Jul 21, 2024  
2018-2019 Academic Catalogue 
2018-2019 Academic Catalogue [ARCHIVED CATALOGUE]

2018-2019 Academic Catalogue

Introducing Cornell College

Cornell College Mission Statement


Cornell College offers an innovative and rigorous learning community where faculty and staff collaborate with students to develop the intellectual curiosity, creativity, and moral courage necessary for a lifetime of learning and engaged citizenship.

Core Values

  • A liberal education that celebrates discovery and embraces the integration and application of knowledge
  • Intellectual, moral, and personal growth
  • Civic and social responsibility
  • The dignity and worth of each individual in a diverse community

Educational Priorities at Cornell College

The Mission and Core Values guide learning at Cornell College. The College recognizes that meaningful education occurs in multiple formats and venues, and encompasses a wide variety of disciplines and learning objectives. As an intentional learning community, the College has chosen to emphasize the following Educational Priorities and Outcomes for all students. In order to achieve these Outcomes, the Educational Priorities are embedded in curricular, co-curricular, independent, and collaborative contexts across the campus. Faculty and staff provide opportunities for learning in a supportive environment where students ultimately take responsibility for their own education.

Educational Priorities Students will…
Knowledge integrate and apply knowledge from a focused area of study as well as a broad general education which includes disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives in the arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences.
Inquiry respond to the complexities of contemporary and enduring problems using information literacy tools, research skills, creative thinking, and analysis.
Reasoning evaluate evidence; interpret data; and use logical, mathematical, and statistical problem-solving tools.
Communication speak and write clearly, listen and read actively, and engage with others in productive dialogue.
Intercultural Literacy connect with diverse ideas and with people whose experiences differ from their own and that may be separated from them by time, space, or culture.
Ethical Behavior recognize personal, academic, and professional standards and act with integrity.
Citizenship collaborate with others and contribute in their communities and the larger world.
Vocation discover and prepare for the range of opportunities and challenges that await them beyond their college experience.
Well-Being respect the ways physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual well-being may contribute to a balanced life.

Diversity and Inclusion Statement

Cornell College values diversity and strives to create a welcoming community in which all individuals are respected and included. We support respectful and meaningful inquiry across actual or perceived differences. These differences include ability, age, appearance, athletics and student organization involvement, ethnicity, family/marital status, gender, gender expression, immigration status, language, military/veteran status, nationality, political ideology, race, religion/spirituality, sex, sexuality, socio-economic status, and other personal identities and experiences.

We live in an increasingly interconnected world. The ability to include, communicate, cooperate, and collaborate with diverse individuals is important. To that end, we engage in dialogue around issues of difference, identity, and ideology in the classroom, residence halls, and throughout campus. We embrace diversity, and as a result our viewpoints are enriched and our community strengthened.

The entire campus community is called upon to play a role in Cornell College’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Cornell will continue to evolve into a more inclusive and equitable campus that is committed to civic and social responsibility through the collaboration of the President, Diversity Committee, students, faculty, and staff.

Freedom of Expression and Civil Discourse Statement

Cornell College is an institution of higher education that aspires to develop lifelong learners and engaged citizens. Consistent with that mission, we strongly endorse freedom of speech, as articulated in the First Amendment, as an inherent right of individuals to express themselves. Expression and personal identity are inextricably intertwined. Further, while freedom of speech and expression are accorded constitutional protection in our civic life, the value of free expression must be given even more rigorous affirmation in an intellectual community that prizes liberal education, academic freedom, and critical thinking.

As a small, residential community of persons with diverse identities and backgrounds, Cornell is also committed to maintaining an inclusive campus climate and emphasizes the importance of communication and cooperation between individuals who hold different perspectives, opinions, and identities. Civil discourse refers to the inherent responsibility of individuals to engage respectfully with the intent to foster understanding. In a community like ours, civil discourse is highly valued, as it guides the approach all individuals should take in order to achieve an inclusive campus.

Therefore, we expect that community members, when engaging in civil discourse, will approach each other with:

1. The intention to understand-The process of civil discourse places responsibility on both the speaker and the listener to be willing to learn, acknowledging that neither one has all of the answers. It can be messy, involves risk, and is ultimately rewarding. Active listening and asking thoughtful questions are key components.

2. Respect for the inherent dignity and worth of every person-Civil discourse means that we recognize that all persons, regardless of differences and disagreements, have inherent dignity, worth, and their own unalienable right to freely express themselves.

