Degrees


Integrity of Credit

A credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally and contractually established equivalency which reasonably (is) not less than:

  1. One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or
  2. At least an equivalent amount of work as required for other activities, including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading toward the award of credit hours.

(Approved by College Meeting November 19, 2012)

Degrees

The Associate in Arts Degree shall be awarded to students who have satisfactorily completed the requirements of an institutionally-designed and Department of Higher Education approved program of collegiate level courses, at least thirty-five (35) credits of which have been drawn from the liberal arts and sciences.

The Associate in Science Degree shall be given to students who have satisfactorily completed the requirements of an institutionally designed and Department of Higher Education approved collegiate-level courses, at least twenty-one (21) credit hours of which shall be drawn from the field of general education outside the field of specialization.

The Associate in Applied Science Degree shall be given to students who have satisfactorily completed the requirements of an institutionally-designed and Department of Higher Education-approved program having a minimum of twenty (20) hours of general education, with strong emphasis on specialized courses and practicum. (Approved by College Meeting May 9, 1994; Revised September 21, 2015)

Granting Authority

The 1991 legislation reorganizing public education in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts established the Higher Education Coordinating Council (HECC) as the successor agency to the Board of Regents of Higher Education and continued among its responsibilities statewide planning and coordination, including oversight of academic programs at the public institutions of higher education. In 1996, the legislature changed the name of the Council to the Department of Higher Education (DHE). The academic program approval authority of the Department of Higher Education is the same as that of the Higher Education Coordinating Council. Under Massachusetts General Laws, chapter 15A, the DHE is responsible for authorizing all programs and degrees in the public system:

Section 9.The board shall have the following duties and powers: (a) confer upon the boards of trustees the power to offer degree programs after taking into account, among other things, the need, resources and mission of the institution. The board shall confer the authority to award degrees to persons who have satisfactorily completed degree requirements: (b) in addition to the degrees authorized to be awarded under clause (a), the board may approve the awarding of certain other degrees and may define and authorize new functions or new programs, or consolidate, discontinue or transfer existing functions, educational activities and programs. The board shall act in writing on requests for program approval from boards of trustees within six months of said request, or said program shall be considered. (DHE approved June 1992; amended July 1997; amended March 2008)
 

Department of Higher Education Requirements

Criteria for Granting Course Credit toward the Degree: The Department of Higher Education shall establish the following system wide criteria for granting course credit toward the associate degree:

  • English Composition: College-level English composition courses should involve the development of complex and abstract ideas for different writing situations and emphasize the different steps of the writing process leading to fluent, effective expression. Courses that are concerned primarily with grammar, usage, punctuation, or grammatical sentence and paragraphs should not receive credit toward the degree.
  • Mathematics: College-level mathematics courses should build upon the competencies acquired during the equivalent of at least three years of high school algebra and geometry. Courses covering computational concepts only should not carry credit toward the degree. Courses designed to teach students how to apply mathematics to specific fields, such as those offered in community college occupational programs, may be offered for credit toward the degree to be earned in those programs but will not be considered equivalent to college-level mathematics for the purpose of transfer or credit to baccalaureate institutions.
  • Reading: Reading assignments in courses carrying credit toward the degree should be college-level material. Courses dealing primarily with general reading skill, such as word identification, the ability to identify and comprehend the main and subordinate ideas, to use reference materials, so summarize the ideas in one’s own words, and other technical aspects of reading should not receive credit toward the degree.
  • Basic Study Skills: Courses to improve students’ basic study skills and work habits should not be offered for credit toward the degree.

 

Degree Standards: The Department of Higher Education shall establish the following minimum standards for associate degrees:

For the Associate in Applied Science degree:

  • completion of a minimum of 60 semester hours, or the equivalent, of college-level work with a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher at the institution granting the degree;
  • completion of at least 16 semester hours, or the equivalent, of general education consistent with recommendations 4 through 6;
  • completion of a substantial amount of coursework at the institution awarding the degree;

For the Associate in Science degree:

  • completion of a minimum of 60 semester hours, or the equivalent, or college-level work with a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher at the institution granting the degree:
  • completion of at least 20 semester houses, or the equivalent, of general education consistent with recommendations 4 through 6 and;
  • completion of a substantial amount of coursework at the institution awarding the degree;

For the Associate in Arts degree:

  • completion of a minimum of 60 semester hours, or the equivalent, of college-level work with a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher at the institution granting the degree;
  • completion of at least 33 semester hours, or the equivalent, of general education consistent with recommendations 4 through 6; and
  • completion of a substantial amount of coursework at the institution awarding the degree.
     

