Admissions Student Appeal Attendance Dismissal Code of Conduct Academic Conduct Course Exemption Policy Dispute Resolution Grading Prior Learning Assessment Program Enrollment Status Registration Student Support Services Transfer Credit and Articulation Tuition Fee Payment Tuition Refund Policy Withdrawal Policy Language Proficiency Assessment Policy Facilitation of Student Success Harassment Human Rights Statutory Holidays Bursary Exchange Program Health and Safety Recycling & Refuse Materials
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Admissions Policy

All persons with a high school diploma or Mature Student status (19 years or over and completion of English 12 or completion of BC Provincial English 12 exam with a minimum 60% or ‘C’ grade), are eligible for admission to the Vancouver Island School of Art.

Non-native speakers:
Please refer to the Language Proficiency Assessment Policy.

The school does not discriminate on the basis of age, race or gender. The school is located in a heritage building without elevators so students with a physical disability might not be able to attend certain courses, depending on their particular disability.

Follow the links below for Program specific entry requirements:

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Student Appeal Policy

Students with concerns regarding grades, course standing, program status, attendance or related academic decisions should start the process by approaching the instructor or the initiator of the decision, preferably in person. If student is addressing their concerns via email, they should cc the Director on this email. This must be done within one week of the student receiving the assessment. All efforts must be made to resolve the issue without a formal appeal.

If it is necessary to proceed with a formal appeal, the student will speak with the Office Administrator and arrange a meeting with the Director. At this point the student should put their appeal request in writing and present this to the Director who will listen to the student’s appeal and the instructor’s response to the student.

At this point, the Director will arrange to speak to the Instructor and if necessary, a meeting between the Director, instructor and student will be arranged and a general discussion will occur to come to a fair agreement.

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Attendance Policy

A student must attend at least nine out of twelve classes of a 12-week course (four out of six classes of a 6-week course) in order to receive a passing grade and credit for the course. More than three unexcused absences will result in a fail grade.

If a student misses more than two consecutive classes without prior permission from the instructor, credit for the course could be jeopardized. In particular, this applies to students funded by student loans. Students funded by any outside lending agency are advised to be familiar with the attendance requirements outlined in their loan application and acceptance documents; and be aware that VISA will report absences as required.

If a student arrives late on more than two occasions without prior notice to the instructor, each subsequent late arrival will be considered as a one half-day absence.

Full attendance is required for short courses, weeklong and weekend workshops.

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Code of Conduct Policy

The Code of Conduct confirms the rights of all Vancouver Island School of Art community members and provides a guideline on the behavior that is expected from everyone in order to contribute to a safe and respectful learning and working environment. The code of conduct applies to anyone on school property, or where any school activities are taking place. The Code of Conduct is expected to be followed in addition to all other student and administrative policies. Breach of these policies or the Code of Conduct, may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination, suspension or expulsion from the school.

  1. Treat all members of the School Community with respect and courtesy, keeping in agreement with the Respectful and Fair Treatment of Students policy. This includes but is not limited to:
    • Refraining from any acts of bullying, harassment or intimidation
    • Acting against any person who intervenes, prevents or reports a violation of this policy or any other safety concern
  2. Respect all school property and services or property belonging to any member of the Vancouver Island School of Art Community. This includes but is not limited to:
    • Refraining from intentional damage of student or school property, theft or possession of stolen property
    • Cleaning up and disposing of garbage and art materials appropriately in accordance to school procedure
  3. Contribute to a productive learning environment and refrain from any disorderly and/or disruptive behavior that interferes with the learning of other students or the normal operations of the school.
    This includes but is not limited to:
    • Limiting the use of electronic devices during classes and/or workshops and ensuring any use of these devises are not distracting to others
    • Limiting personal conversations during classes to appropriate times only and at an appropriate a volume
    • Attending class in a coherent and rational state that is conductive to leaning and free from the effects of drugs or alcohol
    • The eating of meals during class (small snacks are acceptable)
  4. Contribute to the safety and wellbeing of all community members This includes but is not limited to:
    • Contributing to a scent-free environment
    • Knowing and following the Health and Safety Policy

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Academic Conduct

The Academic Conduct Policy’s objective is to confirm the expectation of academic integrity of all Vancouver Island School of Art community members. It provides a guideline on what is considered academic misconduct and provides suggestions on how to respond to ensure that cases of misconduct are consistent with the procedures outlined in this policy.