3. Commitment to learning and appreciation for critical thinking-Freedom of speech is fundamental for learning, critical inquiry, and growth as an individual and as a community. Civil discourse involves thinking critically about all ideas, opinions, and identities one encounters. The invitation to think critically is meaningless unless diversity of opinion and perspective is not only respected but actively sought out.

4. Empathy-A critical component of civil discourse is empathy. In practicing empathy, each individual involved attempts to understand the feelings, experiences, and perspectives of another.

[This statement supersedes the 2006 Faculty Resolution on Free Speech and Expression.]

Effective Catalogue

[Note: This Catalogue is accurate as of August 1, 2017.]

The Cornell College Catalogue is published every year. The information contained herein was accurate at the time of publication; however, circumstances may necessitate the College’s withdrawing an advertised course, changing the content of a course, or substituting instructors. The College reserves the right to limit the enrollment of any course and to cancel a course for which fewer than six students have registered or for which no instructor is available.

Between editions, the College may change or revise the programs, rules, and procedures described in this Catalogue. Students are subject to the regulations and requirements in the Catalogue and its supplements in effect at the time they begin their first course at Cornell. A Cornell student who leaves and is later readmitted returns under the Catalogue in effect at the time of Readmission .

If, after a student has begun their Cornell career, one or more of the degree requirements are changed, the student may choose to be graduated under either the original or the revised requirements, unless specific faculty legislation dictates otherwise. Exceptions may be granted for compelling reasons by the Academic Standing Committee or by the administrator concerned. For the application of this “grandparent” principle to a student’s major, see Declaration of Degree Candidacy, Majors and Minors.

The offerings for each academic year are announced the previous winter in the Course Schedule, which is then updated as often as is necessary.


Cornell College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, the Iowa State Department of Education, the American Chemical Society, and the University Senate of the United Methodist Church. Cornell is a member of the College Entrance Examination Board.

National Honor Societies

BETA BETA BETA (Biology), DELTA PHI ALPHA (German), LAMBDA ALPHA (Anthropology), MORTAR BOARD (Service, Scholarship, and Leadership), OMICRON DELTA EPSILON (Economics), PHI ALPHA DELTA (Pre-Law), PHI BETA KAPPA (Academic Achievement), PHI SIGMA TAU (Philosophy), PI DELTA PHI (French), PI KAPPA LAMBDA (Music), PI SIGMA ALPHA (Political Science), PSI CHI (Psychology), SIGMA DELTA PI (Spanish), SIGMA GAMMA EPSILON (Geology).

Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM)

Cornell and 13 other liberal arts colleges located in Iowa, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin compose the membership of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest. The purpose of the Associated Colleges is to increase educational effectiveness and operating efficiency and to extend the areas of cooperation of the constituent colleges through off-campus programs (see ” Off Campus Programs ”). Members are Beloit, Carleton, Coe, Colorado College, Cornell, Grinnell, Knox, Lake Forest, Lawrence, Luther, Macalester, Monmouth, Ripon, and St. Olaf.

One Course at a Time

The quality and intensity of a Cornell education is supported by the OCAAT calendar, where students take one course at a time. A general overview of Cornell’s One Course At A Time program follows, with greater details provided in the Academic Information  chapter.

