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Classroom Procedures and Student Responsibilities

University policies related to academic progress (enrollment, degree requirements, grades, transfer credit, dismissal, and withdrawal, for example), as well as policies related to study abroad and internships, are all best found in the Courses of Study Bulletin. If specific questions related to scholarships and financial aid are not answered on the Student Financial Services webpages, email studentfinancialservices [at] trinity.edu for assistance.

The Faculty and Contract Staff Handbook contains policies related to classroom procedures, faculty duties, student records, and course evaluations. The policies below come from Chapter Six of the Faculty and Contract Staff Handbook and are presented here as notice to students of policies related to their classroom responsibilities and expectations.

CLASS PERIODS
All classes and laboratories should begin promptly at the scheduled hour, and the periods should be closed on time.

CLASS ROLLS
Preliminary and interim class rolls should be checked carefully. Any student attending class who is not listed on the class roll should not be permitted to remain in the class. For non-credit students, see Chapter 6C: Evaluation of Students (Grades). Admission to classes is closed after six weekdays of a regular semester and after five weekdays of a summer session. After those dates, which are specified in the University Academic Calendar, a student may not enter a new course and no further registration will be accepted without approval of the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs: Student Academic Issues.

COURSE OUTLINES
During the first week of the semester, each instructor is expected to distribute to each student in his/her class and to the Chair a course syllabus or outline giving general objectives of that course (reflecting the most current Courses of Study Bulletin description), the dates of major examinations for the semester, dates on which major papers are due, the instructor’s policy concerning attendance and its relation to the course grade, office hours, and other information pertinent to the organization of the course and to the evaluation of students’ performance. If any of the dates of major papers or examinations are to be changed, advance notice of a week (or more) should be given. By action of the University Curriculum Council, no major papers or examinations may be scheduled for the two class days before reading days. Major papers or examinations are defined as papers or examinations that count for more than 10 percent of the total course grade. Laboratory quizzes and performance examinations are excepted from this stipulation.

EXCUSED ABSENCES FROM CLASS
Students who are absent from class in order to observe a religious holiday, who are absent from class while participating in a University-sponsored dramatic production, or who are absent from the campus because they officially represent the University in such sponsored activities as intercollegiate athletics, debate tournaments, and tours will be excused from classes under the following circumstances:

  • A student’s absence from class does not excuse the student from any work missed during the absence. Students may not be penalized for excused absences; the student and instructor will devise an appropriate substitute for missed work, classes, and examinations.
  • The responsibility to make up work lies solely with the student, who should discuss the missed assignments with the instructor.
  • Students must discuss with the instructor as far in advance as possible the fact that they will miss classes to observe a religious holiday or to represent the University.
  • In cases of students representing the University, the names of students who will miss classes must be sent to their instructors by their instructor or coach as far in advance as possible of the class to be missed.
  • (Note: Coaches, sponsors, and instructors should make every attempt to schedule travel, games, matches, tours, and other University-sponsored activities at times that will have the least conflict with students’ class schedules.)

CLASS TOURS AND FIELD TRIPS 
An instructor of one class may not schedule field trips that will take students out of other classes. Exceptions to this will be rare and must be approved at least one month in advance of the beginning of the trip by the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Field trips and class tours scheduled for other than the regular class period, including weekends, cannot be required of students unless the trips are specified at the time of registration. In addition to protecting students’ rights and the rights of colleagues by restricting field trips or other off-campus instructional activities to the specific time of the scheduled course, the question of University insurance also arises when students travel off campus. The University’s Special Event insurance policy will cover these activities only if the insurance carrier is notified in advance of the trip. Insurance coverage does not apply for class sessions held in faculty members’ homes, and it is against University policy to hold scheduled classes at home. However, this should not inhibit faculty from, where appropriate, inviting students to their homes for social events. When students are invited to faculty homes, it shall be understood that the student’s presence is voluntary, that the student is a guest in the home, and that any insurance claims should be presented to the company providing the faculty member’s own homeowner’s policy and not to the University.

