language other than English.
    5. A satisfactory score on an American Council on Education (ACE) approved foreign-language exam, such as the language Testing International Proficiency exam.
  2. In any baccalaureate program at Polk State College, 25% of the upper-division course work, including the degree's capstone course, must be taken at Polk State College.

Students must apply for graduation online through the student portal, PASSPORT. It is the student's responsibility to anticipate his or her graduation term. There is no fee for graduation application; however, students are responsible for the purchase of cap and gown, photos, invitations, and related materials. Students must apply for graduation even if they do not participate in the graduation ceremony.All graduates are invited to participate in the formal graduation ceremony held at the end of Terms I and II (fall and spring). Summer graduates are invited to participate in the fall ceremony in Term I. To receive ADA accommodations, students should contact the Graduation Coordinator two weeks before the ceremony.

Petitions

Students who feel the College’s regulations are not interpreted or applied fairly or those who feel they have extenuating circumstances may petition Polk State College's Petitions Committee. The Petitions Committee reviews each individual written request and makes a recommendation for final disposition. Information about the petitioning process is available from academic advisors.

Students with disabilities who feel the College has not met their needs appropriately (other than issues of substitutions) may appeal to Polk State College's Equity Committee for an appeal hearing. The decision of the Equity Committee is final. Students should visit with an academic advisor for information about the Equity Committee.

Conduct, Discipline, and Due Process

Students at Polk State College are expected to act in a responsible manner that supports and enhances the educational process. The College has a tradition of excellent conduct by its students, and the degree of responsibility they exhibit is a reflection of the educational atmosphere of the College.

Although the vast majority of students are never affected by issues regarding discipline, when acts of unacceptable conduct occur, they are dealt with in a manner supporting Polk State College’s educational purpose.

The Board of Trustees Rule 4.01 and other related procedures define unacceptable conduct, including sexual misconduct. These regulations also set forth the penalties and disciplinary procedures that apply when violations occur, and describes the due-process requirements used. Information summarizing these regulations is available in Student Services.

Sexual Misconduct

Polk State College is particularly sensitive to sexual misconduct as an important part of the Student Conduct, Discipline, and Due Process Rule. PSC Procedure 5027 addresses sexual misconduct. Sexual misconduct includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature from any person when such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance, study habits, and/or educational experiences, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or study environment.
     
  • Sexual Assault: Any act, or attempted act, as defined in Florida statutes.
     
  • Public Indecency: Exposing one’s body in such a manner that another party reasonably could be offended, or sexual conduct where another party reasonably could be offended.

Victims of sexual misconduct are encouraged and assisted in referring or filing charges. An advocate is provided in all cases to assist victims. The College notifies appropriate law enforcement officials in any assault case alleged to have occurred on College-owned or College-controlled property, immediately adjacent property, or during a College-sponsored activity involving students, employees, or volunteers of the College. Polk State College proceeds with the College’s discipline process in addition to notifying law enforcement officials.

Drug-Free Policy

Because the likelihood of success is so dramatically reduced for students using illegal drugs, Polk State College is determined to have drug-free campuses. Illegal use of drugs or alcohol is not tolerated on any Polk State College campus or at any College-sponsored event off campus as indicated by DBOT Rules 4.01 and 2.25. Certain limited admission programs have additional procedures regarding the use of drugs and alcohol. Various opportunities exist at Polk State College to educate students about the realities of drug and alcohol abuse. A major unit in the HLP 1081 Wellness Concepts course covers substance abuse. In addition, special seminars, workshops, and discussion opportunities are scheduled.

Polk State College requires all applicants for admission to commit to obeying the law and to refrain from illegal drug and alcohol activity on campuses and at all College events.

Students who illegally use drugs or alcohol, or who sell or manufacture legal or illegal drugs on any of the College’s campuses or centers or at a College-sponsored event off campus are subject to disciplinary actions, which could include suspension or expulsion.

The College refers all individuals who engage in illegal drug or controlled substance/alcohol activity on the College’s campuses, centers, or at College events to law enforcement for prosecution.