Academic Integrity

Academic Misconduct
Examples of academic misconduct include but are not limited to: Procedures for Cases of Academic Misconduct

Sanctions for Academic Misconduct are decided on a case by case basis and are to be determined by the Instructor and/or Executive Director. They may include:

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Course Exemption Policy

Certificate Program:

Students requesting an exemption from a required course must provide the request in writing along with the course description from the school calendar or website, the duration of the course (total hours) as well as a transcript indicating the grade received for the course. While courses taken outside VISA will be considered for exemption for the Certificate program, we cannot provide transfer of credit hours to the program because of the short duration of the Certificate program. Students who receive an exemption for a required course will still have to complete the required 504 hours. An exempted course will be replaced with an elective of equal hourly credits.

Diploma Program:

Students requesting an exemption from a required course must provide the request in writing along with the course description from the school calendar or website, the duration of the course (total hours) as well as a transcript indicating the grade received for the course. Courses that have been taken outside of VISA and have been approved for course exemption will also be considered for transfer credit. Students can apply to have up to 50% of the course hours as transfer credit (756 hours).

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Dismissal Policy

The Vancouver Island School of Art expects all members of our community to conduct themselves with respect for the rights of others. A student may be suspended or dismissed should he or she violate those rights, or for serious intentional academic or behavioural misconduct and/or for failure to abide by the Vancouver Island School of Art's Code of Conduct.

Every reasonable effort will be made to resolve student conduct concerns at the instructional and administrative level, in the form of a one-on-one discussion or a group meeting with student and individuals involved. When, in the judgment of a faculty member or the Director, a student’s behavior constitutes conduct of a nature that warrants dismissal and cannot be resolved as above, the Director shall notify the student in writing and instruct the student to cease attendance in courses and/or workshops.

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Dispute Resolution Policy

The Vancouver Island School of Art encourages all individuals to resolve issues informally and directly with involved parties. If there is an issue between a student and an instructor, or vice-versa, the parties involved can contact the Executive Director either by email or in person. The Executive Director will then discuss issue with both parties for a possible resolution, again by email or in person, depending on the nature of the situation. The dispute is to be discussed between involved individuals for the purpose of reaching a solution agreeable to all parties concerned. In the event that a formal approach becomes necessary, the School provides a fair and reasonable procedure for resolution, as follows:

  1. The issue or complaint must be provided in writing to the office administrator.
  2. The office administrator will request written submissions from all involved parties to be submitted within 48 hours of original complaint.
  3. The office administrator will provide a written decision to all parties within one week of the meeting. The written decision will be based on discussion with the Executive Director.
  4. If no acceptable resolution is reached, the office administrator will arrange an in-person meeting will all parties involved. This will be attended by Executive Director and one member of the VISA Board.
  5. If still no acceptable resolution is reached, the involved parties may appoint an outside arbitrator within 48 hours.

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Grading Policy

The Vancouver Island School of Art provides all students with fair and responsible assessments and evaluation based on individual artistic development.

At the start of each course, students will receive a course outline from the instructor, stating weekly assignments, and related concepts and resources as necessary.

Grading Policy 2014

Passing Grades Grade Point Value Percentage
for Instructor Use Only*
90 - 100
85 - 89
80 - 84
Exceptional, outstanding and excellent performance. Normally achieved by a minority of students. These grades indicate a student who is self-initiating, exceeds expectation and has an insightful grasp of the subject matter.
77 - 79
73 - 76
70 - 72
Very good, good and solid performance. Normally achieved by the largest number of students. These grades indicate a good grasp of the subject matter or excellent grasp in one area balanced with satisfactory grasp in the other area.
65 - 69
60 - 64
Satisfactory, or minimally satisfactory. These grades indicate a satisfactory performance and knowledge of the subject matter. 
D 1 50 - 59 Marginal Performance. A student receiving this grade demonstrated a superficial grasp of the subject matter. 
Failing Grades Grade Point Value Percentage
for Instructor Use Only*
F 0 0 - 49 Unsatisfactory performance. Did not attend required classes or complete assignments. 
W     Withdrawn

Grades consist of the following components (percentage of grade):
80% - Projects*
15% - Participation (discussion, critiques)
  5% - Attendance

*Projects can consist of class or homework studio assignments, sketchbook, written assignments and oral presentations. It is up to the individual instructor to decide how they will allocate the grades in this category. Information about the particular breakdown of the ‘projects’ component should be included on all course outlines.

Following is a sample breakdown of the Projects category (80% of total grade):
45% studio assignments
15% written assignment
10% sketchbook
10% oral presentation

Instructors will issue letter grades and provide a breakdown of the grade based on 80% for class assignments, 15% participation and 5% attendance.

Grades are issued for students in the Certiticate and Diploma programs. Students taking courses and workshops on an individual basis must submit a 'Request for Grading' form before the second class of a course or before the start date of a workshop in order to be graded. Only courses that are graded can be transferred over to a Certificate or Diploma program at a later date.

