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Office of General Counsel Policies & Guidelines

Policy Number: 
Policy/Guideline Area: 
Academic Policies
Applicable Divisions: 
Community Colleges, Universities

The purpose of this policy is to authorize each community college and university governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents to develop procedures for the recognition of equivalent extra-institutional learning processes that include the awarding of credit or advanced placement.

  1. Extra-Institutional or Life-long Learning
    1. The process for awarding of credits through “Extra-Institutional or Life-long Learning” by the community colleges and universities must be in compliance with the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Principles of Accreditation on Programs (reference 3.4), the Commission’s Position Statement on the “Transfer of Academic Credit,” and its policy on “The Transfer or Transcripting of Academic Credit.” (Exhibit 1)
    2. The institutional process for awarding credits through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) by TBR community colleges and universities must be in compliance with the Recommended Standards in Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Policy and Practice of Tennessee Public Colleges and Universities (August 7, 2012). 
      1. These Standards ensure that TBR colleges and universities will utilize best practices and provide services to students that are consistent among institutions.
      2. The Standards ensure transferability of PLA credit, include identification of types of PLA credits available, instruct campuses on the transcription of PLA credit, and establish common standards for portfolio review.
      3. The Standards are available, in their entirety, as Exhibit 1 to TBR Guideline A-030 Articulation Among Community Colleges and Universities.
    3. When awarding credit under this provision, the institution should use a recognized guide or procedure for awarding the credit for extra-institutional or life-long learning. The recognized guides or procedures may include:
      1. American Council on Education (ACE) National Guide to Educational Credit for Training Programs.
      2. Guide to Credit by Examination.
      3. College Entrance Examination Board Advanced Placement Program. (CEEB/AP)
      4. Defense Subject Standardized Test (DSST) formerly DANTES.
      5. Credit by Departmental Examination. 
      6. Subject matter experts who are not members of the institution’s faculty but who evaluate extra-institutional learning at the institution’s request.
      7. Individual portfolios using the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) or other standardized guidelines authorized, in advance, by permission of the institution.
    4. When awarding credit to students who are veterans or military service members, the institution will reference the Joint Services Transcript (JST), DD-214 and/or transcripts from the Army/American Council on Education Registry Transcript System (AARTS), Community College of Air Force (CCAF), and Coast Guard Institute (CGI). The institution will use the American Council of Education (ACE) for awarding credit for military experience, educations, and/or training obtained during military experience. The recognized procedures include:
      1. If military experience, education, and/or training are equivalent to a course that fulfills a general education or degree program requirement, the course credit will count towards graduation. Otherwise, appropriate course credit will be granted for elective credit.
      2. Should credit not be captured through ACE recommendations, TBR institutions will offer veterans and service members an opportunity for prior learning assessment via another recognized mechanism (refer to Section C, above).
      3. Each TBR institution will provide veteran and military service members relevant information on awarding college credit for military education, experience, and/or training.
      4. Each TBR institution will maintain a set of institutional polices on the awarding of academic credit for military experience within their undergraduate catalog. The policies will include a description of the procedure for removing excessive hours applied to transcripts, which may affect student eligibility for financial aid.
    5. When utilizing published guides for extra-institutional learning, the information provided should include:
      1. course title;
      2. location of all sites where the course is offered;
      3. length in hours, days, or weeks;
      4. period during which the credit recommendation applies;
      5. purpose for which the credit was designed;
      6. learning outcomes;
      7. teaching methods, materials, and major subject areas covered; and
      8. college credit recommendations offered by categories (by level of degrees) and expressed in semester hours and subject area(s) in which credit is applicable.

March 2006 TBR Board Meeting; Revised September 20, 2013. Revisions approved by Board September 15, 2016.

Policy Number: 
Policy/Guideline Area: 
Academic Policies
Applicable Divisions: 
TCATs, Community Colleges

The purpose of this policy is to establish processes and procedures for articulation of technical and career programs at institutions governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents. 

  1.  Articulation from a Community College to College of Applied Technology Certificate and Diploma Programs
    1. A student may be eligible to receive clock hours toward a diploma or certificate program based upon the evaluation of the college transcript and course syllabi.
    2. The institutions involved must agree that the learning outcomes specified in courses offered by the community college satisfy learning outcomes in similar courses and/or programs offered by the colleges of applied technology. Syllabi of the courses from the institutions involved must be maintained and documented.
    3. Grades that articulate from the community college must be a C or above.
  2. ​Articulation to College of Applied Technology Certificate and Diploma Programs from Secondary Education
    1. Colleges of applied technology and secondary schools may enter into agreements for the articulation of competencies in certificate and diploma programs.
      1. The college of applied technology must agree that the learning outcomes specified in courses offered by the secondary school satisfy learning outcomes as expressed in program competencies offered by the colleges of applied technology. Competency lists from the institutions involved must be maintained and documented.
      2. Clock (contact) hours will be awarded to the student upon enrollment in the college of applied technology based upon the student’s demonstrated attainment of competencies through college of applied technology recognized checklists or by assessment.
    2. Student requirements include the following provisions:
      1. The student must meet all regular admissions requirement of the college of applied technology as published in the institutional catalog.
      2. The student who is admitted to any college of applied technology program must meet all applicable academic requirements of the proposed program of study.
  3. Awarding of Semester Credit Hours (articulation ) from a College of Applied Technology Certificate and Diploma Program, or Other Technical Education/Training entity, to a Community College or University
    1. In order to facilitate the efficient comparison of learning outcomes between the TCATs and community colleges, aligned community college applied science curriculum competencies will be delineated for those courses eligible for transfer of credit from the TCAT or other technical education/training entities.
      1. Representative community college faculty in the subject will develop the statewide competency-based course supplemental document.
      2. The statewide competency-based course document will represent a minimum of 70 - 80 percent alignment between the colleges, reflecting the learning outcomes in the common course library, which allows for regional educational differences.
    2. Within each comparable field of study between the TCATs and community colleges, representative community college faculty of aligned programs will convene to develop and recognize standardized processes and procedures among the community colleges that will allow for the TCAT graduate in the field to continue a competency-based pathway toward the A.A.S. degree or technical certificate in the specified program.
    3. A student may be eligible to receive semester credit hours toward a technical certificate or associate degree based upon the evaluation of the TCAT transcript, and the TCAT program competencies and syllabi.
    4. The community colleges, with comparable fields of study with the TCATs, must agree that the equivalent competencies specified in related TCAT programs satisfy the learning outcomes in similar courses and/or programs offered by the community colleges.
      1. Documentation of equivalent learning outcomes, the process for validation of the transfer credit, and any remediation process must be maintained by the institutions awarding the credit.
    5. Grades that articulate from the TCAT must be a C or above, dependent upon the requirements of the field of study, and as established statewide by the community colleges' faculty.
    6. Students may be eligible to be awarded semester credit hours by a community college of university based upon Policy 2:01:00:04, Awarding of Credits Earned Through Extra-Institutional Learning to Community Colleges and Universities.
    7. Additional guidance can be found in TBR Guidelines A-30, Components of Articulation Agreements including the attached exhibit of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission's document on Prior Learning Standards; and A-31, Articulation Among Community Colleges and Universities. 

Board Meeting: March 29, 2006; TBR Board Meeting March 29, 2012; Revised at TBR Board Meeting September 16, 2015; Revised at TBR Board Meeting March 31, 2017.

