Effective teaching in the classroom, the laboratory or studio, and the office is the first duty of faculty members and is the chief criterion for reappointment, promotion, and salary adjustment.
(See section 2.4.2, Criteria for Evaluation.) "Effectiveness" is difficult to define, but includes the generally accepted standards of scholarly competence, thoroughness of preparation, ability to gain the interest and respect of students, and willingness to listen to students and to encourage their individual development. In general, courses must be conducted with appropriate respect for colleagues and students of differing views. Students are guaranteed the appropriate forms of academic freedom, so that they may make their views known, confident that these will be judged by their instructors with regard only to their academic merit.
(amended March 2013)
So that students may plan their work for each semester, instructors should provide at an early class meeting a syllabus stating the goals of the course and its requirements, e.g., the number of tests and papers and the attendance policy of the instructor, and give reasonable advance notice of dates when requirements are to be fulfilled. The instructor should respect grace periods in scheduling assignments. (See section 1.1.7.)
The instructor should explain how final grades will be determined, specifying the relative value of performance on the final examination, papers, tests, etc. The instructor should also explain to what degree the final grade will be influenced by participation in class discussion, class attendance, and the like. The instructor should include the policy on late work (See section 1.1.12.), a policy on academic honesty and a statement on accommodations for students with disabilities. In making assignments, instructors will have in mind the accessibility of materials or equipment.
(amended 2004, 2006, 2011, 2013)
The College requires all faculty members to conduct student-rated course evaluations in every course they teach.
The College Form
Course evaluations will consist of several standard questions. Responses to the questions will be tabulated and included in the dossier of the faculty member's next review. Those charged with conducting summative reviews of faculty members will see the responses to the College Form.
The College Form will be administered electronically via an online course evaluation system, outside of class, that will be accessible to students during the last week of classes up to the first day of exams. Students will respond to questions by choosing from a scale of five responses the one that best represents their opinion. The Provost will produce an electronic report that displays the range and frequency of the responses. The report will be added to the dossier for the faculty member's next review. The faculty member will have access to the report shortly after final grades are due. Faculty members will be able to access the individual forms filled out by students, except courses with enrollments of five students or fewer, in which faculty members will have access only to the histogram of the scaled responses and a compendium of the narrative responses.The College will postpone for a reasonable period of time students' access to grade reports for classes for which those students did not complete the College Form.
Any changes to the College Form itself must be approved by a majority vote of the faculty.
For purposes of assembling a faculty review dossier, the College will not include as part of any individual faculty member's course evaluation report an average number for the responses to individual questions or an average of the averages. This legislation strictly forbids officially assigning a single number to characterize the evaluation of a course or faculty member.
Supplemental Course Evaluations
In order to provide formative information on teaching, faculty members are strongly urged to administer discursive or narrative course evaluations in addition to the College Form. Departments and programs might well want to develop and administer their own systems of discursive course evaluation. Such course evaluations will not become part of the official review dossier used by department chairs, the Provost and Tenure and Promotion Committee. However, individual faculty members have the right to collect the results of supplemental course evaluations and place them on reserve in the library to be read by colleagues preparing letters for the faculty member's review. In addition, new faculty members may share the results with the members of their mentoring committee.
Reviewers' Access to Course Evaluations
At the time a faculty member is under review, the Provost will produce the report containing the results from the faculty member's course
s evaluations covering the period of the review. The report will be included in the dossiers compiled for the Tenure and Promotion Committee, and will be sent to the department chair to be placed on reserve in the department. Departmental colleagues and others asked to write a letter of evaluation for the member will have access to these course evaluation summaries.
All instructors are responsible for establishing the standards of attendance and any penalties for absence in their courses. Traditionally, however, regular attendance is required of all first-year students and members of any class who are on conditional enrollment; persons with more than three absences each semester are subject to grade penalties.
Excuses for absence from class are granted by the Dean of Students and the Dean for Academic Advising for various reasons, including personal emergencies, illness, and participation in approved collegiate activities such as conferences and athletic events. In the case of illness, the deans rely on the Health and Counseling Center to report on students whose condition prevents them from attending class, for example, being confined to bed or in the hospital. On occasion, when confirmed by the College Physician, the deans may recommend postponement of examinations or assigned work, especially when there has been absence from the class meetings.
The purpose of the deans' excuses is to provide authoritative sanction for class absences in an equitable and uniform manner. For that reason, instructors may not penalize students for officially excused absences. However, when such absences conflict with important coursework obligations such as examinations or presentations, students have the responsibility of negotiating make-up work in a timely way.
Instructors, of course, may grant excuses for absence according to their own judgement. Ordinary ambulatory illnesses such as colds are subject to the mutual understanding of individual students and instructors.
