skip to main content
Heartland Community College

Partnership Procedures

Course Selection Process

  • Access the College NOW Course Selection Guide (pdf) containing the list of pre-approved dual credit courses for early college partnerships. (Full course descriptions and a complete listing of HCC courses are available at   

    • District designees must always submit dual credit course requests for the next academic year by the deadline provided during the prior academic year. The deadlines for AY 23-24 early college partner course requests are as follows:
      • October 14, 2022 for high schools
      • January 13, 2023 for career centers
    • Current early college partners can access and complete the course request form when available in our shared Google drive workspace. (Don't forget to check the box at the bottom of the form to let us know when your form is ready for HCC review.)
    • Prospective early college partners should schedule a meeting to discuss procedures and possibilities at If applicable, a course request form will be provided afterward.
    *Completing your course request form merely gives HCC insight into what college courses you desire to offer as dual credit options for students at your school location and helps us know what level of support your school may need from our early college opportunities office and academic areas. We ask you to affirm which approved courses you actually intend to offer by or before March 15.
  • The Dual Credit Quality Act (DCQA) qualifications requirements to teach courses through our partnership are as follows: 
    • For transfer courses: A minimum of a Master’s Degree with 18 graduate hours in the academic field of study or discipline.
    • For career technical education (CTE) courses. A minimum of 2,000 hours of work experience and the appropriate recognizable credential depending on the specific field.
    Instructors not meeting these qualifications may qualify for a dual credit professional development plan per Section 20 of the Dual Credit Quality Act. Qualifying conditions are as follows:
    • Instructor has a master's degree in any discipline and has earned 9 graduate hours in a discipline in which he or she is currently teaching or expects to teach; or
    • Instructor is a fully licensed instructor in career and technical education who is halfway toward meeting the institution's requirements for faculty in the discipline to be taught.
    • Instructor agrees to demonstrate his or her progress toward completion to the supervising institution, as outlined in the professional development plan.

    The following documentation is required for all new prospective instructors by the course request deadline:

    1. instructor qualification review form (pdf) 
    2. prospective faculty form (pdf) OR resume/CV 
    3. all undergraduate and/or graduate college transcripts
    4. any applicable credentials, certifications, and/or licenses  

    Special Notations:

    • It is best to submit all aforementioned documentation for prospective instructors at the same time. 
    • We can review previously submitted documentation for returning instructors for potential new courses upon your request. Use the upload portal below to submit any updated or additional documentation for returning instructors. 

    Upload Portal

    *HCC Deans (or designees) will begin a 2-week internal review process immediately following the course request deadline and their feedback will be provided directly on your course request form.

  • When prompted, early college partners must submit the annual memorandum of agreement (MOA) based on approved/confirmed courses, administrative standards, and partnership procedures by the deadline provided.

    • At least one high school counselor and a principal/curriculum director must complete the MOA process via Adobe Sign.
    • Early college partners must email to communicate any changes that occur after an MOA has been signed.
    • The annual MOA will automatically be available for download as soon as all electronic signatures are acquired.

Approved Course Planning

  • Instructor Onboarding

    All District instructors are required to attend College NOW faculty orientation sessions prior to the first year of teaching and subsequently attend at least one departmental meeting to ensure that the curriculum being taught in dual credit courses is consistent with that being taught in the same courses as delivered on campus. Orientation sessions for incoming instructors include a:

    1. General overview meeting hosted by the Vice President of Enrollment and Students Services;
    2. Academic department meeting hosted by the appropriate College Dean or designees;
    3. Information technology and records management (combined) meeting hosted by appropriate College personnel from those areas.

    Professional Development 

    District 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 HCC's Instructional Development Center (IDC). The IDC is dedicated to assisting faculty, both full-time and adjunct, with their overall teaching and learning needs. District instructors receive a small stipend for participation in IDC college-wide events and for division-specific training. 

    District instructors receive 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.  


