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The Photo Center NW

Education Policies

+ Academic Policy for All Students
+ Administrative Policies
+ Academic Policies for Certificate Students
+ Code of Conduct

Academic Policy for All Students

Advanced Placement
Students may obtain advanced placement credit based on an interview, a review of the student’s portfolio, and/or a test administered by Photo Center NW.

Assignments
Students should expect to spend at least 2 to 3 hours in outside work for each hour in class.

Attendance
All students must attend the first day of class in order to retain their spot in the class. If a student fails to attend three classes during the session, or if a student is tardy (more than ten minutes late) for three classes, the student’s grade will drop one increment (for example, from B+ to B). If the student fails to attend more than three classes or is tardy for more than three classes, the instructor may exercise his or her right to permanently drop the student from the class. Should a student be dropped from a class due to nonattendance, a grade of X will be assigned and the regular tuition refund policy will apply.

Cancellation of Classes
Photo Center NW reserves the right to cancel a class, for example if the number of students enrolled is deemed insufficient. Students can expect to receive notice of class cancellation one week prior to the first class meeting.

Credit for Classes
Credit for classes is based on the number of hours of class instruction offered per week; one credit for each class hour. All Photo Center classes are lecture/discussion classes where one class hour represents two hours of work outside class. Those classes that include extensive lab work during class, e.g. Black and White 1, have an extra hour of in-class lab time for which tuition is not charged and credit is not awarded. Tuition is charged on a per credit basis.

Grade Changes
In all circumstances, only the instructor may make grade changes, by sending a memo to the Registrar that describes an instructor error that justifies the grade change.

Grading
Photo Center NW uses a four-point grading scale, as indicated below:

A+, A 4.0 Superior performance
A- 3.7
B+ 3.3
B 3.0 Good performance
B- 2.7
C+ 2.3
C 2.0 Adequate performance
C- 1.7
D+ 1.3
D 1.0 Poor performance
D- 0.7
F 0.00 No Credit
X 0.00 Withdrawal due to Excess Absences (No Credit)
W 0.00 Withdrawal with No Credit
HW Hardship Withdrawal
NS Grade Not Submitted (administrative)
I 0.00

In case of circumstances beyond the student’s control, an instructor may grant a student an extension for submitting final work. If the work for the course is not completed within reasonable due date set by faculty, the “I” becomes the grade the instructor assigns for the work that was completed.

For non-certificate students who do not wish a grade:
Satisfactory/Passing
Unsatisfactory/Failing

Non-Academic Dismissal
All non-academic dismissals are decided by the school administration and a committee of faculty members. Such dismissals may result from infractions of school regulations or violations of local or state law. The school may dismiss a student who disrupts the normal conduct of classes and school activity. The student has a right to appeal the decision and/or appeal for readmittance as described in the Student Grievance Procedure of this document. Readmission will be based on the student satisfying the same requirements as a student applying to the Certificate Program (see Academic Policy for Certificate Students) and student ability to demonstrate resolution of the problem that led to dismissal.

Required Equipment and Supplies
In most courses, students are required to have access to a 35mm camera with normal lens, a tripod, and a portable flash unit. Specific materials or supplies required for a class will be described in the class confirmation and class notes mailed before the start of each quarter. Students should be prepared to bring equipment to each class session. Photo Center NW does not provide basic camera equipment required for class. Many classes also require purchase of equipment or supplies in order to participate in the class or to complete assignments. For example, students must purchase their own paper and film. The cost of supplies and quantity used will vary widely depending on the course. The Center does not assume responsibility for a student’s equipment if damaged, lost, or stolen.

Student Eligibility and Ability to Benefit
There are no prerequisites for our entry-level classes and we do not administer tests to predict a student’s ability to benefit from our classes. We find that the best test of a student’s photographic ability is to enroll in a beginning class.

Student Grievance Procedure
If a student has a grievance with a faculty or staff member of Photo Center NW, the student is encouraged to first attempt to reconcile the grievance with that individual. If reconciliation is not possible at this level, the student may take his or her concern to the Director of Education. If the grievance is still not resolved, the student may request that the Board of Trustees appoint a review committee.

Student Records
As required by federal legislation, Photo Center NW has a policy on the rights of students to privacy of their educational records and access to the information on file. Students have the right to review the records, files, and data maintained for his or her educational benefit, and also a right to challenge those records. To obtain transcripts or other records please contact the Registrar; all files are kept on site at Photographic Center NW.