Policy Number: 
Topics Outline: 
Policy/Guideline Area: 
Academic Policies
Applicable Divisions: 
Community Colleges, Universities

The purpose of this policy is to establish procedures for awarding a degree posthumously, for institutions governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

  1. Posthumous Degrees
    1. In the unfortunate event of a student's death during an academic term in which it may reasonably be assumed that he or she would have completed all degree requirements, a degree may be awarded posthumously to the student.
    2. The decision as to the likelihood that the student would have completed his or her work during the term shall be at the discretion of the president.
    3. Recommendations to the president for awarding a degree posthumously should be in accordance with the established institutional process for conferral of degrees.
    4. The special nature of the award should be reflected on all pertinent records.

TBR Meeting, March 19, 1982

Policy Number: 
Policy/Guideline Area: 
Academic Policies
Applicable Divisions: 
Community Colleges, Universities

The purpose of this policy is to establish the procedures for awarding transfer credit from proprietary colleges, for institutions governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

  1. Awarding of Transfer Credit from Proprietary Colleges
    1. Awarding of transfer credit from proprietary colleges is considered on a case-by-case basis.
    2. Universities and community colleges must have in place procedures to document the validity of courses requested for transfer from proprietary colleges, including submission of official transcripts of courses taken, documentation of course content, course level, contact hours, the standards for assessing student work, and certification of the academic credentials of the course instructor.
    3. Academic Affairs officials at each institution will review the documentation submitted and coordinate with the Office of Admissions to confirm or deny approval of courses approved for transfer.

TBR Meeting, June 20, 1975; March 27, 2008.

Policy Number: 
Policy/Guideline Area: 
Academic Policies
Applicable Divisions: 
Community Colleges, Universities

The purpose of this policy is to specify the common general education requirements at the lower-division, for institutions governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

  1. General Education Requirements
    1. Effective Fall Semester 2004, each institution in the State University and Community College System of Tennessee (hereafter identified as the Tennessee Board of Regents System) will subscribe to common general education requirements at the lower-division.
    2. These requirements consist of forty-one (41) semester hours in the following subject categories and are required for completion of the Associate of Arts (A.A.), Associate of Science (A.S.), Associate of Science in Teaching (A.S.T.), and all baccalaureate degrees.
      1. Communication: 9 semester hours
        1. Six (6) semester hours of English composition and three (3) semester hours in English oral presentational communication are required.
      2. Humanities and/or Fine Arts: 9 semester hours
        1. One course must be in literature.
      3. Social/Behavioral Sciences: 6 semester hours
      4. History: 6 semester hours
        1. Students who lack the required one unit (one year) of American history from high school as an admissions requirement must complete six (6) semester hours of American History or three (3) semester hours of American History and three (3) semester hours of Tennessee History to fulfill the history requirement in general education. Otherwise, students may choose from among the history courses approved at a particular institution to fulfill the six-semester hour requirement in history.
      5. Natural Sciences: 8 semester hours
      6. Mathematics: 3 semester hours
    3. Total 41 semester hours.
    4. Courses specified as meeting general education requirements are published in the catalog of each institution and may be viewed at the following TBR link. 
    5. Students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree shall be required to demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language equivalent to completion of two years of college-level work.
    6. Students pursuing an Associate of Arts degree shall be required to demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language equivalent to completion of one year of college-level work.
    7. Students pursuing as Associates of Fine Arts degree in Music as a Tennessee Transfer Pathway will complete all of the required General Education hours in Section B. above except for six hours of the humanities requirement, including one course in literature, which must be completed at a university upon transfer. Total 35 hours.
  2. Undergraduate Degree Requirements and Provisions
    1. All baccalaureate degrees offered by institutions in the Tennessee Board of Regents System shall require a maximum of 120 semester hours except in certain degree programs in which approval to exceed the maximum has been granted. The programs approved as exceptions to the maximum are identified in institutional catalogs.
    2. All associate of arts and associate of science degrees offered by institutions in the Tennessee Board of Regents System shall be designated on the THEC Academic Program inventory as University Parallel degrees and require a maximum of 60 semester hours except in certain degree programs in which approval to exceed the maximum has been granted. The programs approved as exceptions to the maximum are identified in institutional catalogs. For students who complete a Tennessee Transfer Pathway, the corresponding associate of arts or associate of science or associate of fine arts degree shall include the title of the pathway in the catalog and on the diploma. 
    3. Credit hours earned in remedial or developmental courses are institutional credit; they are not applicable to credit hours required for any certificate, associate, or baccalaureate degree.
    4. College courses taken to address course deficiencies in high school preparation and to meet minimum university admission requirements effective fall 1989 may be used concurrently to satisfy general education requirements specified above with the exception of foreign language.
    5. Relative to removing course deficiencies in foreign language, the following provisions apply:
      1. Students who pursue programs leading to the Associate of Science or Bachelor of Science degrees may apply foreign language courses taken to remove the deficiencies as electives, if appropriate, or otherwise as add-on hours.
      2.  Students who pursue programs leading to the Associate of Arts and Bachelor of Arts degrees may apply foreign language courses taken to remove deficiencies toward fulfillment of degree requirements.
  3. Transfer Provisions of General Education and Tennessee Transfer Pathway Courses
    1. Students who complete the Associate of Arts or Associate of Science or Associate of Science in Teaching degree and transfer to a university within the Tennessee Board of Regents System will have satisfied all lower-division general education requirements.
    2. University to university transfer students and community college students who do not complete the Associate of Arts or Associate of Science or Associate of Science in Teaching or Associate of Fine Arts degree and transfer to an institution within the Tennessee Board of Regents System but who complete blocks of subject categories will have satisfied the general education requirements for the categories of note.
      1. For example, if the eight (8) semester hours of natural sciences are completed, then this block of the general education requirement is fulfilled upon transfer to an institution within the Tennessee Board of Regents System.
      2. When a subject category is incomplete, a course by-course evaluation will be conducted, and the student will be subject to specific requirements of the receiving institution.
      3. If a student is following a Tennessee Transfer Pathway, all courses contained within the curriculum of that pathway completed by the student prior to transfer shall be accepted by the institution and be applied either to the general education requirement or area of emphasis requirement as listed in that Tennessee Transfer Pathway.
    3. Institutional/departmental requirements of the grade of "C" will be honored.
      1. If credit is granted for a course with the grade of "D," any specific requirements for the grade of "C" by the receiving institution will be enforced, except as provided in Section B of Calculation of Grade Point Averages (GPAs) for Courses Transferred and Related Applications.
    4. In certain majors, specific courses must also be taken in general education.
      1. It is important that students and advisors be aware of any major requirements that must be fulfilled under lower-division general education.
      2. In cases where specific courses are required as a part of general education for certain majors, the student is responsible for enrolling in the correct courses.
      3. Failure to fulfill specific major requirements in lower-division general education may result in the need to complete additional courses.
  4. Calculation of Grade Point Averages (GPAs) for all Courses Transferred and Related Applications
    1. Upon receiving courses for transfer, the receiving institution will exclude grades in the calculation of Grade Point Averages (GPAs).
      1. Credit will be given for all courses in which passing grades are achieved, including the grade of D.
      2. All grades, including F's, W's, etc., must be included on the transfer record.
      3. The entire record of transfer students will be considered for eligibility of admission into programs that require attainment of specific grade point averages or where external entities stipulate consideration of the entire student record.
    2. Specific application regarding the grade of D pertains as follows:
      1. Community college students who complete approved Tennessee Transfer Pathways (TTPs) or parts thereof, the grade of D will be honored and affected courses will not be subject to repetition, except in certain cases where requirements stipulate specific courses must be achieved with a grade of C (2.0) or higher.
      2. In routes of transfer outside the TTPs, institutional practices regarding the applicability of the grade of D will be honored.
    3. Institutions will follow prescribed state practices in evaluating continuing eligibility for the Tennessee Lottery Scholarship Program, which requires inclusion of calculating the cumulative GPA on all courses taken after graduation from high school.
    4. Institutions have the prerogative to develop criteria for honors designations.
    5. In cases where a student repeats a course at another institution, the receiving institution should utilize its own repeat policy to exclude the grade/credit originally earned.
    6. The provisions noted above will be effective for course work presented for transfer to enroll in summer 2015 and thereafter.
  5. General Education Requirements for the Associate of Applied Science Degree
    1. The Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree is not designed to transfer to baccalaureate programs; however, a general education component is required.
    2. The following distribution of general education courses is required for the A.A.S. degree in all community colleges within the Tennessee Board of Regents System.
      1. English Composition: 3 semester hours
      2. *Humanities and/or Fine Arts: 3 semester hours
      3. *Social/Behavioral Sciences: 3 semester hours
      4. *Natural Science/Mathematics: 3 semester hours
        1. One additional course from the categories of Communication, Humanities and/or Fine Arts, Social/Behavioral Sciences, or Natural Science/Mathematics 3-4 semester hours
    3. Total 15-17 semester hours
    4. *Specific courses satisfying these requirements must be the same courses that satisfy the general education requirement for the Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, or baccalaureate degrees.
  6. Graduate
    1. Graduate Degree Requirements and Provisions
      1. Graduate degree requirements vary by discipline and level. Generally, master and doctoral programs require a 3.0 GPA or higher for graduation as stated by the institution.
    2. Transfer Provision for Graduate Courses
      1. Transfer credit provisions are set by the institutions in keeping with best practice guidelines. As such, transfer of graduate credit is limited in a number of areas.
        1. For example,
          1. the number of hours that may be transferred,
          2. in equivalency of requirements,
          3. the procedures for acceptance of graduate transfer credits,
          4. the period in which courses may be taken and time limits on graduate work varies by institution,
          5. department and academic program.
      2. In general, courses are eligible for transfer if the grade earned is a "B" or better.

