Faculty and Staff Resources

If you get, give. If you learn, teach.

Maya Angelou, American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist

The Office of Undergraduate Education is commmitted to the sucess of our students, and that success begins and ends with the support and education provided by our staff and faculty members.

FERPA

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (or FERPA) is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of the student educational records. When faculty, staff, student employees, or contractual agents of the university receive a request for information contained in an education record, they must follow the procedures contained in this policy and the FERPA training.

Ohio State's FERPA Policy

Academic Integrity and Faculty Obligations

Academic integrity is a core institutional principle that all Ohio State faculty should uphold and preserve. A commitment to academic integrity helps us foster a lifelong commitment to learning and affirms the role of teacher as guide and mentor. As such, faculty must clarify expectations for students, develop fair and creative forms of assessment, and respond appropriately to academic dishonesty when it occurs.

Academic Integrity and Faculty Obligations

Office of Academic Affairs Faculty Development and Resources

Ohio State offers a wealth of resources to help faculty meet day-to-day needs and advance toward long-term goals. Among the resources are guides on procedures, policies, ethics, and student conduct, as well as campus centers devoted to teaching and learning.

OAA Faculty Development and Resources

Course Syllabus Recommendations

Section (A) of Faculty Rule 3335-8-19 (modified April, 2016) states: Each course as defined in rule 3335-8-01 of the Administrative Code will have a syllabus to be provided to each student explaining how the student's performance will be assessed. University policy further requires that it be made available to students at the beginning of, and throughout the conduct of the course. The syllabus is typically written by the instructor, but often follows guidelines provided by the program, the department, or the college. There is no central requirement for the contents of a course syllabus, but there is a culture that has been established around the expectations associated with this important document.

Syllabi seem to vary in two fundamental areas - the apparent reason for writing the syllabus and the material that it contains. The purpose of the syllabus should drive the decision as to what content to include (Parkes & Harris, 2002)*. Three major purposes that a syllabus should serve are described by Parkes and Harris:

  1. The Syllabus is a contract - It makes clear what the rules of the class are; it sets forth what is expected to happen during the term of the course; it delineates the responsibilities of students and of the course instructor; and it describes appropriate procedures and course policies.

  2. The Syllabus is a permanent record - It serves accountability and documentation functions related to the course; It contains information useful for evaluation of the instructor(s), course, and program; and it documents what was covered in a course, at what level, and for what kind of credit (useful in course equivalency transfer situations, accreditation procedures, and articulation).

  3. The Syllabus is a learning tool - It helps students become more effective learners in the course; it Informs students of the instructor's beliefs about teaching, learning, and the content area; and it places the course in context (how it fits in the curriculum, and how it relates to students' lives).

The syllabus usually contains the following information.

  • Prerequisites: Classes, skills, and information required prior to enrolling in course.
  • Course Objective: Information to be covered, general themes, and course activities.
  • Learning Objectives: A precise statement(s) linking subject matter and student performance. The objective includes competencies, skills, and knowledge students should acquire by the end of the course.
  • Textbooks/Readings: Titles, authors, editions, and local book retailers. You should always attempt to order textbooks for which electronic format is available. For information on available alternate format of a book, contact the publisher.
  • Course Schedule: Supply schedule of events; include discussion topics, exam dates, assignments, and readings to be completed for each day.
  • Additional Required Materials: Any additional course material such as calculator or art supplies that the student has to buy to successfully complete the course. Information on such materials needs to be as detailed and specific as possible.
  • Grades: Describe how you are going to calculate the grades and give an explanation of what is required to receive a particular grade.
  • Course Policies: Specify how you deal with tardiness, absences, late assignments, test/assignment make-ups, and course academic misconduct.
  • Specific University statements or policies: Policies such as academic misconduct, disability services, safety, trigger warnings, etc.

* Parkes, J., & Harris, M. B. (2002). The purposes of a syllabus. College Teaching, 50 (2), 55-61.