Directory Information
The following directory information may be revealed by Photo Center NW to any inquirer, unless the student requests in writing within ten days of starting classes that Photo Center NW should withhold such information:
a) Name
b) Dates of Attendance
c) Completion Status

Disclosure of Personal Information without Request
Photo Center NW will not disclose personally identifiable information from the student’s record without his or her written consent unless the disclosure is:

  • To federal or state authorities.
  • To accrediting organizations in order to carry out their accrediting functions.
  • To comply with a judicial order or subpoena if Photo Center NW makes a reasonable effort to notify the student of the order or subpoena prior to release of the information.
  • To officials of another school to which the student has applied.
  • To organizations conducting studies involving testing, student aid programs or instruction where personally identifiable information will not be passed along.
  • To protect the health or safety of a student or other persons.
  • To organizations or agencies who sponsor the student at the school by paying the full cost of training directly to the school.
  • Students who wish to inspect their records must send a written request to the Center’s Director of Education five days in advance. Students also have a right to challenge the accuracy of the records.

Transcripts
Students may obtain official Photo Center NW transcripts of their academic record by submitting a written request to the Registrar. One official transcript may be requested free of charge, after which there is a $10.00 fee for up to 5 official copies. No official transcript will be released for students with financial obligations to Photo Center NW.

Quarterly Schedule
Registration dates and procedures are stated in the online registration page of our website. Each quarter, classes, workshops and related information are posted online and in the printed quarterly schedule.

Withdrawal from School
Student withdrawal will be deemed to have occurred as of the date the student submits written notification to the Registrar of their intention to withdraw. Notice of withdrawal must be received by the Registrar before a refund may be issued. A refund may be issued, if and only if the student withdraws from classes within the drop period outlined in the Administrative Policies. A grade of W will be issued if withdrawal occurs before the ninth week of the quarter. If withdrawal is after the eighth week, the grade will be HW (Hardship Withdrawal) when the student must withdraw for a medical/family hardship reason communicated to the school in writing. Otherwise, the student will receive an F (Failing). Re-enrollment in the same course(s) at a later date will require payment of full tuition. (See Administrative Policies below for specific refund schedule.)

Accommodations & Disabilities Services
Photo Center NW acknowledges that traditional methods and programs may not suit the needs of every student in our classes and workshops. If you have a learning, physical, or psychological disability, the education staff at Photo Center NW can work to provide you with additional support, resources, or accommodations where possible. We strive to create fully accessible opportunities for a diverse student body to participate in courses at the Center, and the Education staff is able to provide aids from shared notes and additional time on assignments or exams, to access related accommodations related to classroom spaces.

All accommodations and adjustments will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis according to the needs of the individual student and the demands of the class or program offered. Accommodations that require a change in the fundamental nature of the course, curriculum, or activity, or that cause an undue financial or administrative burden to the Center may not be approved. In that case the Photo Center may be able to help with referrals to other institutions or programs that are a better match for the individual. You may be required to submit documentation that establishes the nature of the disability and lists recommends services. We encourage that prospective students consider disclosing any accommodations needs ahead of registering to the education staff to ensure that we can provide a good fit for your educational needs and goals. All accommodations that are approved will be provided at no additional cost to the student. Travel-related accommodations cannot be considered. Students always have the opportunity to discuss their accommodation needs with education staff at the Photo Center.

Please do not hesitate to contact Michelle Dunn Marsh, Executive Director, with questions about disabilities services or to request an accommodation.

Administrative Policies

Courses Cancelled by Photo Center NW
If the Center fails to fulfill its obligation to complete any course after the course has begun, the students enrolled are entitled to a refund of all tuition and fees paid for the course.

Late Payment Penalty
If payment is not received by the billed due date, students are subject to a $50.00 late fee charge per month. If payment is still not received after 90 days, the account will be sent to a collections agency. If the student fails to make either part of the two-part payment when due, the Center may declare the entire amount of the indebtedness immediately due and payable. The student is further liable for all costs and attorneys’ fees for the collection of any amount not paid when due.