Minimum Requirements for General Education: The general education component of undergraduate degree programs should include a balance of required study and/or restricted electives in the liberal arts and sciences in such disciplines as the humanities, arts, natural and physical sciences, mathematics, and social sciences. This component should account for at least 16 semester hours, or the equivalent, for the Associate in Applied Science degree; 20 semester hours, or the equivalent, for the Associate in Science degree; 33 semester hours, or the equivalent, for the Associate in Arts degree; and 36 credits, or the equivalent, for a baccalaureate degree. These are the lowest acceptable proportions and institutions are strongly encouraged to exceed them. In addition, an institution’s requirements should not preclude opportunities for experimental curricula and honors programs. 

Principles to Guide Continuing Review of General Education: Each institution should review the general education component of its undergraduate curriculum and specify expected outcomes, using the following set of principles as a guide and basis of reference. The institution’s general education requirements should be revised as needed, keeping in mind the level and scope of student attainment of abilities and knowledge that the institution determines to be appropriate to its mission and the degrees it offers. 

The general education component of the undergraduate curriculum should aim to develop in the student ability to:

  • reason abstractly and think critically and creatively;
  • use oral and written language effectively and critically as listener, reader, speaker, and writer;
  • reason quantitatively, using numerical data and symbolic representations as appropriate;
  • make aesthetic and ethical judgments; and
  • learn independently and adapt to change; and

knowledge of:

  • the uses of languages and literatures in shaping and sustaining culture;
  • the history, traditions, and values of one’s own and other cultures, and the role of the past in shaping the present and the future;
  • the nature, development, and role of social institutions;
  • the fine and performing arts;
  • the scientific method of creating new knowledge;
  • the modes of inquiry that characterize different disciplines and the connections among them; and key technological applications of the sciences.

General Education and Integrated Learning: Since general education is defined more by its goals than by a set of courses, institutions should integrate their general education component with the student’s entire program of study.

Relationship of General Education and Major Components: The major, while defined by its own special characteristics, should not be isolated from the other components of the undergraduate curriculum. The identified general education abilities and knowledge should be incorporated into a student’s major, as appropriate, and “across the curriculum” as well as interdisciplinary initiatives are strongly encouraged.

From www.mass.edu (attachment A of Procedures of New Academic Program Proposals and Changes for Public Institutions July 1997)

Local Requirements

Curriculum and Programs Committee Policies & Procedures

Policies, procedures and forms can be found at www.capecod.edu/web/faculty/resources.

Introduction of New Courses and Programs

New programs of study or changes in existing programs of study shall be formally presented to the Curriculum and Programs Committee, which shall make its recommendation to the College Meeting. Action to adopt a new program or change an existing one shall be forwarded to the President for appropriate disposition. In the case of new certificate programs, the President will forward a recommendation to the Board of Trustees for their approval. In the case of new associate degree programs, the President must forward the New Degree Programs Expedited Application to the Board of Trustees and the Department of Higher Education (DHE) for their approval. DHE New Degree Programs Expedited Application information

New courses may be recommended to the appropriate Department by any committee, department, faculty member or administrative officer and shall be given primary consideration by the Department to which the subject matter belongs. In case of uncertainty as to the Department of reference, the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs shall determine the procedure to be followed for consideration of the course. If the primary consideration results in a decision to recommend for adoption, the recommendation shall be made by the Department to the Curriculum and Programs Committee, which shall approve or disapprove. In the case of approval, the Chair of the Committee shall forward the Committee's action to the President for appropriate disposition.

Any member of the professional staff and any committee is free, without prejudice, to explore any course, or program of study on a preliminary basis in order to determine if such member or committee shall recommend a course or program under the first two paragraphs of this section.
 

Local General Education

College Meeting affirmed that AA students fulfill the requirements of MassTransfer to earn the AA degree at CCCC as outlined in the College catalog.

Respecting the Department of Higher Education (DHE) and the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE) of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) standards, Cape Cod Community College has approved the following Institutional Student Learning Outcomes. It is envisioned that as a result of successfully completing an associate degree program at Cape Cod Community College the graduate will have achieved the following six outcomes.

In order for a course to meet General Education criteria, four of the six Institutional Student Learning Outcomes must be assessed within the course. (Approved by College Meeting March 10, 2008)
 

Institutional Student Learning Outcomes

(Adopted at College Meeting March 19, 2007)

Communication Skills: The community college graduate will demonstrate the ability to express ideas clearly and cogently, and to read, write, speak, and listen using Standard American English.

Critical and Creative Thinking Skills: The community college graduate will demonstrate the ability to locate and use information for the purpose of examining underlying assumptions and interpreting and evaluating arguments, will create deliberately and independently using skills and knowledge acquired in our classrooms.

Ethical and Civic Engagement Practices: The community college graduate will demonstrate a broad-based knowledge and understanding of ethical concepts and principles, decision-making, and behaviors and will understand the meaning and responsibilities associated with citizenship in the USA and the world community.

Multi-cultural and Global Awareness: The community college graduate will demonstrate the ability to appreciate, analyze and deal constructively with historical or contemporary experiences of diversity in the USA and the world enabling the student to participate effectively in an increasing complex diverse world.

