Chapter 4: Instruction


Introduction

Policy on Quality Instruction

Section 4.1: Faculty Teaching Assignments

4.1.1 Teaching Loads
4.1.2 Minimum Class Size Guidelines

Section 4.2: Expectations for Faculty

4.2.1 Responsibilities of Faculty Members Conducting Classes
4.2.2 Textbooks and Instructional Materials
4.2.3 Academic Contingency Policies
4.2.4 Retention of Exams by Faculty
4.2.5. Evaluation of Teaching
4.2.6 Academic Regulations

Section 4.3: Expectations for Students

4.3.1.Policy on Class Attendance
4.3.2 Policy on Classroom Behavior
4.3.3 Code of Student Discipline
4.3.4 Policy on Campus Speech and Demonstration

Section 4.4: Examinations

4.4.1 Policy on Undergraduate Examinations
4.4.2 Policy on Number of Final Exams in One Day
4.4.3 Retention of Exams by Faculty

Section 4.5: Grading

4.5.1 University Grade System
4.5.2 Grade Submission Policy
4.5.3 Posting Grades
4.5.4 Faculty Policy on Assigning Grades of Incomplete
4.5.5 Faculty Policy on Grade Changes

Section 4.6: Academic Honesty

4.6.1 Academic Honesty Code
4.6.2 Academic Honesty Resources for Faculty

Section 4.7: Student Grievances

4.7.1. Student Academic Grievance Policy

Section 4.8: The Graduate School

4.8.1 The Graduate Council
4.8.2 The Graduate Faculty

A. Introduction
B. Graduate Faculty Membership
C. Nomination and Review of Graduate Faculty Candidates
D. Periodic Review of Department Plans

4.8.3 Graduate School Policies

 

Introduction: Policy on Quality Instruction

The Board of Trustees views the instruction of students as the foremost activity of Auburn University. It is proud of the outstanding levels of quality achieved throughout the institution in preparing graduates to enter the professions, graduate programs, and leadership positions in all walks of life. To underscore and support this process, the Board identifies those characteristics that it views to be central to the teaching/learning process.

  1. Class sizes, particularly at the freshman and sophomore levels, should be sufficiently small to provide for individual student attention and opportunity for free exchange of ideas.

  2. Faculty teaching loads should not be so burdensome as to preclude the availability of faculty for individual or small-group counseling, advising, and informal discussion with students.

  3. Early in their Auburn career, all students should have opportunity for exposure to the University’s best scholars. Senior faculty should have some teaching responsibility at the lower division level.
    Particular care should be exercised to assure that those who have classroom instructional responsibility possess strong communication skills.

  4. Innovative teaching approaches should be encouraged. To foster creativity in the instructional arena, a “learning center” should be organized to assist any faculty member who may desire its use. Junior faculty should be supervised carefully to assure that support is provided as needed.

  5. The curriculum should reflect a desire that graduates be effective in written and oral communication skills and reasoning skills, as well as being well founded in the major discipline.

  6. There should be an honors program and other similar opportunities developed for the exceptionally talented and curious student.

  7. Outstanding teaching will be recognized and rewarded.

  8. The Board supports a regular, validated, and effective faculty evaluation system that relies upon student, peer, and administrator input. Such a program should have performance improvement as its primary goal.

  9. The Board will strive to provide adequate operating budgets so that support materials are available to enhance the teaching/learning process.

Teaching is a dynamic and complex activity, and learning is an individual process. The Board of Trustees recognizes that a wide variety of teaching methods are available and that no singular approach is superior to others––that circumstances dictate the style most appropriate. The Board recognizes and congratulates the faculty and administration on their ability to attract high-quality students to Auburn. By endorsing this statement, the Board desires that faculty, department heads/chairs, and deans be aware of its interest in and support of their dedicated efforts to offer Auburn students the highest possible quality of instruction.

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Section 4.1
Faculty Teaching Assignments

4.1.1 Teaching Loads

The University recognizes the impossibility of creating a “teaching load” formula that would be applicable to the complex academic programs embraced by the various colleges, schools, and departments. Considerable flexibility is given to the individual department head, in consultation with the dean, in assigning faculty workloads to meet the department’s instructional, research, and public service commitments. Faculty workloads are regularly reported to the provost and are utilized by the central administration of the University in budgetary management of the academic program.

