Academic Policies

Carrying Out Our Educational Mission

Kirkwood Community College provides a diverse offering of academic programs that meet the educational goals of students and enable the college to carry out its educational mission.

The president and administration are authorized to develop and implement academic programs and academic standards, including but not limited to, standards for admission, academic standing, grading, and graduation.

Academic & Student Policies

Consistent with the philosophy held by the College in accordance with the charge given it by the State of Iowa as an institution of higher education and in concert with other agencies, our mission states:

Kirkwood Community College identifies community needs; provides accessible, quality education and training; and promotes opportunities for lifelong learning.

To accomplish this mission we are committed to creating an environment in which we constantly strive for improvement.

Read all Board policies and procedures.

  • Students completing associate of arts and associate of science degrees must earn a minimum of 16 credit hours from Kirkwood.
  • Students completing associate of applied science degrees must earn a minimum of 16 credit hours from Kirkwood in their program of study.
  • Students completing diplomas must earn a minimum of 8 credit hours from Kirkwood in their program of study.
  • Students completing certificates must earn a minimum of 6 credit hours from Kirkwood in their program of study.

Students are required to complete the curricular requirements in place during the academic year in which they were accepted into the program of study as long as there were no breaks in enrollment equal in length or longer than concurrent fall/spring semesters or concurrent spring/fall semesters.

If a student is pursuing a program of study that becomes closed to admissions, the academic department responsible for the program will determine a future date by which current students must either finish or change to an open program. Students in this situation should work closely with their advisors.

Break in Enrollment

Students with a break in enrollment equal in length or longer than concurrent fall/spring semesters or concurrent spring/fall semesters will be allowed to finish their program of study as long as it is still open to admissions, but under the curricular requirements in place during the academic year in which they re-enroll.

Students who apply for certificates, diplomas, or degrees that are not their program of study are required to complete the curricular requirements in place when the application is submitted.

Related Procedures

Reason for Procedure

This procedure addresses mandatory testing for students taking more than six credit hours.

The Procedure

All new degree-seeking students registering for more than six credit hours are required to demonstrate college level competency in writing, reading, and/or math prior to registration.

Appropriate course placement in either college or pre-college courses is determined by a variety of measures, including placement tests, previous academic experience, advising, and so on. Exemptions to this policy must be evaluated prior to registration. (Students need to allow at least two weeks for these exemptions to be evaluated.)

  • Completed similar placement tests or the ACT and sent the official record of scores to Kirkwood.
  • Community College math scores are considered valid for two years while reading and writing scores are valid for three years.
  • Successfully completed (C or better) college-level math and/or writing courses at a regionally accredited college.
  • Earned a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college.

Reason for Procedure

This procedure explains the College’s position regarding class attendance and absences related to College sponsored activities or military service.

The Procedure

Students are expected to attend all sessions of classes for which they are enrolled. Absences shall in no way lessen student responsibility for meeting the requirements of any class.

Students are expected to know the attendance requirements for each of their courses. Failure to abide by a faculty member’s attendance requirements may adversely impact their grade.

Class Attendance Expectations
Learning is central to our work at Kirkwood Community College. Faculty members use educational experiences to facilitate learning, and students learn by engaging in those experiences. Attendance and engagement in all scheduled classes are regarded as integral to learning and are expected of all students.

Kirkwood faculty members identify expectations for learning and attendance in their course syllabi. Students are accountable for the learning outcomes for each session, including those sessions that have been missed.

Assessments of learning that occur during an absence may or may not be made up, depending on the instructor’s expectations and the nature of the absence. Absences that result from participation in College-sponsored activities, jury duty, or short-term military service will be accommodated, subject to the guidelines listed below. For all other absences, authorization of an excuse is the province of the individual faculty member and subject to the standard appeal process.

Class Attendance Policy Related to College-Sponsored Activities

College-sponsored activities (excluding practices) include:

  • Athletic competitions
  • Student academic competitions and conferences
  • Musical and drama performances
  • Class field trips

Questions on whether an activity is a college-sponsored event for purposes of this procedure should be directed to the vice president of Academic Affairs.

If anticipated absences for a semester appear to be extraordinarily numerous or difficult to accommodate, a faculty member may appeal the need for the full accommodation to the vice president of Academic Affairs.

Students involved in activities where they are required to represent the College, i.e. College-sponsored activities, must give written notice to the faculty member at least one week in advance of the absence unless last-minute schedule changes make this notice impossible.

If regular season athletic schedules have been developed, student participants must present written notice of anticipated absences within the first week of the semester. Failure to provide timely written notice may result in a loss of this opportunity.

The faculty shall accord students the opportunity to independently make up course work, or work of equal value, for the day(s) the event was scheduled and to take a scheduled exam at an alternate time. The faculty member shall determine alternate exam times and due dates for missed course work. These assigned dates may be prior to the date of the absence.

Organizers (coaches, faculty, and staff) of College-sponsored activities shall:

  1. Assist students in planning class schedules to minimize the number of absences.
  2. Inform students of their responsibilities as described above.
  3. Provide written communications to the faculty member announcing and verifying the need for student class absence. Written notices should be provided at the beginning of the semester if the schedule is known, or as soon as possible after the need for a student absence is determined.

