A great deal of information is available on various websites, and we recommend that you take time periodically to review the following:
The Office of the Registrar (academic calendars, schedule of classes, and additional information about University policies.)
Faculty Senate Policies
The Faculty Senate sets the policies and procedures for undergraduate students, faculty, and staff, and these policies are located on their website located here. You will find detailed information about attendance policies (42:27), examinations (44:00), grading (47:20), grade mediation (47:20, G-10), syllabi (43:00) and many other rules and expectations for undergraduate teaching. It is important that every faculty member review this site on occasion to make themselves aware of University policies. While it is important for you to review these policies in their entirety to ensure that course policies are not in conflict with Faculty Senate policies, a few details are included below for your convenience.
Grading (47:20): The instructor should provide written notification of the basis for grades to students within the first ten calendar days of a semester or its equivalent.
The Final Examination Policy (44-20) includes the following information that is sometimes overlooked: "Offer a full schedule of instruction (e.g., fifteen weeks in a fifteen-week semester). Schedule no examinations during the last week of classes. Quizzes and narrowly limited tests in support of classroom instruction worth no more than 10% of the semester grade may be given during the last week of classes."
The Class Attendance policy (42-47) states: “Instructors should provide, within reason, opportunity to make up work for students who miss class for regularly scheduled, University-approved curricular and extracurricular activities (such as Martin Luther King Day of Service, field trips, debate trips, choir trips, and athletic contests)... Instructors also should provide, within reason, opportunity to make up work for student's who miss classes for other legitimate but unavoidable reasons. Legitimate, unavoidable reasons are those such as illness, injury, family emergency, or religious observance. If an evaluative event will be missed due to an unavoidable absence, the student should contact the instructor as soon as the unavoidable absence is known to discuss ways to make up the work. An instructor might not consider an unavoidable absence legitimate if the student does not contact the instructor before the evaluative event.”
Course Offerings and Final Examinations
Faculty should pay careful attention to the courses being offered each semester. The University schedules courses a year ahead of time. It’s important to make the class schedule as accurate as possible so that students can plan their course of study, knowing what our offerings will be. Many of our curricula (especially the B.M.E.) have been carefully planned to offer courses on an appropriate rotation and, at times, to avoid conflicts with other required courses.
While courses can be added/dropped later, classroom spaces at certain times (especially morning) are at a premium. If there are any questions or concerns about the course schedule, please contact Kim Miller. If you would like to change the time or room assignment for a course, please email Kim indicating the reason for the change. She will review this with the Director to ensure that the change does not pose a problem for students.
The University's final examination schedule is created by the Registrar's Office. Kim will send a request to you regarding whether or not you wish to schedule a final exam for your courses. You must reply in order to have an exam and room scheduled. The University's final examination schedule can be found here.
School of Music Academic Policies
Many School of Music policies are available on the school’s website. For undergraduate policies, see the Undergraduate Handbook, which describes degree programs, requirements, and other policies for students. Also, please refer to the school’s advising information, where including alternate year courses are listed. There is also helpful academic information for students and faculty on the Division of Undergraduate Students (DUS) website, such as the Academic Success pages.
Academic Freedom (HR64)
Faculty and graduate assistants who have instructional responsibilities should be aware of Penn State’s policy on academic freedom located here. One pertinent section of HR64 states, “No faculty member may claim as a right the privilege of discussing in the classroom controversial topics outside his/her own field of study. The faculty member is normally bound not to take advantage of his/her position by introducing into the classroom provocative discussions of irrelevant subjects not within the field of his/her study.”
The School’s recital hour is called “Common Hour,” held on Fridays from 2:30-3:20 p.m. when students gather to hear each other perform as well as to receive announcements, orientation information, and other pertinent information. The requirements for attending common hour and other concerts are described in the Undergraduate Handbook, under each degree program.