TBR Meetings, June 25, 1976; June 25, 1982; March 20, 1987; June 24, 1988; December 5, 1997; June 29, 2004; September 24, 2004; March 27, 2008; TBR Board Meeting September 25, 2009. TBR Board Meeting, December 2, 2010; September 21, 2012; December 21, 2014 ( Removed language in Section I.D. refering to finding the course information on the TBR and/or Policies & Guideline website. This information will now be on the individual institution's website.);(Added a new link for pathways information.) TBR Meeting March 30, 2016.

Policy Number: 
Policy/Guideline Area: 
Academic Guidelines
Applicable Divisions: 
Community Colleges, Universities

The purpose of this guideline is to establish the process and procedures for Institutional Review for Research by institutions governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

  1. Institutional Review Boards
    1. An Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a specially constituted review body established or designated by an institution to protect the welfare of all human subjects in all research.
      1. In order to conduct human subject research, an IRB review pursuant to 45 CFR, Part 46 must be undertaken. 
        1. Any research project determined by the IRB to be subject to Federal or other regulation shall be conducted pursuant to those regulations.
        2. The IRB must conduct continuing review of non-exempt research at intervals appropriate to the degree of risk.    
        3. Exempt research studies are exempt from continuing review.
      2. All requested changes in the conduct of a study and/or changes to study documents must be approved by the appropriate IRB(s) prior to implementation of that modification. 
        1. The only exception is a change necessary to eliminate apparent immediate hazards to the research subject (21 CFR 56.108 (a) (4).
      3. Researchers must notify the IRB(s) of any unanticipated problems involving risks to subjects or others, and other events as required by institutional policy.
      4. Continuing reviews and re-approval of research must occur on or before the date when IRB approval expires.
      5. If continuing review and re-approval fails to occur by the continuing date specified by the IRB, all research activities must stop, unless the IRB finds that it is in the best interest of individual participants to continue participating in the research interventions or interaction.
        1. The individual IRB will determine if a new application or continuing review materials must be submitted before a new approval may be issued.
    2. When research involves domains under the regulation of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), institutions will also establish an IRB and procedures for IRB approval consistent with FDA regulations.
      1. Community colleges may partner with universities or other community colleges for assistance in either developing their own IRBs or engage in a collaborative arrangement with a university to hold joint review.
      2. Within the minimum time practicable, i.e., seven (7) business days as an acceptable standard and up to a maximum time of thirty (30) days, it will be determined if the application is complete.
        1. If it is incomplete, the researcher will be notified what needs to be done to complete the application for review.
      3. Once the application is complete, it will be determined if the study is exempt pursuant to 45 CFR 46.101 (b) and (c), expedited pursuant to 45 CFR 46.101, or requires full review in accordance with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) regulations.
      4. Per 45 CFR 46.114, cooperative research projects are those projects covered by this policy which involve more than one institution.
        1. In the conduct of cooperative research projects, each institution is responsible for safeguarding the rights and welfare of human subjects and for complying with policy.

New Guideline approved at Presidents Meeting August 11, 2009.

Policy Number: 
Policy/Guideline Area: 
Academic Guidelines
Applicable Divisions: 
Community Colleges, Universities

The purpose of this guideline is to reflect the commitment of the TBR System and its institutions to enhance students’ access to and success in higher education.

  • Learning support in this guideline is defined within the body of the policy
  1. Introduction
    1. Students should be ready for college level courses, but some students require additional support to be successful. Through co-requisite delivery of learning support and college level courses, students have an enhanced opportunity to succeed. ( Learning support in this guideline is defined as academic support needed by a student to be successful in college level general education courses and/or to meet minimum reading, writing, and mathematic competencies as required by faculty in programs that do not require general education courses in reading, writing and/or mathematics. The purpose is to enhance academic success in college level courses and increase the likelihood of program completion that will prepare students for career success in their chosen field of study.
  2. Assessment
    1. All students, regardless of age, who do not present valid ACT, SAT, or other assessment scores [hot link to website to be added] approved by the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, e.g., SAILS or TN Ready, will be placed into the appropriate co-requisite learning support course(s) or interventions for reading, writing, and/or mathematics, as required by the academic program.
    2. If these scores are available, but fail to demonstrate college readiness based upon the table below or documented evidence to the contrary, the student will be placed into the appropriate co-requisite learning support course(s) or interventions for reading, writing, and/or mathematics, as required by the academic program.
      1.  ACT* ***SAT** ***
        Writing 18Critical Reading  490
        Reading   19Critical Reading  500
        Mathematics19Math                   500

        * It should be noted that the 2010 ACT College Readiness Standards were revised to reflect the following minimum scores to be evaluated as "college ready". Writing - 18; Reading - 21; Mathematics - 22. The above scores are for purpose of placement.
        ** SAT concorded cut scores are based upon 2016 Revised SAT scores

        *** Students with a subject score that is equal to or greater than the listed cut score will be exempt from Learning Support and placed into college level courses.

