Academic Policies and Procedures

Academic Advising

Durham Tech is committed to providing adequate and appropriate assistance to all registering students; those admitted to career technical and university transfer programs, those who have not yet declared a major, and those entering as visiting students who wish to increase their knowledge and skills without earning a degree, diploma, or certificate. All students admitted to curriculum programs will have assigned academic advisors. Those enrolled as visiting students have access to faculty and professional staff advisors. The primary responsibility of the college’s advising system is to provide accurate and up-to-date information about career and university transfer plans of study, course content, program requirements, class schedules, registration, and other college offerings and support services. View the Advising procedures.

Academic Freedom

Durham Technical Community College preserves an environment for excellence in teaching, learning, and inquiry by sustaining freedom of expression, scholarly pursuit of knowledge, spirited and open debate, and intellectual exchange. Academic freedom is vital to the college community’s shared goal of the pursuit of knowledge, is fundamental to the exploration of new ideas, and is essential as we learn from one another.

Academic freedom is defined as an individual’s right to engage in intellectual debate, research, speech, or written or electronic correspondence, on and off campus, without fear of censorship, retaliation, or sanction. Academic freedom encompasses both the individual’s and college’s right to maintain academic standards and gives faculty members substantial latitude in deciding how to teach the courses to which they are assigned; encourage intellectual integrity; sustain pedagogical approaches consistent with the discipline taught; and evaluate student work. Academic freedom preserves the right of individuals to disagree with college policies or procedures. Academic freedom includes the right for one individual to challenge the views of another individual.

For more information regarding the specific responsibilities, definitions, and procedures associated with academic freedom, consult the College’s official Academic Freedom policy.

Academic Information

Consistent with the college’s mission, the Instructional Services Division facilitates and encourages life-long learning throughout the college community. Learning is defined for this purpose as the intentional process of acquiring knowledge or skills. This process requires the engagement of the learner and leads to a demonstrable change in the way the learner relates to his/her environment. The college ensures that its graduates have acquired the knowledge and/or skills necessary for future academic, technical, or professional success. Graduates will also demonstrate the following attributes:

  • The ability to communicate clearly, effectively, and respectfully both orally and in writing;
  • The ability to recognize cultural differences among peoples, to develop tolerance for differences, and to act appropriately with individuals of varying cultures;
  • The ability to contribute positively to the academic and workplace environment by demonstrating expected behaviors (e.g. integrity, demeanor, attendance, punctuality) and by working with others to solve problems;
  • The ability to learn how to learn and to possess critical thinking and problem-solving skills necessary in an ever-changing environment; and
  • The ability to recognize ethical dilemmas and to identify possible solutions.

The Instructional Services Division believes that as learning occurs, changes begin within the person and transcend to interpersonal relationships, groups, community, and to the greater global environment. See also the Instructional Services Division Resource Center for additional academic policies or procedures.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism Policy (formerly Academic Honesty Policy)

Durham Technical Community College upholds and enforces high standards of academic honesty and integrity both in and out of the classroom. The college establishes and follows a process for defining and addressing academic dishonesty when it occurs. The college recognizes plagiarism as a specific subset of academic dishonesty and follows a process for addressing plagiarism. View the Academic Integrity and Plagiarism policy.

Accountability and Credibility Procedures for Noncredit Classes

Visits to Off-Campus Classes

  • Off-campus classes are those class sections held at locations that are not under the direct supervision of a college employee. Distance education classes are those classes that are delivered primarily or exclusively on the Internet (“online” classes) or that are delivered primarily or exclusively by television or video (“telecourses”). College administrators will conduct unannounced visits to at least 50 percent of all noncredit off-campus classes held each semester.
  • Division heads, including the Vice President for Corporate and Continuing Education, Vice President for Student Learning, Development, and Support, and Executive Director of the Center for the Global Learner, or a designee appointed in writing by the President, will visit a randomly-selected sample of 10 percent of off-campus class sections as described above. These visits will occur with no prior notification to the instructor or the instructor’s supervisor.
  • Classes of 12 hours or less, self-supporting courses, and community service courses are excluded from this class visitation plan.

Visits to On-Campus Classes

  • On-campus classes are those class sections held at locations that are under the direct supervision of a college employee. College administrators will conduct unannounced visits to at least 25 percent of all noncredit on-campus classes held each semester. The purpose of these unannounced visits is to verify that students are properly registered and enrolled and that the instructional activity is taking place in accordance with the approved course outline. The administrators who conduct these visits are the supervisors of the instructors assigned to teach these on-campuses classes or a designee approved in writing by the division head responsible for the course.
  • Classes of 12 hours or less, self-supporting courses, and community service courses are excluded from this class visitation plan.

Student Membership Verification

Student membership is verified as follows:

  • Evidence of payment of the applicable registration fee or evidence of a registration fee waiver; and
  • Attendance records signed by the instructor or lead instructor or verified through an electronic signature.

Program auditors must have access to any system the college uses to conduct electronic visitations of Internet classes so that they may conduct unannounced class visits for these class sections in the same proportion that unannounced class visits are conducted for other adult education and continuing education class sections.

