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Administrative Guidelines

Last updated 09/05/2018
  • Objective

    To provide early access to college credit in District 540 high schools and career centers in an effort to place more students on a guided path to successful college certificate and degree completion.


    The program provides opportunities consistent with the overall purpose of dual credit, which is outlined by the Dual Credit Quality Act as follows:

    1. To reduce college costs.
    2. To speed time to degree completion.
    3. To improve the curriculum for the high school students and the alignment of the curriculum with college and workplace expectations.
    4. To facilitate the transition between high school and college.
    5. To enhance communication between high schools and colleges.
    6. To offer opportunities for improving degree attainment for underserved student populations.


    The program offers dual credit and/or dual enrollment courses within three pathways that are accepted for credit at all State of Illinois public colleges/universities and most other colleges/universities.

    • Dual credit courses allow qualified high school students to earn both high school and college credit upon successful completion. Students have to work with their high school counselor to arrange this because approval from the high school is required. 

    • Dual enrollment courses allow qualified high school students to earn only college credit upon successful completion. Approval from your school counselor is not required for you to receive college credit for courses you enroll in on your own at our main campus, at one of our centers and/or online. Instead, you would work with a Heartland academic advisor for enrollment into the courses you choose.


    Here are the main phases of the partnership process for high schools and career centers:

    Course Selection

    • We provide a course selection guide to help current and potential partners select the appropriate courses every year.
    • Course requests for each academic year are due during the prior academic year. Likewise, course confirmation is also provided during the prior academic year.
    • Courses can be selected for delivery by the secondary instructor at the secondary site, or by HCC faculty online.
      • There is no charge for courses delivered by secondary faculty employed by high schools and career centers.
      • There is a charge of $1,500 per credit hour to cover instructional costs for online courses offered by HCC faculty.
      • Schools will be invoiced following course approval in October for all courses approved for delivery in the following academic year. The invoice balance will be due on or before December 15 of the prior academic year.

    Student Admission

    • We work together to help students get through the College NOW admission process in preparation for enrollment.
    • A designated representative from your school or center is responsible for submitting rosters containing only students who meet the requirement to be enrolled for college credit, including the high school’s assessment that the student has the attributes to be successful in the course.

    Partnership Confirmation

    • We solidify our partnership every year with a memorandum of understanding (MOU) document that outlines the terms of our agreement regarding approved dual credit/dual enrollment course offerings.
    • The MOU lists information such as final course offerings, course capacities, your dual credit course schedule, names of the approved instructors of record, and any applicable fees associated with our partnership.
  • Qualifications & Selection

    Heartland adheres to the Dual Credit Quality Act (Public Act 096-0194) in its policies and processes for selection and preparation of instructors for dual credit instruction. Specifically: 

    • Instructors teaching credit-bearing college-level courses for dual credit must meet the same academic credential requirements as faculty teaching on campus and need not meet certification requirements set out in Article 21 of the School Code.
    • Institutions shall provide high school instructors with an orientation in course curriculum, assessment methods, and administrative requirements before high school instructors are permitted to teach dual credit courses.
    • Dual credit students must be assessed using methods consistent with students in traditional credit-bearing college courses.
    • Every dual credit course must be reviewed annually by faculty through the appropriate department to ensure consistency with campus courses.
    • Dual credit instructors must be given the opportunity to participate in all activities available to other adjunct faculty, including professional development, seminars, site visits, and internal communication, provided that such opportunities do not interfere with an instructor's regular teaching duties.
    Faculty for College NOW courses shall be selected from individuals with demonstrated teaching competencies and appropriate credentials, per Illinois Community College Board Administrative Rules.
    • For transfer courses (1.1. PCS), these qualifications include a minimum of a Master’s Degree with 18 graduate hours in the academic field of study or discipline.
    • For career technical education courses (CTE 1.2 PCS), these qualifications include 2,000 hours of work experience and the appropriate recognizable credential depending on the specific field. 

