Oct 15, 2018  
2018-19 RACC Student Catalog 
    
2018-19 RACC Student Catalog

Academic Information



Academic Policies & Procedures

Course Selection

All new students plan their first semester of study in consultation with an advisor in the Advising Center. Subsequently, students are assigned to a Faculty Advisor who assists them with future course selection. Every effort is made to assign students to academic personnel who have experience and expertise in their programs of study. Students are urged to meet with their advisors regularly. Although the College provides assistance in course selection, it is the responsibility of the students to keep abreast of any and all academic regulations that affect them through contact with an advisor.

Course Repeat Policy

A student may register to take a course for a third time only with the permission of the Assistant Dean of the division in which the course is offered.

Registration

Students will be notified when registration is to begin for each semester. Students may register for courses online using Self-Service/WebAdvisor, or may register in person. Students are strongly encouraged to meet with their Academic Advisor prior to registering for courses. Information about your Academic Advisor can be found on Self-Serve/Self-Service/WebAdvisor, or may be obtained in the Advising Center.

Cross Registration

Reading Area Community College students have the opportunity to take classes at neighboring Berks County colleges and universities. Full-time RACC students are entitled to enroll in one course each semester (excluding summer sessions) at Albright, Alvernia, Kutztown or Penn State Berks, and only pay the RACC tuition rate. Cross-registration allows RACC students to:

  • explore other classes and subjects that RACC does not offer
  • try out a school they are considering for transfer
  • take a 300 or 400 level course in their future bachelor’s degree program

Interested students should contact the Transfer Center in Berks Hall.

Class Attendance Policies

The College expects all students to attend classes regularly. Specific attendance policies for any course are determined by each instructor. Students must complete all assignments, examinations and other requirements in all of their courses. Absence does not constitute exemption from such obligations, and it is the responsibility of the students to take the initiative in making up any work missed. Excessive absence may be cause for dismissal from a course or the College.

Faculty Initiated Withdrawals

An instructor of credit courses may initiate a faculty withdrawal of any registered students in their class during the first 80% of the course (before the end of the “W” period) providing the student missed more than 10% of the semester. A student withdrawn has the right to appeal this decision to the Assistant Dean for which the course resides and may continue to attend the class until a decision to the appeal is rendered.

Full-Time Study

The normal academic load is twelve (12) to fifteen (15) credit hours per semester. To be classified as full-time, students must carry a minimum of twelve (12) credit hours per semester. Students carrying more than eighteen (18) credit hours per semester must have the approval of their academic advisors and the Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs/Provost, unless specified in the degree program.

Academic Load for Veterans

It is important for veterans to know that Veterans Administration regulations specify a minimum of twelve (12) credit hours to qualify for full-time benefits. It is the responsibility of students who are veterans to comply with all VA regulations if they are to receive full-time benefits. For further information, veterans are advised to contact the Financial Aid Office.

Freshman & Sophomore Classification

Regularly enrolled students who have completed less than 30 credit hours at the College, or at another institution, are considered freshmen. Students who have completed 30 or more credit hours are designated sophomores.

Dismissal

Students who do not maintain a 2.0 (“C”) grade point average may be dismissed. Refer also to the section which discusses the grading system for more information. Students who are dismissed because of a low G.P.A. cannot return until they appeal to the Academic Affairs Committee for readmission. The Committee will decide whether or not students are to be readmitted and, if readmitted, under what conditions and limitations they will be placed. Students enrolled in selective programs may be required to maintain a higher G.P.A.

Academic Restart

Students are eligible for Academic Restart if they have not been enrolled at RACC for two or more consecutive years and if they have an unsuccessful academic record during their previous enrollment. For more details, visit the Advising Center in Berks Hall 209.

Program Change

Students should make every effort to plan their program of study so that their course selection is in concert with career or educational goals. However, students may change their program of study if it becomes apparent that their abilities and interests are better suited to another program.

A decision to change programs should be made by students only after they have discussed the matter thoroughly with their advisor. Students should go to the Advising Center for a Change of Program form. The new program becomes effective immediately upon receipt and processing of the Change of Program form and the student is assigned to current catalog program requirements. A student who is readmitted and/or officially changes his/her program area of study is required to follow the catalog in effect at the time of his/her readmission and/or change of academic program.