    3. ​Academic programs that do not require specific college level courses, i.e., in math, English, or reading intensive courses used for placement, may have faculty-prescribed learning support competencies established as prerequisites/co-requisites specific to the degree program or certificate if deemed necessary for workforce readiness in the field of study.
    4. Institutions will provide, or may require, assessment to allow students to challenge placement into co-requisite learning support if they have not met established criteria.
      1. The challenge assessment will be an approved nationally normed standardized assessment that will be identified in the institution’s Catalog and/or Student Handbook.
      2. In addition to this assessment, the institution may choose to require a writing sample for placement related to success in ENGL 1010.
    5. Degree Seeking: First-Time and Transfer Students
      1. Scores used for initial assessment must have been earned within 5 years prior to the first day of class for the student’s entering term.
      2. Students entering without l assessment scores or transferable college-level English composition credit will be placed into co-requisite writing learning support with the option of challenge testing.
      3. Students entering without assessment scores or transferable college-level credit from a reading intensive general education course will be placed into co-requisite reading learning support with the option of challenge testing. The designation of the reading intensive course will be made by the receiving institution.
      4. Students entering without assessment scores or transferable college-level mathematics credit will be placed into co-requisite mathematics learning support with the option of challenge testing.
    6. Special Students: Non-Degree Seeking / Certificate Programs
      1. Certificate seeking students entering without transferable college-level English composition credit will be subject to the same placement criteria prior to enrollment in college-level English or in any course with English composition as a prerequisite.
      2. Certificate seeking students entering without transferable college-level credit from a reading intensive general education course will be subject to the same placement criteria in reading. The designation of the reading intensive course will be made by the receiving institution.
      3. Certificate seeking students without transferable college-level mathematics credit will be subject to the same placement criteria prior to enrollment in college-level mathematics or in any course with mathematics as a prerequisite.
      4. Students who change to degree-seeking status will be assessed under guidelines for degree seeking students.
      5. For students desiring to take one or more courses for personal or professional development, the institution will establish a policy to address the need for assessment.
  3. Parameters
    1. Organizational Structure
      1. The president of each institution will determine the organizational structure and coordination of learning support services for the institution.
      2. Each institution will establish criteria for the selection of learning support faculty consistent with professional disciplinary standards and SACSCOC accreditation standards.
      3. Institutional policies will apply to faculty and staff whose primary role is learning support.
    2. Learning Support Framework
      1. Institutions will develop a co-requisite plan for reading, writing, and math as referenced by the Fundamental Features of Co-Requisites Remediation document.
        1. (Note: The Fundamental Features of Co-Requisites Remediation document and Learning Support Competencies for reading, writing, and mathematics are available by request from the designated Learning Support Director/Coordinator at each institution and are available on the TBR website.(
      2. Only learning support at the high school level as defined by Tennessee Department of Education qualifies for federal financial aid. (Federal Student Aid Handbook, Volume 1, Chapter 1 – Student Eligibility 2016-2017)
      3. If a student matriculates, the institution must include strategies to address learning support for those students with ACT subject scores of 12 or below (or other approved concorded scores, such as SAT, PSAT, etc.).
      4. Unless noted as an exception (see next item), learning support will be provided through co-requisite delivery with college level courses that have been approved by the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs.
      5. As an exception, stand-alone learning support may be provided only on a limited basis to support non-degree seeking students whose program does not require college-level math, and/or English 1010, and/or reading intensive courses, but the program requirements established by the faculty do include successful demonstration of Learning Support Competencies.
      6. Faculty who teach the college-level courses that are linked with learning support must be involved in the development of the learning support delivery plan.
      7. The learning support must address the learning outcomes and competencies ( determined to be appropriate for college readiness, and must be aligned with the competencies required in the linked general education college-level course to facilitate successful completion of the core course.
      8. Students must attain the appropriate mastery level of learning competencies during their initial semesters of enrollment. Students requiring learning support in multiple areas must address at least one subject area per term until all competencies are completed.
      9. When placement requires remediation in more than one subject area, Learning Support Competencies may require more than one semester of work, but should be completed within the first 30 semester credit hours. In this case, it may be appropriate to address literacy requirements first.
      10. The delivery of learning support must be based on proven methods of integrating technology and learner-centered pedagogy and must address the desired learning competencies.
      11. While four year public institutions cannot offer learning support for credit (Complete College TN Act of 2010 (CCTA), community colleges may provide learning support for credit or provide non-credit interventions for learning support. With Board approval, learning support lab fees may be established in lieu of tuition.
      12. Academic programs or certificates that do not require a college-level mathematics course may require mathematics learning support competencies as prerequisites/co-requisites specific to the degree program or certificate.
      13. Credit hours assigned to pre-college level learning support should be kept to a minimum, not to exceed 9 semester credit hours in total for all three subject areas.
      14. “Learning Strategies” will not be offered as a required learning support course for less than college-level credit. Institutions will determine the delivery of appropriate “learning strategies” at their individual institutions. While these skills should be incorporated across the curriculum, learning strategies should be addressed in the first-year experience college success course.
      15. With regard to the students receiving VA benefits, each institution will ensure that learning support is provided in compliance with the eligibility provisions of the rules and regulations of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (38 CFR Ch. 1 s 21.4200 et seq.), including requirements for class attendance.
    3. Student Records
      1. Students will demonstrate mastery of the defined Learning Support competencies at a level comparable to a passing grade.
      2. Successful completion of a student’s learning support competencies will be recorded on the student’s academic record with or without the assignment of standard grades.
      3. Students may not audit any portion of their learning support plans.
      4. Student progress and completion of learning support competencies will be notated in Banner and posted to the academic record.
    4. Student Transfers
      1. Student learning support information will be provided upon request. When a transcript is requested, the institution must send placement and enrollment status reports for transferring students that includes student record of progress and completion of learning support competencies.
      2. Regardless of the strategies and activities used to provide learning support, once mastery learning has been documented by the institution, all TBR institutions must accept that documentation.
      3. If mastery learning for required competencies has not been documented as satisfied, the receiving institution will default to co-requisite learning support. The institution may provide the opportunity for challenge testing.
  4. Accountability - Evaluation of the learning support services is as continuous improvement process. The institution will monitor TBR established benchmarks and annual performance indicators to demonstrate progress of students who are placed in learning support.
    1. Measures of Success
      1. Success will be measured by student completion of learning support, enrollment and success in college entry-level courses for which students have received learning support, fall to fall retention, graduation rates, and time to graduation.
      2. Additional data measures may be established and reported by the institution to document and evaluate efforts to increase student access.
      3. Appropriate data tracking must be established to track the progress of any student with an ACT subject score of 12 or below who is enrolled at the institution.
      4. All TBR institutions will form partnerships with the high school districts’ Local Education Agency (LEA) in order to develop early intervention systems, provide learning support for at-risk students identified through assessments taken prior to the senior year of high school, including ACT, SAT, PSAT, etc. 

Approved at Presidents Meeting August 17, 2010 (Revised former guideline A-100, Basic/Developmental Studies Program (DSP) Operational Guidelines); Presidents meeting February 14, 2012. Revisions approved at Presidents Meeting November 8, 2016.