Quantitative and Computational Skills: The community college graduate will demonstrate the ability to apply computational methods, generate problem-solving strategies, interpret equations and numerical data from tables, charts, and graphs, and organize, analyze, and present quantitative information.

Technological Literacy: The community college graduate will demonstrate the ability to use current technology to improve his/her creativity, productivity, communication skills, research skills, and information management skills.

Definition of ISLO Assessment

CCCC defines assessment of the ISLOs as the process of systematically gathering evidence of student learning from multiple and diverse sources. The College will use this evidence to determine the level at which students demonstrate proficiency in the ISLOs and whether that level of proficiency is appropriate for the community college graduate. These determinations will help the institution improve learning experiences for students. (Approved by College Meeting May 9, 2011)

All students graduating with an Associate degree from Cape Cod Community College will complete the following 21–23* credits of common general education requirements.
 

ENL101 English Composition I 3 credits
Humanities & Fine Arts 3 credits
Behavioral and Social Science 6 credits

Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning (or)
Natural or Physical Science

 6-8 credits
General Education Elective 3 credits
Total credits* 21-23 credits*


*Associate in Arts degree students need to take additional general education coursework to satisfy the MassTransfer Block.

21–23 Credit hour general education requirement for all students (plus an additional [37-39+ credits] in Professional Education for AS programs). AS degree programs may identify required courses within the academic disciplines represented in the general education requirement. The elective is a program elective, not a free elective for the student.

All students graduating with an Associate of Applied Science degree from Cape Cod Community College will complete a minimum of 20 credits of common general education requirements as follows.

ENL101 English Composition I 3 credits
Humanities & Fine Arts 3 credits
Behavioral and Social Science 3 credits

Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning (or)
Natural or Physical Science

 3–4 credits
General Education Elective 7–8 credits
Total credits20 credits

Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning Requirement for General Education

Refer to Registration: Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning Requirement.


Department of Higher Education Approved Programs

A list of approved programs can be found at www.capecod.edu/web/academics/programs.

Department of Higher Education Application/Approval Process

www.mass.edu

Academic Program Approval for Public Institutions

The Department of Higher Education has among its responsibilities oversight of academic programs at the public institutions of higher education. Academic program approval authority of the Department of Higher Education (Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 15A) states that the DHE is responsible for authorizing all programs and degrees in the public system.

The procedures apply to all Massachusetts public institutions of higher education (community colleges, state colleges, and the university). For the purposes of the procedures, an academic program is defined as undergraduate certificate of 30 semester credit hours or more, or a major or degree at the undergraduate or graduate levels, including a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study.

New Degree Programs - Expedited Application

Public institutions seeking new degree programs file expedited applications, which are reviewed by the Board of Higher Education staff. Resulting reports and recommendations are then voted upon by the Board of Higher Education. An expedited review of new degree program proposals must be aligned with the mission of an institution and specifically identified as priority programs in a state or community college implementation plan approved by the Board of Higher Education. Expedited applications may be submitted between August 15 and April 15.
 

Changes to Existing Academic Programs

Program Name Changes
Changes in the name of an existing program require approval by the Senior Deputy Commissioner for Academic Affairs & Policy, as the Commissioner’s designee, upon limited staff review. In submitting a name change request form, the institution should include curriculum information and reason for the request. In submitting a name change request that would result in remaining an existing concentration (or minor) to a degree, also include for the preceding three years, program enrollment data by concentration, graduation data, alumni outcome data (job placement or enrollment in further study), copy of the accreditation review report received within the preceding three years, and most  recent accreditation status letter. The program accreditation must be from an accrediting body that is a member of the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors.

Suspended or Discontinued Programs

An institution is to notify the Commissioner of Higher Education in writing if it suspends or discontinues and academic program. When a program is suspended or discontinued, it will be removed from DHE’s inventory active, authorized programs.

A program suspended or discontinued may be reactivated only with approval of DHE. An institution is to notify the Commissioner of Higher Education in writing if it suspends or discontinues, or reactivates a suspended or discontinued, minor, concentration, track, or option within an existing program. www.mass.edu (See Academic Program Review.)

Academic Program Review Process

A system of Academic Program Review assures the college that degree granting programs strive for and achieve quality, student success, and currency.

“Since the mid-1980s, the Department of Higher Education and its predecessor Boards have conducted system-wide reviews of Nursing, Business, Engineering, Education, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science and Criminal Justice programs. The reviews in Education, Engineering, Nursing, and Criminal Justice included independent institutions as well. The most recent reviews of programs occurred in 1999 (Computer Science) and 2001 (Criminal Justice). Information of these reviews, including final reports and subsequent Board action is listed below.” DHE: www.mass.edu

At Cape Cod Community College a five year review cycle was established to complement the external accreditations and Department of Higher Education requirement of reviews. Academic program review is a process of reflection, study, and analysis conducted by the teaching faculty and administration in each academic degree or certificate program.