Change of Schedule

Adjustments to schedule can be made using Self-Service/WebAdvisor or by completing the Schedule Change form available in the Advising Center or Records Office. There are specific periods of time each semester for adding, dropping and withdrawing from courses. Information about these dates is available from the Records Office or the Advising Center. Students who find it necessary to stop attending courses must formally withdraw. All schedule changes become official when they are processed by the Records Office.

Auditing

Students may register to audit a course, except for a clinical course within a Health Professions program. This means that the students may attend the course for no grade, and all required work is waived. No credit is given for an audit. Audited courses will not be used in determining academic load for veteran certification.
 
Students who audit a course prior to the start of classes must register for the class in the same manner and at the same time prescribed for regular classes. They must also pay required tuition and fees as if they were registering for credit in the course.
 
Within the add/drop period, students are allowed to change their status in a course from credit to audit with the approval of the instructor. A course that is audited before the end of the add/drop period will appear on the student’s transcript as “AU” and not count as an attempt in determining the student’s financial aid eligibility.
 
After the add/drop period and up to the last day of the withdraw period for the section of the course, students may change their status in the course from credit to audit with the permission of their instructor. Instructors are not obligated to grant such requests. If approved, the instructor will report this to the Records Office and the appropriate Assistant Dean via email.
 
A course that is changed from credit to audit during the withdraw period will appear on the student’s transcript as “WA” (withdraw and audit) and will count as a non-successful attempt and official registration. This may negatively impact a student’s successful academic progress (SAP), which is used to determine financial aid eligibility. Students are not allowed to change from credit to audit after the withdraw period.

Final Grades

Students will receive final grades via Self-Service/WebAdvisor. Grade information will not be released by telephone. Only the faculty member who has taught a student in a course can change a grade. Students who are taught by a team of teachers may only have their grades changed when there is complete unanimity. After one year, no course grade can be changed without the written permission of the Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs/Provost. 

Academic Honors

Semester Honors

The College recognizes scholastic achievement of regularly enrolled degree students by publishing the President’s List and the Dean’s List at the end of each regular semester.

The President’s List includes the names of students who have earned twelve or more credit hours overall, have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, are enrolled for a minimum of 6 credits for the current semester, have completed all credits taken during the current semester without a grade of “F,” “W,” or “I,” and have a semester grade point average of 4.0.

The Dean’s List includes the names of students who have earned twelve or more credit hours overall, have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5, are enrolled for a minimum of 6 credits for the current semester, have completed all credits taken during the current semester without a grade of “F,” “W,” or “I,” and who have a semester grade point average of 3.5 to 3.99. The words “President’s List” and “Dean’s List” will appear on the student’s transcripts to clearly indicate the student’s academic status.

Graduation Honors

The College recognizes an Academic Honors Group at graduation. The Academic Honors List includes the names of graduates who have earned 30 hours or more of their coursework at Reading Area Community College and earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.50 or better.
Pre-college level developmental classes will be excluded from calculation of the official graduation GPA and from consideration of graduation honors.

Honor students will be recognized as follows:

Cum Laude 3.50 - 3.74
(bronze honor cord)
Magna Cum Laude 3.75 - 3.94
(silver honor cord)
Summa Cum Laude 3.95 - 4.00
(gold honor cord)

Transcripts

Transcripts may be obtained from the Records Office. Student transcripts are confidential and protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. Therefore, no transcripts or grades shall be released through a telephone call. If students wish to request a transcript of their academic work, they should contact the Records Office in person or send a signed letter by mail. This signed letter must contain the student’s name, current address, social security number, and the address to which the transcript should be sent. No facsimile will be generated for transcripts, verification letters or grade reports. A $6.00 fee is charged for each transcript and must accompany any request. No transcript or official statement shall be issued to a student who either is financially indebted to the College or who has not fully satisfied College requirements.

Student Records

Reading Area Community College maintains two kinds of student records; the cumulative folder and the permanent transcript. All student records are maintained on a confidential basis as outlined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. Students can access these records by written request to the Registrar, who will respond within 45 days. Copies of the Privacy Act are available upon request in the Records Office, Berks Hall.

Registration and Withdrawal

Students may register for courses several ways. It is generally recommended that students speak with their advisor before registering or consults the degree evaluation provided on Self-Service/WebAdvisor to be sure they are registering for courses needed in their program of study. Their advisor will assist the student in registering online or filling out a paper registration form to be processed in the Records Office. Students may also register online or in the Records Office without professional advising if their academic record is in good standing and there are no holds (financial or otherwise) on their account. 

