1.4. Definitions

Throughout this Bulletin the following definitions are in force.

1.4.1. Student

A person who attends or who has previously attended Oglethorpe University. Particular parts of this Bulletin may necessarily adopt their own definition of “student.” Those local definitions always take precedence over this more generic one..

1.4.1.1. Undergraduate (Student)

A student who has not yet earned a baccalaureate (bachelor’s) degree, or a student who is in the process of earning an additional baccalaureate degree.

1.4.2. Academic Credit

Oglethorpe awards academic credit based on semester hours. Any reference in this Bulletin to “credit,” “academic credit” or “hours” is a reference to a corresponding number of semester hours of academic credit. Oglethorpe schedules classes, develops academic calendars and awards academic credit in a manner consistent with the federal definition of the semester hour, which states that 1 (one) semester hours is:

A. For traditionally-scheduled classes and seminars: Not less than one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks of a typical semester, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or

B. For a laboratory classes: Not less than one hour of lecture or discussion time plus at least 1-2 hours of scheduled supervised or independent laboratory work plus 1-2 hours of student preparation and follow-up time each week for approximately fifteen weeks of a typical semester, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or

C. For field work and for independent studies: At least three hours of supervised and/or independent work each week for approximately fifteen weeks of a typical semester, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or

D. For internships: Credit awarded is a result of negotiations between the director of experiential education, the internship committee and the on-site supervisor. See Sec. 10.7. However, the calculation is similar to that in paragraph (C) above.¹

In all instances, it is presumed that a 50-minute interval is a reasonable approximation to one hour.

1.4.3. Course

A coherent program of study. Courses described in this Bulletin carry with them academic credit. Courses are given a three-letter disciplinary prefix (HIS for History, for example) and a 3-digit numerical index which identifies a particular course within the indicated discipline (HIS 214, for instance). HIS 214 is referred to as a “200-level” course, whereas ART 408 is referred to as a “400-level” course, and so on.

1.4.3.1. Course Levels

100-level     Nominally freshman undergraduate courses
200-level     Nominally sophomore undergraduate courses
300-level     Nominally junior undergraduate courses
400-level     Nominally senior undergraduate courses

See Sec. 6.19.1. for the definitions of the terms “freshman,” sophomore”, “junior” and “senior.”

1.4.3.2. Lower Level (Course)

An undergraduate course, the numerical index of which begins with a “1” or “2.” Examples include ENG 101 and CHM 202. Also, the collection of several or all such courses, as in “courses at the lower level,” for example.

Lower level courses, often designed with first year students and sophomores in mind, may also be suitable for juniors or seniors with little or no background in a particular discipline. Although lower level courses sometimes serve as prerequisites for upper level courses, they are not always stepping-stones to more advanced study. Rather, they may be ends in themselves, providing breadth, enrichment, or general knowledge.

Lower-level courses generally have one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Breadth: students gain some understanding of the extent of a field or discipline; or
    students learn how one field fits into or relates to other fields.
  • Foundation: students become acquainted with principles, terms, methods, and perspectives of a discipline or professional field, as a basis for more advanced or specialized study. Lower level courses are those that majors are expected to complete in their first two years of study in the subject.
  • Provide basic knowledge, skills and/or abilities: students develop essential skills, attitudes, and practices (e.g., basics of critical thinking, numeracy, communication, and problem solving) important in many different fields of higher education and perhaps in everyday life.²

1.4.3.3. Upper Level (Course)

An undergraduate course, the numerical index of which begins with a “3” or “4.” Examples include ART 340 and ECO 421. Also, the collection of several or all such courses, as in “courses at the upper level,” for example.

Upper level courses generally have one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Depth/Focus: students make in-depth study of a discipline’s theories and methods,
    developing an understanding of the applications and limitations of those theories.
  • Specialization: students develop specific intellectual and professional abilities that will enable them to succeed or progress in a particular field or professional practice.
  • Refinement: students build upon the “provide basics knowledge, skills and/or abilities”
    background noted above, applying these traits more discerningly or in more challenging
    contexts.
  • Significant interdisciplinarity: The course requires two or more lower level courses from different disciplines to provide critical background. Students learn how to use content from several disciplines to understand complex systems and solve problems within those systems.³

1.4.3.4. Numerals Assigned to Core Courses

Core classes are typically enumerated in a way different than described above. These classes (which are designated by the three-letter disciplinary label COR) are typically labeled so that a leading “1” (as in COR 102, for example) is a course meant to be taken by freshmen, while a leading “2,” “3” or “4” (as, for example, COR 202, COR 301 or COR 400) indicates the course should be taken by sophomores, juniors and seniors. In that way, the cohort model which is common to the Core program is made plain in the enumeration associated with the various courses. All Core classes, regardless of their enumeration, have the qualities of lower level courses in that they seek to provide breadth, foundation and/or basic knowledge, skills and/or abilities. See additional information in Sec. 7.1.1.