Policy Number: 
Policy/Guideline Area: 
Academic Guidelines
Applicable Divisions: 
Community Colleges, Universities

The purpose of this guideline is to establish the operational guidelines for the Development and Operation of Off-Campus International Educational Programs by institutions governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

  1. Introduction
    1. Each institution that participates in any international educational program shall adopt policies and procedures consistent with the good practice standards as established through the Forum on Education Abroad, recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice as the Standards Development Organization for Education Abroad.
    2. Best practices
      1. The TBR is committed to having our institutions identify and adopt relevant good practices which can assist our institutions in enhancing and improving their education abroad activities and processes including:
        1. undertake reasonable steps to be informed of and comply with applicable laws both at home and in the host country;
        2. avoid arrangements which might violate those laws or accepted business practices of the U.S. or host country;
        3. establish and maintain reasonably safe and non-discriminatory, work, study and living conditions for employees and students;
        4. communicate clearly with students the anticipated environmental conditions of the location abroad;
        5. make available current policies, procedures and job descriptions;
        6. exercise due diligence in cost control and adopting clear and reasonable billing procedures for participants;
        7. establish transparent protocols for data collected;
        8. maintain sufficient financial resources to meet obligations and exigencies for unanticipated obligations;
        9. enforce research including human subject research protocols and those of the host country in accordance with standards outlined by the Department of Health and Human Services and National Institutes of Health;
        10. engage in continuous improvement;
        11. emphasize academic integrity within the international education experience;
        12. manage all provider arrangements for oversight and evaluation; and
        13. follow the established US Import/Export Guidelines.
  2. Types of Programs & Program Documentation
    1. Courses for academic credit, hosted abroad, should provide academic learning opportunities appropriate to the mission of the program and that align to courses in a student’s area of study or which meet general education requirements.
    2. Institutions may opt to have their students engage in any of the following types of education abroad:
      1. Institutional or campus administered programs led by institutional faculty including course-embedded study abroad, service–learning, or internships.
        1. Service-learning abroad or community-engaged learning combines structured participation in a community–based project to achieve specified learning outcomes as part of the study abroad program.
        2. Service learning is not the equivalent of civic engagement.
        3. Determination of service learning activities should be mindful of the culture and politics of the location in which the program in offered.
      2. Programs where the institution maintains a central office or facility in another country which is staffed by a resident director and is under close supervision and the TBR institution which awards credit.
      3. International branch campuses.
      4. Reciprocal exchange programs which are bilateral or multilateral exchanges.
        1. Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is a document signifying the mutual interest in the development of collaborative educational activities related to instruction, research, and extension between units at cooperating institutions. No financial or legal obligations are incurred with an MOU. It is often the preliminary step to a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).
        2. A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) is a contract between units at cooperating institutions to develop collaborative activities related to instruction, research, and/or extension and thus, establishes the parameters for student exchanges between two institutions.
        3. All collaborations involving either a memorandum of agreement through which a TBR institution agrees to work with a non-TBR institution, whether domestic or international, must be vetted through the General Counsel’s Office either on the individual campus or through the TBR System Office.
      5. Direct enrollment in institutions outside the United States.
      6. Consortia sponsored programs including programs sponsored through the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies (TnCIS).
      7. Programs sponsored by American universities and colleges overseas.
      8. Hybrid or mixed programs which combine two or more of the program types to a significant degree, or
    3. Programs contracted with a third party vendor or independent program provider.
      1. Institutions should use the services of third party or independent program providers, which offer education abroad program services to students from multiple institutions within and outside of the TBR, with caution.
      2. Institutions maintain liability for the welfare of students enrolled in their institutions while they are engaged in study abroad provided through a third party program provider.
    4. All institutions including the TnCIS must establish guidelines for operation of international programs.
      1. Institutions engaged in any international activities which are not coordinated through the TnCIS must establish international policies or guidelines for the individual institution and submit them annually to the TBR Office of Academic Affairs.
      2. Institutions may adopt the policies and procedures embraced through TnCIS as a whole, if the institution engages solely in TnCIS study abroad programs.
      3. All policies and procedures established by institutions must be vetted through the appropriate institutional channels including the University Counsel on the campus or TBR Office of General Counsel, as applicable.
      4. The TnCIS protocols and guidelines must be vetted through the TBR Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs or designee as well as the TBR General Counsel.
  3. Defining Roles within Study Abroad Programs
    1. Individuals approved for participation in, and travel with international programs sponsored by TBR institutions including the TnCIS programs consist of the following categories:
      1. Participants
        1. Individual institutions should establish guidelines to determine the required preparation necessary for a student to participate in the desired international experience (e.g., GPA, tenure in academic program, academic preparedness, and contributions to the program of study). The TnCIS will employ institutional guidelines and notify individual institutions if they are not in compliance with the guidelines.
        2. In keeping with best practices, only individuals enrolled in a TBR institution may participate in study abroad programs.
        3. Students enrolled in TBR institutions must be registered at their home institutions in order to participate in international study courses if the course is sponsored by their home institution or by another institution within the TBR system.
        4. Individuals who are students at non-TBR institutions or are not students at any institution of higher education must enroll in a TBR institution under “Non-Degree” or “Continuing Education” or “Transient” or “Transfer” student status for the duration of the international education experience. Enrolling in one of these classifications requires that these individuals meet all qualifications, prerequisites, and requirements for selection as a participant in an international education program, participate in all orientation meetings, and pay all tuition and fees to the sponsoring TBR institution.
        5. Students from non-TBR schools who elect to participate in TBR institution-sponsored international education programs as fulltime transfer students are responsible for transferring credit back to their home institutions.
      2. Program Directors and Group Leaders
        1. These are TBR employees who administratively lead and/or teach international education experiences, including individuals outside the institution and those employed at another higher education institution outside the TBR system, who serve in the role of Program Director or Group Leader. Program directors and group leaders, including faculty directing and teaching in the TnCIS programs, must have their role defined and documented by the unit sponsoring the program. This documentation must be on file with the TBR Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs.
        2. Program directors serve as institutional representatives and as such must maintain current certification as a Study Abroad Leader though the TBR Office of Academic Affairs, the individual institutional training, or the TnCIS study abroad training programs. Individual faculty are responsible for providing documentation of qualifications at the time of application to offer a study abroad program at individual institutions or through the TnCIS.
        3. All program directors of institutionally sponsored trips must create a campus appropriate training structure and implement institutional assessment guidelines for the completion of such training prior to faculty leading a trip.
        4. Faculty compensation for international educational programs is not subject to Policy No. 5:02:04:10 Faculty Compensation During Summer Session and Inter-session. Faculty teaching for the TnCIS  must submit their academic credentials to Pellissippi State Community College (PSCC) and be appointed as an adjunct faculty member at PSCC.
      3. Faculty Instructors
        1. Faculty who are teaching the international course, but may not be the designated program director, must have their role defined and documented by the unit sponsoring the program.
      4. Accompanying Spouses and Minors
        1. In cases where a program director or faculty instructor will be traveling abroad for an extended period of time (more than 30 days), it is left to the discretion of the home institution as to whether to allow spouses and minors to travel with the employee.
        2. Spouses and minor children, if allowed to participate, cannot impair the operation or administration of the program, or otherwise infringe on the participants, or incorporate any of their expenses into the program budget.
        3. Spouses and minor children, if allowed to participate, must complete an Assumption of Risk form for the program, consortia (if relevant) and TBR institutions prior to departure.
  4. Safety and Welfare
    1. Faculty and staff directing and teaching in study abroad programs should be trained in the liabilities of the responsibilities accompanying their role when not on U.S. soil.
    2. Institutions should have operational policies and procedures in place for faculty leading international education experiences to refer to as needed which include:
      1. Health and safety, insurance, payments of health care expenses when abroad, contact information for medical assistance in the area(s) in which the program is in operation;
      2. Crisis management and response;
      3. Disciplinary actions ranging from reporting to expulsion; and
      4. Student appeals.
    3. In case of medical emergency, program directors should take reasonable action on behalf of the student participant.
    4. Crisis Response Plans
      1. All institutions that direct study abroad programs should have a detailed critical response protocol in place to address emergencies.
        1. Institutions offering campus based international educational experiences, as well as the TnCIS based programs, must ensure that all program directors, faculty and students receive clear training on how any crisis is to be handled.
      2. Institutions must establish a clear, written reporting chain with identified contact person(s) on the campus to which all incidents and potential actions to take within a crisis situation is reported.
        1. All incidents should be reported at the earliest possible time.
        2. Program directors for international study courses should have clear guidelines with relevant contact information for airlines, insurance and medical personnel in the event of a crisis including the need to evacuate.
      3. A copy of the institution’s crisis response plan should be on file with the Office of Academic Affairs by April 1 of each year.
      4. Institutions are expected to comply with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act).
        1. Each institution must develop a policy for compliance with the Clery Act regarding all international programs.
        2. At a minimum, each institutional policy must require that each program designate an individual responsible for complying with the Clery Act.
        3. For programs managed by a third party or a foreign institution, where the TBR institution has control of the property, the TBR institution should designate an official to collect any crime reports.