If students wish to drop a class, they must do so online or in person in the Records Office. In order to protect student privacy and ensure the accuracy of our records, we do not make adjustments to a student’s schedule by phone. We recommend making changes to your schedule as early as possible in the semester. After a course has started the student will be charged for a portion of the bill, and after 20% of the course has passed there are no refunds available. We recommend that ALL students receiving financial aid speak with a Financial Aid representative before adjusting their schedule since dropping courses can have an effect on the amount of financial aid a student receives. 

If a student wishes to withdraw from all courses they must do so in person. Many times our academic and financial aid advisors are able to help students explore options they were not aware of, or to find resources they did not know were available. We want to facilitate student success and feel talking with an advisor can often make the difference between withdrawing and succeeding in spite of any academic or life challenges they may encounter while here. Any student who decides to withdraw will need to fill out a Complete Withdrawal form and obtain signatures from both academic and financial aid advisors.

Student Right-to-Know Act

Public Law 101-542 requires colleges and universities to report the graduation/college transfer rates for new full-time students who enrolled during a specific Fall Term. Accordingly, the graduation and college transfer rate for new full-time students entering during the 2002 Fall Term was 30%. The Right-to-Know Act also permits institutions to publicize persistence (reenrollment) rates for this same student group. Thus 37% of the entering 2003 Fall Term student group re-enrolled during the 2004 Fall Term.

Statement of Academic Integrity

The principles of truth and honesty are expected to be followed in all academic endeavors. Academic dishonesty in any form will not be tolerated. A procedure has been developed to prevent occurrences of academic dishonesty and to guide faculty and students should they become involved in such incidents. This procedure is fully described in the Student Handbook. A copy of the Academic Integrity Policy is available from the Student Government Association or the Vice President for Enrollment Management/ Student Services. A copy of the Bill of Rights and Responsibilities for Electronic Learners is available from the Senior Vice President for Enrollment Management/Student Development or the Student Handbook.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974

Reading Area Community College has adopted a policy to uphold the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. This federal law guarantees the confidentiality of students’ education records, establishes the right of students to inspect and review their records, and provides for the hearing of complaints pertaining to alleged, inaccurate or misleading information in the education records. In compliance with the Act, the College has prepared this policy statement to inform students of their rights under the Act and describe the procedures in effect for reviewing records and hearing complaints.

The College accords all rights under this law to eligible students attending the institution. An eligible student is defined as one who is eighteen years of age or is attending an institution of post-secondary education; in either event, the student receives less than half of his or her support from a parent or guardian. Education records maintained by the College will be treated confidentially. No person outside the College, including the parents of eligible students, will be permitted access to such records without the student’s written consent. Nor will the College disclose any information from a student’s education records unless authorized by a written request from the student. Records of such authorized disclosures will be maintained by the College and will list the parties who have requested and obtained access to student records as well as the legitimate reasons for gaining access. Records of disclosures may be inspected by students.

Under the law, education records can be released without the student’s consent to certain individuals in specific circumstances. Such individuals include: officials of another educational institution in which the students seek enrollment; representatives of the federal, state, and local educational agencies which require the reporting and disclosure of information; officials who determine the eligibility for and amount of financial aid for students; organizations conducting studies for educational agencies or institutions to develop, validate, and administer predictive tests, to administer student aid programs, or to improve instruction; accrediting associations while carrying out their accrediting functions; persons who are complying with a judicial order or subpoena; and persons who would protect the health or safety of students and other individuals in an emergency. Within the College itself, education records are accessible and may be disclosed without the student’s written consent to other staff members who have legitimate educational interest in the students. Such staff members include personnel in the offices of Student Services, Financial Aid, Admissions, Veterans Services, Administrative Services, Cooperative Education, Career Services, Academic Affairs, and the appropriate individual faculty members.

The College may designate certain personal information from student education records as Directory Information and may disclose such information at its discretion. However, the College will not release such information for commercial use. Directory information consists of: the student’s name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially sanctioned activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and honors received, and the most previous school or college attended by the student. Students may request that any or all of this Directory Information be withheld by notifying the Dean of Student Affairs, in writing, within two (2) weeks after the first day of class in the fall semester. Requests for nondisclosure of Directory Information will be honored for one (1) academic year only, and must be filed annually at the Records Office.