All classes and laboratory sessions are scheduled both in hours and rooms by the Registrar. Instructors wishing to arrange special times or places must receive the approval of the Registrar. Once the schedules of class meetings have been announced, no change in time may be made without the approval of the Registrar. Even though the students in the class may agree to a change, as from a morning to an evening hour, the instructor must not make a change without the Registrar's approval.
Faculty are expected to meet their scheduled classes, and to inform the students and the department chair, if illness or other cause makes it impossible to meet a class.
No classes may be scheduled between 4:00 and 7:00 p.m.; these hours are reserved for sports and extra curricular activities.
It is important that instructors and students respect the class schedule, and particularly on days before and after vacation(s), when an instructor's failure to schedule a class may affect attendance in others' classes.
The President may alter the usual schedule of classes on special occasions and on certain special days, such as Founders' Day and Honors Day.
Although faculty members may request particular classrooms, the responsibility for assigning courses to meeting rooms is the Registrar's. Each assignment lasts only for the duration of the semester. Requests for rooms for other purposes, e.g., for committee meetings, are also handled by the Registrar.
Instructors have the right to require examinations and quizzes during the course of the year that are most appropriate for the course and in accordance with the description distributed in the first week.
However, the faculty has adopted some restrictions of this freedom, described below.
To ensure that students have adequate time, free from extraordinary pressures, to prepare for final examinations in first-semester courses and that students may have vacations free from extraordinary academic work, the College provides grace periods during the year. During these grace periods, instructors may not require work of any scale beyond that necessary for their normal daily participation in classes, seminars, and laboratories. The grace periods are seven calendar days before the beginning of the final examination period in each semester, and two days following each vacation except Thanksgiving vacation.
However, according to faculty action in 1986, when instructors believe that a particular course requires violation of the pattern required by grace periods, they may require work that conflicts with a grace period. However, in such cases the instructor must provide written notice of such conflicts in course syllabi distributed during the first week of the course. When instructors fail to do so, students may appeal to the Provost or the Associate Provost for relief from the work
(amended March 1997)
The College provides reading periods at the end of each semester immediately prior to final examinations. The dates of the reading periods are part of the official College Calendar established by the President and supervised by the Registrar. The purpose of reading periods is to provide time for preparation for final examinations. Instructors may not hold required meetings of classes, give tests, or assign work during these periods. An exception is made in the case of honors examinations, which may be scheduled during reading periods.
(amended March 1997)
Final examinations in semester courses are two hours in length. At the option of the instructor, however, such examinations may be three hours in length, provided that the instructor has so informed the students at the beginning of the semester. Final examinations in year courses are given in the spring and are three hours in length.
When an instructor examines all members of a class simultaneously, he or she must do so at the time and place announced by the Registrar, except by permission of an Associate Provost. If an instructor wishes to cancel the original time of the examination and substitute another time, even if the entire class agrees, the permission of an Associate Provost must be obtained.
Instructors may, at their discretion, schedule an alternative final exam time for the entire class as long as it falls within the examination period. This would involve giving the exam twice, at the time originally scheduled and at another time. Instructors who wish to schedule alternative final exams are encouraged to indicate this on the course syllabus.
If an instructor chooses, at his or her sole discretion, to allow a student to take the exam at a different time, the entire class should have that option, even if the rescheduling occurs late in the semester.
However, if the Dean of Students or Dean of Academic Advising, in consultation with the instructor, gives a student permission to take an exam at an irregular time in accordance with established guidelines (for example, if he or she has more than two exams on one day, or is experiencing health problems or a personal crisis: see "Final Exams" under the "Conduct of Courses" section in the Course of Study) there is no obligation on the part of the instructor to offer the option to the entire class.
When an instructor requires a "take-home" examination, paper, or project in lieu of a final examination as described above, such work may not be due prior to the scheduled time of examination set by the Registrar.
When a student fails to appear for a final examination, the instructor may prepare and administer a special examination, if he or she believes circumstances warrant. In such cases, a fee is charged (unless excused by the Dean), and the instructor is obliged to exact a grade penalty on the examination.
Professors grade all students who are enrolled for credit in their courses and report grades to the Registrar. The grading code is alphabetic, with grades A, B, C, D, and F, and includes the use of plus and minus signs. For purposes of calculating grade averages, "A" equals 4.0 quality points. Plus or minus add or subtract .33 quality points, except that A+ still equals 4.0 quality points.
The faculty does not feel it appropriate to specify a set distribution of grades in a course. Courses may vary in composition: a survey may mix students of varying interest and ability, whereas a senior seminar may have a majority of students capable of honors-level work. Norms may, in fact, discriminate against a very talented class. On the other hand, there may well be classes where no "A's" are given. New faculty especially are urged to consult with their chairs about grading practices within the department and the College. The Registrar regularly provides the chairs with information on departmental and collegiate grades.
The Registrar makes all official statements to students about their final grades and their status. It is the official policy of the College that professors not inform students of their final grades in their own or others' courses.