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Language Proficiency Assessment Policy

Applicants whose first language is not English, regardless of immigration or citizenship status, must present one of the English Language Proficiency tests listed below.

Students applying to the Certificate, Diploma or Independent Studio Program, must provide a copy of the test results with their application.

Examples of accepted English Language Proficiency tests and scores:

  1. TOEFL
    • Internet-Based Test
    • minimum of 84 out of 120 total points including a minimum score in each of the four skills; Speaking 20/30, Reading 20/30, Writing 18/30, and Listening 20/30.
  2. IELTS Academic Module
    • International English Language Testing System
    • minimum level 6.5 with no band less than 6.0
  3. CAEL
    • Canadian Academic English Language assessment test
    • minimum level of 70 overall
  4. PTE Academic
    • Pearson Test of English Academic
    • minimum score of 56
  5. CAE
    • Cambridge English Advanced
    • minimum scale score of 176 with no individual score less than 169
  6. CPE
    • Cambridge Proficiency Examination
    • minimum scale score of 176 with no individual score less than 169
  7. MELAB
    • Michigan English Language Assessment Battery
    • minimum level of 81
    • Academic Test Canadian English Proficiency Index Program
    • minimum Academic Level 4L

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Prior Learning Assessment Policy

Credit may be awarded as a result of an assessment of prior learning gained from the following types of experiential learning:

  1. work experience
  2. informal education and training
  3. self-study
  4. volunteer activities
  5. other life experiences

To be considered for Prior Learning Assessment, students must submit a written letter and a CV that clearly indicates previous experience they have in their field, as well as images (slides or JPGS of their work).

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Program Enrollment Status Policy

There is an application process required for enrollment in the Certificate of Visual Arts, the Diploma of Fine Arts and the Independent Studio programs. Application forms, enrollment requirements and details can be found on the website. There is no application process for students taking Individual Courses and Workshops.

In order to be enrolled in a program, students must sign an enrollment agreement form and register for the minimum amount of weekly hours required by the program: Certificate of Visual Arts (6 hours/week) and Diploma of Fine Arts (9 hours/week). Once enrolled in a program, students are required to register for the Fall and Winter semesters consecutively.

If a student is unable to meet the requirement, they must inform the Director in writing, explaining the reasons. Upon approval by the Director, the student may maintain their status by registering for the required amount of hours in the following semester.

For specific program enrollment requirements and details for part-time and full-time, students should refer to the Program Guide.

Students must obtain a passing grade in all courses in order to maintain their enrollment status in the program. If a student misses more than three classes per course without a justifiable reason (such as a letter from a physician), they are subject to receiving a “fail” in the course.

If a student receives a fail grade on a course and if they wish to maintain their enrollment status in the Program, they must make an appointment to meet with the Director. It is expected that arrangements would be made for the student to repeat the course or an equivalent course. If no action is taken when a student receives a fail grade, their status in the program will be forfeited and they will be considered, thereafter, an Individual Course and Workshop student.

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Registration Policy

Students may register for courses or workshops in person, by phone or by email.

Students must register before the start date of the course or workshop. Payment is required at the time of registration to guarantee placement.

If students are registered in a program, all courses and workshops can be used for credit towards that program, as long as the compulsory course requirement is met.

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Student Support Services Policy

The Vancouver School of Art is committed to supporting all students in their art endeavours and the fulfillment of their goals.

Every effort will be made to accommodate students’ schedules and time limitations; our aim is to provide students the opportunity to reach their artistic objectives on a part-time as well as full-time basis. Our Program configurations and requirements reflect this purpose.

Student support services at the Vancouver Island School of Art are as follows:

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Transfer Credit and Articulation Policy

Transfer Credits (from outside VISA): The Vancouver Island School of Art takes under consideration, courses taken at a recognized, accredited or otherwise equivalent post-secondary institution such as a college or university and compares them to the offerings at the school in terms of the subjects covered and hourly duration of the course. Credits should be relevant to and reflect requirements of the Vancouver Island School of Art Diploma, and be completed within ten years of the time they are presented for evaluation.

Transfer credits apply only to the first and second years (100 and 200 level courses) of the Diploma of Fine Arts Program. Transfer credits will not be considered for the third year. All third year (300 level) courses; a total of 504 hours must be completed at VISA to qualify for graduation from the Program. No more than 50% of the hourly credits required to complete the Diploma of Fine Arts program may be transferred.

Diploma students requesting transfer credits/course exemptions do so by providing the documentation (transcripts and published description of the institution and the course) along with their application to a program as described in our entry requirements and Admissions Policy. Once the Director has evaluated the student’s request for transfer credits/course exemptions, the office is informed and student’s records are adjusted according to the hourly credits accepted.