Besides guaranteeing the confidentiality of student records, this law also gives students the right to inspect and review their education records, challenge the contents of these records, have a hearing should the student find the outcome of the challenge unsatisfactory, and add explanatory materials to their records should the outcome of the hearing prove unacceptable. The Dean of Student Affairs at Reading Area Community College is in charge of coordinating the inspection and review procedures for student education records, which includes admissions, financial, academic, personal files, cooperative education, and placement records. Students who wish to review their records may do so by visiting the Records office and requesting to see their records file. The file will not be given to the student for review until the student provides his RACC ID card to a professional staff member in the Records Office or the Dean of Student Affairs. The file may not be removed from the office; the student must review all records in the office to determine if any documents need to be photocopied. Any copies the student requests must be paid for by the student at the prevailing rate of the campus copiers. Under no circumstances, can any document (original or otherwise), in the student’s records file be given to the student.

Students may not inspect or make copies of: financial records and statements submitted by their parents; confidential letters of recommendations placed in the student’s file prior to January 1, 1975; and transcripts or reproductions of a document that exists elsewhere in the original. Education records do not include: records of instructional, supervisory, and administrative personnel which are in the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible to any other individual, except one who serves as a temporary substitute for the original maker; records of a law enforcement unit; employment records (excluding work-study employment); alumni records; and student health records.

However, health records may be reviewed by a physician of the student’s choice. Also, in the case of records containing information on more than one student, an individual student will be permitted access only to that part of the record pertaining to the inquiring student.

After inspection of their records, students who feel that the information in their files is inaccurate, misleading, or violating their privacy or other rights may request that the records be amended. Students should first discuss the problematic information with the Vice President for Enrollment Services. Should their requests be upheld, then the appropriate records will be amended. If not, students will be advised within a reasonable time period that the records in question will not be amended and that they have the right to a formal hearing. Students must then request a formal hearing, in writing, from the Vice President of Academic Affairs/Provost. Students will be informed of the date, place, and time of the hearing within a reasonable period of time, in advance, by the Academic Affairs Office. Students are guaranteed a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issue at hand and may be assisted or represented by individuals of their own choosing, including an attorney, at their own expense. The hearing panel will be composed of disinterested and impartial College officials under the leadership of the Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs/Provost.

The decision of the hearing panel will be made within a reasonable period of time and will be based solely upon the evidence presented at the hearing. This decision will be in writing and will be circulated to the parties concerned. It will include a summary of the evidence and reasons leading to the decision. Should the decision favor the students, the education records will be amended or corrected in compliance with the recommendations of the hearing panel. If the hearing panel finds the information to be neither inaccurate nor misleading, the students may place in their education records a statement commenting upon the information and explaining any reasons for disagreeing with the decision of the hearing panel. Any information placed by students in their files under these circumstances will be maintained as part of the student’s records and will also be disclosed when the records in question are disclosed. 

Grading System

The grading system is based on a 4.0 grade point Scale. The letter grade and value assigned is indicative of the caliber of academic work achieved by students.

  Grading System  
Letter Grade Definition Grade Points
A Excellent Performance 4.0
 A-   3.7
     
  B+ Above Average Performance 3.3
B   3.0
 B-   2.7
     
  C+ Average Performance 2.3
C   2.0
  Caution*  
Below Average - May Not Transfer; May Count Toward Graduation
C- Below Average Performance 1.7
     
  D+ Minimal Performance 1.3
D   1.0
     
F Failing Performance (1986-Present) 0.0
R Failing Performance (1979-1986) 0.0

 