1.4.4. Semester

A timespan during which courses (and their final examinations) are scheduled. Oglethorpe has three semesters per year, one each in the fall, spring and summer. Fall and spring semesters are known as “regular” semesters, each being approximately 16 weeks in duration. The summer semester is approximately 10 weeks in duration, but class meeting times and their frequency are each increased proportionately so as to give approximately the same amount of contact time as in a regular semester for any given course.

1.4.5. Session

Any timeframe beyond a semester in which courses are scheduled. For example, Oglethorpe’s fall and spring semesters each consist of three sessions: a traditional day session (of approximately 16 weeks), an evening session 1 (of approximately eight weeks) and an evening session 2 (also of approximately eight weeks). Likewise, in the summer semester there are three sessions, a traditional day session 1 (of approximately five weeks), a traditional day session 2 (of approximately five weeks), and an evening session (of approximately eight weeks).

1.4.6. Academic Year

The time following the conclusion of a given summer semester up through the end of the ensuing summer semester. For example, the 2016-2017 academic year spans the time following conclusion of the 2016 summer semester through the end of the 2017 summer semester.

1.4.7. Instructor

A person who, either solely or in conjunction with other instructors, is responsible for teaching a course. Instructors may be full-time faculty or adjuncts; they may be tenured, tenure track or non-tenure track faculty members. Instructors may have various academic ranks (such as lecturer, assistant professor, associate professor or full professor).

1.4.8. Instructor of Record

Every course offered for academic credit must have a single instructor of record. That instructor of record is responsible for the academic content of the course and is responsible for all matters related to assigning course grades. Additionally, the instructor of record must possess certain minimum qualifications, as established both by Oglethorpe University and by the University’s accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

1.4.9. Academic Program

The corpus of courses and possibly other requirements which, when completed successfully, will lead to a particular academic credential on a student’s transcript and sometimes also on the student’s diploma. Academic programs (and credentials) available through Oglethorpe University include various degrees, majors, minors, concentrations and certificates, all of which are described in this Bulletin. In addition, any broad-themed general education course of study required for all undergraduates or perhaps just all first-time freshmen (for example) is also an academic program. Finally, the term “academic program” may also refer to the totality of individual academic programs as listed above.

1.4.9.1. Traditional Undergraduate (TU) Program

Consists of the academic programs available to students who are admitted into the TU Program (see Sec. 4.1.1.)

1.4.9.2. Traditional Adult Degree Program (ADP)

Consists of the academic programs available to students who are admitted into the ADP (see Sec. 4.1.2.).

1.4.10. Major

A major represents a degree-seeking student’s primary field of study. Students’ majors are sometimes related to an anticipated vocation, but that is not their primary purpose in a liberal arts curriculum. The knowledge, skills and abilities that will serve students best in their professional careers are optimally developed within the curriculum as a whole. The major is an intensive study of an intellectual discipline and a deepening of understanding of a way knowing. The academic enrichment attained through a major opens access to other disciplines as well as an appreciation of the complexity of other fields of study. Students should consider carefully how all of the courses they select will supplement and complement work done in the major. Today’s students will likely have many different careers but our goal at Oglethorpe is to teach transferable skills that will continue with students long after college.4

A major is a structured plan of study requiring a minimum of 36 semester hours (including prerequisites for all required courses) and a maximum of 64 semester hours (including prerequisites for all required courses). Exceptions to these limits are permitted if approved by the academic program committee and the faculty at large, but only for compelling reasons. It must be feasible for students to complete degree requirements within 128 semester hours (for TU students) and within 120 semester hours (for ADP students). The major appears on the official transcript.5

Every student earning a baccalaureate (bachelor’s) degree must have at least one major. It is possible for students to earn a second major; please see Sec. 6.19.5. However, in no case will a student be able to earn more than two majors at Oglethorpe.

1.4.11. Minor

A minor represents an optional, secondary field of study for a degree-seeking student. No student may declare a major and a minor in the same field of study. Minors are not awarded except at time of degree conferral. That is, a minor is only awarded in conjunction with the awarding of a major/degree.

A minor is a structured plan of study requiring a minimum of 16 semester hours (including prerequisites for all required courses) and a maximum of 24 semester hours (including prerequisites for all required courses). Exceptions to these limits are permitted if approved by the academic program committee and the faculty at large, but only for compelling reasons. The minor appears on the official transcript.6

Please see Sec. 6.19.4. for information concerning the possibility that one or more of the same courses is required for both a major and a minor or that one or more of the same courses is required for two different minors.

1.4.12. Track

A track is a set of courses within a major or minor that satisfies a requirement of that program. A given track allows specialization after completion of substantial, foundational coursework. Therefore, a track may comprise no more than 50% of the credits required to complete a program and should be associated with at least one unique student learning objective.

