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2023-2024 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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Glossary of Terms

Academic advisor: A university employee who helps the student make informed and responsible decisions in the pursuit of the student's academic goals.

Academic dismissal: Dismissal from a college or program for not maintaining the minimum required grade point average (GPA).

Advanced placement: Eligibility to enroll in courses beyond the entry level through transfer credit or examination.

Auditing: Registering for and attending class(es) regularly without being held responsible for the work required for credit. (No credit hours are earned and full tuition must be paid. The grade AU appears on the record.)

Bachelor's degree: An undergraduate degree awarded by colleges and universities upon completion of a course of study, traditionally comprising the equivalent of 120 credits of coursework beyond the completion of high school.

Badge: A digital badge, or badge, is a record of achievement that recognizes a student's completion of a coherent and meaningful academic experience. GVSU offers both credit and noncredit-bearing badges as digital credentials. Credit-bearing badges include anywhere from 0.5 to 15 academic credits and may include additional noncredit criteria. Credit-bearing badges are also posted to the academic transcript.

Board: A term used for the meal plan (e.g., room and board) at a college or university.

Capstone course: A senior-level culminating course within each undergraduate major. Normally it is among the last courses taken for degree completion. See Academic Policies and Regulations for more detail.

Certificate: A certificate is a record of achievement that recognizes a student's completion of a coherent and meaningful academic experience. A certificate includes anywhere from nine to 18 academic credits and is posted to the academic transcript.

Class standing: A classification based on the number of credit hours earned to classify a student at the freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior level. One's classification, e.g., freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior.

Cocurricular: Being outside of, but usually complementing, the regular curriculum.

Cognate: A course related to the courses in a major program or to a degree requirement.

Commencement: The formal ceremony of conferring degrees at the end of the semester or academic year.

Community-based Learning (CBL): A pedagogical tool used in Grand Valley coursework that requires students to engage with community partners as part of their required academic work in a specific course section.

Concentration: A subset of courses within a major designed to focus on a specific content area. Appears as an official designation on the transcript.

Concluding period: A period at the end of a semester when final examinations are given.

Concurrent enrollment: A term describing a student who is attending two higher education institutions simultaneously (e.g., GVSU and GRCC or MCC).

Core: A set of classes that form the foundational content all students in a particular major or program must successfully complete.

Corequisite: A requirement, usually another course that must be undertaken at the same time as a given course.

Credit hour: A unit of academic credit measured in semester hours or quarter hours. One credit hour usually represents one hour of class time per week.

Credit load: The total number of credits for which a student registers during a semester or session.

Credit/No-credit: A method used to evaluate performance in courses, separate from the grade-point system.

Deadline: The date by which certain information must be received by any given office or unit. (Current deadline dates are listed in the Annual Class Schedule.)

Dean: An administrator in charge of a division of a university or college.

Dean's list: A public announcement, at the end of each semester, listing students who have achieved a specified grade point average (GPA) or level of achievement established by the dean of the unit.

Declaration of major/minor: To state formally one's intention to pursue a specific major or minor, typically done through declaration in self-service Banner or via the university Record's/Registrar's Office.

Degree analysis: A report that shows the requirements for specific degree programs and details a student's progress toward completion of the degree.

Degree-seeking student: An applicant who has been granted admission to a degree program under full, provisional, or conditional status.

Doctorate degree: The highest earned academic degree in U.S. postsecondary education. Doctoral degrees typically require 75 graduate credits beyond the undergraduate degree. The number of credits required for completion varies depending on the program of study.

Drop and add period: The process of making certain changes (dropping and adding classes) in a student's schedule of courses during the first five class days of the semester. Adding courses is possible only in this five-day period. See the class schedule listed online for deadlines to drop courses.

Dual credit: An option applying to courses that may be taken for either graduate or undergraduate credit provided the student obtains special permission.

Dual enrollment: Concurrent enrollment in high school and college or university courses.

Elective: A course that will count as general credit toward a degree but is not a specific program requirement.

Emphasis: A defined subset of courses within a major or degree program designed to focus on a specific content area. Appears on the transcript.

Encumbrance: A hold placed on a student's record as a result of an unfulfilled monetary obligation to the university or of a disciplinary action by the university.

Full-time student: An undergraduate student taking 12 or more credits each semester, or a graduate student taking nine or more credits each semester. Undergraduates who are planning to complete a bachelor's degree in four years need to average 15 hours per semester.

General education requirements: A defined selection of undergraduate courses from all divisions of the university, making up the liberal arts base of each baccalaureate degree. The General Education Program is a required component of each bachelor's degree.

Good standing: A designation that signifies that a student is eligible to continue, to return, or to transfer elsewhere. It implies good academic standing.

Grade point average (GPA): A student's scholastic average, computed by dividing total quality points by quality hours attempted.

Graduate: One who has received an academic or professional degree; one who has completed the prescribed course of study in any school or institution of higher learning.

Graduate Student: A student who has been admitted to the university as a nondegree- or degree-seeking graduate student (e.g. badge, certificate, master's, specialist, doctorate).

Graduation: The actions of receiving or conferring an academic degree after all requirements have been met.

Graduation audit: The final review of a student's academic record that determines eligibility to graduate.

Grant: Financial assistance that is awarded to students and does not have to be repaid, usually based on need.

Guest student: A degree-seeking student from another college or university who is taking courses at Grand Valley for one semester. The credits earned are usually transferred back to the student's home institution.

GVSU hybrid course: A course that blends online and face-to-face on-campus meetings. At least 15 percent of the instruction and interaction is online.

GVSU online course: A course where all the instruction and interaction is online. There are no face-to-face on-campus meetings.

GVSU face-to-face course: A course where the instruction and interaction is face-to-face on campus during class meetings. Web technologies may be incorporated into the course delivery.

