University Policy on Code of Teaching Responsibility
This policy was approved by the Academic Council on November 4, 1969 and the Academic Senate on November 19, 1969; it was subsequently revised by Academic Council on May 19, 1976, February 27, 1996, April 19, 2005 (effective Fall semester 2005), and March 27, 2012 (effective Spring semester 2013).
Satisfaction of teaching responsibilities by instructional staff members (herein referred to as instructors) is essential to the successful functioning of a university. This University conceives these responsibilities to be so important that performance by instructors in meeting the provisions of this Code shall be taken into consideration in determining salary increases, tenure, and promotion.
- Course content: Instructors shall be responsible for ensuring that the content of the
courses they teach is consistent with the course descriptions approved by the University Committee on Curriculum and the Academic Council. Instructors shall direct class activities toward the fulfillment of course objectives and shall evaluate student performance in a manner consistent with these objectives.
- Course syllabi: Instructors shall be responsible for distributing a course syllabus (either in print or electronic form) at the beginning of the semester. The syllabus shall minimally include:
- instructional objectives;
- instructor contact information and office hours;
- grading criteria and methods used to determine final course grades;
- date of the final examination and tentative dates of required assignments, quizzes, and tests, if applicable;
- attendance policy, if different from the University attendance policy and especially when that attendance policy affects student grades;
- required and recommended course materials to be purchased, including textbooks and supplies; and
- any required proctoring arrangements to which students must adhere (effective Spring 2013).
- Student Assessment and Final Grades: Instructors shall be responsible for informing
students, in a timely manner so as to enhance learning, of the grading criteria and methods used to determine grades on individual assignments. Instructors shall be responsible for assessing a student's performance based on announced criteria and on standards of academic achievement. Instructors shall submit final course grades in accordance with University deadlines.
Assessment methods should be appropriate to the learning objectives of the course. In that context, instructors are expected to take reasonable steps to create an assessment environment that promotes academic integrity. When proctoring or other security measures are necessary to ensure integrity of assessments, then such measures should be administered in a manner consistent with the design and delivery of the course (effective Spring 2013).
- Testing Documents: Instructors shall be responsible for returning to students, student
answers to quizzes, tests, and examinations with such promptness to enhance the learning experience. Instructors shall retain final examination answers for at least one semester to allow students to review or to retrieve them. All testing questions (whether on quizzes, tests, or mid-semester or final examinations) are an integral part of course materials, and the decision whether to allow students to retain them is left to the discretion of the instructor.
- Term Papers and Comparable Projects: Instructors shall be responsible for returning to students student term papers and other comparable projects with sufficient promptness to enhance the learning experience. Term papers and other comparable projects are the property of students who prepare them. Instructors shall retain such unclaimed course work for at least one semester to allow students to retrieve such work. Instructors have a right to retain a copy of student course work for their own files.
- Class Meetings: Instructors shall be responsible for meeting their classes regularly and at scheduled times. To allow units to take appropriate action, instructors shall notify their units if they are to be absent and have not made suitable arrangements regarding their classes.
- Applicability of the Code of Teaching Responsibility to Student Assistants: Instructors of courses in which assistants are authorized to perform teaching, grading, or other instructional functions shall be responsible for acquainting such individuals with the provisions of this Code and for monitoring their compliance.
- Instructor Accessibility to Students: Instructors shall be responsible for being accessible to students outside of class time and therefore shall schedule and keep office hours for student conferences. Office hours should be scheduled at times convenient to both students and instructors with the additional option of mutually convenient prearranged appointments for students whose schedules conflict with announced office hours. Each teaching unit shall determine the minimum number of office hours for instructors in that unit. Instructors who serve as academic advisors also shall be responsible for maintaining appropriate office hours before and during enrollment periods. In addition to office hours, instructor accessibility through e-mail and other means is encouraged.
- Commercialization of Course Notes and Materials: The University prohibits students from commercializing their notes of lectures and University-provided class materials without the written consent of the instructor. Instructors may allow commercialization by including permission in the course syllabus or other written statement distributed to all students in the class.
- Students may register complaints regarding an instructor's failure to comply with the provisions of the Code of Teaching Responsibility directly with that instructor.
- Students may also take complaints directly to teaching units' chief administrators or their designates. If those persons are unable to resolve matters to the student's satisfaction, they are obligated to transmit written complaints to unit committees charged with hearing such complaints. A copy of any complaint transmitted shall be sent to the instructor. A written report of the action or recommendation of such groups will be forwarded to the student and to the instructor, normally within ten working days of the receipt of the complaint.
- Complaints coming to the University Ombudsman will be reported, in writing, to chief administrators of the teaching units involved when in the Ombudsman's opinion a hearing appears necessary. It will be the responsibility of chief administrators or their designates to inform the instructor and to refer such unresolved complaints to the unit committees charged with hearing such complaints. A written report of the action or recommendation of such groups will be forwarded to the University Ombudsman, to the student, and to the instructor, normally within ten working days of the receipt of the complaint.
- Students wishing to appeal a teaching unit action or recommendation may do so as
outlined in Academic Freedom Report for Students at Michigan State University, Graduate Student Rights and Responsibilities, or Medical Student Rights and Responsibilities.
Such complaints must normally be initiated no later than the middle of the semester following the one wherein alleged violations occurred. Exceptions shall be made in cases where the involved instructor or student is absent from the University during the semester following the one wherein alleged violations occurred.