Transfer Credits (within VISA): Students wishing to transfer credits from Individual Courses and Workshops at VISA to the Certificate or Diploma program at VISA, should request the transfer/exemption at the time of application to the program. Courses and workshops will be transferred, provided the student achieved a passing grade and completed within two years of the application date, or as deemed by the Director. It is important to note that students must fulfill the course requirements of the program, therefore, it is possible that not all courses and workshops they have taken will be applied towards their program completion.

Articulation Agreements

The Vancouver Island School of Art has an articulation agreement in place with Emily Carr University of Art and Design: students who complete the Certificate of Visual Arts are eligible to apply to the second year of ECUAD’s Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Media Arts and Bachelor of Design. VISA also plans to develop articulation agreements with other institutions that offer a four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts program (such as University of Victoria, Ontario College of Art and Design and the Alberta College of Art and Design). The school takes the possibility of articulation agreements with other institutions into consideration when planning and developing its programs and curriculum by ensuring that it is offering comparable courses that will be recognized by such institutions.

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Tuition Fee Payment Policy

Student funded tuition:

Tuition is due and payable in full at the time of registration and no later than one week prior to the start of classes. This is to ensure student placement in selected courses. Payment can be made by VISA, MasterCard, debit, cheque or cash. An administration fee of $20 will be charged on all NSF cheques.

Government Student Loan funded tuition:

The fee payment deadline is no later than one week prior to the start of classes. To meet this deadline, it is recommended that Student Loan application forms be completed and mailed to BCSL by June 30. If fee payment or written confirmation of loan approval by BCSL is not received by the deadline, students will then be responsible to pay 50%of their fees to secure their registration in courses. The remaining 50% is due by September 30. If these conditions are not met, the student may be de-registered from courses.

Other sources of outside funding:

Students applying for Indian and Northern Affairs funding, RESP’s, or funding from other outside sources should submit their applications prior to June 30. Written confirmation of approval from the funding agency must be received two weeks prior to the start of classes, and must also state the expected date that fees will be forthcoming to the school.

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Withdrawal Policy

Students who wish to withdraw from the Certificate of Visual Arts Program, the Diploma of Fine Arts Program, or the Individual Courses and Workshops, will be asked to provide their withdrawal notice in writing to the Office Administrator.

Depending on the circumstances and the details given in the student’s written notice, the student will be contacted by the Director, office administrator or instructor involved within five business days to discuss the reasons for withdrawal Any issues arising from this discussion will be documented and addressed as necessary. The School will make every effort to accommodate the student with options or alternatives to meet their needs. Any fee adjustments or refunds will be forthcoming as applicable to the individual situation and according to the School’s Refund Policy.

If written notice is received by the school on or before the eighth class of a twelve-class semester (or the fourth class of a six-class semester), the student will not receive an academic penalty. Student records will show the withdrawal status as follows:

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Harassment Policy

Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination based on one’s sex and will not be tolerated. This type of harassment may be blatant but is often subtle. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and other verbal or written communication or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:

The School will not tolerate discrimination. If substantiated, an allegation of discrimination may lead to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from the School.

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Statutory Holidays Policy

Twelve Week Courses
If a class falls on a Statutory Holiday (Thanksgiving, Remembrance Day, Easter), the class will not take place on that day. Instructors are not required to make-up a class in lieu of a Stat Holiday.

Weekend or Weeklong Workshops
If a Stat Holiday falls on a day in a weekend or weeklong workshop, this will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Please refer to workshop description in brochure.

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Human Rights Policy

The Vancouver Island School of Art states unequivocally that all members of our community are expected to treat one another with respect and with equality, without regard to one’s race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, marital statue, age, ethnic or national origin, religion or creed, or physical or mental disability. The policy touches all of us and calls upon us to be fair in all settings, academic and non-academic.

The School will not tolerate discrimination. If substantiated, an allegation of discrimination may lead to disciplinary action up to and including from the School.

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Bursary Exchange Program Policy

In our continual effort to reach out to the community and make art courses available to those who might not necessarily be able to afford them, we have developed the Bursary Exchange program. Students participating in this program work at the School in exchange for art courses and expand their employment experience.

To qualify, interested students must have completed a minimum of two courses at the Vancouver Island School of Art before applying. Application forms must be submitted to the office three weeks before the start date of the semester.

The School facilitates up to four Bursary Exchange students at one time. Accepted students are required to sign a contract, agreeing to work the same number of hours as class time they are enrolled in; hour for hour, in lieu of payment and in exchange for tuition fees payable. Time sheets must be completed on a regular basis.

Bursary Exchange students’ work includes classroom preparation, daily tidying and upkeep of the classrooms and hallways, assisting with office jobs, maintaining our reading and slide library, organizing events and exhibitions for the school, distributing posters and brochures and other school related jobs as required.

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