    • Attend all mandatory College NOW Faculty Orientation sessions according to the schedule provided. 
    • Attend HCC department-hosted curriculum alignment meetings at least once every year and before any year of being scheduled to teach a new HCC course. 
    • Prepare and submit syllabi for courses taught that is consistent with the requirements of HCC master syllabi. 
    • Cooperate with college-wide and division instructional goals. 
    • Check HCC emails weekly and respond, when appropriate, to those emails in a timely fashion. 
    • Respond to departmental requests for syllabi and course assessment materials by deadlines. 
    • Respond to requests from HCC department to set up course reviews/site visits.
    • Respond to requests from HCC Registrar’s office to complete roster verification and midterm/final grade entry by deadlines each term.
    • Demonstrate competence and remain current within the discipline approved and scheduled to teach.
    • Provide a college-like environment within the high school physical setting.
    • 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/Critical Thinking, Ethics/Social Responsibility, and Technology.
    • Report assessment data per college protocols.
    • Use the College's Learning Management System to, at a minimum, provide students with basic course information (syllabus, instructor information) and as indicated by the College to collect assessment and evaluation data.
    • Create an environment that fosters student success and attainment of the learning outcomes on the master syllabus.
    • Evaluate students based on HCC's Grading Philosophy and Rubric.
    • Administer student course evaluations each semester according to directions provided.
    • Maintain reasonable accessibility to students and manage student issues in a manner consistent with the HCC Student Handbook (
    • Inform & encourage students to use HCC resources (i.e. myHeartland and HCC Library & Tutoring Services) listed at 

    Best Practices 

    • 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. 
  • 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 


    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%] 


    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%] 

    Standards-Based Grading 

    Partners using standards-based grading will ensure grades assigned align to the HCC Letter Grade Rubric above. HCC midterm and final grades will be reported as letter grades, and HCC departments may also require individual assignments to be reported as percentages in alignment with requirements in the master syllabus.  

    Course Review & Site Visits 

    In accordance with the Illinois Dual Credit Quality Act (DCQA) and in alignment with the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and National Alliance for Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) accreditation standards, all dual credit courses offered in District high schools are subject to review by the community college. 

    In order to review the delivery of dual credit courses to ensure consistency with courses offered on campus, Heartland has established the following guidelines and procedures: 

    • A Heartland student syllabus must be submitted by the secondary instructor to the appropriate academic department for approval prior to the start of each term the course is offered (2nd Friday in May for Fall term courses; 2nd Friday in December for Spring term courses). 
    • A desk review and site visit will be conducted by the academic department during the first offering of the course. 
    • Provided the course review is satisfactory, the academic department will conduct ongoing reviews at least once every three years. The College may elect to conduct additional reviews in case deficiencies are noted. 
    • A copy of the review will be delivered to the secondary instructor and appropriate secondary administrator and placed on file at Heartland Community College. 
    • Should HCC find a course to be non-compliant with the College’s expectations, formal notice, with a deadline for remediation if appropriate, shall be provided by the Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services to the appropriate secondary administrator. If remediation is not appropriate, or if the remediation deadline is not met satisfactorily, the Vice President shall inform the secondary school of the termination of the partnership for the course as currently delivered. 
  • Expectations 

    • Courses offered to high school students as early college opportunities 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. 
    • Students are expected to adhere to the standards and code of conduct provided at 

    Grade Level

    Early college partners must schedule Heartland courses on the junior and senior year. Qualified freshmen and sophomore students may be enrolled in the courses, but the courses must be scheduled as junior/senior course offerings.

    Naming Convention

    All Heartland dual credit courses offered through early college partnerships shall appear in the school's course schedule and on the student's high school schedule and transcript with the Heartland course code, number, and name (e.g. ENGL 101 Critical Reading and Writing) in order to promote ease of transferability and understanding on the part of the student that the course is a Heartland college course. 

    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. Early college partners must adhere to Heartland's course capacities unless there is a higher capacity noted in the College NOW course selection guide for partners who exceed Heartland’s standard meeting time allotment.  

    The College should be notified by or before March 15th if a Heartland course will not be offered the following academic year because of insufficient enrollment capacity according to standards set by each early college partner. 

    Textbooks & Materials 

    Textbooks and technology/software used in the delivery of Heartland courses must meet the standard for the College as dictated by curriculum needs. Information regarding textbooks and materials used to teach the course will be solidified between District instructors and Heartland Course Contacts and are identified on the course syllabus.

    Early college partners should disseminate information regarding required textbooks and materials to students and how students should obtain them.  

    1. The College will specify whether a common textbook has been selected by faculty for all sections of the course taught at the College. 
      • If there is no common textbook, the instructor will determine the textbook and course materials in consultation with the College. Textbooks and materials must address equivalent content and the same learning outcomes as the outcomes expected of the same courses taught at the College.
      • If there is a common textbook and set of course materials, the common textbooks and materials will be used unless the College, in consultation with the District, agrees to a different textbook and materials covering equivalent content and the same learning outcomes.
      • The College will consider any alternatives proposed by the District, but will retain final decision-making authority.
    2. Where the College specifies the textbook, the College agrees to allow the use of the textbook for at least four (4) years, provided the use of a previously published edition of the textbook does not appreciably impact the content and delivery of the Course.

    Canvas (LMS) Requirement

    All Heartland courses will use the College's Learning Management System (LMS) to, at a minimum, provide students with basic course information (syllabus and instructor information) and as indicated by the College to collect assessment and evaluation data.