    5. Student Rights
      1. Study Abroad programs are expected to comply with the American Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act when possible and the policy for addressing requests for accommodations should be included in the institution’s international education policy.
        1. Issues related to accessibility should be resolved after a student is accepted into an international educational experience, but before the student departs on the trip.
        2. Appropriate institutional offices including those responsible for international programs and disability services should be contacted to assist in the determination of reasonable accommodation.
      2. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
        1. Generally, institutions and their respective faculty members must have written  permission from a student in order to release information from a student’s educational record or personally identifiable information.
          1. FERPA consent includes the type of record to be disclosed, to whom the record will be released and the student’s signature.
          2. When a student turns 18 years old or enrolls in an institution of higher education at any age the rights under the FERPA transfer from the parents to the student with some exceptions which include: when a student is claimed by either parents as parent as a dependent for tax purposes; for school officials with legitimate educational interest, and; appropriate officials in the case of health and safety emergencies.
    6. Conduct and Discipline Issues
      1. Every TBR Institution engaged in a study abroad or international education program must develop a policy for addressing complaints of discrimination and harassment arising during the course of a program. Policies must be consistent with TBR Policies 3:01:00:00, 3:02:00:00, and 3:03:00:00.
        1. Faculty and staff involved in study abroad activities who receive complaints of harassment whether student-to-student, staff-to-student, student-to-staff or any other individuals for which harassment is alleged during an international education experience, must report the incident to the institution immediately.
        2. The procedure set out must provide for due process for any student accused of misconduct.
      2. Students from other institutions who participate in international study programs at any TBR institution regardless of their classification must adhere to the sponsoring institution’s student conduct rules and regulations and all rules of the international program in which they are enrolled.
      3. The Tennessee Board of Regents institutions do not tolerate harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, ethnic or national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, age (as applicable), status as a covered veteran, genetic information, and any other category protected by federal or state civil rights law.
      4. Institutions have the right to take disciplinary action including expulsion of students during an international educational experience using the same guidelines and processes of action and appeal as those in place on the home campus.
      5. Due Process
        1. Campuses must establish minimum due process procedures for students who are participating in international study courses.
        2. Campus due process must be enacted consistent with TBR Policy No. 3:02:00:01, General Regulations on Student Conduct & Disciplinary Sanctions.
        3. Due process procedures must be clearly outlined in international study course materials and provided to students in pre-trip trainings.
    7. Institutional Authority
      1. International study courses have the authority to establish more stringent guidelines than those set either by the TBR or individual institutional policies regarding student conduct which might be disruptive to the program or individual participants. These may include guidelines regarding the use and abuse of drugs, alcohol, engaging in behaviors which may be culturally inappropriate in the host country, or actions that may put the student or others at risk. Students should be advised that standards of personal conduct differ from those in the United States and what is expected in a host country.
  5. Recruitment, Admission, Orientation, Participation, Program Evaluation and Re-entry
    1. TBR Office of Academic Affairs will publish on the central office website, links to international education programs offered by individual TBR institutions.
      1. All institutions and the TnCIS are responsible for notifying the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs of all international education courses regardless of the direction of the course or program to be offered at the time when schedules are confirmed.
    2. Institutions are responsible for establishing program recruitment/advising materials and/or advising which accurately represent the program and include selection criteria based on appropriate academic standards, cultural and educational objectives, estimated cost, financial aid, health insurance requirements, services provided, vaccinations, visa responsibilities and legal proceedings. Students should be informed of these issues at the time of admission.
    3. Financial Aid
      1. Due to the complexity of offering classes or programs internationally, institutions are responsible for developing appropriate implementation timelines which allow for the student to apply for financial aid.
      2. Students who are receiving financial aid are not allowed to change from credit to audit once funds have been disbursed.
    4. Orientation and Participation
      1. Individual institutions may, at their discretion, require students, faculty or staff to provide signed documentation of having received pre-travel advice and counseling, as well as relevant vaccinations, anti-malarial prophylaxis, and other medical interventions consistent with appropriate medical practice.
      2. Institutions may restrict participation in an international program for participants, program directors and group leaders, and faculty instructors determined to be at excessive medical risk.
      3. All students and faculty, whether program directors or instructional faculty, are required to have documentable medical insurance with covered medical treatment outside of U.S. borders  at a minimum of $100,000 per accident or sickness  as well as evacuation and repatriation insurance combined minimum of $50,000  in order to participate in study abroad. Institutions are encouraged to purchase group insurance to cover evacuation and repatriation on behalf of students and faculty.  (Currently, the TnCIS purchases group insurance on behalf of students and faculty engaging in TnCIS programs.)
    5. Evaluations
      1. All participants and international program leaders are expected to complete program evaluation forms to gather data on the effectiveness of recruitment, admissions, pre-departure orientation, the educational and personal value of program components while abroad, re-entry, and recommendations for continuation or termination of the trip in the future.
      2. For programs operated by the TnCIS, the TnCIS will summarize the results of the evaluations and forward a summary to all campuses with enrolled students in order for facilitate data-based decision-making on each campus.
      3. For all non-TnCIS international engagements, institutions must conduct their own evaluations for inclusion in campus planning of internationalization activities.
  6. Financial Management
    1. Financial procedures for international educational programs
      1. Each institution is responsible for the charging of tuition and fees, receipt of student payments, administering financial aid, registration and reporting of grades in the same manner as domestic programs.
      2. Institutions should not charge Maintenance Fee for students enrolled in TnCIS study abroad programs.
    2. Institutions must make appropriate arrangements to use existing accounting and reporting procedures (if available) for all international travel by program directors or group leaders to cover expenses abroad. Through the use of an institutional credit card, advanced money or other means, expenses abroad related to housing, food, excursions and incidental expenses as outlined in the international education program contract should be arranged for in advance.
    3. Viability of International Educational Programs
      1. International education activities at all TBR institutions as well as the TnCIS are expected to be financially self-sustaining over time and to be accountable to good financial management practices.
      2. Individual Institutions shall establish an evaluation for individual courses and for all international education programs to determine the continued academic value and financial viability of each program annually.
    4. International Fee Usage
      1. Recognizing the need for flexibility while maintaining accountability, the TBR has established the optional assessment of an international fee to be paid by each student enrolled in the institutions.
      2. Individual institutions have authority to allocate funds to activities in support of globalization efforts for the campus, including international professional development of the faculty.
        1. Salaries for faculty not engaged in directly providing international programs or courses are not acceptable.
        2. Institutions should use a portion of the revenue generated through the internationalization fee for study abroad scholarships.
      3. Individual institutions are responsible for establishing an infrastructure to determine the allocation of the international fees collected from students to promote internationalization at the home institution. The infrastructure should include student representation or input received from the entire study body.
    5. Faculty Compensation
      1. Salaries for faculty engaged in directing or teaching study abroad courses receives remuneration from their home institutions.
        1. Faculty compensation of summer session and inter-session international educational programs whether campus-based or operated through the TnCIS are not subject to Policy 5:02:04:10 Faculty Compensation During Summer Session and Inter-sessions.
        2. Faculty teaching or directing study abroad courses on behalf of the TnCIS must submit an Adjunct Faculty Contract and a travel authorization form at their home institution, which will be forwarded to the TnCIS Office by the home institution.
        3. For non-PSCC faculty, the TnCIS will process the contact through the PSCC Accounting Office, which will issue a Dual Services Agreement to the faculty member’s home institutions along with a purchase order.
        4. Institutions will invoice PSCC for the services to receive reimbursement for paying the faculty members directly for their service.
      2. Faculty are expected to follow through on the agreed upon international study course and adhere to all institutional policies once abroad. In the event that a faculty member cancels their participation in the trip or is directed to return from a trip due to failure to follow institutional policies, the faculty member will be charged for any travel costs assumed by the institution in advance of the trip or the faculty member will be held responsible for costs associated with their return home.
  7. Use of Technology Abroad
    1. The TBR requires that its institutions fully comply with federal regulations that control the conditions under which certain information, technologies and commodities can be exported to a foreign country, person, or entity, including U.S. citizens in a foreign country.
      1. Institutions are responsible for implementing export control procedures to determine whether an activity is covered under export control regulations, whether the  U.S. Department of State’s International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) 22 CFR §120-130,  U. S. Department of Commerce’s Export Administration regulations (EAR) 15 CFR § 734-774 or the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) 31 CFR §500-599.
      2. All faculty, staff, or students involved in international travel including study abroad, restricted research, international collaborations, or foreign exchanges that risk export or violation of the regulations must comply with the provisions of any license (or other governmental approval), policy, procedure, or campus based Technology Control Plan (TCP) as required by ITAR.  Before traveling internationally, faculty/staff/students should determine whether any item, device, component, or document is covered by ITAR and/or requires a license or other government approval/agreement for export or import as defined in those regulations. Where unsure, faculty/staff/students should consult with their general counsel’s office or institutional research office.
      3. Institutions are responsible for determining if self-disclosure of any violations, real or perceived, of the expert control regulations or TCP occurs during the courses of the sponsored activity to the federal agency is required.