  1. The academic year, approximately September 1 to mid-May, is divided into eight Blocks, each of which is three-and-one-half weeks (18 class days) in length. Each Block begins at 9:00 a.m. on the first Monday and concludes at 5:00 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday with the exception of Block Four, which may be adjusted due to Thanksgiving Break and/or Winter Break. A four-day break separates each Block, unless there is a winter or spring break. (See the calendar  for exact dates.)
  2. Readmitted students may enroll at the start of any of the eight Blocks but should apply at least one month before-and earlier if they desire financial aid or on-campus housing. (See Readmission .)
  3. Enrolled students register in the spring for all eight Blocks of the following academic year. After registration, students may drop and add courses throughout the year. (See Registration  and Adding and Dropping Courses .)
  4. Cornell offers three degree programs: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Bachelor of Music (B.Mus.), and Bachelor of Special Studies (B.S.S.), each of which requires a minimum of 31 course credits. (See Degree Programs .)
  5. Progress toward any of Cornell’s degrees is measured in Blocks or course credits. One course credit is given for the successful completion of a Cornell course taken in a Block. Course credits include Block credits and credits from adjunct courses, music lessons and ensembles, advanced placement, and transferred work. As a unit of credit, one Cornell Block or “full course” credit is the equivalent of four semester or six quarter hours. (See Student Classification  and Credit by Transfer .)
  6. Full-time students register for eight Blocks in the academic year. Except for seniors, students may not take vacation Blocks in an academic year without permission of the Academic Standing Committee. (See Registration .) This paragraph does not apply to Continuing Education students. 
  7. The maximum amount of credit that a student may earn in one Block is one “full course” credit. Conversely, students, with the exception of seniors and candidates for the degree of Bachelor of Music, are not permitted to enroll for less than a “full course” credit per Block, with the exception of half credit internships or Independent courses. Some departments offer concurrent courses, each of which is worth one-half course credit. Concurrent courses must, therefore, be taken in pairs and within the same department or in a related field. Exceptions must be approved by the Academic Standing Committee.
  8. Students have many opportunities for independent research on or off campus, for internships, and for study in other countries or in other parts of the United States. Such programs vary in length from one Block to one year, and some may be arranged for the summer. (See Registration , and item 10 therein; and also Independent Study Courses and Off-Campus Programs .)
  9. Adjunct courses (numbered in the 500s) and music lessons, ensembles, and theatre & dance participation courses (numbered in the 700s) may be taken along with principal courses. (See Adjunct Courses .)
  10. Students declare their choice of degree program and major(s) before December 1 of their sophomore year. Students may major in one or more departments or design their own individualized majors. (See Degree Candidacy, Majors, and Minors , and Bachelor of Special Studies .)
  11. Unless otherwise noted, Continuing Education students are subject to the academic rules listed above; however, there are special exceptions that apply to them. (See Continuing Education .)

Student Status

A person becomes an enrolled student at Cornell College when they move into college housing, begin college-sponsored activities or on the first day of a course for which they are registered, whichever occurs first. A person ceases to be a student on the last day of the last course for which they are registered, when they end involvement with college-sponsored activities or when they move out of campus housing, whichever occurs later.

Affirmative Action

Cornell College is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and is committed to an Affirmative Action Program. In compliance with federal and state laws, Cornell College affirms the right of its students, faculty, and staff to live, work, and study in an environment free from discrimination or harassment on the basis of age, color, disability, gender identity, national origin, race, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, genetic information, pregnancy, or any other characteristic protected by state, federal, or local law. Neither may applicants for employment nor enrollment be discriminated against based on the above characteristics.

Notice of Nondiscriminatory Policy

Cornell admits qualified persons - without regard to age, ancestry, color, disability, sex, gender identity, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, or genetic information - to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at Cornell. The College does not discriminate in the administration of its educational or admissions policies, scholarships and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.

Student Consumer Grievance Process

Beginning July 1, 2011, the U.S. Department of Education regulations to improve the integrity of programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act (HEA) as amended (the “Program Integrity Rule”) took effect. The Program Integrity Rule requires, among other things, that each college or university authorized to offer postsecondary education in one or more states ensure access to a complaint (grievance) process that will permit student consumers to address the following:

  1. Alleged violations of state consumer protection laws that include, but are not limited to, fraud and false advertising;
  2. Alleged violations of state laws or rules relating to the licensure of postsecondary institutions; and
  3. Complaints regarding the quality of education or other State or accreditation requirements.

Cornell College, as an institution authorized to provide postsecondary education in the State of Iowa, is committed to full compliance with the Program Integrity Rule. The College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Information about the College’s accreditation can be found at the HLC website.

Cornell College seeks to resolve all student concerns in a timely and effective manner. Students have the right to file a grievance against Cornell College. Students may file a grievance up to 120 calendar days from the date of the incident. Students may not file anonymously.

A grievance alleges that the College or one of its agents has violated institutional policies, accreditor policies, federal or state laws, or any other agreements joined by Cornell College. Grounds for a grievance include failures in the provision of a program of study or related academic or administrative service, or institutional policies that negatively affect the quality of a student’s learning opportunities. Grievances fall outside of standard College processes (e.g., grade dispute process, conduct appeals, etc.), as outlined in the Cornell College Academic Catalogue, The Compass, the Faculty Handbook, or the Employee Handbook, and require that students have already first exhausted established Cornell College processes and mechanisms to address their concern.

Grievance Resolution Process

Any student who believes they have been subject to unjust actions or denied of their rights is expected to make a reasonable effort to resolve the matter before seeking formal resolution. The student should request a meeting with the parties directly involved, describing the nature of the grievance and a desirable resolution. Both parties are encouraged to try to find a reasonable and satisfactory resolution.

The following offices and resources at Cornell College are available to current and prospective students for the resolving of grievances. These offices provide specific administrative means to address and resolve most, if not all, of the questions and concerns students may have.