Letter Indicator Definition
I Incomplete. Only given with permission of the faculty member when extenuating circumstances prevent students from completing the course work during the regular College session. This work must be completed within 30 days after grades are due; otherwise, the Incomplete automatically becomes an “F” unless a time extension is granted under extenuating circumstances.
SE Course in session. This Letter Indicator appears on all official transcripts if processed while courses in which students are enrolled have not concluded.
T Transfer credits from another institution.
W Withdrawal. If the Withdrawal is completed by the end of the 12th week of a 15-week semester or the equivalent percentage (see College Calendar), this Letter Indicator will appear on the permanent records. If students withdraw after the end of the stated time period, a Letter Grade of “F” will appear on the permanent records. However, in the case of extenuating circumstances that are documented and approved by the faculty member of the course (or Assistant Dean if the faculty member is unavailable, or the Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs/Provost if neither are available), a Letter Indicator of “W” may be granted.
X Recognition of credits for CLEP, Credit by Examination, Assessment of Experiential Learning, or for a course audit. No final Letter Grade is issued to students who elect to audit credit courses; therefore, it is not used in computing the grade point average. (1991-1992)
AP Recognition of credits for Advanced Placement (1993-Present).
NE Recognition of credits for CLEP/ACT-PEP national exams (1993-Present).
CA Recognition of credits for Credit by Articulation (1993-Present).
IE Recognition of credits for: Credit by Exam (In-house Exam) (1993-Present).
EC Recognition of credits for External Credit (1993-Present).
ME Recognition of credits for Military Experience (or classes) (1993-Present).
PA Recognition of credits for Portfolio Assessment (1993-Present).
M

Military Leave of Absence

AU Audit. The course was completed without the requirement to complete graded materials, and the student is not assigned a letter grade.
WA Withdraw and Audit. The student withdrew from the course but was given permission to complete the remainder of the course as if auditing the course.

Credits Calculated - The total credits from courses whose grades are used in the calculation of grade point averages. Does not include repeated courses or Letter Indicators. The G.P.A. is based on credits calculated. A low G.P.A. may result in probation or dismissal.

Credits Earned - The total credits from all credit courses with a letter grade above an “F”. These are the credits that count toward graduation and fulfillment of degree requirements.

Calculation of grade point average - The number of grade points earned divided by the number of credits calculated. The number of grade points obtained by students in courses shall be computed by multiplying the credit weight by the grade point equivalent.
* Students may repeat courses in which they received a grade below “C”. This includes the Letter Grades: “C-“, “D+”, “D” “F”, “R”. When courses are repeated, the earlier grades remain on the permanent records; but only the last enrollment grades are used in the computation of the cumulative G.P.A. The repeat must be with courses at the College; it may not be by study at another institution.
NB The Veterans Administration views a Withdrawal (“W”) as an audited course and, as a result, receipt of the “W” could reduce V.A. benefits. Eligibility for some other financial aid programs may be affected when students choose this course adjustment option. Please see a Financial Aid Officer for clarification.
   

Student Initiated Request for Review of Grade(s)

A student request for the review of grades (including final grades) must be initiated by the last day of classes for the semester immediately following the semester in which the grade was given. A request for review for Spring Semester grades must be made by the end of the Fall Semester, not the summer. It is incumbent upon the student to produce documents for the hearing(s) on the request for a review. The review process is as follows:

  1. The student first requests the grade review to the instructor in the course.
  2. If not satisfied with the decision of the instructor, the student has the right to make a request for a review to the Assistant Dean of the Division in which the course is offered.
  3. If not satisfied with the recommendation of the Assistant Dean, the student has the right to request a review by the Academic Affairs Committee.
  4. If not satisfied with the recommendation of the Academic Affairs Committee, the student has the right to request a review by the Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs/Provost.

All student requests for review of grades must be made in writing prior to the aforementioned deadline. It is understood that the final decision concerning student grades is the sole prerogative of the course instructor. Accordingly, recommendations made through the above grade review process are advisory in nature.

Academic Probation

Because the college is committed to the academic success of every student, the college will monitor a student’s grades and issue an appropriate warning if grades are inadequate. Academic standing is determined by the standards for academic progress listed below. Eligibility to graduate with a certificate or degree requires a cumulative GPA of 2.0 in all course work applicable toward graduation. Courses with “F” grades do not count toward graduation, but are used in calculating the GPA

Note: There are exceptions to this policy in some of the health care sciences programs which require a higher standard than 2.0.

Academic Progress Table

GPA Credit Hours Suspension Probation Alert Good Standing
1 - 10 - - - - .00 - .99 1.00 - 1.99 2.00
11 - 20* .00 - .99 1.00 - 1.49 1.50 - 1.99 2.00
21 - 30 .00 - 1.49 1.50 - 1.74 1.75 - 1.99 2.00
31 and up .00 - 1.74 1.75 - 1.99 < 2.00 2.00

* Students who have completed only their first semester of enrollment will not be suspended based on their academic performance in that semester.