Refund Policies for Classes
The amount of tuition refunded for classes is determined by the cancellation or withdrawal date. The cancellation/withdrawal date is defined as the postmark date on mailed written cancellation/withdrawals or the date of receipt of written cancellation/withdrawal submitted to the Registrar. All refunds will be determined based on the withdrawal date. Notice given to the instructor rather than the administration is not considered notice of cancellation or withdrawal.

Class Refund Information and Deadlines (the information and deadlines outlined below apply to non-Certificate students; refunds for students enrolled in the Certificate Program are governed by the policies outlined in Academic Policies for Certificate Students):

  • If a student withdraws from a class prior to the first day of the academic quarter as published on the Photo Center Web site, the Photo Center retains 15% of the total tuition (non-refundable deposit).
  • If a student withdraws on or before the 14th day of the academic quarter, the Photo Center retains 50% of total tuition.
  • The drop period is defined as the first 14 days of the academic quarter as published on the Photo Center Web site. Students who withdraw after the 14th day of the quarter are not eligible to receive a refund.

In any case in which a refund is due a student, the refund shall be made within 30 days of receiving the student’s notice of cancellation or withdrawal from the school. All tuition refunds are issued in the form of a check.

Refund Policies for Workshops
The amount of tuition refunded for workshops is determined by the cancellation or withdrawal date. The cancellation/withdrawal date is defined as the postmark date on mailed written cancellation/withdrawals or the date of receipt of written cancellation/withdrawal submitted to the Registrar. All refunds will be determined based on the withdrawal date. Notice given to the instructor rather than the administration is not considered notice of cancellation or withdrawal.

Workshop Refund Information and Deadlines

  • If a workshop is cancelled by Photo Center NW the enrolled students are entitled to a full refund of tuition.
  • If a student withdraws more than seven days prior to the workshop the student is eligible for a refund of tuition less a $25.00 administrative/cancellation fee.
  • If a student withdraws less than seven days prior to the workshop the student is not eligible for a refund.

In any case in which a refund is due a student, the refund shall be made within 30 days of receiving the student’s notice of cancellation or withdrawal from the school. All tuition refunds are issued in the form of a check.

Re-Registration
Photo Center NW has a right to deny re-registration of a student until all financial obligations to Photo Center NW have been met.

Sexual Harassment Policy
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:

  • submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a person’s employment or academic advancement;
  • submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions or academic decisions affecting the person; or
  • such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with a person’s work or academic performance by creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.

Complaint Procedure
If any student feels he or she has been subjected to any instance of sexual harassment, he or she shall immediately report the incident to the Director of Education or Executive Director. The administration will promptly and fairly review all complaints, and conduct an investigation whenever indicated. To the highest degree possible, allowing for a fair investigation, the school will treat all complaints in a confidential manner. At a minimum, any investigation will include interviews with the person bringing the complaint and the alleged offender.

Corrective Action
If, as a result of the investigative process, it is determined that an individual has violated the sexual harassment policy, Photo Center NW will take prompt corrective action. The nature of the corrective action will be commensurate with the nature of the offense and the frequency of the behavior, and the corrective action may include disciplinary sanctions up to and including termination of employment or contract, or expulsion from the school.

Standards of Ethical Practice
It is the policy of Photo Center NW to conduct all programs without discrimination on the basis of sex, race, national origin, religion, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disability or veteran status. This policy applies to admissions, counseling, training, placement, and employment and to all aspects of the organization and administration of programs. Any inquiries by individuals pertaining to the above, including the provisions of Title IX, Education Amendments of 1972 as further amended, or under the handicapped discrimination provisions of Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, should be sent to the Executive Director of the school who is the reviewing officer. The school will not knowingly enroll a student who cannot benefit from the training.

Tuition and Expenses For All Students
Tuition for Photographic Center Northwest classes is charged at a per credit rate. Courses that require access to a darkroom, digital lab or studio in order to complete assignments in the course are noted in the catalog. To use Photographic Center Northwest facilities to complete assignments, the student must pay rental fees in addition to tuition. For current tuition and fees, see the quarterly schedule of Photo Center NW. Most courses require purchase of equipment or supplies in order to participate in the class or to complete assignments. For example, for many classes, students must have a 35 mm manually adjustable camera and purchase their own paper and film. The cost of such supplies and quantity used will vary widely depending upon course and student needs.

Academic Policies for Certificate Students

Admission to the Certificate Program

Timing
Applications to the Certificate Program are accepted on an annual basis; the application deadline is posted on the Certificate Program page. Current students considering the Certificate Program are strongly advised to enroll in the Certificate Program by the time they have taken 22 credits toward completion of the Program. Students accepted into the Certificate Program will obtain priority in registration.

Application
In order to be considered for admission to the Certificate Program, a student must complete an application form (available on the Certificate Program page), write a letter which describes the following: 1) Why you are applying to the Certificate Program, 2) Your past experience in photography, including any person projects, classes or programs of study you have undertaken, 3) Your personal or professional goals as they pertain to the Certificate Program, and 4) A statement about your ability to engage in a long-term course of study from a time, focus and financial perspective, and submit a portfolio of 10-15 images. The Registrar or the Director of Education may request further information or an interview prior to making a decision on an application. An application fee of $20.00 must be paid at the time an application is submitted.

Supporting Documents
To be accepted to the Certificate Program, the student must provide the school with a high school diploma, a GED certificate, or evidence of successful completion of two years of courses at an accredited college or equivalent credentials from a foreign educational institution, and must sign an Enrollment Agreement.

GPA
The student is provisionally admitted for the first quarter and must obtain a minimum GPA of 3.0 during that quarter to stay in the Certificate Program.

Advising
Certificate students are encouraged to meet with the Registrar prior to registration each quarter. Each certificate student must meet with a faculty advisor for a portfolio review and in-depth advising session when the student has completed 22 credits. All students may consult with the Registrar as needed to help with academic choices.

Course Requirements
See the Certificate Program page for complete information about program requirements.

Photo Center NW reserves the right to revise programs of study in order to provide maximum instructional benefits without additional cost to the student.

Students enrolled in the Certificate Program should make use of regional libraries for research work related to photographic practice. These libraries include the Seattle Public Library, the Seattle University Library and the University of Washington Libraries. (For more information on accessing materials in area research libraries, the director of education can be reached at education@pcnw.org.)

Program Length
Certificate students taking two or three classes a quarter, three quarters a year, will complete the program in three years, with the last year devoted largely to the thesis class. Most of our students complete the program in 5 years. The majority of Certificate Program courses are offered in the evening, with some daytime options. Scheduling suggestions for completion of the program in three years available from the Registrar.

Graduation Requirements
Eligibility requirements for completion of the Certificate Program are as follows:

  • Completion of required courses, listed above, for a total of 53 credits. The certificate student is bound by the requirements as of the time of admission to the Certificate Program. A student may petition the Registrar and/or Executive Director to waive required classes for one or more of these reasons:
  • Photo Center NW has agreed to accept a transfer of credit from another educational institution;
  • Photo Center NW has agreed to waive completion of a course based on the experience of the student and/or based on a portfolio review or examination and the student has successfully completed a more advanced course at Photo Center NW, such as a waiver of Photography I: Black and White and completion of Photography II: Black and White.
  • The course required at the time of the student’s admission to the Certificate Program is no longer offered and the student has completed an equivalent course offered by Photo Center NW.
  • An attendance rate of 80% or higher.
  • Financial obligations to Photo Center NW satisfied.
  • All students are required to complete the thesis class and meet thesis requirements, communicated to the student in writing, including the creation of a body of work of gallery stature and defense of that work before a thesis review panel. A student may not graduate, regardless of academic status, if the work created for the thesis exhibition fails to meet the school’s standards.

Satisfactory Progress
There is no specified timeline for completion of the Certificate Program; certificate students may move toward completion at their own pace, however, if a student has not completed the program after 5 years they will be asked to resubmit an enrollment agreement to affirm their continued commitment toward completion. In order to remain a certificate student, the student must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00. If the student falls below the minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00, the student will be given a warning on the student’s quarterly grade report. That student must have achieved a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 by the next quarterly grade report for that student, or the student will not be allowed to continue as a certificate student. The student has a right to appeal the decision and/or appeal for re-admittance by request to the Registrar. If the student’s grievance is still not resolved, the student may request that the Director of Education appoint a review committee. Readmission will be based on the student satisfying the same requirements as a student applying to the Certificate Program and student ability to demonstrate resolution of the problem that led to lack of satisfactory progress.

Transfer Credits
Students may obtain credit for courses taken at other institutions providing the following: 1) courses at another institution were taken in the last 5 years, 2) the other institution is a 4-year college or university accredited by a United States accrediting organization that has been recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDE), 3) credits at the other institution are calculated comparably to Photo Center NW credit formulas, and 4) the coursework completed at the other institution is comparable to the coursework required by Photo Center NW. Transfer credits are evaluated and approved by the Registrar. However, students must earn at least half of the credits required in the Certificate Program at Photo Center NW. Students interested in transferring Photo Center NW credits to another institution are responsible for investigating transfer credit guidelines of the receiving institution.

Estimated Cost of the Certificate Program
The total cost of the Certificate Program below is a range, given the variation from student to student, which courses the student chooses, what equipment and supplies the student buys and how much time the student spends using the facilities. Photo Center NW reserves the right to increase tuition and fees. The following is our current projection for completion of the program in three years. Please note that most of our students take five years to complete the Certificate Program, and this would increase the overall cost.

Tuition, assuming a 5% per year increase in tuition and assuming the student completes the Certificate Program in three years (updated fall 2012): $13,000
Facility rental fees, which are subject to incremental increases, and vary depending on class choices: $2,400
Supplies purchased by the student (paper, film): $3,000
Camera (required to do class assignments) and other equipment: $1,000
Required materials and textbooks, purchased new: $500
Total of the above: $19,900
Estimated cost of completing the Certificate Program in the next three years (beginning 2013): $19,900

Refund Policy for Certificate Program Students
The amount of tuition refunded for classes is determined by the student’s last date of attendance. Photo Center does not require, but would prefer a written statement of withdrawal from students choosing to withdraw from a course. This statement may be submitted to the Registrar. All refunds will be determined based on the student’s last date of attendance.

Refund Information and Deadlines for Certificate Students

  • If a student withdraws before the date of the second class, the Center will retain only the 15% non-refundable deposit/registration fee.
  • If a student withdraws on or after the date of the second class and before the date of the fourth class, the Center will retain 25% of the tuition and materials/rental fees.
  • If a student withdraws on or after the date of the fourth class and before the date of the sixth class, the Center will retain 50% of the tuition and materials/rental fees.
  • If a student withdraws on or after the date of the sixth class, the Center will retain the full tuition and materials/rental fees.

OR

If the student completes this amount of training: The school may keep this percentage of the tuition cost:
One week or up to 10%, whichever is less 10%
More than one week or 10% whichever is less but less than 25% 25%
25% through 50% 50%
More than 50% 100%

In any case in which a refund is due a student, the refund shall be made within 30 days of receiving the student’s notice of cancellation or withdrawal from the school. All tuition refunds are issued in the form of a check.

Code of Conduct

The Photo Center facilities are private property, open to enrolled students, participants in our current programs, and professional members of our community (instructors, models, staff, etc.). The general public is welcome into the gallery spaces and to public events as guests to the Photo Center.

Members of the Photo Center community and the general public are requested to abide by the following Code of Conduct in order to ensure that the Photo Center is a comfortable, safe and secure place to engage in one’s artistic pursuits.

The following activities are prohibited at the Photo Center:

  • Smoking and illegal drug use (smoking tobacco: must be 25 feet from the entrance and open windows)
  • Consuming alcohol (special events are the exception)
  • Using potentially toxic materials anywhere in the building without permission from the Facilities staff and proper ventilation
  • Burning objects or creating potential hazards or offensive smells (ex: toning, improper chemical mixing) that disturbs others in the building
  • No pets. With regard to service animals, the Photo Center is ADA compliant
  • Engaging in disruptive or unsafe behavior that disturbs others
  • Damaging Photo Center equipment, exhibited art work, or property, including graffiti
  • Threatening others physically or engaging in verbal harassment
  • Acting unreasonably and interfering with others’ use of the facility or class time
  • Entering or remaining in the building after hours without written prior permission from the Executive Director and Facilities staff
  • Not cleaning up after yourself or not putting away or returning equipment properly
  • Deliberate damage of any Photo Center property, building, and/or equipment
  • Damage of any Photo Center property, building, and/or equipment due to negligence
  • Theft, including office supplies, equipment, art works and any other property in the building

Anyone not complying with the Photo Center Code of Conduct will be asked to leave the Photo Center premises and may be barred from all future access to the Photo Center facilities and programs.