TRINITY UNIVERSITY STUDY TOURS

A. The tour format and sites utilized must be related directly to the subject matter of the course and should materially enhance the amount of learning.

B. The offering should be a regular course published in the Trinity University Courses of Study Bulletin.

C. The course or courses should be taught by Trinity University faculty. In the case of tours operating as Agency or Affiliated programs for the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS), faculty members from other ACS institutions may be invited as needed.

D. The total academic expectations should approximate normal courses and must involve work in addition to the tour itself, specifically:

1. Preparatory work prior to the travel portion is expected.

2. The tour itself should have a formal learning component conducted by the instructor. 

3. An assessment component of the course is expected following the tour.

E. The participation of persons in Trinity University Study Tour courses without credit must be approved by the Office of Academic Affairs. First preference shall be given to students wishing to take the course for credit.

F. Instructor compensation for study tour courses is set by the Office of Academic Affairs. All business arrangements will follow University policies and operational guidelines established by the Office of Academic Affairs.

G. Approval for study tour courses must be secured from the departmental Chair and the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs: Student Academic Issues. 

H. Non-credit study tours or tours not emphasizing study may be sponsored by the Office of Conferences and Special Programs and other University offices such as Alumni Relations. Although Trinity University faculty members may be asked to lead or take part in such tours, all promotional materials should make clear that these are not sponsored by an academic department and are not for academic credit. Any Trinity University faculty or staff member privately organizing or participating in the leadership of a tour should be careful to see that promotional materials do not give the impression of Trinity University sponsorship. A person’s position and relevant professional responsibilities at Trinity University may be listed, but it should receive no more emphasis than the minimum necessary for purposes of identification.

FOOD, BEVERAGES, AND SMOKING IN THE CLASSROOM
Faculty and students are not permitted to bring food or beverages into any classroom. The use of any tobacco product is prohibited on University property. The tobacco prohibition includes but is not limited to cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, snuff, chewing tobacco, and any other products usually identified with tobacco use. The use of tobacco products involves the smoking, dipping, chewing, or any other method of ingesting the chemicals contained in tobacco products. This prohibition includes e-cigarettes and vaping. See also the Smoking Policy in the Classified Staff Handbook. Faculty members are expected to observe and enforce these regulations.

DISMISSAL FROM A CLASS AND STUDENT ATTENDANCE
The University expects regular class attendance by all students. The instructor in each course is expected to state an attendance policy in the course syllabus. Each student is expected to familiarize himself or herself with this policy at the beginning of each course. Instructors then have the prerogative of informing the Registrar to drop or withdraw a student from a course for nonattendance within the published deadlines for such actions. After the last date to withdraw, a student dismissed from the class roll for excessive absences will receive an F in the course. Absence from class does not constitute official withdrawal from the class or from the University. A student must initiate withdrawal from the class or from the University in the manner prescribed for “Withdrawal from a course” or “Withdrawal from the University” in the Courses of Study Bulletin. When a student is excessively absent from class, the instructor should assume responsibility to notify the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs: Student Academic Issues (AVPAA:SAI), who will write the student and invite him/her to discuss the reason for the absences. The student’s faculty advisor and the Associate Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students will receive a copy of the letter. The AVPAA:SAI will later inform the instructor, the faculty advisor, and the Associate Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students of the outcome of the conversation with the student.

POLICY REGARDING DISRUPTION OF CLASS 
Students will not be permitted to behave in such a manner as to disrupt the orderly conduct of classroom activities. When such behavior occurs, it is the responsibility of the instructor to discuss the matter with the student involved, warning the student that continuation of such behavior may result in dismissal from the class. If the behavior continues, the faculty member may drop the student from the class. Notification of such action shall be communicated in writing to the student, the student’s faculty advisor, the departmental Chair, and the Vice President for Academic Affairs. This notification must include a statement of the reasons for the decision and a summary of the appeal procedures. The student has a period of two school days in which to file a written appeal with the Vice President for Academic Affairs. A copy of the dismissal notification will remain in a file created for this purpose in the Office of Academic Affairs; the copy will be destroyed when the student is graduated. If the dismissal from class occurs before the published deadline for withdrawal from a class, the student will receive a grade of “W” in the class; if it occurs after the deadline, the grade will be “F.”