Sample Syllabus Statements and Policies

The Committee on Academic Misconduct (COAM) recommends that every faculty member, instructor, and graduate teaching associate who is teaching a course prepare and distribute (or make available) to all students a course syllabus that contains a statement concerning "academic misconduct" or "academic integrity". The Ohio State University does not have a standardized statement on academic misconduct that instructors can use in their syllabi. Thus, COAM has prepared the following statement, which course instructors are free to use (with or without modification) for their syllabi:

"Academic integrity is essential to maintaining an environment that fosters excellence in teaching, research, and other educational and scholarly activities. Thus, The Ohio State University and the Committee on Academic Misconduct (COAM) expect that all students have read and understand the University's Code of Student Conduct, and that all students will complete all academic and scholarly assignments with fairness and honesty. Students must recognize that failure to follow the rules and guidelines established in the University's Code of Student Conduct and this syllabus may constitute Academic Misconduct.

The Ohio State University's Code of Student Conduct (Section 3335-23-04) defines academic misconduct as: Any activity that tends to compromise the academic integrity of the University, or subvert the educational process. Examples of academic misconduct include (but are not limited to) plagiarism, collusion (unauthorized collaboration), copying the work of another student, and possession of unauthorized materials during an examination. Ignorance of the University's Code of Student Conduct is never considered an excuse for academic misconduct, so I recommend that you review the Code of Student Conduct and, specifically, the sections dealing with academic misconduct.

If I suspect that a student has committed academic misconduct in this course, I am obligated by University Rules to report my suspicions to the Committee on Academic Misconduct. If COAM determines that you have violated the University's Code of Student Conduct (i.e., committed academic misconduct), the sanctions for the misconduct could include a failing grade in this course and suspension or dismissal from the University.

If you have any questions about the above policy or what constitutes academic misconduct in this course, please contact me."

All instructors are encouraged to include in their syllabus a statement inviting students with disabilities to meet with them in a confidential environment to discuss making arrangements for accommodations. There are several reasons why this syllabus statement is critical. This statement both normalizes the accommodation process and helps to create a positive and welcoming environment for students with disabilities. Also, the statement creates a collaborative vehicle for providing accommodations and serves as a reminder to students who need the accommodations that these arrangements need to be made.

"The University strives to make all learning experiences as accessible as possible. If you anticipate or experience academic barriers based on your disability (including mental health, chronic or temporary medical conditions), please let me know immediately so that we can privately discuss options. To establish reasonable accommodations, I may request that you register with Student Life Disability Services. After registration, make arrangements with me as soon as possible to discuss your accommodations so that they may be implemented in a timely fashion. SLDS contact information: slds@osu.edu; 614-292-3307; slds.osu.edu; 098 Baker Hall, 113 W. 12th Avenue."

A student who encounters a problem related to his/her educational program has a variety of avenues available to seek resolution. (Note: the procedures for grade grievances are explicitly covered in the faculty rules) Typically, a student is advised to resolve any dispute, disagreement, or grievance as directly as possible, engaging with the person or persons most closely involved. The faculty and staff of the departments and colleges are available to work with students in this regard. If this step does not produce acceptable results, the student should follow a logical stepwise progression to address the academic concerns.

"According to University Policies, if you have a problem with this class, you should seek to resolve the grievance concerning a grade or academic practice by speaking first with the instructor or professor. Then, if necessary, take your case to the department chairperson, college dean or associate dean, and to the provost, in that order. Specific procedures are outlined in Faculty Rule 3335-7-23. Grievances against graduate, research, and teaching assistants should be submitted first to the supervising instructor, then to the chairperson of the assistant's department."

