University of Southern Indiana

Teaching and Advising Policies

Office Hours

It is the policy of the College of Liberal Arts that full-time faculty members are required to hold a minimum of one office hour per week for each class section taught, including overload assignments. Part-time faculty members are required to hold a minimum of two office hours per week. Office hours must be held on a minimum of two days in the week.

In keeping with their need to be accessible to students and others for the programs they manage, it is expected that program directors, chairs and other administrators maintain a calendar, available to their administrative assistants, indicating times during which they may be reached in their offices. It is recommended that one hour each week for each hour of assigned time they receive in their position should be devoted to this purpose.

Teaching Graduate Courses

Full‐time faculty teaching a stand-alone graduate course (or multiple graduate classes) during  the academic year (fall/spring) will receive three hours of assigned time for that semester  (three hours of assigned time is the maximum for any given semester regardless of how many  graduate courses an individual faculty member teaches during a specific term). For summer  terms, full‐time faculty teaching stand‐alone, three‐hour graduate courses will be compensated  at the rate of six credit hours for the first three‐hour graduate course and at a regular rate for  any additional graduate courses taught during that term. Exceptions may be made in cases  where full‐time faculty have administrative assignments that conflict with this policy or in cases  that conflict with departmental or programmatic accreditation standards. Those cases of  exception will be determined by the department chair of the faculty member’s home  department in conjunction with the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts. 

Blackboard Use for Course Materials & Student Communication

In the spirit of environmental sustainability and cost effectiveness, the College of Liberal Arts will require all faculty to place their course materials (excluding exams and other exempted materials) on Blackboard for student dissemination beginning Fall 2010. Printed copies of syllabi, readings, assignments, and other handouts will not be provided to students.

The following criteria relate to this policy:

  1. Faculty should load all course materials (excluding exams and other exempted materials) onto Blackboard for student accessibility.
  2. Blackboard training is available to all faculty at scheduled workshops and by individual appointment. Faculty needing introductory Blackboard training should contact the Dean’s Office.
  3. Exams and quizzes are exempt from this policy. Other course materials may be exempted by permission of the department chair or program director.
  4. Faculty are responsible for adhering to copyright laws for course materials.
  5. It is suggested that faculty post grades as they become available throughout the semester on the Blackboard site.  

Faculty Use of Participation Activities in Grading Practices  

Incorporating the use of participation and/or attendance as a graded activity in liberal arts classes is at the discretion of the instructor. However, if any percentage of a final course grade is based upon participation activity(ies), the following criteria must be met.

  1. The percentage of the final course grade that is based upon participation must be clearly stated in the syllabus.
  2. How points and/or grades are awarded for participation and what students must do to be awarded those points and/or grades must be clearly specified in the syllabus.
  3. Students must be able to check on their participation score(s) throughout the semester. (It is suggested that participation scores be posted on Blackboard and updated as participation activities progress.)
  4. Participation grades shall be assigned equitably and fairly to all students.  

Policy Regarding Faculty Absences from Scheduled Classes

1. When a faculty member is unexpectedly absent:

An absent faculty member should call the chair of his/her department. If the chair cannot be reached, a message should be left AND the faculty member should call the administrative assistant. If the AA cannot be reached, the next call should be to the College Office. It is important that a sick faculty member talks to a real person and not just assumes that a message left on voicemail will be sufficient.

If a class must be cancelled, the first preference is for a faculty member to make the announcement. Only if faculty is not available should Administrative Assistants be asked to make the announcement.

If an AA is asked to cancel a class, she should not be asked to hand out study questions, take attendance, or undertake any other course-related tasks.

2. When a faculty member knows in advance of an absence:

Faculty should not simply cancel classes during their absence. Nor should departments be obliged to find faculty to teach in place of the absent colleague. Instead, the faculty member should arrange to provide students with a meaningful educational experience for each class period that he/she is absent. Such experiences would include, but not be limited to:

  • An examination
  • A guest speaker internal or external to the University
  • A relevant video
  • A discussion group lead by student(s) in the class
  • A formal session with a reference librarian—e.g., on searching internet bases electronically
  • An out-of-class assignment leading to a product—e.g., producing a work of art in a studio; making an audio or videotape in a lab; collecting data for an experiment
  • Some other in-class assignment—e.g., working on a group project or assignment

Absences of up to three consecutive University business days must be coordinated with the department Chair. For absences of more than three consecutive University business days, the faculty member must obtain approval in advance from both the Chair and the Dean.

3. If a faculty member is absent for an extended period:

The department chair, working in collaboration with the Dean and, where appropriate, the faculty member, shall make arrangements to secure a substitute or replacement teacher for each course affected.

Guest Speakers and Special Events

Download the Special Event/Speaker Checklist for information about planning successful sponsored events or guest speakers.

You may need to request a taxpayer identification number. Use the most current version of the form W-9, which can be found on the Internal Revenue Service website.


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