Faculty Teaching Policies

Last Approved June 15, 2011

The Auburn University’s Faculty Handbook and Tiger Cub Handbook outline the responsibilities of faculty regarding instruction and classroom activities.  The Department of Chemical Engineering strongly endorses these guidelines and has adopted them as the basis in developing departmental policies regarding teaching and instruction.  Other policies appearing below were developed to serve specific needs and concerns in the department and complement the university guidelines.  These department policies are designated with a dagger †.  Departmental adaptations of university policies are designated with a double dagger ‡ and appear in italics.  Items appearing without other designation are Auburn University policies. 

Faculty Handbook (Instruction) http://www.auburn.edu/academic/provost/facultyHandbook/

Overview

The Department of Chemical Engineering at Auburn University recognizes that the classroom experience represents a partnership between student and professor.  We believe that each faculty member in conducting classes should exhibit high standards of professional behavior through his/her scholarship, personal integrity, and enthusiasm for the profession of teaching.

Respect of students

Faculty will strive to develop among students respect for others and their opinions by demonstrating his or her own respect for each student as an individual, regardless of race, sex, national origin, religion, age, or physical handicap.

Statement of course objectives

Faculty will provide in writing or via web-link at an early meeting of the course, specific course objectives and the manner in which they are to be attained.  Generally this is done via a course outline or syllabus, etc.  This information will also be transmitted to the department via the course notebook submitted at the end of the term.‡

Statement of grading and evaluation procedures

The faculty member shall determine the policy regarding grading which he or she feels is best for the course. Faculty will provide in writing or via web-link at the beginning of the course information about the grading and evaluation procedures what will be employed, including:  (a) the grading system and method of determining the final grade; (b) the relative importance of assigned papers, quizzes, examinations, class preparation, and participation; (c) the approximate schedule for examinations (other than the final exam); and (d) the policy on unannounced quizzes. This policy will govern the actions of the faculty member in the course.  This information will also be provided to the CAPAC chair via the course notebook submitted at the end of the term.

Faculty preparedness and attendance

Faculty are expected to exercise care in the organization and presentation of all materials toward the end of achieving the stated instructional objectives.  Variations from the schedule may occur for a variety of reasons, including illness, professional activities, etc.  When such variations occur, it is the responsibility of the faculty member both to provide equivalent academic activity and to notify the department chair.

Office hours

Faculty are expected to maintain specific regular posted office hours each week for conferences with students.  Faculty will provide in writing or via web-link at the beginning of the course information about their office hours.  This information shall also be provided to the department administrative assistant at the same time to be posted with the semester teaching schedule.  If a situation arises requiring the faculty to be out of the office during the posted hours, an appropriate note should be posted on the door. ‡

Scheduling of exams

Announced tests in undergraduate courses will be administered at a regularly scheduled meeting of the course. Exceptions to this regulation may arise in specialized courses requiring performances or oral tests, and in multiple-sectioned laboratory classes requiring practical laboratory tests. A faculty member with a sound reason for scheduling a test at a time other than the regularly scheduled meeting time must obtain approval from the department head prior to the beginning of the semester and must present written notice of the change to the class during the first few days of the semester. A rescheduled test should not interfere with other scheduled academic endeavors of the students involved, and an appropriate reduction in regularly scheduled class time should be given to compensate for the rescheduled test period.  It is not appropriate for a faculty member to give examinations at other times to allow students more time to take the exam or for other perceived conveniences or benefits for the students.  With the exception of laboratory and design project oral examinations, the department has no applicable courses meriting non-scheduled exam times.  In the case of faculty who will be attending meetings or engaged in other professional obligations at the time previously announced as scheduled for an exam, either the faculty member must arrange for another faculty member to proctor the exam or a properly prepared GTA must be arranged to administer the exam at the scheduled time.  (See “Use of GTA’s and other students to proctor examinations”)  ‡

Final exam policy

A final exam is a desirable means of evaluation in most undergraduate courses.  In unusual circumstances, performance tests, term papers, research projects or other forms of evaluation appropriate to the objectives of the course may be substituted for the final exam with the approval of the department chair, who will report his or her action to the dean and the provost. 

Final exam scheduling

Final examinations will be administered during the hours specified in the published examination schedule. Due to the specialized nature of many small upper-level undergraduate courses and graduate courses, deviations from this requirement are sometimes warranted. Such deviations are to be approved by the Provost, and rescheduled examinations must not interfere with scheduled academic activities of the students involved.  A faculty member must obtain approval from the department chair prior to the beginning of the semester in order to seek the approval of the provost. ‡  Rescheduled examinations must not interfere with scheduled academic activities of the students involved.

Grading and return of exams

Faculty are expected to grade and return examinations and other major assignments within a reasonable period of time.  Generally this will be understood to be within three days but no longer than one week after the exam or assignment due date. ‡

Publication of exam and course grades

Grades on examinations or in courses may not be publicly posted using students' names or social security numbers. If a faculty member wishes to post grades, he or she must do so in such a manner that no student can be personally identified by others.

