Academic Policies and Regulations


The academic regulations for students, both those voted by the faculty and those established by administra­tive offices, are published in the various documents such as the Academic Catalogs, which are brought up to date each year.  Faculty members are responsible for familiarizing themselves with these regula­tions and for participating in their implementation.

5.4.1  The Academic Year    The calendar of the academic year is published at least a year in advance.   Faculty with 9-month appointments are expected to be available to meet their contractual responsibilities to their respective college during the entire academic year between August 16 and May 15. Any exceptions are considered to be leaves of absence, and must be approved under the appropriate leave policy in section 3.13.  The various breaks and vacation times listed on the University Academic Calendar, and as published in the current Academic Catalogs, are to be strictly observed.

5.4.2  Teaching Load    Part of a typical faculty member’s time is spent in scheduled classroom instruction, part on research and individual direction of students, and part on departmental and other professional activities. Faculty members are expected to participate in the work of their departments and colleges outside of the classroom, to provide academic advising to students, to serve in governance of the University, to engage in professional development, and to contribute to the creative and/or scholarly advancement of their disciplines. Individual teaching loads will vary accordingly, and it is the responsibility of the department chair in consultation with individual faculty and with approval of the dean to determine teaching loads each semester.  The standard full teaching load for a faculty member on a nine-month contract is 24 credits or the equivalent spread over the fall and spring semesters.  Overload teaching assignments, for which the faculty member was compensated and received an overload contract or special payment form, are excluded from the calculation of what constitutes the faculty member’s assigned standard teaching load.

5.4.3  Schedule of Class Meetings    Class meetings are to be held at the times listed for each course as published in the Schedule of Courses each semester. The determination of course schedules is the responsibility of the department chair in consultation with the department faculty and the dean.  Faculty are to be assured of opportunities for attendance at professional meetings or engagement in other scholarly activities during the academic year. (See §3.13.1 Sick Leave, §5.5 Faculty Development, and §8.4.1 Inclement Weather.)

5.4.4  Classroom Teaching     As the AAUP “Statement on Freedom and Responsibility” points out, “It is a mastery teachers have of their subjects and their own scholarship that entitles them to their classrooms and to freedom in the presentation of their subjects.” Thus, within their obligations to follow standards of their discipline, course descriptions as published in the Academic Catalogs, and requirements and expectations of student learning outcomes assessment procedures as established by the University and its departments, faculty are afforded pedagogical discretion in defining course objectives and in deciding how best to present and explore course material. The academic policies and regulations of the departments, colleges and university relating to classroom teaching shall have an overall goal of ensuring the quality of instruction while also protecting essential academic freedoms.

5.4.5  Student Absences from Class Sessions    The University does not excuse students from classes missed while participating in off-campus activities, whether they be athletic events, extra-curricular trips, or academic field trips.  A faculty member must not require a student to miss a class.

5.4.6  Course Plans and the Syllabus    With the exception of courses for which a common syllabus is agreed upon by those teaching it, course plans are the responsibility of the individual instruc­tor.  Instructors have the right to determine the requirements of the courses they teach, based on the course description as published in the appropriate Academic Catalog and within the limitations of college, department and university policy.  Faculty should provide students with a course syllabus containing, at a minimum, the following:  (a) instructor identification and contact information, (b) course identification, (c) course goals and objectives, (d) required materials (textbooks, lab manuals, etc.), (e) course calendar  (assignment due dates, tests, etc.), (f) guidelines for class participation, (g) basis for determining final grades and mid-semester progress reports (in undergraduate courses, where required), (h) accommodations for students with disabilities, and (i) instructor’s statement of adherence to the Honor System.  Individual colleges and departments may determine additional requirements for syllabus preparation.

5.4.7  Office Hours    It is essential to the mission of the University that faculty be accessible to students, and faculty are required to post and maintain regular office hours.  Generally, each full-time faculty member is expected to schedule and post at his or her office door at least five formal office hours each week, arranged at times that meet students’ needs for consultation.  Adjunct faculty are generally expected to hold regularly scheduled office hours at the rate of 1.5 hours per week for each 3-credit course taught, and 2 hours per week for each 4-credit course.  Regarding these general understandings, the faculty, department chairs, and dean of each college will determine the nature and scope of specific office hours expectations for the college.

5.4.8  Final Examinations    A final examination or equivalent final assessment (such as critiques or final projects) will be given in all courses unless specific exception is approved, in writing, by the dean of the relevant college.  Faculty members seeking such exception should write to the dean explaining why the exception should be made.  Instructors are expected to keep final examination papers for one calendar year in case any question should arise that would make reference to the papers desirable.

5.4.9  Reporting Student Enrollment, Progress, and Final Grades    Each faculty member is responsible for verifying the accuracy of official class rosters and for reporting in a timely fashion any discrepancies that exist (such as students listed on the roster who are not attending) to the Office of the Registrar.  Each faculty member must submit final course grades, and mid-semester progress reports in undergraduate courses when required, no later than each semester’s published dates and times for doing so.  Failure to submit grades by established deadlines causes serious problems for students about to graduate and creates additional and needless work for staff members in many offices.  Mid-semester reports of unsatisfactory academic performance (when issued) and final course grades are made available to the student and the student’s academic adviser.

5.4.10  Student Advising    Full-time faculty members are expected to serve as academic advisers to students when assigned.  Advising includes guiding the student in deciding on his or her overall (long range) course and potential career plan and approving the student’s schedule of courses each semester.  It may also include providing information on graduate study and suggesting opportunities such as internships, undergraduate research, summer institutes, or study abroad.

5.4.11  Academic Assistance Offered by Faculty to Students    Since teaching is the primary mission of the University, faculty should make every effort to become aware of the needs of the students in their classes for academic support, and to offer individual assistance or refer the student to an appropriate person or office for assistance, such as the Office of Academic Services.

5.4.12  Student Recommendations    It is a responsibility of each faculty member to provide recommendations for students who request them.  In some instances, when the faculty member is not able to provide a supportive recommendation, he or she should explain that to the student.  It is the student’s responsibility to provide the faculty member with information on deadlines and the faculty member’s responsibility to observe those deadlines.

5.4.13  Approval of Candidates for Degrees    Late in the spring semester, a list of degree candidates is distributed to faculty by the Office of the Registrar.  Each college will conduct its own final general faculty meeting, and the faculty will vote on a motion to award degrees to those students on the list who are certified by the Office of the Registrar as having satisfied all requirements for graduation

5.4.14 Participation in Academic Ceremonies    All faculty are expected to attend graduation ceremonies and other formal academic ceremonies, as notified, in appropriate regalia.  The University does not pay for regalia but provides procedures for renting it.  Each college shall establish policies for faculty attendance at such ceremonies and for procedures for being excused from attendance.