1.4.13. Certificate

A certificate is a structured set of thematically related courses designed to provide recognition that a student has completed coursework in an applied area of focus. The certificate appears on the official transcript for all students who have earned the certificate. Unlike a minor (which is awarded only simultaneously with a degree), a certificate is transcripted as soon as it is earned, and it may be earned even by non-degree-seeking students.7

1.4.14. Concentration

A concentration is a structured set of thematically related courses of approximately the same scope as a minor but differing from a typical minor in that a concentration does not operate within a major but is an interdisciplinary pursuit. Like a minor (and unlike a certificate) a concentration is only awarded simultaneously with a degree.

1.4.15. Co-curricular Program

Formal and informal activities carried on outside-of-class which are intended to result in concurrent academic student learning. Unlike the academic program, successful participation in the co-curricular program does not directly result in the earning of academic credit. The co-curricular program is also distinct from the extra-curricular program, which has neither academic credit nor any necessary academic student learning.

1.4.16. Policy

A statement made on behalf of Oglethorpe University describing guiding principles governing local resolution or handling of various situations or circumstances.

1.4.16.1. Regulatory Policy (also called a “regulation” or “code” or “statement”)

A policy which limits or guides the behavior of individuals and groups.

1.4.16.2. Business Day

Policies sometimes have timeframes established in terms of a certain number of “business days.” A business day is a weekday (Monday through Friday) during which the University is open for business. A business day spans the hours from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM. Note that there are a significant number of business days when no classes are held on campus; the entirety of Spring Break is but one example. Further, when classes are cancelled (due to inclement weather, for example) it may be that the University stays open for business. In that case, the day in question counts as a business day.

1.4.17. Procedures

A method of implementing a policy. Most policies contain their attendant procedures already built-in.

1.4.18. Requirement

Something necessary or demanded, either as a condition for the existence or occurrence of some consequence or result or for the avoidance of some consequence or result. For example, it is a graduation requirement that students must earn a particular minimum number of semester hours.

1.4.18.1. Prerequisite

A requirement which must be satisfied before one enrolls in a course.

1.4.18.2. Co-requisite

A requirement that must be satisfied concurrently and over time as a student is simultaneously completing the course which has the particular co-requisite in question.

1.4.19. Complaint

A written objection to a policy, procedure, requirement or decision which contains a request (either implicit or explicit) that the objectionable item be set aside, reversed or attenuated.

1.4.20. Variance

An official, written agreement that modifies but does not suspend entirely one or more specific portions of a policy, procedure, requirement or decision for an individual or group when it can be conclusively demonstrated by the complainant(s) that:

  • Implementation of or adherence to the policy, procedure, requirement or decision would result in undue hardship in light of extraordinary extenuating circumstances, or
  • That the policy, procedure, requirement or decision was implemented or applied in a manner that was arbitrary (meaning it reflects a substantial deviation from accepted norms and/or from stated procedures found in this Bulletin or elsewhere), prejudicial (meaning it was based at least partly on ill-will and is at odds with the stated procedures found in this Bulletin or elsewhere), in violation of University regulations or state or federal law, or was subject to some error in fact.

Unless otherwise noted in the official agreement, any variance is a one-time modification that should not be presumed to continue in an ongoing fashion.

1.4.21. Waiver

An official, written agreement that suspends one or more specific portions of a policy, procedure, requirement or decision for an individual or group when it can be conclusively demonstrated by the complainant(s) that:

  • Implementation of or adherence to the policy, procedure, requirement or decision would result in undue hardship in light of extraordinary extenuating circumstances, or
  • That the policy, procedure, requirement or decision was implemented or applied in a manner that was arbitrary, discriminatory, in violation of University regulations or state or federal law, or was subject to some error in fact (see Sec. 1.4.20. for definitions of ”arbitrary” and “prejudicial” in this context), and
  • When all parties agree that the problem is so profound that it cannot be justly addressed by granting a variance.

Unless otherwise noted in the official agreement, any waiver is a one-time suspension that should not be presumed to continue in an ongoing fashion.

1.4.22. Appeal

A written entreaty from an allegedly aggrieved student that a decision or outcome related to a complaint be reviewed (and amended or set aside) by a person or group having sufficient authority to accomplish said task.

Footnotes
  1. Modified from Credit Hours Policy Statement, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, accessed July 17, 2015, and on Structure of the U.S. Education System: Credit Systems, International Affairs Office, U.S. Department of Education, accessed July 19, 2015.
  2. Based on Guidelines for Lower- and Upper-Division Courses, University of Nevada at Reno, Accessed March 23, 2015.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Modified from Requirements for a Degree, Rhodes College, accessed May 10, 2015.
  5. Portions based on “UNC Charlotte Academic Policy: Definition of Undergraduate Majors, Minors, Concentrations, and Certificates,” University of North Carolina at Charlotte, accessed March 17, 2015.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid.