The Buena Vista University Academic Catalog has a complete listing of the academic policies and procedures. The items listed below are a small portion of that information (consult the catalog for official academic information).

ACADEMIC AND CULTURAL EVENTS SERIES (ACES): is a graduation requirement for all full-time students attending BVU at the Storm Lake campus. It consists of two series of events: one that emphasizes performance (cultural events) and one that emphasizes lecture (academic events). Cultural ACES are worldly touring events such as orchestras, dance, theater and vocal performances.  These are more formal events that require a student to dress appropriately. Academic ACES are lectures in which students are able to pick and choose from a variety of subjects. Beginning in their first semester of attendance, students at the Storm Lake campus are required to attend eight events each semester, in accordance with specific guidelines, until their requirement is completed. Additional information is available in the student catalog, on the ACES section of the BVU web page, may be requested from the ACES Director, or the Office of the Registrar. 

ACADEMIC ADVISEMENT:   Each student is assigned a faculty advisor. First-year students are assigned a faculty member who serves as their freshman advisor, and who generally will be their instructor in University Seminar.  New transfer students, regardless of class standing, will also initially be advised by their University Seminar instructor. Sophomore students choose, or are assigned, a faculty advisor in their field of study. Students who change their field of study may choose or are

assigned a new advisor. Your faculty advisor is available to assist you with your academic pursuits. 

ACADEMIC SCHOOLS: Each academic school is served by a dean.

  • School of Communication and Arts - Dr. Michael Whitlatch • Dean’s Office, phone 2670
  • School of Science - Professor Ben Donath • Dean’s Office, phone 2191
  • School of Social Science, Philosophy and Religion -  Dr. Dixee Bartholomew-Feis • Dean’s Office, phone 1803
  • Harold Walter Siebens School of Business - Dr. Ashok Subramanian• Dean’s Office, phone 2415
  • School of Education - Dr. Paul Theobald• Dean’s Office, phone 2269

CLASS STANDING: Class standing is based on the total credit hours earned and is recorded as such. To be classified as a sophomore, junior or senior, a student must have earned the following:

  • Standing - Earned Credit Hours
  • Freshman - fewer than 24
  • Sophomore - 24 – 55.99
  • Junior - 56 – 86.99
  • Senior - 87 or more 

CLASSES: Most classes meet on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday or Tuesday-Thursday basis. Typical Monday-Wednesday-Friday classes meet for 50 minutes (e.g. 8-8:50 a.m., 9-9:50 a.m.), and Tuesday-Thursday classes meet for 75 minutes (e.g. 8-9:15 a.m., 12-1:15 p.m.). There are no classes scheduled from 11-12 a.m. on Thursday in order for students to attend chapel if they choose to participate. 

CREDIT HOURS: A credit or credit hour is a measure of academic work. Frequently, but not always, the number of credits assigned to a course indicates the number of hours per week that a class will meet.

CHANGE OF GRADE CONTRACT: If a student is unable to complete the coursework assigned in a particular semester, he/she may be eligible to contract for a change of grade and be allowed an extension of time in which to complete the work. Students must request this option with the faculty member teaching the course. 

DROP/ADD PROCESS: Specific procedures for dropping or adding a course are outlined in the Academic Catalog. 

GRADING: The standard A, B, C, D, F method is used for grading:

A......................................... 4.00 honor points

A-....................................... 3.67 honor points

B+....................................... 3.33 honor points

B......................................... 3.00 honor points

B-....................................... 2.67 honor points

C+....................................... 2.33 honor points

C......................................... 2.00 honor points

C-....................................... 1.67 honor points

D+...................................... 1.33 honor points

D......................................... 1.00 honor points

D-....................................... 0.67 honor points

F......................................... 0.00 honor points

The grade point average (GPA) is measured numerically by multiplying the grades received by the number of credit hours taken. The cumulative GPA is for all the grades received at Buena Vista University and does not include transfer credits from previously attended colleges. 

HONORS PROGRAM: Any Buena Vista University student with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.7 is eligible to apply to the Honors Program. The Honors Program encourages students to develop their academic talents beyond the regular programs at the University and is designed to provide greater depth to the student’s regular academic program through specialized Intellectual Explorations courses, dialogue and research work. Special opportunities may be organized around topics of special interest to the honor students. Students present their final capstone projects in a public forum. The Buena Vista University Honors Program is especially aimed for students contemplating graduate or professional school. Specific information on the Honors Program may be obtained from Dr. Bryan Kampbell honors program director

INDEPENDENT STUDIES AND DIRECTED STUDIES: These classes are arranged between the student and faculty member who supervises the work and require permission from the faculty member, appropriate school dean, and associate dean of faculty. Upper class standing is required for both. In addition, a 3.0 CGPA is required to undertake an Independent Study.

MAJORS: The field of study a student plans to pursue constitutes a “major.” A student declares his/her major through the Registrar’s Office. Students who are undecided about a course of study should consult their academic advisor and/or the Career Services Office. Students, who decide to change majors, must fill out a “Change of Major” form, available in the Registrar’s Office. 

MINORS: Students may elect to complete the requirements for a minor (or for a second major) in addition to a primary major. A minor may be a regular minor in a specific field of study, or a distributive minor. Credit hours required for a minor range from 18-24 

P/F SYSTEM: In addition to the A, B, C, D or F method, there is also a P/F (i.e. pass-no fail) system. In this system, “P” = Pass, “F” = Failing grade.  Grades of “P” are not computed within your semester GPA or cumulative GPA but do go toward earned credit hours needed to graduate.  Grades of “F” are computed in your semester and cumulative GPAs.  

There is a limit to how many courses a student may take P/F.  A student may take only one P/F course per semester, no more than two P/F courses in his/her declared major. Students are encouraged to check the official P/F policy in the Academic Catalog.

ARMY RESERVE OFFICERS TRAINING CORPS (ROTC):  The Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) is an elective curriculum that students take along with their major program of study through which they gain an appreciation for ground warfare and doctrine. ROTC is designed to give students tools, training, and experiences that will help them succeed in any competitive environment. Students may participate in ROTC as first-year and sophomore students without any obligation to join the Army. Enrolling in the Army ROTC basic course does NOT involve a commitment to the Army unless students have received a ROTC scholarship. Students completing four years of the ROTC program upon graduation will be commissioned as an officer in the Army. See the catalog for more details. 

UNIVERSITY SEMINAR:  All new students enrolling at BVU in Storm Lake in the fall or spring semester must take OBVU 100, University Seminar.  This course focuses on a broad academic theme to assist students in developing the academic skills necessary to succeed at the University.  Sections meet together at other specific times for presentations, lectures, and other information sessions concerning BVU resources and other relevant matters.  Specific presentation of the theme is at the discretion of individual course instructors, but each section must meet common learning outcomes.