If the parties involved in the grievance are unable to find a satisfactory resolution and further action is deemed appropriate, students must follow the procedures outlined in the following process:

  1. Students wishing to file a grievance against Cornell College may do so by completing the online Student Grievance Form. Students can also file a grievance by speaking with one of the following, designated personnel and completing a Student Grievance Form:
  • Academic concerns: Registrar
  • Student Affairs concerns: Dean of Students
  • Financial/billing concerns: Controller
  • Enrollment/Financial Aid concerns: Director of Admission Operations

Students’ confidentiality will be protected within reason, but officials of the College may require access to students’ educational records in order to fully investigate the grievance. Students who are initiating a grievance against Cornell College must authorize release of information necessary to investigate the grievance.

  1. The student will receive, within 5 business days, a written response from the designated personnel relevant to their grievance, including a determination of whether the issue/incident constitutes a grievance according to Cornell College’s policy and definition. If the issue/incident submitted does not constitute a grievance according to Cornell College’s policy and definition, the student will be informed in writing, and the College process will be considered concluded.
  2. If the issue/incident submitted constitutes a grievance, according to Cornell College’s policy and definition, the designated personnel will meet with the student and any other relevant parties to discuss the issue/incident which led to the filing of the grievance. Any meetings pertaining to the investigation of the grievance will be conducted as quickly as possible and generally will be concluded within 10 business days of the determination of a grievance.
  3. The designated personnel, in consultation with the appropriate Vice President(s), will identify (an) appropriate resolution(s), generally within 10 business days of the close of the investigation. The designated personnel will inform the student in writing of the resolution(s). Decisions regarding resolutions are not subject to internal appeal.
  4. The entire process will generally be concluded within 30 business days of the initial receipt of the grievance.
  5. Students have the right to obtain legal counsel.

Grievances Addressed to External Agencies

If a student believes that the College’s administrative procedures outlined above have not adequately addressed concerns identified under the Program Integrity Rule, they may pursue an external process. Students may file a grievance against the College with relevant state and federal agencies including, but not limited to, the Higher Learning Commission, the Iowa College Student Aid Commission, the Iowa Attorney General, and the Office of Civil Rights. Please note that many agencies require students to first exhaust their college’s grievance procedures before filing a grievance with the agency.

We recommend that students refer to the individual agency’s policies to familiarize themselves with relevant requirements including filing deadlines and whether they must first pursue the College’s grievance process.

The available agencies are listed below.

Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500
Chicago, Illinois 60604-1411
Phone: (312) 263.0456
Toll Free: (800) 621.7440
Fax: (312) 263.7462
The HLC of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools is an independent body responsible for the accreditation of programs offered by Cornell College. Each year, the Commission receives a number of grievances about institutions from faculty, students, and other parties. The Commission has established a clear distinction between individual grievances and grievances that appear to involve broad institutional practices. Where a grievance does raise issues regarding the institution’s ongoing ability to meet the Criteria of Accreditation, the Commission forwards the grievance to the institution and requests a formal response. Grievances may be filed with the Commission on the HLC website here.

Iowa Department of Justice
Office of the Attorney General
Consumer Protection Division
Hoover State Office Building
1305 E. Walnut Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0106
Phone: (515) 281-5926
Toll Free: 888-777-4590
Email: consumer@iowa.gov

The State of Iowa protects its citizens against consumer fraud. You may file a written grievance online or download the file, print it, complete it and mail to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.
Iowa College Student Aid Commission
430 East Grand Ave, FL 3
Des Moines, IA 50309-1920
Phone: (515) 725-3400
Toll-Free: (877) 272-4456
(Information Service Center)
Fax: (515) 725-3401
Iowa College Aid accepts concerns and grievances from any student attending an Iowa school, regardless of the student’s state of residency, and from an Iowa resident attending any school, regardless of its location. Iowa College Aid will review submitted forms and determine the appropriate course of action. Actions may include, but are not limited to: contacting the constituent, contacting the institution in question and/or referral to another agency. In all cases, the constituent will receive written response to his or her request and the request from will be retained for Iowa College Aid’s records.
United States Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights
Regional Office #5 Office
500 West Madison St., Ste. 1475
Chicago, IL 60661
Phone: 312-730-1560
Anyone who believes that an education institution that receives federal financial assistance has discriminated against someone on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age, may file a grievance.

Students may also file a grievance with their home state, or the state in which they are participating in a Cornell College program. A list of links to state processes can be found in this linked document.

Non-Retaliation Statement

Retaliation, or attempts to retaliate, against any individual who files a complaint or grievance is strictly prohibited.