The College of Arts and Architecture

Instructional Programs: General Information

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Faculty are responsible for ordering textbooks for their classes. Orders may be placed through Faculty Enlight. Textbook orders are typically due in September for the spring semester, and in March for the summer sessions and fall semester. Irene Kohute is the School of Music textbook liaison for the Penn State Bookstore on campus. She maintains textbook lists from previous years and informs the bookstore staff which courses will use course packets, and which ones will not use a text.

Faculty may order their own desk copies from publishers AFTER the Penn State Bookstore has ordered the text and has a purchase number on file. Classes with low enrollments usually receive only one desk copy. Desk copies which are ordered for teaching assistants are the property of the School of Music and must not be taken when the students graduate.

A review copy may be ordered from the publisher in order to help make a decision about a text. Payment arrangements must be made by the faculty in advance. If the text is adopted for the class, the review copy becomes a desk copy. In that case, no payment or return is required.

Course packets are handled by faculty members. The copy center on campus may be contacted for instructions:  814-865-2679. The copy center staff will pick up materials and return the originals. The course packets are sold at the Penn State Bookstore on campus. Alternate arrangements may be made with ProCopy: 814-231-1256. These course packets are distributed by The Student Bookstore downtown.


It is University policy that a written syllabus must be distributed to students in each course within the first ten calendar days of the semester. The Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence has developed resources to assist faculty with writing syllabi, as well as many other instructional aids.

According to policy, in addition to course content and expectations, the syllabus must include the course examination policy, and basis for grades. To comply with NASM expectations relative to syllabi being on file in a central location, please also provide copies of all syllabi to Lea Ann Bloom.

To ensure that students understand your expectations, a complete syllabus must include:

•  teacher's name, office hours, room number, phone, email address
•  books and/or other materials required for the course
•  course expectations, i.e. tests, papers, assignments
•  attendance policies (and makeup procedures for applied lessons)
•  grading procedures
•  course prerequisites, both required and recommended
•  topics to be covered in the course

All syllabi must also include the following information:

Statement on Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner. Academic integrity is a basic guiding principle for all academic activity at The Pennsylvania State University, and all members of the University community are expected to act in accordance with this principle. Consistent with this expectation, the University’s Code of Conduct states that all students should act with personal integrity, respect other students’ dignity, rights and property, and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts. Academic integrity includes a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation or deception. Such acts of dishonesty violate the fundamental ethical principles of the University community and compromise the worth of work completed by others.


Note to Students with Disabilities

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University’s educational programs. If you have a disability-related need for modifications or reasonable accommodations in this course, contact the Office for Disability Services (ODS), located at 116 Boucke Building, 814-863-1807 (V/TTY), and provide your documentation (see the documentation guidelines at If the documentation supports the need for academic adjustments, ODS will provide a letter identifying appropriate academic adjustments. Please share this letter and discuss the adjustments with me as early in the course as possible. You must contact ODS and request academic adjustment letters at the beginning of each semester. For further information regarding ODS please visit their website at

Class Times

The meeting times approved by the University can be found by accessing the undergraduate advising handbook.

Applied lessons are scheduled either for one hour (2-4 credits) or thirty minutes (1 credit). Lessons are scheduled based on faculty and student schedules. Keep in mind the official class times above, as students will need sufficient time to get to or from their classes.

Some ensembles have been approved for non-standard start-end times to allow time for set-up/take down.

Applied lessons are scheduled either for one hour (2-4 credits) or thirty minutes (1 credit). Lessons are scheduled based on faculty and student schedules. Keep in mind the official class times above, as students will need sufficient time to get to or from their classes.

Some ensembles have been approved for non-standard start-end times to allow time for set-up/take down.

Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence

The Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence provides services in support of teaching, including workshops, grants, instructional consultation, tips for teaching and learning, and an extensive website containing online resources and helpful links.

Student Evaluation of Courses and Instruction (SRTEs)

The Student Rating of Teaching Effectiveness (SRTE) is Penn State’s locally developed instrument for gathering feedback from students at the end of the semester. The SRTEs are administered by the Office of the Vice Provost of Academic Affairs.

The SRTE is mandated by the University Faculty Senate for purposes of promotion and tenure reviews and other academic personnel decisions. It involves online student ratings of teaching effectiveness using standard survey items drawn from a large pool of items dealing with teaching processes and outcomes. There is a separate SRTE questionnaire developed for totally online classes.

For low-enrollment courses (such as applied music where student confidentiality is difficult to maintain), the School of Music offers an alternate paper SRTE form. These surveys can then be grouped (such as all applied music students in a particular studio) and scores tallied. Each semester, Lea Ann Bloom will activate online SRTEs. For low-enrollment courses, please contact Lea Ann about using the alternate paper form.

All SRTE forms contain two required questions, asking for ratings regarding “overall effectiveness” of the course and the instructor. The forms also provide an opportunity for students to add specific comments about the course or the teacher’s effectiveness. These comments are summarized and included in promotion and tenure dossiers. A consultant from the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence is available to faculty members to assist with interpreting and responding to SRTE feedback. Please click here for more information.


LionPATH is Penn State’s student information system, which provides students with access to their academic, registration, and financial records.  Students can enroll for classes, view/accept their financial aid awards, and view their tuition bills. Faculty and advisers also use LionPATH to access student records and to submit grades. For complete information, go to the University's LionPath website. In addition to more information, this page also contains a link to tutorials.


Starfish is the University’s single system of advising notes and appointment scheduling.  Faculty may use Starfish to communicate with students, schedule advising, post office hours, etc.  See the Starfish website for more information and tutorials.


Canvas is the online method for you to communicate with students in your classes. Additionally, instructors can use Canvas to provide additional materials to students, give quizzes, maintain grade records and other functions related to instruction. For information, see the Canvas website.

Family Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 governs how educational institutions control and safeguard their student education records. All employees of educational institutions who have access to student records must abide by FERPA requirements. As a Penn State faculty member who interacts with students and has access to student records as part of your teaching and advising responsibilities, it is vital that you understand your obligations with respect to FERPA.

The University Faculty Senate is working with the Registrar’s Office and the Privacy Office to urge all faculty members to complete the FERPA tutorial and quiz. Failure to complete this legal requirement may jeopardize the ability of a faculty member to access student records that may be needed to conduct a course or provide academic advising.

Depending on your prior knowledge of FERPA, the tutorial and quiz should take no more than 45 minutes to complete. A grade of 70% or higher on the quiz is considered acceptable. You may take the quiz as many times as necessary to achieve a satisfactory grade. This is a one-time expectation, so if you have already taken the quiz and received an appropriate grade, you should have printed a certificate documenting completion.

For more information, particularly if you receive a call or email from a parent and you are concerned about how much information you can share, contact the Director and/or see the Registrar's Office Confidentiality Index. The U.S. Department of Education website also provides information about this regulation.

Library Resources

Amanda Maple is the music librarian at University Libraries (W326, W. Pattee Library). You may contact Amanda to learn more about the services that the library provides, to request that the library order particular music materials, and to inquire about providing an orientation to music resources for a class.

The library has many online resources. The Naxos Music Library, for example, includes numerous labels in addition to Naxos and provides streaming access to 900,000 tracks (and this number continues to increase). Click here to learn more about the library.