Presidents Meeting February 17, 2009; Revised at Presidents Meeting August 18, 2015.

Policy Number: 
Policy/Guideline Area: 
Academic Guidelines
Applicable Divisions: 
Community Colleges, Universities

The purpose of this guideline is to describe the legal rights and responsibilities of creators, and distributors of distance education/telecourse materials in the Tennessee Board of Regents system, including ownership of copyright on distance education materials created by TBR faculty and employees. Guidance for faculty and institutions in copyrighting original works and legal use of the works of others is found in the Copyright Primer available from the Office of the General Counsel.

  • Distance Education
    • As defined in TBR Policy 2:05:00:00, distance education occurs:
      • Where there is a physical separation of the teacher and the learner and when communication and instruction take place through, or are supported by, any technological means such as telephone, radio, television, computers, satellite delivery, interactive video, or any combination of present and future telecommunication technology.
      • The TBR Distance Education Committee has defined "distance education" to include: correspondence courses, videotapes, audio tapes, two way video and audio, computer-based media, and the emerging technology of the Internet.
  • Copyright
    • Under Federal law, copyright applies to any "original work of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression." (17 U.S.C. § 102(a)).
    • Generally, the owner of a copyright has the exclusive rights to reproduce the work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies by sale or other transfer of ownership, and to publicly display or perform the work. (17 U.S.C. § 106).
  • Work Made For Hire
    • An employer owns the copyright to a work of authorship when the work was created by an employee within the scope of his/her employment.
    • Some kinds of work can also be owned by the institution as a work made for hire if it is specially ordered or commissioned under a written contract signed by the two (or more) parties. (17 U.S.C. § 101, § 201 (b)).
  • Fair Use
    • The Copyright Act provides for some exceptions to the exclusive rights of the copyright owners.
      • One of these exceptions permits fair use of a copyrighted work for purposes such as teaching, scholarship, or research. (17 U.S.C. § 107).
      • The four factors to be considered in determining fair use are:
        • The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
        • The nature of the copyrighted work;
        • The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
        • The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
  • Joint Work
    • A work prepared by two or more authors with the intention that their contributions be merged into inseparable or interdependent parts of a unitary whole. (17 U.S.C. §101).
  • Collective Work
    • Work such as a periodical issue, anthology, or encyclopedia, in which a number of contributions, constituting separate and independent works in themselves, are assembled into a collective whole. (17 U.S.C. § 101).
  • Compilation
    • A work formed by the collection and assembling of preexisting materials or of data that are selected, coordinated, or arranged in such a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes an original work of authorship.
    • The term "compilation" includes collective works. (17 U.S.C. § 101).
  1. Ownership of Copyrightable Materials
    1. General Policy
      1. TBR Policy 5:01:06:00 on Patents and Copyright provides the overall guidance for ownership of copyrightable materials. The institution has an interest in the copyrightable materials if:
        1. The institution sponsors the project; or
        2. There is significant use of the institution's facilities, services, or equipment in the creation of the work; or
        3. the project is sponsored through the institution by agencies or persons outside the institution. (The contract terms of externally sponsored projects will control ownership of work done pursuant to the contract or grant.)
      2. Policy 5:01:06:00 gives ownership to faculty of their "scholarly and creative works."
        1. Under this Policy, a faculty member or other institutional employee also retains title to the copyrightable work if the work was developed solely through individual work on personal time.
      3. Policy 5:01:06:00 defines "significant use" of institutional resources as cost to the institution in the amount of $1,000 or more (In constant 1982 dollars). This equates to about $1,650 in 1999.
        1. Use of office personal computer alone is not considered a significant use of university resources.
        2. This guideline provides more specific policies about copyright ownership in the context of distance education.
    2. Scholarly Works
      1. The TBR wishes to encourage scholarly works. Therefore, the TBR will not assert an interest in scholarly works and creations related to the faculty member's professional field. These include:
        1. faculty authored textbooks
        2. scholarly writing
        3. art works
        4. musical compositions
        5. dramatic and non-dramatic literary works
      2. Distance education, telecourse, and/or multimedia materials that are in the nature of scholarly works created by faculty under the same circumstances that would lead faculty to create more traditional scholarly works will be treated as scholarly.
      3. Scholarly work in this context would include course materials created by the faculty when the factors listed in II C and D, below, are not applicable.
      4. If the institution wants to use such a work and/or share in its commercialization, the institution should secure the desired rights in a contract with the faculty member.
    3. Student Work
      1. This policy does not apply to undergraduate or graduate students in the absence of an employment or other contract.
      2. Generally, ownership of student works is controlled by copyright law.
    4. Works for Hire
      1. It is very important to have a written agreement assigning responsibility and rights at the beginning of a project.
    5. Scope of Employment
      1. The institution/school will have sole ownership of intellectual property created by its non-faculty employees within the scope of employment.
        1. For example, if an institution employs a non-faculty person to design a computer program or to develop a promotional video, the copyright to the program or video belongs to the institution.
      2. The institution should ensure that the job description for each relevant non-faculty position includes the creation of or the assistance with the creation of distance education materials.
        1. The institution should also be certain to add to the TBR form employment contract, either on initial hire or with contract renewal, language which specifies that such works are made in the scope of employment. (Exhibit 1)
        2. In cases where there is a new assignment to the employee, an agreement in writing signed by both the employee and an institutional representative is strongly urged. (Exhibit 1 may be utilized.)
      3. Distance education materials created by faculty members will be solely owned by the institution where:
        1. The faculty is required to create the materials for a specific class or department by written institution or department policy e.g. (Common core course requirement);
        2. The faculty member is given release time to create the materials; or
        3. The faculty member is employed to create specific intellectual property/distance education materials.