"The Ohio State University affirms the importance and value of diversity in the student body. Our programs and curricula reflect our multicultural society and global economy and seek to provide opportunities for students to learn more about persons who are different from them. We are committed to maintaining a community that recognizes and values the inherent worth and dignity of every person; fosters sensitivity, understanding, and mutual respect among each member of our community; and encourages each individual to strive to reach his or her own potential. Discrimination against any individual based upon protected status, which is defined as age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status, is prohibited."

In 2013, USG passed a resolution (47-R-13) recommending that all Ohio State University campuses encourage every academic department to include a statement on their course syllabi informing students of the counseling and consultation services available to them. Their recommended statement is included below:

"As a student you may experience a range of issues that can cause barriers to learning, such as strained relationships, increased anxiety, alcohol/drug problems, feeling down, difficulty concentrating and/or lack of motivation. These mental health concerns or stressful events may lead to diminished academic performance or reduce a student's ability to participate in daily activities. The Ohio State University offers services to assist you with addressing these and other concerns you may be experiencing. If you or someone you know are suffering from any of the aforementioned conditions, you can learn more about the broad range of confidential mental health services available on campus via the Office of Student Life Counseling and Consultation Services (CCS) by visiting ccs.osu.edu or calling (614) 292- 5766. CCS is located on the 4th Floor of the Younkin Success Center and 10th Floor of Lincoln Tower. You can reach an on-call counselor when CCS is closed at (614) 292-5766 and 24 hour emergency help is also available through the 24/7 National Prevention Hotline at 1-(800)-273-TALK or at suicidepreventionlifeline.org"

Some students around the country are requesting that professors give a warning ahead of time if there is class material that could evoke a traumatic experience. Some schools, such as Oberlin College, have a proposed policy that would have required professors to give such warnings. Ohio State does not have a formal policy regarding trigger warnings, but the following language could be used by a faculty member who may want to provide such warnings, perhaps in the syllabus:

"Some contents of this course may involve media that may be triggering to some students due to descriptions of and/or scenes depicting acts of violence, acts of war, or sexual violence and its aftermath. If needed, please take care of yourself while watching/reading this material (leaving classroom to take a water/bathroom break, debriefing with a friend, contacting a Sexual Violence Support Coordinator at 614-292-1111, or Counseling and Consultation Services at 614-292-5766, and contacting the instructor if needed). Expectations are that we all will be respectful of our classmates while consuming this media and that we will create a safe space for each other. Failure to show respect to each other may result in dismissal from the class."

Title IX is a portion of the United States Education Amendments of 1972 states (in part) that: No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. An April 2011 "Dear Colleague" letter issued by the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights states, "The sexual harassment of students, including sexual violence, interferes with students' right to receive an education free from discrimination and, in the case of sexual violence, is a crime." It is the responsibility of institutions of higher education "to take immediate and effective steps to end sexual harassment and sexual violence." The letter illustrates multiple examples of Title IX requirements as they relate to sexual violence, and makes clear that, should an institution fail to fulfill its responsibilities under Title IX, the Department of Education can impose a fine and potentially deny further institutional access to federal funds.

"Title IX makes it clear that violence and harassment based on sex and gender are Civil Rights offenses subject to the same kinds of accountability and the same kinds of support applied to offenses against other protected categories (e.g., race). If you or someone you know has been sexually harassed or assaulted, you may find the appropriate resources at http://titleix.osu.edu or by contacting the Ohio State Title IX Coordinator, Kellie Brennan, at titleix@osu.edu."

Several years ago the Undergraduate Student Government requested that faculty include the phone number for the University Escort Service on their syllabi, preferably on the first page somewhere and especially for courses that meet or end after dark.

"University Escort Service - A safe ride is a service provided to university students who would like safe transportation across campus. Any university student, faculty, or staff member may request a safe ride. Hours: 7pm-3am. Phone: 292-3322."

"The materials used in connection with this course may be subject to copyright protection and are only for the use of students officially enrolled in the course for the educational purposes associated with the course. Copyright law must be considered before copying, retaining, or disseminating materials outside of the course."