Students who are convicted of any drug offense are required to report the offense to the Campus Dean of Student Services within five days of the student’s first day of classes. Furthermore, students currently attending Polk State College who become subject to legal action as a result of drug-related offenses are required to contact the Campus Dean of Student Services. The College reserves the right to investigate reports of drug use or conviction. Students who are found to have neglected this requirement are subject to disciplinary action up to and including expulsion.

Readmission is granted to suspended or expelled students of drug-related offenses only when they provide proof that they are drug free after drug rehabilitation. The Polk State College Petitions Committee, consisting of students and staff, reviews the proof and makes a recommendation regarding readmission.

Information Technology Access/Use Policy

All individuals who employ information technology resources provided by Polk State College (this includes, but is not limited to, telephones, computers, the Polk State College local-area and wide-area networks, and the Internet) may use these resources for academic purposes only. Use of the College's computing and network resources is a privilege and not a right. Inappropriate use can result in suspension or revocation of privileges.

Inappropriate use can include, but is not limited to, the following:

  1. The intentional sending or retrieval of obscene, slanderous, and/or harassing messages/materials.
  2. The unauthorized access (or attempted access) of any networked computer system.
  3. Violation of copyright, including unauthorized copying or modifying of files.
  4. Use of networked resources for academic plagiarism.
  5. Any use for commercial purposes.
  6. Posting or downloading non-academic and/or inappropriate material to Usenet.
  7. Participation in network activities that place a strain on computer resources (use of social networking sites or video material for non-academic purposes).
  8. Using IRC (Internet-relay chat) resources for non-academic purposes.
  9. Playing games for non-academic purposes.
  10. Any other behavior deemed inappropriate in the Polk State College Student Code of Conduct.
  11. Unauthorized installation of software on Polk State College hardware.

Violation of these terms results in notification of the appropriate administrative authorities as outlined in the Polk State College Student Conduct, Discipline, and Due Process policy. This may include the College administration and state and federal agencies.

Policy for Communications with Students

Polk State College assigns all credit students a Polk State College student e-mail account during the admission process. College faculty and support staff members send official communications to student through the assigned institutional e-mail account. Students must check this e-mail account frequently in order to ensure they obtain critical information and assignments. Students are responsible for reading all information sent to their Polk State College student e-mail accounts from the College.

Virus Damage Policy

Polk State College is not responsible for damage to or loss of data from an individual’s disk storage media or home computer resulting from e-mail or any other kind of file transfers from its faculty, staff, and/or other students.

Polk State College does everything within its power to ensure that harmful files are not propagated, but students are responsible for the protection of their personal hardware, software, and data. Students are encouraged to scan any files they receive with a currently-updated virus protection product. Students should maintain electronic copies of all their work throughout a term to ensure they have a backup if data gets lost and/or corrupted on the Internet.

College Policy on HIV/AIDS

Polk State College has developed a rule that addresses HIV/AIDS; Board Rule 6H21-2.23. This rule assures compliance with The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as well as other state and federal laws. Admission to Polk State College shall not be denied solely on the grounds that an individual has been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. If a student with HIV/AIDS requires special accommodations, reasonable accommodations are provided after the student submits required documentation to the Office of Disability Services found in Advising. Records gathered by the College are protected and confidential as provided by federal regulation.

Pursuant to Florida Statute (F.S. 1006.8), Polk State College offices and officials identified by the President are responsible for planning, facilitating, and evaluating programs related to HIV/AIDS education. Instruction includes, but is not limited, to an educational program for all students that includes information, instruction, or activities that emphasize the known modes of transmission of HIV/AIDS, signs and symptoms, associated risk factors, appropriate behavior and behavioral changes, and the means used to control the spread of HIV/AIDS.The education program includes distributing literature relative to the community agencies which provide HIV/AIDS testing and counseling, developing and implementing HIV/AIDS awareness programs on campus, and making up-to-date information available to faculty, staff, and students in various forms. 

Children on Campus

Polk State College has no facilities or services to accommodate children while adults are attending class or conducting business on campus. In fairness to others and in recognition of these limited facilities and lack of services, students should not bring children to class or into other service areas.

Smoking

Polk State College is a smoke-free facility. Smoking is permitted in designated outdoor areas only.