    Partner-Provided Instructors

    Partners who desire to use their own internal faculty should understand and follow the guidelines below: 

    1. Partners are required to submit instructor transcripts and any additional, applicable certifications by the deadline according to the appropriate partnership process timeline.
    2. Professional review and determination of selection as a College NOW instructor for HCC will be the responsibility of the appropriate divisional administrator.
    3. Upon approval, the instructor will be provided with information about attending the College NOW faculty orientation and completing the necessary HR paperwork in order to establish a Heartland profile.

    Substitute Instructors

    In the case that substitute instruction is necessary for five or more consecutive class periods in a Heartland dual credit/dual enrollment course, substitutes will be approved provided: 

    1. The instructor of record for the course has been approved by HCC and holds appropriate credentials, per Illinois Community College Board Administrative Rules; and
    2. Every effort has been made to hire a substitute instructor who also holds appropriate credentials, per Illinois Community College Board Administrative Rules; including the use of Heartland faculty to substitute if no substitute instructors from the school’s subbing pool are qualified and available (Heartland will be reimbursed at the school’s substitute instructor rate); and
    3. The substitute instructor holds a minimum of an undergraduate degree in the subject if no qualified high school or Heartland instructor could be secured; and
    4. The instructor of record and/or school administration works with the substitute instructor to ensure course syllabus and learning outcomes alignment; and
    5. The need for the substitute was either not known in advance of the start date of the course or is not a planned absence totaling more than one-third of the semester; and
    6. Heartland Community College is notified as soon as the school realizes a need for a substitute and is given the substitute instructor’s name, contact information, duration of subbing assignment, and copy of undergraduate and graduate transcripts.

    Orientation & Professional Development

    All College NOW high school instructors are required to attend a faculty orientation prior to the first year of teaching and subsequently an annual curriculum alignment session to ensure that the curriculum being taught in the dual credit course is consistent with that being taught in the course as delivered on campus. Dual credit instructors will also be given the opportunity and are encouraged to participate in all activities available to other HCC adjunct faculty, including professional development and department and college meetings. Numerous professional development opportunities are available through the Instructional Development Center (IDC) located in the Student Commons Building (SCB), room 2401, on the main HCC campus. The IDC is dedicated to assisting faculty, both full-time and adjunct, with their overall teaching and learning needs. A small stipend is paid for College NOW instructor participation in IDC college-wide events and for division specific training.

    College NOW instructors will also be awarded a tuition waiver to audit the HCC course they are assigned to teach, or less formal course observations or shadowing opportunities can be provided as professional development.


    HCC had the following expectations of all College NOW Faculty:

    • Demonstrate competence in the Faculty Member’s discipline.
    • Prepare & submit syllabi for courses taught consistent with the HCC master syllabus.
    • Integrate and evaluate student learning outcomes within the framework of Heartland Community College assessment protocols, including assessment of HCC’s Essential Competencies for Communication, Diversity, Problem Solving, and Critical Thinking.
    • Evaluate students based on HCC’s Grading Philosophy and Rubric.
    • Create a learning environment that fosters student success and the attainment of the learning outcomes on the master syllabus.
    • Maintain reasonable accessibility to students.
    • Manage student issues and problems in a manner consistent with current HCC policies and protocols.
    • Cooperate with college-wide and division instructional goals.
    • Attend mandatory College NOW Faculty Orientation prior to teaching first term.
    • Attend annual curriculum alignment workshops at least once every two years, or prior to any year developing a new course (highly encouraged to attend annually).
    • Check HCC email weekly and respond, when appropriate, to HCC emails in a timely fashion. (Contact HCC IT Help Desk at 268.8350 if you would like directions for forwarding your HCC email to your high school account.)
    • Respond to departmental requests for syllabi and course assessment materials by deadline.
    • Submit midterm/final grades by deadline.
    • Administer student course evaluations each semester according to directions in the packet
    • Respond to request from HCC department to set up course evaluation.
    • Provide a college-like environment within the high school physical setting.

