E.1 Philosophy & Programs

E.1. 1 Educational Philosophy

Responsible Department: Instruction

Date Approved/Amended: January 20, 2011



Houston Community College (HCC) is a comprehensive educational institution that provides academic transfer, workforce, corporate training/continuing education, developmental, and adult basic education programs. In all of these programs, HCC shall maintain high standards and encourage innovative teaching methods that take full advantage of technological advances. HCC encourages students to develop their skills, both personal and academic; to take responsibility for their education; to become flexible in order to meet the constantly shifting demands of a rapidly developing world; to appreciate their culture and those of other societies; and to cultivate excellence.

The educational programs and courses of HCC shall meet all criteria as prescribed by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

HCC is committed to application of the principles of the “Learning College” in all of its educational programs. A Learning College is one that places learning first, putting it at the heart of everything it does. In a Learning College, the mission focuses on learning rather than teaching; students and faculty are full partners in student learning; student learning is everyone's responsibility; and the institution's success is judged on student learning outcomes. A Learning College is one that values innovation and the free exchange of ideas; engages in continuous improvement to enhance student, faculty, and staff learning; assesses and improves systems and processes; and utilizes resources wisely.

E.1. 2 Academic Freedom

Responsible Department: Instruction

Date Approved/Amended: January 20, 2011



Each faculty member will have freedom in the classroom to discuss the subject he or she teaches. Additionally, each faculty member is expected not to introduce into his or her teachings controversial matters that have no relation to the classroom subject. Faculty members shall, when speaking, make clear that their opinions are not necessarily those of the System. At the same time, faculty members shall strive to be accurate in their statements and to be willing to listen to and show respect for others who express different opinions.

Institutions of higher learning exist for the common good. The common good depends upon a free search for truth and its free expression. Therefore, it is essential that College System faculty be free to pursue scholarly inquiry without undue restriction and to voice and publish their conclusions concerning the significance of evidence they consider relevant. The faculty member must be free from the corrosive fear that others, inside or outside the college community, may threaten his or her professional career because their vision differs from that of others. Faculty members are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing the subject being taught to the full extent permitted by law. Furthermore, faculty members are free from institutional censorship or discipline when they speak, write, or act as citizens of their nation, state, and community.

The concept of academic freedom must be accompanied by an equally demanding concept of responsibility, shared by the Board, administrators, and faculty members. Exercise of professional integrity by a faculty member includes recognition that the public will judge the member's profession and the College System by the faculty member's statements. Therefore, faculty members should strive to avoid creating the impression that they are speaking or acting for the College System when speaking or acting as private citizens. Faculty members should be judicious in the use of controversial material in the classroom and should only introduce such material when it has a clear relationship to the subject matter of the course being taught.

E.1. 3 Academic Transfer Programs and Courses

Responsible Department: Instruction

Date Approved/Amended: January 20, 2011



HCC shall adopt a policy to enhance the transfer of students based on the recommendations of the permanent advisory committee established by Section 51.3521 of the Education Code and the Comprehensive Standards of the Commission on Colleges, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

In its course catalogs, and on its website, HCC shall publish guidelines addressing the practices of HCC regarding the transfer of course credit. In the guidelines, HCC must identify a course by using any common course numbering system adopted by the Coordinating Board.

HCC shall offer college-level freshman and sophomore academic transfer courses leading to two-year Associate of Arts (AA), Associate of Science (AS), and Associate of Arts in Teaching (AAT) degrees. The associate degree reflects the highest level of educational attainment the System offers its students. All academic courses and degrees are designed to transfer to baccalaureate programs in four-year colleges and universities.

Academic course offerings are based on the Coordinating Board's Academic Course Guide Manual (ACGM).

E.1.3.1     Transfer Dispute Resolution

HCC shall adhere to procedures adopted by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to resolve any disputes concerning the transfer of lower division course credit. The procedures are published in the HCC Catalog.

E.1. 4 Core Curriculum

Responsible Department: Instruction

Date Approved/Amended: January 20, 2011



HCC shall adopt a core curriculum adhering to guidelines and rules established by the Coordinating Board. All students seeking an Associate of Arts (AA), Associate of Science (AS), or Associate of Arts in Teaching (AAT) degree are required to complete the core curriculum or a state-approved field of study curriculum. In accordance with state guidelines, HCC shall offer a core curriculum, set forth in the course catalog, that is fully transferable and, if completed, substitutes for a receiving institution’s core curriculum. Upon completion, students may apply for and receive a HCC Certificate of Completion and have core completion noted on their transcript.

