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Instructor Guidelines

Academic Year 2017-2018

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. 

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

  1. Institutions are required to submit instructor transcripts and any additional, applicable certifications by the deadline specified in academic year planning document.
  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 must complete the standard Heartland employment application, submit a résumé/curriculum vita, and complete additional paperwork to establish a Heartland faculty profile through HR.
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.

Expectations & Evaluation

HCC has 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 (faculty are 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 provided.
  • Provide a college-like environment within the high school physical setting.
  • Inform and encourage student use of HCC resources available to them, including the HCC Student Portal and the HCC Library.

In addition, College NOW Faculty should strive to implement the following 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:

1) review of syllabi each semester;

2) student course evaluations administered by HCC;

3) classroom observations conducted by HCC personnel;

4) review of assignments and student work by HCC.

The National Association for Concurrent Enrollment Partnership Accreditation Standards requires colleges to have procedures to address instructor non-compliance. HCC’s non-compliance procedure is as follows: Should HCC find a course or instructor to be non-compliant 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 secondary administrator. If remediation is not appropriate, or if the remediation deadline is not met satisfactorily, the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs shall inform the secondary partner of the termination of the partnership for the course as currently delivered.

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 available on the memorandum of understanding agreement between HCC & each high school or career center.

Grading Philosophy & Policies


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.

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.

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.

D (1.0)

This grade represents less than adequate performance. It signifies questionable readiness to proceed with more advanced study of the subject.

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.

Rosters & Grade Entry

College NOW faculty must verify their class rosters in Heartland's system during the first week of courses. Any discrepancies discovered on College NOW course rosters should be reported by the faculty member to both the high school/career center office as well as to Heartland’s Dual Credit Coordinator.

College NOW faculty are also required to submit midterm and final grade reports through the College’s grade entry system by the established deadlines. These grade reports include verification of student attendance, including a last date of attendance for any student earning a F or W (withdrawal) grade.

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 should 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 semester at midterm.

All grades submitted on the final grade report are recorded on students’ permanent College transcripts.

Download a PDF version of the College NOW faculty handbook.