Class Absence for Jury Duty
Students who are called to jury duty may have alternative assignments provided assuming the time spent is within normal semester boundaries.

Proof of both the call to serve and actual service must be shared with the faculty member, and it is the student’s responsibility to notify the faculty member prior to service and to make arrangements to complete alternative work post the jury assignment.

Class Attendance Policy Related to Required Military Duty or Veteran Status

Questions on whether an activity is a required military service activity for purposes of this procedure should be directed to the vice president of Academic Affairs. If anticipated absences for a semester appear to be extraordinarily numerous or difficult to accommodate, a faculty member may appeal the need for the full accommodation to the vice president of Academic Affairs.

Absences due to military duty or veteran status must be excused. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Mandatory monthly drill instruction, such as duty completed by national guard members and military reservists (typically this involves a one-day absence in order to extend weekend training).
  • Service-related medical appointments where failure to appear might result in a loss of benefits.

Students must give written notice to the faculty member at least one week in advance of the absence unless last-minute schedule changes make this notice impossible. Students are strongly encouraged to inform each faculty member of their known and anticipated absences as far in advance as possible, preferably at the start of the term.

The faculty shall accord students the opportunity to independently make up course work or work of equal value, for the day(s) the event was scheduled and to take a scheduled exam at an alternate time.

The faculty member shall determine alternate exam times and due dates for missed course work. These assigned dates may be prior to the date of the absence.

Students are still responsible for demonstrating achievement of course learning goals, even when absences due to military duty are necessary and reasonable. In situations with many absences or extended periods of military duty (e.g. being called to active duty), it may be most appropriate for the student to withdraw and retake the course in a future semester.

Reason for Procedure

The procedure defines a unit of credit and establishes minimum requirement for credit hours awarded by instructional modality.

The Procedure

Kirkwood defines a unit of credit as a semester hour. A semester hour of credit is given for one hour in class each week for a period of 16 weeks.  No registration or orientation hours may be included when determining credit hours.

Reason for Procedure

Students may choose to audit a course and this procedure describes the intent and purpose.

The Procedure

Audit enrollment in courses provides students the opportunity to attend a class as a noncredit participant, usually as a listener-observer. This kind of enrollment may have value for students who want an introduction to subjects outside their major fields, a review or refresher, or other purposes where credit and grades are not needed or would pose an unnecessary academic threat.

With the permission of the faculty member and department Dean, students can enroll in any course on an audit basis. The student and faculty member must agree on what portion(s) of course the student plans to audit and the requirements the instructor has for attendance and participation. If the student fulfills the agreement for the audit, the grade of “N” will be entered on the student’s academic transcript.

If the student does not fulfill the audit agreement, the registrar, upon request from the faculty member, will withdraw the student from the courses and assign a grade of “W.”

Audit enrollments carry no credit or grade point value. No inference is made regarding the quality of a student’s mastery of the course subject matter.

Students enrolled in FlexForward programs are excluded from audit enrollment.

Standard tuition and fees apply to all audit enrollments regardless of the length and scope of the audit. The last day to change from graded credit to audit is the 5th business day of the semester. Once changed to audit, the class cannot be changed to graded credit.

Reason for Procedure

The procedure describes the guidelines for independent study in credit programs. Independent study is a special course work designed to expand student knowledge and experience with a specific discipline or program of study. The scope and sequence of the experience are beyond existing curriculum.

The Procedure

Students requesting independent study must have previous coursework in the discipline and a positive performance record. Independent study should not be used to meet College requirements that can be satisfied through regular course offerings.

Students need to discuss the independent student course contract with the discipline faculty member and have the appropriate approvals before registering.

Reason for Procedure

This procedure describes academic options for students who are enrolled in Iowa National Guard or military reserve programs, so that students may fulfill their military service obligations while minimizing the negative impact on academic standing and academic progress.

The Procedure

This procedure offers the following options to a student who is a member, or the spouse of a member if the member has a dependent child, of Iowa National Guard or reserve forces of the United States and who is ordered to start military service or federal service or duty:

  • Withdraw from the student’s entire registration and receive a full refund of tuition and mandatory fees.
  • Make arrangements with the student’s instructors for course grades, or for incompletes that shall be completed by the student at a later date. If such arrangements are made, the student’s registration shall remain intact and tuition and mandatory fees shall be assessed for the courses in full.
  • Make arrangements with only some of the student’s instructors for course grades, or for incompletes that shall be completed by the student at a later date. If such arrangements are made, the registration for those courses shall remain intact and tuition and mandatory fees shall be assessed for those courses. Any course for which arrangements cannot be made for grades or incompletes shall be considered dropped and the tuition and mandatory fees for the course refunded.

Reason for Procedure

This procedure explains the readmission process for students.

The Procedure

Students who have withdrawn from the College in good standing and who desire to be readmitted can submit a request to do so.

Students who are readmitted after absence from the College and who desire a degree, diploma, or certificate will be required to fulfill current graduation requirements.



Board Policy at Kirkwood
Carrie Anderson
319-398-5500
carrie.anderson@kirkwood.edu