A semester hour (s.h.) is the unit of measure used at Graceland University to signify the amount of work that is associated with successful completion of a course.
Awarding semester hour credit is based upon evidence of student achievement. Student performance is measured as it relates to the prescribed learning outcomes of the course.
Graceland University offers courses in a variety of instructional modalities, including:
- Face-to-face, blended, and online instruction
- 3-week, 8-week, and 15-week terms
Regardless of the length of term or the mode of instruction, it is expected that a student who is prepared for college-level work and reasonably motivated to succeed will spend a minimum of 37.5 hours per semester hour credit in course-related activity. This includes actual classroom instruction time, exams (preparing and taking exams), class preparation (e.g. reading and written assignments, project work, etc.), and other class-relevant activities (e.g. lab hours, field trips, etc.).
Traditional face-to-face classes are reasonably expected to meet in a face-to-face environment a minimum of 680 minutes per credit hour, e.g. for a three (3) semester hour course.
- 41 fifty-minute face to face sessions plus final exam time (semester-based class) or 28 seventy-five-minute face to face sessions plus final exam time (semester-based class).
- 8 four-hour face to face sessions (8-week subsession in trimester), or 14 three-hour face to face sessions (3-week sessions)
As described above, online classes will meet according to the model described herein, e.g.: spend a minimum of 37.5 hours per semester hour credit in course-related activity. This includes actual classroom instruction time, exams (preparing and taking exams), class preparation (e.g.: reading and written assignments, project work, etc.), and other class-relevant activities (e.g.: lab hours, field trips, etc.). Exceptions to this may be granted by the appropriate Academic Dean.
In order to demonstrate compliance with U.S. Department of Education regulations and standards established by the Higher Learning Committee, all Graceland University instructors will create a good faith estimate of the learning time associated with each course they teach.
Effective with the Spring 2012 terms, the estimates of learning time will be submitted to the Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness and published in a master syllabus to be maintained in the office of the appropriate Dean for all courses offered.
All classes will meet during final examination week for a meaningful,educational experience, i.e., examination, presentations, discussion, lecture, etc. Scheduled examination times will be published in each course syllabus and the Schedule of Classes.
Students having more than two final examinations on a single day, as evidenced by the Final Examination Schedule, should be permitted to reschedule their examinations so as not to exceed two examinations on a single day. However, rescheduling will not be permitted for the first two exams on a single day based on the final exam schedule. The rescheduling needs to be determined before the last day of classes for the semester. If arrangements cannot be made on an informal basis, the Dean of Faculty will initiate a request for the student to be granted relief from having to take more than two exams on a single day. Travel arrangements are not justification for requesting changes in the final examinations schedules.
Grade reports are issued to each student enrolled in undergraduate courses at Graceland through My Graceland. Midterm grades are issued to students at the end of the first quarter during the fall and spring semesters, but are not calculated into the student’s cumulative grade point average. A final grade report of courses is issued by the Registrar to each student at the conclusion of each semester or term of enrollment.
Graceland provides a number of vehicles for promoting academic excellence on campus. Students who excel academically may choose to pursue an honors degree that culminates in the preparation of an original thesis or project during the senior year. (See Honors Program for specific requirements.) Alpha Chi, a national honor society that recognizes and promotes outstanding academic achievement in all areas of study, is open to juniors and seniors who meet eligibility criteria of the national society and its local chapter. Phi Alpha Theta is an academic honor society whose mission is to promote the study of History through the encouragement of research, good teaching, publication and the exchange of learning and ideas among Historians. Sigma Tau Delta is an international excelled English honor society for students of English who are within the top 30% of their class and have a 3.5 GPA or higher. Omicron Delta Epsilon, one of the world’s largest academic honor societies, is an international honor society in the field of Economics. The Pi Eta Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing inducts student nurses in recognition of their outstanding scholastic achievement and registered nurses for their contributions to nursing.
Latin honors are awarded at the commencement ceremony to baccalaureate graduates who have maintained distinguished academic records throughout their years at Graceland and who will have met all graduation requirements with their current registrations. Candidates who have been granted special permission to participate in the commencement ceremony because they need to enroll in future sessions to complete all requirements are not awarded Latin Honors at this time. In order to qualify for the following honors, the graduate must have earned at least 56 semester hours at Graceland University recorded on his/her Graceland University permanent record.
- Cum Laude is awarded to graduates with a Graceland University GPA of 3.50-3.74 and signifies special honor.
- Magna Cum Laude is awarded to graduates with a Graceland University GPA of 3.75-3.89 and signifies achievement worthy of great honor.
- Summa Cum Laude is awarded to graduates with a Graceland University GPA of 3.90-4.00 and signifies achievement of the highest order.
Grade point averages as of May 1 are used to calculate graduation honors. Changes in honor designations may occur following submission of final grades, and will be reflected on the graduate’s diploma and official academic record.
The Gold Seal for Scholarship is presented at the commencement ceremony to the graduate(s) with a 4.00 cumulative GPA in recognition of the special value placed on academic achievement. The cumulative GPA used for determining Gold Seal recipient(s) is calculated using all credits and grades earned at previous colleges/universities, including all Graceland University course work completed, and course work in which the student is currently enrolled. (Zero credit hour courses are excluded from the Gold Seal calculations.) Those students given special permission to participate without completing graduation requirements, and who have achieved a 4.00 GPA at this point in their program will be recognized at the commencement ceremony but will not receive the Gold Seal for Scholarship until all graduation requirements and GPA qualifications are met.
Each semester, outstanding students who achieve the grade point averages indicated below are recognized by being officially placed on one of three lists of distinction:
- Dean’s List, 3.25-3.64 GPA
- Honors List, 3.65-3.99 GPA
- President’s List, 4.00 GPA
Students enrolled for 12 or more semester hours may qualify for the Dean’s, Honors, or President’s List by passing a minimum of 12 semester hours, of which 9 are on a graded basis. (A student enrolled in student teaching is exempt from this latter requirement.) Students enrolled for less than 12 semester hours may also qualify by completing at least six semester hours on a graded basis. Students who have an incomplete grade do not qualify for the Dean’s, Honors, or President’s Lists.
Honors contracts that convert regular class offerings to honors courses should be submitted on the Application for Honors Contract form to the Honors Program Director. Honors contracts may be submitted any time during the semester so long as the student’s proposal to the Honors Program Director proceeds the end of the term by at least three weeks for each semester hour of credit to be received.