HCC shall offer a variety of instructional options to prepare students for the workforce, including Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree programs, with semester credit hours (SCH) that may be transferable to baccalaureate programs in four-year colleges and universities; certificate programs of less than two years with SCH that may lead to associate and/or baccalaureate degrees; and institutional certificates with either SCH or continuing education units (CEU) that may qualify the student as a “marketable skills achiever.”

E.1. 5 Workforce Programs

Responsible Department: Instruction

Date Approved/Amended: January 20, 2011



The primary purpose of workforce programs is to prepare students with knowledge and skills for immediate entry into the workforce. The programs may be articulated for transfer to particular programs for baccalaureate degrees at universities.

All HCC workforce programs shall be created, operated, and revised In accordance with the Guidelines for Instructional Programs in Workforce Education (GIPWE) and the Workforce Education Course Manual (WECM) as approved by the Coordinating Board, Continuing Education Programs.

HCC shall offer continuing education courses and programs for students to explore new career options or develop skills and knowledge in their current career fields. These courses will be offered for continuing education units (CEU) according to state and national guidelines. State guidelines shall be those approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. HCC may also offer continuing education courses and programs for students’ personal enrichment and to serve community needs and interests.

E.1. 6 Contract Training

Responsible Department: Instruction

Date Approved/Amended: January 20, 2011



Through its contract training programs, HCC shall provide opportunities for business and industry to train its workforce. HCC shall cooperate with business and industry clients to create new programs and/or adapt existing curricula to meet the needs of the employers and workers. Contract training may be offered for credit or for continuing education units (CEU) according to guidelines approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

E.1. 7 Adult Education Programs

Responsible Department: Instruction

Date Approved/Amended: January 20, 2011



HCC shall offer a comprehensive array of adult education programs, including adult basic education, English as a Second Language (ESL), and GED preparatory courses. HCC shall also offer adult high school courses for students who seek to attain a high school diploma.

Basic adult education programs shall be provided by the System in accordance with state statute and regulations and standards formulated by the State Board of Education as well as the U.S. Department of Education.

E.1. 8 Developmental Programs

Responsible Department: Instruction

Date Approved/Amended: January 20, 2011



HCC shall offer non-transferable credit courses in English (writing), academic ESL, intensive ESL, reading, mathematics, and study skills to prepare students for success in all college-level educational programs.

E.1. 9 Distance Education

Responsible Department: Instruction

Date Approved/Amended: January 20, 2011



HCC shall offer distance education courses and programs to provide expanded access to students and to respond to needs of the district and the wider service area. In accordance with the criteria of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the rules and regulations of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, HCC will develop and maintain procedures that ensure instructional quality and institutional effectiveness for delivery and support of distance education programs.

E.1.10 Out of District Programs

Responsible Department: Instruction

Date Approved/Amended: January 20, 2011



HCC shall offer out-of-district programs to provide expanded access to students and respond to the needs of the service area. In accordance with the criteria of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the rules and regulations of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, HCC shall develop and maintain procedures to ensure the quality and effectiveness of such programs.

E.1.11 Dual Credit Partnership Programs

Responsible Department: Instruction

Date Approved/Amended: January 20, 2011



HCC shall enter into dual credit partnership agreements with secondary school districts or individual private/charter schools as appropriate to allow secondary students to take college-level courses for both high school and college credit. Dual credit courses are courses for which students receive college credit as well as high school credit while still enrolled in high school. The curriculum content and rigor of dual credit courses are equivalent to the college course standards and requirements. See HCC catalog for current tuition and fee information.

HCC waives all tuition and fees for dual credit courses for qualified in-district students. HCC waives tuition and fees, excluding the out-of-district fee, for dual credit courses for out-of-district students.

E.1.12 Early High School Program

Responsible Department: Instruction

Date Approved/Amended: January 20, 2011



Coordinating Board Rule 4.154 requires that "any public college or university that participates in the creation of an ECHS/MC shall notify the Coordinating Board in accordance with provisions and schedules determined by the Commissioner."

HCC may establish Early High School Programs with secondary school districts or private/charter schools. An Early High School Program is one in which the College and high school collaborate in the offering of high school and dual credit courses to students in grades nine through twelve, with the option of an additional year to allow students time to complete an associate degree.