      4. In all cases, the institution and the faculty member should sign a "Work for Hire Acknowledgment Form" (Exhibit 1)
    6. Commissioned Work
      1. Under the Copyright laws, (17 U.S.C. § 101, § 201) a work specially ordered or commissioned is owned by the institution if the parties expressly agree in a written instrument signed by both parties that the work will be considered a work for hire.
      2. A form "Commissioned Work for Hire' is attached as "Exhibit 2."
      3. Commissioned work is limited by the Copyright law to contribution to a collective work, part of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, a translation, a supplementary work, a compilation, an instructional text, a test, answer material to a test, or an atlas. (17 USC § 101, "Work For Hire" definition).
    7. Joint Ownership
      1. Works may be created through the joint efforts of two or more faculty members or of faculty and non-faculty employees working in the scope of their employment or working under contract to provide services.
      2. Anyone who contributes the kind of expression protected by the copyright law is a joint author if the contribution is intended to be part of an integrated whole.
      3. The institution will be the sole owner if all the work is done as work for hire.
      4. The institution and the faculty member may be joint owners of the final product if a faculty member works independently but incorporates work done as work for hire by institution employees and/or contractors.
      5. It is VERY IMPORTANT at the beginning of the project to state the contributors' intentions in a written contract signed by all contributors.
      6. The General Counsel's office should be consulted to assist in contract drafting.
    8. Revision Rights
      1. A faculty member should normally retain the right to update, edit or otherwise revise electronically developed course materials that become out of date, or, in certain circumstances, should place a time limit upon the use of electronically developed course materials that are particularly time sensitive, regardless of who owns copyright in the electronically developed course materials.
      2. These rights and limitations may be negotiated in advance of the creation of the electronically developed course materials and may be reduced to writing.
      3. Absent a written agreement, each faculty member will have the right and obligation to revise work on an annual basis in order to maintain academic standards.
      4. If a faculty member does choose to revise the work and such revision is done in a satisfactory manner, the faculty member retains the rights to full royalties as discussed below for another year.
      5. If the institution believes a revision is necessary and no revision is made or if the revision made, in the institution's opinion, does not maintain academic standards, the institution may refuse to market the product, or the institution may employ another person to update the work and charge the entire cost of the revision against any royalties paid to the original author.
    9. Royalties
      1. Royalty division should generally reflect the relative contributions of the parties.
      2. In accordance with TBR policy, faculty members shall receive all royalties that may accrue from the commercialization of electronically published course materials they create on their own initiative.
      3. On the other hand, the institution retains all royalties that may accrue from the commercialization of electronically published course materials created by faculty members pursuant to contract or as a work for hire, including electronically published course created as a condition of employment.
      4. Copyright law permits joint owners to pursue commercialization either jointly or separately, with accounting. Other circumstances may require review on a case-by-case basis (such as the creation of electronically developed course materials initiated by a faculty member but using substantial institution facilities.)
      5. In instances of joint ownership between faculty members where the institution also retains rights to royalties, the faculty members shall determine by written document the division of royalties.
      6. Absent a written document of division of royalties, the faculty members shall divide their share pro rata based on participation.



November 3, 1999 TBR Presidents' Meeting.

Policy Number: 
Policy/Guideline Area: 
Academic Guidelines
Applicable Divisions: 
Community Colleges, Universities

The following guideline supplements the provisions of the Tennessee Board of Regents Policy 2:05:00:00 (Distance Education).That policy requires that institutions planning and offering distance education courses address that policy and the following guidelines, which cover academic standards and planning and implementation issues.

  1. Academic Standards
    1. In establishing policies and procedures, the following stipulations shall apply:
      1. Each distance education course offered by an institution must be consistent with the level, nature, and mission of that institution.
      2. When a course is offered through distance education, it will carry the same code, title, and credit as other sections of that course.
      3. Each distance education course must provide for interaction and timely feedback between students and faculty member(s) teaching the course.
      4. As appropriate, these interactions may be individual, group, or mixed.
      5. They may take place electronically, e.g., by telephone, by computer, or by interactive video.
      6. Each distance education course must include an assessment of that delivery mode in its procedures for monitoring and assessing student performance.
      7. Each student enrolled in a distance education course shall have access to all the academic support services, instructional equipment, and campus events and other non- academic activities, which the institution provides for other students.
      8. Support services may include but are not limited to academic advising, counseling, library and other learning resources, tutoring services, and financial aid.
  2. Program Planning and Implementation 
    1. Institutional policies and procedures must contain a written statement of the purpose and goals of the distance education program and describe the assessment methods used to evaluate the success of the program in carrying out those goals and objectives. The following issues must be addressed as institutions plan and implement the distance education program:
      1. Faculty, administrators, and other support personnel involved in the development and implementation of distance education must have clearly defined roles, responsibilities, and duties.
      2. Faculty involved in distance education must receive specialized training in the use of the medium.
      3. Institutions will determine teaching load equivalents and faculty compensation for distance education.
      4. The institution must make academic and administrative information available to distance education students.
      5. This information may include but is not limited to: exams, grading, student-faculty interaction, proctoring, the provision of support services, and registration and fee-payment procedures.
      6. Censorial arrangements among two or more institutions for the development, production, or transmittal of distance education courseware and materials should always be considered.
      7. Whenever possible and to effect the greatest savings, the acquisition of courseware should be made through the Tennessee Board of Regents' Media Consortium.

TBR Meeting, September 30, 1983; TBR Meeting, September 21, 1990; TBR Meeting, September 17, 1993.


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