EXAMINATION SECURITY 
It is incumbent upon faculty members to provide appropriate security for their examinations. For example, faculty members should not give the same examination to sections of the same class or repeat the same examination semester-to-semester or year-to-year. Student employees should not be asked to type and prepare examinations. Secretaries preparing examinations in departmental offices should be instructed to take all appropriate security precautions. Also, care should be taken in discarding drafts of examinations or copies of old examinations. Finally, examinations to be reproduced in the University Print Shop should be hand-carried by the faculty member or the departmental secretary to the Print Shop.

FINAL EXAMINATIONS
Schedules for final examinations are announced in advance of the examination period. Final examinations will be held at the published and scheduled time. Exceptions allowing the change of the time of a class examination are rare and will be granted only on the approval of the Chair and the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The individual faculty member may determine whether a final examination shall be given. The information concerning the final examination shall be included on the syllabus. Filing the syllabus with the Chair is sufficient notice that there will be no final examination. If no final examination is given, some appropriate instructional activity should be substituted.

READING DAYS
The two days immediately preceding the final examination period are designated as Reading Days. Since Reading Days are for the purpose of providing students with study time prior to final examinations, no classes are held, no graded assignments or projects are due, and no examinations are given on those days. Exceptions to this policy must be granted by the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs: Student Academic Issues. During this time, departments, student organizations, and individual faculty members are encouraged to schedule no lectures, projects, parties, or other activities involving students. No major papers or examinations may be scheduled for the two days of classes before Reading Days. Major papers or examinations are defined as papers or examinations that count for more than 10 percent of the total course grade. Laboratory quizzes and performance examinations are excepted from this stipulation.

SAFETY IN THE CLASSROOM
Faculty members are responsible for incorporating applicable safety procedures and practices into the curriculum of each course offered. Supervision of students should be provided to insure that procedures are followed. Hazardous conditions or accidents involving personal injury that do not require immediate emergency assistance are to be reported to the departmental Chair. See also “Medical Emergencies” in the handbook, Fiscal Affairs Policies and Procedures.

FACULTY PRESENCE

A. Office Hours - It is the responsibility of each member of the faculty to be available for consultation with students on a regular and, insofar as possible, predictable basis (for full-time faculty members, a minimum of 10 hours each week is reasonable). Policies regarding consultations with students must be included in the syllabus for each course. Faculty members must provide students with a telephone number or numbers through which they may be contacted when they are not in their offices; normally this would be the departmental office telephone.

B. Registration - Faculty advisers must be available on campus during advising and registration periods.

C. Convocations - All members of the faculty have the responsibility of participation in all of the formal University ceremonies, including commencement. Academic regalia, when required, may be purchased or rented through the Bookstore.

ON-CAMPUS SALES OF INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS TO STUDENTS 
Commercial exchanges of money between students and faculty members are not permitted at Trinity University. Therefore, neither individual faculty members nor departments are to sell materials to students. The University Bookstore is the appropriate location for on-campus sales to students.

RESOLUTION ON NONSEXIST LANGUAGE
As part of Trinity University’s ongoing commitment to speaking and writing effectively and of our general goal of promoting social equality, members of the University Community should avoid linguistic practices which may be construed as undermining equality.

RESOLUTION ON EFFECTIVE WRITING 
Whereas a well-educated individual is one who can write clearly and accurately in all walks of life; Whereas clear thinking and clear writing are inextricably related; Whereas learning to write effectively requires more than training in formal English courses; Whereas effective writing demands constant practice; Therefore, be it resolved that the faculty members of Trinity University pledge to require effective writing in all courses taught at Trinity University. The Faculty considers this a major responsibility to the students, and anything less will fall short of providing an excellent liberal arts education for our students.