Makeup examination policy

Arrangement to make up missed major examinations (e.g. hour exams, mid-term exams) due to properly authorized excused absences (as defined by the Tiger Cub) must be initiated by the student within one week from the end of the period of the excused absence. Normally, a make-up exam shall occur within two weeks from the time that the student initiates arrangements for it. Instructors are encouraged to refrain from giving make-up examinations during the last three days prior to the first day of final examinations. The format of make-up exams and opportunities for students to make up work other than major examinations are at the discretion of the instructor whose make-up policies should be stated in writing at the beginning of the term.  Note:  This policy does not allow the faculty member to exempt the student from the missed examination and recomputed the student’s course grade using a different weighting scheme from the one originally announced. ‡

Student attendance policy

Specific policies regarding class attendance are the prerogative of the individual faculty member. The faculty member shall inform each class in writing at the beginning of the course regarding the effect of absences on the determination of grades.

Excused absence policy statement

Students are granted excused absences from class for the following reasons: illness of the student or serious illness of a member of the student's immediate family, the death of a member of the student's immediate family, trips for student organizations sponsored by an academic unit, trips for university classes, trips for participation in intercollegiate athletic events, subpoena for a court appearance, and religious holidays. Students who wish to have an excused absence from class for any other reason must contact the instructor in advance of the absence to request permission. The instructor will weigh the merits of the request, and render a decision. When feasible, the student must notify the instructor prior to the occurrence of any excused absences, but in no case shall such notification occur more than one week after the absence. Appropriate documentation for all excused absences is required. Please see the Tiger Cub for more information on excused absences.

Retention of student work

Final examinations or similar evaluative material that has not been returned by faculty members should be retained by faculty members until the first day of the third semester after the final grade has been assigned.

Use of required textbook

Faculty are expected to use to a significant degree the required textbook for those courses having a designated required textbook.  Faculty may not substitute alternate textbooks without obtaining permission of CAPAC. 

Adherence to course outlines and outcomes

Faculty are expected to teach lectures in accordance with the department’s established curriculum in order to meet accreditation objectives.  For those courses with published course outcomes, faculty are expected to teach in such a fashion that those outcomes are realized.  Faculty can suggest modification of specific course outcomes during the End of Course Faculty Survey.

Faculty should be aware of the importance of teaching the subject material which is implied in the course outcomes that were established for our core undergraduate chemical engineering courses. These outcomes were established after faculty input and careful consideration and approved by CAPAC. These course outcomes are an integral component of our accreditation effort. The classroom experience must be consistent with our published course outcomes.

Faculty are reminded that they are not empowered to take courses in “new directions,” delete content, material, or subjects, or change textbooks without proper consideration and approval by the appropriate course committees and the CAPAC. It is also not appropriate to add material or shift the emphasis of content at the expense of the appropriate coverage of required material. The appropriate steps to change the content of our courses are for the faculty to suggest modification to the courses they teach or to the curriculum in the “End of Course Faculty Survey.” These suggestions will be compiled and distributed to our course committees who can suggest modifications our of course outcomes. It is the responsibility of CAPAC to consider those suggestions in light of the program’s education objectives and outcomes and approve them, if warranted.

In certain of our courses it would be appropriate to list outcomes and topics that are “at the instructor’s discretion.” These might strongly correlate with individual faculty research interests or other teaching interests as appropriate for that course. At present, none of our core courses has this type of “instructor flexibility.”

A complete list of the current course outcomes is available on the departmental website. Our accreditation success depends on providing a consistent and appropriate curriculum specifically designed to meet our program education objectives and outcomes.

Use of GTAs and other students to proctor examinations

Faculty are expected to be present during all examinations.  GTA’s may be employed to assist the faculty in proctoring the exam but the faculty should be present to answer questions and to supervise the work being performed  Exceptions to this policy are only to be made in the case of emergency, illness, or the faculty member being out-of-town.  In the latter case, the matter must be cleared with the department chair.

Use of GTAs and other students to grade examinations

Faculty are expected to grade all major examinations and the final examinations.  GTA’s may be employed to assist the faculty in grading to the extent that the faculty and GTA’s are both present at the same time.  GTA’s are not to “pregrade” exams by themselves to be later “reviewed” by the faculty.  Exceptions to this policy are only to be made in the case of emergency, illness, or the faculty member being out-of-town.  In the latter case, the matter must be cleared with the department chair.  GTA’s may also be employed to prepare solution keys or to double check the faculty member’s answer key as well as to grade quizzes and homework.

Faculty responsibilities during examinations

Faculty are expected to be present during all examinations.  Faculty will make certain that the rules for academic integrity are clear and understood.  All exam papers will display the departmental honesty statement and provide a place for the student to acknowledge agreement with the statement.  During examinations, faculty will take all steps necessary to provide a climate that discourages dishonest actions. 

Disabilities Policy Statement

Students who need special accommodations in class, as provided for by the Americans With Disabilities Act, should arrange for a confidential meeting with the instructor during office hours in the first week of classes (or as soon as possible if accommodations are needed immediately). The student must bring a copy of their Accommodation Letter and an Instructor Verification Form to the meeting. If the student does not have these forms, they should make an appointment with the Program for Students with Disabilities, 1288 Haley Center, 844-2096 (V/TT).

Approved by Department of Chemical Engineering Chair: June 15, 2011

Last Updated: Aug 10, 2012