Grade Point Average (G.P.A.)
The Grade Point Average is determined by dividing the number of credits attempted into the grade points.
Example
 Course     Cr Grade   Q.P.
ORI 102 2 x (B+) 3.3 = 6.6
COM 121 3 x (C) 2.0 = 6.0
SOC 125 3 x (A-) 3.7 = 11.1
    8         23.7
23.7 ÷ 8 = Semester G.P.A. 2.96

ENV 121 3 x (C) 2.0 = 6.0
COM 131 3 x (B-) 2.7 = 8.1
    6         14.1
14.1 ÷ 6 = Semester G.P.A. 2.35

37.8 ÷ 14 = Cumulative G.P.A. 2.70
See Grading System above.

Academic Status

  1. Academic Alert
    Students who fail to make satisfactory academic progress as defined by the Academic Progress Table will be placed on academic alert. Students placed on Academic Alert receive a letter from the Dean of Instruction informing them of their academic standing and suggesting the use of college services to improve academic performance. 
  2. Academic Probation
    Students who fail to meet satisfactory academic progress as defined by the Academic Progress Table will be placed on Academic Probation. Students placed on Academic Probation receive a letter from the Dean of Instruction informing them of their academic standing and the requirements that must be met in order to register for the next semester. 
  3. Academic Suspension
    Students who fail to make satisfactory progress as defined by the Academic Progress Table will be placed on academic suspension. Students placed on Academic Suspension receive a letter from the Dean of Instruction informing them of their academic standing. Students placed on Academic Suspension will be academically suspended from the college for a period of one semester (fall or spring). Students may appeal the suspension ruling by petitioning the Dean of Instruction. To return from suspension, students need to submit and observe an ACE Pass with a probation counselor. Any student whose Cumulative Grade Point Average falls in the Academic Suspension or Dismissal category will not be dismissed or suspended if his/her current term  GPA is 2.0.  
  4. ACE PASS - Agreement for Continued Enrollment/Plan for Achieving Student Success
    ACE PASS for Academic Probation Students placed on Academic Probation must contact a probation advisor to complete an ACE PASS for the upcoming semester. The contract may include part-time status, repeating failed courses, enrolling in a study skills course, and other requirements deemed necessary for success. 
  5. ACE PASS for Academic Suspension Students placed on Academic Suspension are academically suspended from taking classes for one semester (fall or spring). Before returning from suspension, students must contact a probation counselor to develop an ACE PASS for the upcoming semester. The agreement may include part-time status, repeating failed courses, enrolling in a study skills course, and other requirements deemed necessary for success. Students who enter into the Suspension status a second time will be Academically Dismissed.
  6. Academic Dismissal
    Students who fail to make satisfactory academic progress as defined by the Academic Progress Table will be placed on academic dismissal if they are suspended a second time.. Students placed on Academic Dismissal will receive a letter from the Dean of Instruction informing them of their academic standing and dismissal from the college. Any student whose Cumulative Grade Point Average falls in the Academic Suspension or Dismissal category will not be dismissed or suspended if his/her current term  GPA is 2.0.  
  7. Reinstatement
    Students who have been academically dismissed may apply for reinstatement after one year, if they can demonstrate that the circumstances that contributed to their past poor academic performance have been eliminated or managed so as to promote academic success. To apply for reinstatement, the student must submit a completed Application for Reinstatement to the Dean of Instruction more than three weeks prior to the semester for return

Online Learning

Reading Area Community College (RACC) is committed to offering its students a quality online education. Online courses are available in a variety of disciplines and several programs are fully online. RACC’s Online Learning Department has incorporated continuous improvement procedures that evaluate online courses on a regular basis in order to maintain a consistently high quality of education. In today’s mobile environment, ease of access across platforms is critical, and RACC offers this access through the use of Canvas by Instructure, a web-based learning management system (LMS) utilized by educators from kindergarten through college.

RACC continues to add online courses to its Course Catalog. Academic divisions, working with RACC-certified course development faculty, identify areas where courses can be fully implemented in an online environment.