RESOLUTION ON SPEAKING 
Given the importance of the ability to speak coherently, clearly, and with self-confidence, every course at Trinity University will, wherever appropriate, encourage and require from each student some demonstration of oral communication competence.

STUDENT EVALUATION OF COURSES AND FACULTY

The purposes for student evaluation of courses and faculty are:

A. To furnish information for the individual faculty member to use in assessing his/her course content and presentation.

B. To provide the individual student with an opportunity to offer constructive criticism to his/her instructor.

C. To provide the individual faculty member with data that may be used in support of his/her considerations for promotion, tenure, and salary increments.

D. To provide the student body with a voice in developing and maintaining an effective Faculty and curriculum.

E. To provide data that may assist in making curricular decisions.

Student course/instructor evaluations shall be administered, in combination with other measures of teaching effectiveness, for formative (i.e., for faculty self-improvement) and for summative (i.e., for merit salary, reappointment, promotion, and tenure) purposes.

A. Student course/instructor evaluations shall be used for summative purposes (i.e., for merit salary, reappointment, promotion, and tenure) only in combination with other measures of teaching effectiveness. Separate measures, agreed upon by the tenured members of each department, will be described in a report to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the report will be sent to the Committee for the Evaluation of Courses and Faculty. Any changes in a department’s method should be documented in the same manner.

B. The instrument to be used for student course/instructor evaluations will consist of a University-wide form, with a set of items common to all uses and a set of items specific to the academic department or curricular unit. Departments may develop sets of items for different types of courses (e.g., lab vs. lecture). The specific items will be included in the report to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Committee for the Evaluation of Courses and Faculty (together with the description of additional measures described in Section II.A). The use of the student course/instructor evaluation instrument for summative purposes is compulsory every semester, including summer school. However, there will be no evaluation of courses and faculty using the University-wide forms for classes taught off campus during the summer. Faculty wishing to evaluate such courses may do so using their own or departmental forms.

C. A compilation of the comments, along with mean and median values (calculated to one decimal place), the percentages and frequencies of responses for each of the numerical questions, and the number of registered students who responded to the survey, will be provided to the faculty member after grades are due.

D. Every faculty member shall share his or her teaching evaluations with the department chair for the annual merit review process or, in the case of part-time faculty, to help assess teaching performance. The faculty member may write an analysis of the evidence for teaching effectiveness as part of the annual Summary of Professional Activities. The Chair shall write his or her own analysis of the evidence, from both student course/instructor evaluations and additional measures, as part of the annual merit review and send a copy of this analysis to the faculty member. The faculty member may write a response to the Chair’s analysis directly to the VPAA, to be included in the merit review documentation. In the case of departmental Chairs, the same process will be followed by substituting the VPAA for the Chair.

E. The University shall provide faculty members with support services which will aid them in the improvement of teaching skills.

The instrument for student evaluation of courses and faculty shall meet the following guidelines:

A. At least some of the questions shall allow for narrative responses.

B. The common questions will be proposed by a committee jointly appointed for this purpose by the Faculty Senate and the Student Government Association, with the understanding, however, that a majority of the committee shall consist of members of the Academic Faculty.

C. The common questions shall be approved, prior to their use, by the Academic Faculty.

D. The Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) in cooperation with the departmental administrative assistants will set up online evaluation forms for all courses. Evaluations are to be completed in class, normally during the last 10 class days of the fall and spring semesters, and during the last 5 class days of the summer semester. In some cases, due to concerns about the anonymity of students, departments may decide that no courses of fewer than five students should be evaluated. In other cases, departments may decide to conduct evaluations of such courses using their own instruments and procedures for this purpose. In still other cases, departments may choose to use the University-wide forms for these small classes. When the University-wide form is chosen, in some instances it may be desirable to combine different classes. Departments in cooperation with ITS will generate combined evaluation forms for these classes.

E. In consultation with the Committee for the Evaluation of Courses and Faculty, the Office of Academic Affairs will develop and implement a method for orienting all incoming students to the process of course/instructor evaluation.