    In addition, the following are best practices for teaching dual credit coursework in the high school setting:

    • Be open to teaching and instructional design strategies such as embedding non-cognitive skill development into the curriculum (Heartland uses the On Course methodology) and employing Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to provide all individuals equal opportunities to learn. Heartland offers workshops on best teaching practices, instructional design and assessment that are open to all College NOW faculty.
    • Employ active learning.
    • Communicate openly with HCC partners to ask for feedback and ideas; share challenges and opportunities.


    College NOW courses will be evaluated by HCC to ensure the course is meeting the same expectations for college-level design and rigor as courses taught on campus. Such evaluations may include:

    • Review of syllabi each semester;
    • Student course evaluations administered by HCC;
    • Classroom observations conducted by HCC personnel;
    • Review of assignments and student work by HCC.

    Our high school and career center partners and the College retain supervisory authority over instructors employed at each institution. 

    • Should a course or instructor provided by the high school/career center be noncompliant with the College’s expectations, formal notice, with a deadline for remediation if appropriate, shall be provided by the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs to the appropriate high school or career center administrator. If remediation is not appropriate or remediation deadline is not met satisfactorily, the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs shall inform the high school or career center partner of the termination of the partnership for the course.
    • Should a course or instructor provided by the College not meet the high school/career center school’s expectations, formal notice, with a deadline for remediation if appropriate, shall be provided by the high school/career center administrator to the Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs. If remediation is not appropriate or remediation deadline is not met satisfactorily, the high school/career center administrator shall inform the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs of the termination of the partnership for the course. 

    Access Faculty Guidelines

  • Maximum Capacity

    Heartland’s courses all have an approved course capacity specifying the maximum number of students to be enrolled based on the learning outcomes and pedagogical methods required for the course. High schools and career centers offering Heartland courses should adhere to the course capacity of the course, unless there is a higher capacity noted in the Course Selection Guide for high school or career center courses exceeding Heartland’s standard meeting time allotment. 

    The College should be notified by or before the last calendar day in April if a dual credit or dual enrollment course will not be offered the following academic year because of insufficient enrollment capacity according to standards set by the high school or career center.

    Textbooks & Materials

    Textbooks and technology/software used in the delivery of the dual credit course must meet the standard for the College as dictated by curriculum needs. Information regarding textbook and materials used to teach the course will be solidified between the instructors of record and Heartland deans/chairpersons/curriculum contact persons.

    Grading Philosophy

    The Heartland Community College grading philosophy grows out of our vision of educational excellence. This common philosophy provides a framework for each academic division and instructor as they establish their own individual course grading system, evaluation methods and course policies using the shared general rubrics for letter grades given below.

    Letter grades serve as a vehicle to promote meaningful evaluation of student achievement, to inform students of academic progress, and, as necessary, to improve student performance, habits, and practices. Using a letter grade as a prerequisite for subsequent courses means we believe that the grade was assigned through a conscious judgment about a student’s readiness to proceed to more advanced study.

    At Heartland, students’ academic achievement is measured by their mastery of course objectives and content. We challenge students to meet these recognized standards of achievement and we assign grades based on their success in doing so. Simply stated, we believe that the responsibility for academic achievement rests with the student and that holding students responsible for their learning promotes their academic growth.

    Letter Grade Rubric

    A (4.0)

    This grade represents consistently outstanding performance that demonstrates superior understanding and skillful use of important course concepts. Performance at this level signifies that the student is extremely well prepared to continue with more advanced study of the subject. [90%-100%]

    B (3.0)

    This grade represents performance significantly beyond the level necessary to achieve the course objectives. Work is of high quality but not consistently at an outstanding level. Performance at this level signifies that the student is well prepared to continue with more advanced study of the subject. [80%-89%]

    C (2.0)

    This grade represents an acceptable achievement of the course objectives. Performance at this level signifies that the student is reasonably well prepared to continue with more advanced study of the subject. [70%-79%]

    D (1.0)

    This grade represents less than adequate performance. It signifies questionable readiness to proceed with more advanced study of the subject. [60% - 69%]

    F (0.0)

    This grade reflects unacceptable performance. The student is not yet ready to proceed with more advanced study of the subject and must repeat the course successfully to receive credit. [Below 60%]

  • Admission


    Students must successfully submit the Heartland student application for the opportunity to earn college credit.