It is important that grades be reported on the forms provided by the Registrar and by the deadlines provided. The work of the Registrar, other administrators, and the Academic Standards Committee of the faculty depends upon the timely recording of grades for all students.
Tentative grades are submitted at the end of the first semester for students in year courses. These serve as indications of students' performance in a course but are not part of their permanent records. However, under unusual circumstances, such as when a student leaves the College during the second semester, the tentative grade submitted for the first half of a course may be made a final grade and part of the permanent record. Ordinarily this is done only with the instructor's agreement. Instructors may require additional work such as a final examination. The Academic Standards Committee does consider tentative grades during its mid-year evaluation of students in academic difficulty. Professors should therefore treat tentative grades as if they were permanent.
Fairness to other students demands that an instructor exact a penalty , ordinarily a lower grade, from any student who is late with a paper or other assigned work. Instructors should announce their policies regarding late work in the syllabus distributed at the beginning of the course.
College policy requires that instructors not accept for credit work submitted after the official end of the semester, unless the student has been granted permission by the Dean of Students in writing, most commonly by means of an Incomplete form. The time of the official end of the semester is specified in the College Calendar.
College policy requires instructors to report academic deficiency in the case of first-year students, students on conditional enrollment, and others with deficient grades at the midpoint of each semester. A deficiency is defined as a level of performance below a C minus. In addition, instructors are encouraged to report deficiencies for any student at any time there is cause for concern about the student's coursework. Report forms are available on the Registrar's web page under "Forms for Faculty. Copies of completed reports are distributed to the student's advisor, the appropriate deans, and the Registrar. The Dean and advisor use these reports to counsel the student.
At the end of each semester, instructors are required to complete a Deficiency Report for each student receiving a final grade below the level of C minus. In addition to those listed above, these reports are read by members of the Academic Standards Committee and used in evaluating a student's progress toward the degree.
(amended February 1998, March 2013)
In order to encourage students to experiment with disciplines and courses which they might not otherwise try, the College provides the opportunity to enroll in courses outside the declared major on a Pass/D/Fail basis, with the permission of the advisor and the instructor. A maximum of two units toward the sixteen required for graduation may be earned as a Pass.
Professors assign a normal final grade, and the Registrar converts the letter grade to P/D/F, as appropriate. All grades of C minus or higher are recorded as P.
Students may enroll in a course on the basis of auditing only. Audit is reported if the students are properly enrolled and have met the requirements set by the professor. Ordinarily, auditors attend class meetings regularly but do not write papers and take examinations. However, requirements for auditors are set at the discretion of individual instructors.
With the advisor's approval, students doing passing work are allowed to withdraw from the second half of any year course at the end of the first semester with a WP. A student not doing passing work is allowed to withdraw from any year course at the end of the first semester with an F for that semester.
Instructors may expel a student from a course at any time provided that, a reasonable time beforehand, they have given the student written warning and have, by copy of the written warning, informed the Dean of Students, the Registrar, the Dean for Academic Advising and Support, and an Associate Provost. Valid causes include excessive absences and disturbances in class. If a student is expelled from a course, 'X' is recorded on the permanent record, and it is considered as an 'F' in calculating credit and grade averages.
An incomplete is a postponement of the deadline for completion of a course. It is available only in cases of extreme hardship. Ordinarily, students must request incompletes from the Dean of Students or the Dean for Academic Advising, who may grant the request, often after consultation with the instructor. Ordinarily, incompletes are justified in the cases of serious illness or personal crisis. Faculty members do not grant incompletes.
The instructor must submit a "default" course grade at the end of the course for any student who has been granted an incomplete. The default course grade is the course grade that the instructor would give the student in the event that the incomplete work is not completed by the student's deadline. The default grade could well be an F if the unfinished work is required for credit in the course. The student granted the incomplete must complete the work of the course by the date specified by the granting dean. Only the Dean for Academic Advising may grant extensions. The instructor is required to submit a final course grade within 14 days of the student's deadline for submitting the completed work. If the student fails to submit the completed work by the deadline, the instructor so notifies the Registrar, and the incomplete is converted to the default course grade. When the student completes the work for the course by the deadline and the instructor subsequently submits the final course grade to the Registrar, the incomplete is changed to the appropriate course grade.
If, after an instructor reports a final grade, an error in calculation or reporting is discovered, the instructor may ask the Dean for Academic Support for permission to change the grade. Such changes must be requested before the end of the fourth week of the following semester. Changes after the fourth week can be made only through a petition to the Academic Standards Committee.
Students who believe their grade in a course has been unfairly assigned, after a written appeal to the instructor has failed, may carry that appeal to the chair of the instructor's department and, if the disagreement is not then resolved, to the Associate Provost, who will present it to the Academic Standards Committee. If a majority of the committee agrees that the students' petition is just, the Associate Provost will direct the instructor or the Registrar to change the grade.