Instructor Verification

  • Each instructor will complete the Employment Verification I-9 form and all other college employment documents. The Human Resources Department will maintain these files.
  • Each instructor is required to sign an instructional contract for each class and sign the attendance sheet at the end of the course to verify that contracted instructional services have been rendered.
  • Instructor salaries are certified by their supervisor for payment after all course materials and instructor records are completed. This certification is then submitted to the Business Office for instructor payment.

Institutional Process for Conducting Noncredit Classes

  • The President’s designee is responsible for approving all noncredit classes. The process for approving and conducting noncredit classes shall be consistent with the mission and role of the community college.
  • The college will maintain an up-to-date master schedule, including the day, date, time, and location for all noncredit classes. Directions to all noncredit off-campus classes must be on file in the Corporate and Continuing Education office.

Institutional Responsibility for Accuracy in Conducting Noncredit Classes

  • The Vice President for Corporate and Continuing Education is responsible for compiling the class visitation report and submitting it to the President at least twice a year.
  • The President, having overall responsibility for college administration, will take appropriate measures to ensure that the Accountability and Credibility Plan will be maintained and that the college will comply with these procedures. The President will report the internal audit findings to the Durham Technical Community College Board of Trustees at least once a year.


Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

The college is obligated to provide equal access to students with disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Students requesting accommodations due to disabilities for any college activity should be directed to contact the Advising, Counseling, and Student Development Office for services available through the Students with Disabilities program. Should an employee of the college receive a request from a student for accommodations on the basis of a disability, the employee is obligated to refer the student to the Advising, Counseling, and Student Development Office so the request can be documented and verified. Failure to respond appropriately to a student’s request for accommodations may constitute discrimination under federal law

Read the steps for faculty working with students with disabilities in the Disability Services section.

Admissions Policy

Durham Technical Community College follows an open-door with guided placement admissions policy as established by the State Board of Community Colleges and consistent with 1D SBCCC 400.2. The college is an affirmative action, equal opportunity, American Disabilities Act, Section 504 institution and does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex or sexual orientation, color, age, religion, national origin, or disability in admitting students. The college reserves the right to refuse admission to any applicant during any period of time that the student is suspended or expelled from any other educational institution. The College also reserves the right to refuse admission to any applicant who poses an articulable, imminent, and significant threat to others. View the Admissions policy and procedures.


Credit Hour Determination

Consistent with the North Carolina Administrative Code 23 NCAC 01A.0101, a credit hour at Durham Technical Community College is calculated according to the following formula as based on a 16-week semester: 1 hour of classroom instruction per week equals 1 credit hour; 2 hours of supervised laboratory instruction per week equal 1 credit hour; 3 hours of supervised manipulative laboratory, shop, or clinical practice per week equal 1 credit hour; and 10 hours of work experience, practicum, or internship per week equal 1 credit hour. View the Credit Hour Determination policy and purpose.

Self-Support Policy

The Board of Trustees of Durham Technical Community College authorizes the collection of certain fees for individual courses or groups of courses within programs offered on a self-support basis. Under the terms of this policy, all students enrolled in self-support courses pay a pro-rata share of the amount of direct and indirect costs involved in the course or program sequence.  The following are considered direct costs:

  1. Instructor salary including benefits, travel, course development costs, etc.;
  2. Instructional supplies and materials;
  3. Rental of building, and other directly assignable costs;
  4. Advertising and printing costs associated with brochures, postage, mailing, etc.;
  5. Equipment associated with instruction of self-support classes;
  6. Refreshments;
  7. Other costs necessary for and directly assignable to a self-support class (can include administrative/clerical support costs if verified as directly assignable.)

Indirect costs include the following:

  1. Utilities, custodial, and security;
  2. Coordination, administration, or clerical salaries and fringe benefits.

Courses Offered on Self-Support Basis:

The Board of Trustees authorizes the college administration to designate certain classes as “self-supporting” in nature. The cost of a block of self-supporting classes may be determined in aggregate, so that revenues generated will cover all direct costs plus at least 25% to cover a reasonable portion of indirect costs. When possible under the above model, curriculum courses offered during the summer, for which no state “FTE earnings” are received, will be offered at the same rate as for stated supported classes. Alternatively, the cost of a self-supporting class may be determined by calculating the total of all direct costs associated with that particular class and adding a minimum 25 percent mark-up to the direct cost total. Each student enrolled will pay a pro-rata share of the cost of that self-supporting class. This fee is determined by dividing the cost of the self-supporting class by the number of estimated students that will register for that class or by dividing the cost of the class by the registration fee which will then determine the minimum number of students needed to register.

Excess Funds

Funds in excess of direct and indirect expenditures will be used for the direct benefit of the students at the discretion of the president. Following are examples of the activities upon which excess funds may be spent:

  • Educational activities for college personnel to enhance student success;
  • Student aid and/or scholarships;
  • Program development;
  • Other similar expenses authorized by the Board of Trustees (such as new faculty positions for a start up of new programs, counselors, equipment, construction, etc.);
  • Support of state funded instruction on a temporary basis when state support is inadequate to pay for the costs of the instructional program, especially to support program growth or expansion; and
  • Other expenditures of direct benefit to students (such as funding of positions for financial aid and student activities, etc.).

Revisions approved by the Board of Trustees, September 24, 2013.

Substantive Change Policy

Durham Technical Community College provides written notification to its accrediting agency, SACSCOC, of substantive changes at the college in accordance with Commission policies and timetables. View the Substantive Change policy and procedures.