In addition, RACC offers hybrid courses that use a combination of online technologies and classroom content. Hybrid courses offer students a balance of online course content and classroom lecture time, enabling students to complete many learning objectives online but still interact with their instructor face-to face. Weekly classroom time varies for each course and offer students both the flexibility of an online environment and the experience of a classroom environment.

Am I Ready for Online Learning?

While online courses sound convenient, they are not for everyone. Students may believe that online courses are easier than traditional classes but that is not the case. Online classes do absolve the student from attending class on campus. However, the core competencies of online classes are the same as traditional courses. This means you’ll be required to do the same type and amount of work that is required in a face-to-face class. Quizzes, discussions, and assignments with due dates are all present in online courses just as they are in the traditional classroom.

To be successful in an online environment, students need specific skills and qualities. They should have good communication and time management skills. They need to be self-motivated and persistent in the face of technical challenges.

Students need technical skills as well. Whether students access online courses through a computer or other internet-connected devices, they need to understand how to interface with the Canvas LMS on their particular device. There are Student Resources to assist with this, but it is up to students to understand how to navigate using their device. In addition, students will be communicating via some form of keyed-in, text-based format. While not critical, knowledge of keyboarding can ease the task of participation in an online course.

  • RACC offers support to all students via Student Resources. Explore these resources for answers to questions about online learning, then contact Admissions to get started.

Graduation Requirements

The Pennsylvania State Board of Education has authorized Reading Area Community College to award the Associate in Arts Degree (A.A.), the Associate in Science Degree (A.S.), the Associate in Applied Science Degree (A.A.S.), the Associate in General Studies Degree (A.G.S.), the Certificate of Specialization, and the Diploma. The granting of a degree, certificate or diploma is recognition that a student has successfully completed all requirements for a particular program of study.

Associate in Arts Degree

  1. Successful completion (passing grades) of at least 60 credit hours of study (including the General Education Requirements for the A.A. degree) with no fewer than 25% of the credit hours required for the degree earned at Reading Area Community College.
  2. Achievement of a cumulative Grade Point Average of 2.00 or more (“C” average or better) in college-level courses (i.e., 100-level courses or higher).
  3. See “Additional Requirements.”

Associate in Science Degree

  1. Successful completion (passing grades) of at least 60 credit hours of study (including the General Education Requirements for the A.S. degree) with no fewer than 25% of the credit hours required for the degree earned at Reading Area Community College.
  2. Achievement of a cumulative Grade Point Average of 2.00 or more (“C” average or better) in college-level courses (i.e., 100-level courses or higher).
  3. See “Additional Requirements.”

Associate in Applied Science Degree:

  1. Successful completion (passing grades) of the required number of credit hours of study as listed in the given program (including The General Education & Career Requirements for the A.A.S. degree) with no fewer than 25% of the credit hours required for the degree earned at Reading Area Community College.
  2. Achievement of a cumulative Grade Point Average of 2.00 or more (“C” average or better) in college-level courses (i.e., 100-level courses or higher).
  3. See “Additional Requirements.”

Associate in General Studies Degree

  1. Successful completion (passing grades) of at least 60 credit hours of study (including all courses in the student’s individualized program of study) with no fewer than 25% of the credit hours required for the degree earned at Reading Area Community College.
  2. Achievement of a cumulative Grade Point Average of 2.00 or more (“C” average or better) in college-level courses (i.e., 100-level courses or higher).
  3. See “Additional Requirements.”

Certificate of Specialization

  1. Successful completion of all courses listed in the certificate program.
  2. Completion with no fewer than 50% of the credit hours required for the certificated program earned at Reading Area Community College.
  3. Achievement of a cumulative Grade Point Average of 2.0 or more (“C” average or better) in college-level courses (i.e., 100-level courses or higher).
  4. See “Additional Requirements.”

Diploma Programs

  1. Successful completion of all courses listed in the diploma program.
  2. Completion with no fewer than 50% of the credit hours required for the diploma program earned at Reading Area Community College.
  3. Achievement of a cumulative Grade Point Average of 2.0 or more (“C” average or better) in college-level courses (i.e., 100-level courses or higher).
  4. See “Additional Requirements.”

Additional Requirements

  1. Satisfaction of all admission requirements and financial obligations to the College.
  2. Completion of all testing and examinations required by the College.
  3. Submission of the College’s Application for Graduation by publicized institutional deadlines. 