    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.  

  • Students must be advised to complete the College NOW admission process for HCC courses offered through a high school location between September 1 and April 30 during the prior academic year; between August 15 and September 31 during the current academic year for courses offered through career center locations.

    • Early college partners are encouraged to establish and advertise application or placement testing deadlines within that timeline and must email when those deadlines are established.

    HCC Application

    Prospective high school students must successfully submit the Heartland student application by following instructions specifically for College NOW students for the opportunity to earn the college credit portion of dual credit courses. Students who complete the HCC student application:

    • do not have to resubmit the application every year as a College NOW students
    • will receive a welcome letter to the email address they entered on the application within 3-5 days of successful application submission unless application processing is delayed by system or user errors;
    • must set up and access their myHeartland student account using the instructions provided in the welcome letter to get important college-related notices from HCC;
    • will appear on the ECO Admission Report sent to District designees weekly.

    Placement Testing

    Heartland allows students to complete literacy and math placement tests to meet the prerequisites for Heartland courses.

    • Placement testing occurs on Heartland's main campus or HCC satellite locations in Pontiac and Lincoln.
    • Students must schedule placement testing, if applicable for the courses they intend to take, via myHeartland.
    • Shortly after students complete placement testing at Heartland, their literacy and/or math scores will appear on the next early college admission report (ECAR) sent to District designees. 
    • District designees can request group testing sessions at
    • Questions or concerns about placement testing can be addressed by the HCC Testing Center at

    Alternate Test Scores

    Admission process details are available for students at 

  • Initial Roster Submissions

    • Preliminary dual credit rosters are always due on the 1st Friday in May, attached as excel files in an email to
    • High school counselors (or designees) can continue to notify HCC of roster changes using our guide for making roster changes via Google drive. (Appropriate secondary parties will have edit access to dual credit rosters in Google drive until the HCC drop date each term.)

    Ongoing Roster Maintenance


    Students have a limited timeframe to drop a dual credit course and have that course completely removed from their academic transcript.  

    • For most courses, the drop deadline is the 10th day of the semester and is always available on the College NOW Important Dates calendar.  
    • Secondary education partners should ensure that appropriate staff indicates student drops by providing an updated roster by the drop deadline. 


    Students have the right to withdraw from any college course in consultation with their school counselor. When the student withdraws or the College removes the student from a course or courses after the drop deadline it results in a recorded W grade on the student transcript. While a "W" on a college transcript does count as an unsuccessful attempt and could impact students' financial aid eligibility, it is unlikely that one "W" will adversely impact students' financial aid eligibility and it does not impact students' college GPA.  

    The appropriate secondary education personnel should follow the instructions provided to submit withdrawal requests for students who indicate their desire to withdraw from a dual credit course after the drop deadline has passed and before the withdrawal deadline. Withdrawal dates for each semester are available on the College NOW Important Dates calendar.

    • Students who are experiencing difficulty in a course should be encouraged to first connect with the instructor to see if any outstanding matters can be resolved to avoid course withdrawal.  

    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 can and 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 the semester at midterm. 

    *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. 

  • Since College NOW students are Heartland students, they can access many of the services provided to college students, such as:  

    • academic advising
    • free HCC student ID card
    • library and tutoring services
    • fitness and recreation center access
    • student access and accommodation services

    College NOW students/parents can always refer to the student information web page at 

  • Transfer Students

    New students who transfer into school districts outside of the College NOW admission process window may still have the opportunity to take dual credit courses offered at your school if they are able to complete the admission process -- application submission and placement testing or eligible ACT/SAT/PSAT scores -- before classes start OR within the first two weeks of courses each semester. When this happens, you should:

    • Provide those students with information to complete the admission process ASAP.
    • Inform us by emailing their name, date of birth, and grad year.
    • Submit eligible College Board score reports here after the student appears on your Early College Admission Report (ECAR). 

    Instructor Changes

    Partners will not be permitted to change instructors after the College general orientation session has been held without seeking an appeal from the VP of Enrollment and Student Services for extenuating circumstances. If available, the College will offer to provide a qualified online instructor for the course(s) in lieu of adding a late instructor to ensure quality instruction and alignment with the College's curriculum and assessment.

    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:  

    • The instructor of record for the course has been approved by HCC and holds appropriate credentials, per Higher Learning Commission and Illinois Community College Board Administrative Rules; and 
    • Every effort has been made to hire a substitute instructor with the required credentials, 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 
    • 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 
    • The instructor of record and/or school administration works with the substitute instructor to ensure course syllabus and learning outcomes alignment; and 
    • 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 
    • 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.