    • Applicants typically receive an acceptance letter via email within three to five days after successful application submission.
    • Students should access their myHeartland account using their Heartland student information provided in the top-right corner of their acceptance letter.


    Students should make an appointment through myHeartland to complete any required placement tests.

    • Appointments must be made online at least 48 hours in advance.
    • Students will receive a print-out of their results upon test completion unless they attend a group testing session arranged by your school.
      • The school counselor or designated school representative will receive a group testing results report shortly after the session.
    • Heartland will waive some placement test requirements for students who achieve other eligible scores through alternate placement tests.


    • Only students who meet all necessary requirements should be allowed to request enrollment into College NOW courses through their high school counselor.
    • Heartland personnel will enroll students based on rosters submitted by each high school and career center.
    • The designated high school or career center staff and Heartland personnel work together through each academic year to ensure that all dual credit rosters are correct.


    • High school students have the opportunity to develop and enhance their college transcript with the successful completion of each course.
    • The accumulation of college credit throughout high school helps reduce the time-to-degree completion, which decreases college debt.
    • Taking college-level courses in high school allows for early college-level exposure and exploration of different subject matters while in familiar surroundings.
    • Taking college courses in high school affords students the opportunity to discover more about themselves and to gain more responsibility and control over their education and coursework.
    • Successfully completing college courses while still in high school can lead to increased levels of confidence and competence that can serve as the catalyst for successful full-time enrollment into a college/university after high school.


    College Coursework

    College NOW courses offered to high school students are college-level courses that require 2-3 hours of outside work for each hour in class. College courses may deal with controversial subject matter that is not typically found in high school curricula. College course expectations for participation, learning outcomes, course materials and evaluation are included in each course syllabus.

    Course Materials

    Textbook information and any other materials required for each course are identified on the course syllabus and may also be present on the Memorandum Of Understanding. Each high school/career center determines the means by which students should obtain textbooks and materials.

    Additionally, many HCC instructors expect students to use online learning management systems such as Blackboard or MyMathLab to complete course requirements. Each College NOW student has access to our learning management systems through our myHeartland portal.

    Course Evaluations

    At the end of each semester, students are given the opportunity to evaluate their college courses allowing them to speak to the overall college course experience. The evaluation will allow students to rate their experience according to aspects such as rigor level, critical thinking, increase in subject knowledge, and overall interest level. 

    Financial Aid Implications

    Dual credit courses are recorded on the student’s transcript and are, therefore, evaluated in determining eligibility for financial aid. Students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid with respect to the three areas outlined in Heartland’s Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.

    Withdrawal Policy

    Students have the right to withdraw from any college course. Students should consult with their guidance counselor on specific high school/career center procedures and deadlines to withdraw from high school credit for the course. Students who withdraw from the HCC course by the 10th day of Heartland’s semester will have no HCC academic record or transcript of that course. Students who withdraw from a course after the 10th day of the semester will receive a “W” in HCC’s system to signify the withdrawal. 

    Moreover, the Illinois Community College Board requires that a student is in attendance at midterm in a course only if the student is currently enrolled in and actively pursuing completion of the course. Therefore, dual credit students enrolled and not actively pursuing completion of the course at midterm will be withdrawn from the college course credit. A student is defined as not “actively pursuing” completion in the course if they meet any of the following minimum standards:

    • Has completed less than 60% of assignments/activities.
    • Has unexcused absences totaling more than 30% of the course contact hours.
    • Has consecutive unexcused absences totaling more than the equivalent of 1/4 the number of weeks in the semester at midterm.

    *We expect College NOW students to follow the standards and code of conduct provided in the Heartland Student Handbook.* 

    Access Student Information Guide

Contact Person

For your administrative partnership process OR course selection inquiries:

Email Sarah Diel-Hunt, Ph.D.

Academic Affairs
Associate Vice President
Phone: 309-268-8593