Graduation Procedures

Reading Area Community College certifies most degrees, certificates, and diplomas in May, August, or December with the exception of graduates in the Practical Nursing Program.

Students who graduate from the Practical Nursing Program will be eligible for the Certificate in their December graduation ceremony. Students who wish to receive their degrees, certificates, and/or diplomas in May, August, or December must submit an online application at the appropriate time. See our website for more details.

All program coursework must be completed prior to graduation; however, students will be permitted to participate in commencement exercises in May with up to 8 credits remaining provided:

  1. The 8 credits remaining for the program requirements must be taken in the summer session following commencement.
  2. Students must register for the remaining course(s) by the time of application for graduation.
  3. A petition in writing must be submitted to the Vice President for Enrollment Management to participate in commencement exercises if not all program requirements have been met. A copy of the student’s next semester schedule must be attached to the petition.
  4. No degree, certificate and/or diploma awards will be released to students until all program requirements have been met.

Policy for Graduates with Multiple Program Awards

Second Degree

A second degree is awarded only when all the program requirements for the second degree have been met and when students have successfully completed 15 additional credits that are not duplicated in the first degree program.

Second Certificate

A second certificate is awarded only when all the program requirements for the second certificate have been met and when students have successfully completed 9 additional credits that are not duplicated in the first certificate program.

Second Diploma

A second diploma is awarded only when all the program requirements for the second diploma have been met and when students have successfully completed 6 additional credits that are not duplicated in the first diploma program.

Institutional Core Competencies

The Institutional Core Competencies are the knowledge, skills and abilities that Reading Area Community College graduates should be able to demonstrate in the workplace and society of the 21st Century. These institutional core competencies will be integrated into the general education core program of each College associate degree program to ensure that students have learned the critical skills to succeed in today’s rapidly-changing, global and technological society. Therefore, each graduate of an associate degree will be expected to learn and show competencies in the following areas:

Written Communication

A graduate will demonstrate understanding of purpose and style of various genres of academic discourse by focusing writing around a main idea; developing, analyzing, and interpreting credible and relevant evidence into cohesive written texts and demonstrating strong sentence structure, grammar, and word choice appropriate for situation and tone.

Oral Communication

A graduate will explain key concepts and principles applicable to oral communication, apply those principles to the coherent delivery of relevant, well-planned presentations, as well as evaluate key features of audience and context that influence a mode of delivery, the efficacy of which the student will reflect upon.

Information Literacy

A graduate will identify the need for information, then access, collect, analyze, organize, interpret, evaluate, and employ information/data ethically and legally, using a variety of credible sources to support the purposes of a project or assignment.

Critical Analysis and Reasoning

A graduate will integrate knowledge, experience, and substantiated evidence to make sound judgments in a logical and rational manner. This involves evaluating the validity of ideas through critical thinking, which employs the skills of analysis, reasoning, logic and creativity. Using these skills, graduates will formulate an opinion or conclusion to present convincing arguments.

Quantitative Reasoning

A graduate will be able to interpret information presented in mathematical forms (e.g. equations, tables, graphs, charts); represent information using mathematical forms; perform mathematical computations; analyzing driver conclusions from given and/or derived data; make educated assumption; and effectively communicate mathematical results and processes in oral and/or written form.

Scientific Reasoning

A graduate will be able to describe the methods of scientific inquiry; distinguish between science and pseudoscience; convert textual (Scientific) information into mathematical forms (e.g. equations, tables, graphs, diagrams); extract and interpret quantitative information in scientific contexts; draw logical conclusions based on observations, testing, and results; and evaluate experimental methods and conclusions based on given information. 

Cultural Understanding

A graduate will identify and analyze ways culture (learned shared ideas) influences group and individual behavior and can lead to intercultural misunderstanding and conflict. The graduate will also develop skills to respond sensitively to cultural and social diversity. 

Digital/Technological Competence

A graduate will perform basic file management functions using computer-technology; understand and demonstrate the purpose and use of computer system components; use word processing, presentation and spreadsheet software; use database management software to analyze data and create reports; access information via the Internet and other digital sources; use the computer to communicate; and recognize issues of social and ethical responsibility in the digital world.

Aesthetic Understanding

A graduate will identify and appreciate creativity in the expression, representation, and response to human experience.

A graduate will identify how literature, philosophy, or the visual and performing arts reflect, influence, or challenge human values past and present.