ADMINISTRATIVE POLICY TYPE: INSTRUCTION
POLICY TITLE: Course and Certificate Requirements
The purpose of this academic policy is to clearly define and identify the requirements established by either the Wisconsin Technical College System or Fox Valley Technical College for course and certificate offerings. All FVTC courses must meet standards established by the WTCS Board. These standards ensure that courses are assigned the proper aid code, instructional area, credits, and material fee. Only WTCS-approved courses will receive state aid. It is the policy of the college to ensure integrity in its curricular offerings by developing courses and certificates within the definitions and requirements outlined below.
Advanced Technical Certificates (Aid Code 10)
Advanced technical certificates are designed to provide instruction for employed individuals. The content offered in the certificate shall extend beyond that provided in any WTCS-approved associate degree occupational program. These certificates consist of between 9 to 12 credits equivalent to associate degree courses in rigor. At least six of these course credits must be occupational content beyond what is offered in any approved program. Fifty percent of the certificate credits must be earned at FVTC; division-approved advanced standing up to 50 percent of a certificate can be awarded as transfer credit or division-approved advanced standing. After initial approval, a three-year evaluation report is required by the state office if the district intends to request a continuation of the certificate. Advanced technical certificates require WTCS office approval.
Certificates (May be a combination of aid codes: 10, 32, 31, 30, 42, 47)
Certificates may be awarded at the option of the local district for participation and/or attendance in any program level and/or adult continuing education courses, groups of courses, or attainment of specific competencies. Certificates generally consist of a focused set of courses targeting specific occupational skills. FVTC certificates will consist of 6-20 credits and generally involve 3-10 courses. These certificates are approved at the district level, requiring the authorization of the respective division dean and the academic vice president prior to implementation. At least 50 percent of the certificate credits must be earned at FVTC; division-approved advanced standing up to 50 percent of a certificate can be awarded as transfer credit or division-approved advanced standing.
Non-Postsecondary Courses – Basic Education/HIP/VIP (Aid Codes 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, and 78)
Non-Postsecondary is the umbrella term which encompasses all instructional content below the post-secondary level and all courses where instructional level is not applicable. This includes Basic Education, the Hearing Impaired Program (HIP), and the Visually Impaired Program (VIP).
Adult Basic Education(ABE) instruction is available in the areas of reading, mathematics, communication skills, social studies, physical sciences, health, and career education. ABE - Beginning instruction is below the equivalent of the sixth grade level (0-5.9) and ABE - Intermediate instruction is equivalent to sixth through eighth grade levels (6.0-8.9.).
Adult Secondary Education (ASE) comprises instruction which delivers competencies, academic or occupational, comparable to that offered in secondary schools (grades 9.0-12.9). This category includes instruction to earn a high school diploma, a High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED), or a General Educational Development (GED) certificate issued by the State of Wisconsin. ASE course numbers may not be included in the curriculum of a post-secondary program. Secondary education level developmental and remedial courses are included in ASE. Developmental and remedial courses are designed for individuals who, prior to or upon seeking admission to a post-secondary program, have been determined to have substantial deficiency in foundational competencies. These courses address those deficiencies before admission to a post-secondary program.
English Language Learning (ELL) — is designed to assist individuals whose native or dominant language is other than English and who need to learn to read, write, and communicate in English. ELL is designed to prepare students to advance toward ABE, ASE, Bilingual Vocational Training, occupational programs, or employment. There are a series of defined levels of instruction; however, they do not equate to grade levels as indicated for Adult Basic Education.
Hearing Impaired Program (HIP) and Visually Impaired Program (VIP) courses are established to serve hearing impaired or visually impaired individuals exclusively. These courses shall be identified when it is not possible to serve hearing or visually impaired students in existing occupational or academic courses, or when it is necessary to supplement instruction provided by existing occupational or academic courses.
