Hillsborough Community College undergoes a thorough evaluation and approval process that follows standards of good practice when awarding academic credit for course work taken on a non-credit basis. As part of this process, documentation is provided that the non-credit course work is equivalent to a designated credit experience.
Hillsborough Community College awards academic credit for course work taken on a non-credit basis through a) the Servicemembers Opportunity College (SOC), and b) through occupational-technical articulation agreements, which include tech-prep agreements and Postsecondary Adult Vocational (PSAV) agreements. The policies used to describe the circumstances in which academic credit is awarded for coursework taken on a non-credit basis are outlined on page 48 of the HCC Catalog (for the SOC), and in the Guidelines for Developing Articulation Agreements Operations Manual (for occupational-technical articulation agreements). The Operations Manual and the associated worksheet Documentation of Approval of Articulation Agreement describe how HCC evaluates non-credit courses to ensure that students attain the same level of proficiency as required in a credit course. In short, HCC's Director of Technical Programs and HCC faculty who teach in the program area related to the non-credit coursework examine the faculty credentials, non-credit curriculum frameworks, course objectives, course syllabi, final examinations, and other assessments to determine that the articulated courses represent coursework and learning outcomes that are consistent with the degree, certificate, or diploma being articulated and that the content is comparable and appropriate college-level work.
Servicemembers Opportunity College (SOC)
The Servicemembers Opportunity College (SOC) is a group of more than 1,350 colleges and universities that provide voluntary post-secondary education to members of the United States Military. Under the SOC agreement, HCC accepts applications from students who were awarded a standard high school diploma or equivalency certificate by any department of education or through the Armed Forces Test of General Education. Applicable credits earned through the community college of the U.S. Air Force that are applicable must be transferred. HCC may grant credit for military education that has been evaluated and recommended as suitable for postsecondary credit by the American Council on Education’s Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services.
Non-credit Coursework Accepted Through Occupational- Technical Articulation Agreements
Noncredit coursework that is accepted through occupational-technical articulation agreements, which include tech-prep agreements and Postsecondary Adult Vocational (PSAV) agreements, undergoes a thorough review process.
Tech-prep agreements are developed as follows:
- The HCC Director of Technical Programs works with the School District of Hillsborough County (SDHC) Tech Prep Articulation Officer to identify programs in which non-credit coursework may be articulated to an HCC program.
- The HCC Director convenes appropriate HCC deans and faculty to participate in the articulation agreement. The SDHC Articulation Officer convenes appropriate SDHC teachers to participate.
- The parties involved evaluate documentation such as faculty credentials, curriculum frameworks, course objectives, course syllabi, final examinations, and other assessments to determine that the articulated courses represent coursework and learning outcomes that are consistent with the degree, certificate, or diploma being articulated and that the content is comparable and appropriate college-level work.
- Pending a successful evaluation, a draft articulation agreement is developed.
- The HCC Technical Review Committee reviews the agreement for accuracy and adequacy and makes recommendations.
- If approved, the agreement is reviewed by HCC's Academic Affairs Committee.
- Recommendations for approval come from the Cabinet to the President, who subsequently makes recommendations to the HCC District Board of Trustees, which grants final approval. A flowchart for this process is outlined in the Academic Affairs Handbook, pp. 11-12.
- Following review by the College community, including the HCC Department of Academic Affairs and administrative leadership, the articulation agreements are submitted to the Board for approval.
PSAV agreements are developed in a comparable manner, with the Director of Technical Programs working with internal or external partners to develop the agreement. A complete listing of articulation agreements is provided in the HCC Catalog (HCC Catalog pp. 42-47). Samples of tech prep agreements and PSAV agreements are included as documentation (sample agreements); each agreement specifies the amount of credit that is accepted.