Faculty Support of Students Policy - Updates

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Faculty Support of Students Policy - Updates

To: UA Faculty


Dennis Ray, Chair, Undergraduate Council; Koen Visscher, Chair, Graduate Council; Celeste Pardee, Assistant Director for Academic Policies/Organizations

Subject: Faculty Support of Students Policy - Updates

Date: April 15, 2016

Effective in Summer/Fall 2016, all instructors are expected to support their students in accordance with approved updates to the University Handbook for Appointed Personnel (UHAP), Chapter 7.01.01, Statement on Professional Conduct.  

In Fall 2015 it was brought to the attention of the Undergraduate Council that the Faculty Support of Students Policy was outdated. The UGC initiated revisions and approved those updates on November 10, 2015. The Graduate Council requested additional revisions upon passing the proposal on November 20, 2015. The Faculty Senate approved the final version on March 7, 2016.

Updates to UHAP, Chapter 7.01.01 (the end of this section):

In addition to fulfilling the responsibilities listed in the above "Statement," faculty members are expected to support students in the following ways:

  • By beginning and terminating classes at the scheduled times.
  • By posting and keeping a schedule of office hours during which they are available to students in person and/or online.
  • By responding to in-person and/or online student inquiries and comments in a timely manner.
  • By providing feedback and assessment on projects, assignments, quizzes and exams in a timely manner.
  • By advising or mentoring students, per college/department policy.

Rationale for the updates:

Faculty policies on holding office hours and advising students were established in the 1970s, but faculty responsibilities have changed since then.

Formal office hours are necessary for in-person courses but not for online or even hybrid courses, where most communication is conducted electronically.

Student learning is increased with the faculty's constructive comments on assignments and timely assessments of quizzes/exams.

As professional academic advisors have assumed more responsibility for advising services, fewer faculty members advise students, particularly during orientations and registration periods. The faculty's role has shifted toward mentoring students — on discipline - specific areas of emphasis, graduate programs and/or careers in their field of study.

Implementation of the updated policy will begin with courses offered in Summer/Fall 2016. All instructors should comply with the five provisions of this policy. 

Questions about the revisions may be addressed to Celeste Pardee of Curricular Affairs, at 520-621-5375, or cpardee@u.arizona.edu.

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