Further information on basic education definitions and requirements can be found in the WTCS Administrative Bulletin AB97-04, Non-Postsecondary Aid Category.
Credit Based Continuing Education
Courses can be developed at the associate degree or technical diploma level to meet the continuing education needs of business, industry, and labor. These courses must meet and maintain the same rigor, level of content, and evaluation requirements of corresponding associate degree or technical diploma level courses but are not to be included in the core curriculum of such programs. Associate degree/technical diploma credit standards apply to these courses for approval and state reporting purposes. Credit based continuing education courses must be established in full credit increments and can be used as AAS program electives by students Each district is limited to 150 credits of associate degree/technical diploma continuing education courses. For additional information, refer to Administrative Bulletin AB 97-01, Associate Degree/Technical Diploma Continuing Education.
To assist in bridging from a technical diploma program to an associate degree program, courses can be created to include the content (competencies) which are part of the comparable degree course but not part of the diploma course. This enables the student to acquire the knowledge needed to transition from one program to another without taking the entire degree course.
Courses may be borrowed from another district to address a short-term need when a district does not have a currently approved course, which meets the specific need. Prior approval of the WTCS office is required. The WTCS Educational Services Manual contains the procedures involved in borrowing a course from another district.
Continuing Education Level Courses
Continuing education courses are noncredit and designed to meet specific continuing education needs identified within the district. The following aid codes and descriptions have been established for use within the system:
Aid Code 42: General Adult
Applies to educational offerings, which contribute to basic education, citizenship, and community safety for the public.
Aid Code 44: Driver Education Theory
Applies only to adult driver education theory courses, excluding defensive and other driving courses.
Aid Code 45: Behind-the-Wheel Driver Education
Applies only to behind-the-wheel adult driver education courses.
Aid Code 47: Occupational Adult
Applies to educational offerings with a definite technical objective designed to either provide future employment or upgrade individuals in their present occupations.
Aid Code 60: Adult Avocational
Applies to educational offerings that are leisure-time self-enrichment activities including arts, crafts, games, hobbies, sport, recreation, and foreign language conversation.
Additional information on the above types of courses can be found in the WTCS Educational Services Manual, available online from the FVTC Intranet site, Academic Program Plans.
Suffix courses are created “under” an existing WTCS-approved course and only recognized internally at FVTC; however class activity for suffix courses is reported to the state office through the approved main course and are FTE generating. The total credits of a suffix course may not exceed the total credits of the main course.
To maintain integrity in the college’s curriculum, extra caution needs to be taken to ensure that suffix courses are integral parts of the main state-approved course content. This can be accomplished by keeping the basic intent of each suffix course consistent with the intent of the state-approved course. Specific requirements must be met when creating suffix courses with aid codes 10, 32, 31, and 30:
• Degree program credit courses have requirements for curriculum development and documentation; they represent a prescribed learning plan as part of a degree program.
• A suffix course of the same length as the main course may have different, but related, curriculum and must be equivalent to the main course in all instances where either course is required in a curriculum.
• Alternative delivery method courses representing the full content of the main course use the suffix “DE”; suffix courses which represent a subset (in full credit increments) of the main course and are intended for use as alternative delivery are assigned, D1 (alt. delivery 1 credit), D2 (alt. delivery 2 credits), etc.
• Suffix courses that are shorter than the main course offer a portion of the main course’s content and must be in full credit increments unless authorized for less for the purpose of customized contract training. Full credit increments are strongly recommended to avoid complicating graduation requirements as suffix courses may be used to meet the AAS elective requirement.
• Content that is unrelated or substantially different from the main course curriculum must be designed as a separate new course consistent with the appropriate to the state aid code definitions.
• Suffix courses must reflect the same combination of A, B, C, D, and/or E hours in the course structure contained in the main course.
• Suffix courses are not allowable as required courses in program plans.
The requirements outlined above for program aid code suffix courses do not apply to aid codes 42, 44, 45, 47, or 60.