Honors: Designation indicated on the university degree and transcript to reflect outstanding scholarship.

Honors courses: Special courses offered by the Grand Valley State University Frederik Meijer Honors College designed to offer intellectual challenge and personal attention to particularly able students.

Incomplete: The grade I, sometimes granted when a student is temporarily unable to complete course requirements because of unusual circumstances. A student may not graduate with an incomplete grade on their transcript.

Independent study: A course of study undertaken by a student under the supervision of one or more faculty members outside the classroom.

Industry-Recognized Credentials (IRC) are verification of an individuals qualifications or competence issued by a third party such as business or trade associations and measure technical competency and validate knowledge and skills in a specific industry. They include certificates, credentials, or licenses and are often time-limited or renewable.

Interdisciplinary: Designating a combination of subject matter from two or more disciplines within a course or program.

Internship: Work in a firm or agency related to a student's major, program, and/or career plans. Involves earning university credit and may or may not involve receiving payment.

Issues: The two-course upper-division component of the General Education Program in which students develop their ability to draw on previous knowledge and experience, collaborate with others, and address problems that connect to important world issues.

Loan: Financial assistance to students that must be repaid. Low-interest loans are available and financial need may or may not be a factor.

Major: A collection of related courses generally consisting of 30 to 50 semester hours of credit.

Master's degree: A degree granted upon the completion of at least 33 graduate credits beyond the bachelor's degree.

Michigan residence requirements: The requirements for identifying or establishing permanent residency in Michigan for tuition assessment purposes.

Minor: A collection of courses generally consisting of a minimum of 20 semester hours of credit.

myPath: A Web-based tool that provides an opportunity for students to monitor the progress toward their academic credentials.

Nondegree-seeking student: A student who has been admitted to a nondegree-seeking category (sometimes referred to as a continuing education student) and is not currently seeking to complete any degree, certificate, or badge.

Part-time student: An undergraduate student who takes fewer than 12 credits during a semester or a graduate student who takes fewer than nine credits during a semester.

Portfolio: A collection of work (e.g., paintings, writings, etc.) that may be used to demonstrate competency in an academic area.

Practicum: A course involving activities emphasizing the practical application of theory, especially one in which a student gains on-the-job experience in a field of study.

Prerequisite: A requirement, usually the completion of another course, that must be met before a student may register for a course.

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is the review of documented learning that has taken place through prior education/training or experience that is external to GVSU and may include a portfolio review, an industry-recognized credential, or credit-by-examination.

Provost: A senior academic administrator at an institution of higher education.

Quality point: The numerical value given to letter grades. For example, an A is equivalent to four points per semester hour, a B to three points, a C to two points, a D to one point, and an F to zero points.

Readmission: An admission procedure followed by a student who was previously enrolled at Grand Valley and then dismissed.

Reentry: An enrollment procedure followed by a student who was previously enrolled in good standing at Grand Valley, but whose attendance was interrupted for two consecutive semesters, including the summer session.

Registration: The process of signing up and paying tuition and fees for courses each semester.

Registration Hold: A hold on a student's account that prevents the student from registering for a course. The hold may also prevent the student from dropping/withdrawing from a course.

Residence requirement: The requirement that the final 30 semester hours of coursework before the bachelor's degree must be earned in Grand Valley courses. Graduate students must complete a minimum of 24 Grand Valley semester hours to earn a graduate degree.

Scholarship: Financial assistance to students awarded based on academic achievement. Financial need may or may not be a factor.

Semester: A unit of time, 15 weeks long, in the academic calendar.

Semester hour: The unit of academic credit, usually meaning the pursuit of a subject for one hour a week for one semester. See credit-hour.

Senior institution: An institution of higher education offering baccalaureate programs. Grand Valley is a public senior institution.

Service-learning: A method of teaching, learning, and reflecting that combines academic classroom curriculum with meaningful service throughout the community.

Specialist Degree: A postgraduate academic degree requiring 60 graduate credits beyond the baccalaureate degree.

Stretch Course Sequences: A stretch course sequence takes a semesters worth of college-level material and extends it over two semesters, with the primary purpose of providing students with extra time and support to master course objectives. For example, successful completion of the WRT 120 (3 credits) & WRT130 (3 credits) stretch course sequence is equivalent to WRT 150 (4 credits).

Student employment: Part-time jobs made available to students with financial need through federally funded programs (work-study) and to all students through the Student Employment Office.

Study abroad: An arrangement by which GVSU students complete part of their degree program studying in another country.

Supplemental Writing Skills (SWS) section: A section of a Grand Valley course that requires extensive writing to teach students to distinguish writing conventions and expectations in their major field from those in other fields while still recognizing that all writing depends on communicating purposefully with an audience.

Teachable major: A state-approved major program for teacher certification at the secondary and/or elementary level.

Thesis: An extensive written discourse on a new point of view resulting from research, usually a requirement for an advanced academic degree.

Time limit: The length of time within which a graduate degree must be completed. At Grand Valley, the time limit is eight years.

Track: A specific pathway toward a degree (e.g. thesis track or non-thesis track).

Transcript: A copy of a student's permanent academic record at a particular institution.

Transfer credit: Credit earned at another accredited institution and accepted toward a Grand Valley degree.

Tuition: The amount of money that must be paid for courses based on the number of credits for which one registers.

Undergraduate: A university student who has not yet received a bachelor's degree.

University Catalog: A document that provides information about a college or university for prospective or current students. It includes information about admissions, financial aid, academic policies, and requirements for degree programs.

Upper division: Classification of students or courses beyond the second year (upon completion of 55 credits).

Withdrawal: Withdrawal from a course or the university. The grade assigned will depend upon the time in the semester in which the student withdrew.

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