Although there is no set teaching load formula at the University level, normally every attempt is made to give appropriate reduction in the classroom assignments of those faculty who are significantly engaged in research, graduate teaching, the direction of graduate student theses, or University service. Such reduction should be applied equitably to all eligible faculty. However, the University believes it is important that senior faculty who have distinguished themselves through research and publication be directly involved in undergraduate teaching.

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4.1.2 Minimum Class Size Guidelines

Number of graduate/undergraduate registrants needed to offer a course with dean approval

http://www.auburn.edu/academic/provost/policies/Minimum_Class_Size_Guidelines.html

Section 4.2
Expectations for Faculty


4.2.1 Responsibilities of Faculty Members Conducting Classes

Auburn University recognizes that the classroom experience represents something of a partnership between student and professor. For the partnership to be successful, each has a right to expect certain things of the other: just as the professor may expect students to meet the responsibilities that he or she has made explicit on such matters as instructional objectives and evaluation procedures, so the student should expect the professor to meet his or her obligations also. The University believes that each faculty member in conducting classes should exhibit high standards of professional behavior through his or her scholarship, personal integrity, and enthusiasm for the profession of teaching.

More specifically, each professor has the following responsibilities to himself or herself and to his or her students:

  1. To state, in writing at an early meeting of the class, specific course objectives and the manner in which they are to be attained.

  2. To exercise care in the organization and presentation of all materials toward the end of achieving the stated instructional objectives.

  3. To state, in writing at an early meeting of the class, grading and evaluation procedures, including:

    a. the grading system and method of determining the final grade;

    b. the relative importance of assigned papers, quizzes, examinations, class preparation, and
    participation;

    c. the approximate schedule for examinations (other than the final exam); and

    d. the policy on unannounced quizzes.

  4. To arrive promptly at all scheduled classes. If absence is anticipated, the class should be informed in advance of contingency arrangements.

  5. To maintain regular, posted office hours each week for conferences with students.

  6. To grade and return examinations within a reasonable period of time.

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4.2.2 Textbooks and Instructional Materials

Textbook orders for each instructional semester are placed with the Auburn University Bookstore and the private bookstores in the city of Auburn through a University-wide system. Individual faculty orders are secured at the departmental level and sent directly to local bookstores. Faculty are expected to cooperate fully in placing their orders well in advance and to utilize the University system, which is devised to ensure that textbooks will be available to students at all bookstores and that instruction will not be impeded during the early part of the semester because texts are not available.

Faculty involvement in the writing or editing of textbooks published and marketed through national or regional publishing houses is regarded by the University as a legitimate and praiseworthy form of scholarly activity. At times, however, faculty members may wish to develop instructional materials for local use in their own classrooms. These nontraditional, duplicated packets or booklets of materials may be used supplementary to or in place of traditional textbooks.

The Auburn University Bookstore, working directly with the faculty member, obtains copyright clearance for duplication of all requested materials in advance of distribution. The AU Bookstore then reproduces, binds, and distributes the instructional material at cost plus overhead with no profit or revenue accruing to either the department or the faculty member. This system ensures that Auburn University and Auburn University faculty are not illegally using copyrighted material and exposing the University to liability and embarrassment. University endorsement has also been given to a procedure whereby individual faculty members, with the approval of their department heads/chairs, may arrange to have manuscripts for classroom use printed (only after obtaining copyright clearance) and sold by commercial duplicating services exterior to the campus.

Faculty shall refrain from selling textbooks or instructional materials directly to the students. Such practices are questionable financially and ethically.

Selection and production of instructional materials by faculty is essential to providing quality instruction. The freedom to choose instructional materials is central to the principle of academic freedom. Auburn University encourages faculty to publish instructional materials through reputable publishers that are marketed and used nationally. If such materials produced by a faculty member are appropriate for use in the faculty member’s classes, and if the sale of such materials produces financial gain for the faculty member or his immediate family, faculty may (a) assign the material and choose not to accept financial gain that might result from royalties or other income generated by the sale of such materials by students enrolled in the faculty member’s class, or (b) turn the decision for selecting teaching materials over to an alternate responsible entity (e.g., a department chair or a departmental committee) qualified to determine if the materials are appropriate. Each department will develop a methodology for identifying the alternate responsible entity.

The production of instructional materials such as workbooks, answer sheets, or custom texts intended for use either exclusively or primarily at Auburn University shall be considered part of the faculty member’s assigned duties. It is expected that such shall be provided to the student at departmental or university expense, or at most, the cost of reproduction through a commercial reproducer.

Teaching is a dynamic and complex activity, and learning is an individual process. The Board of Trustees recognizes that a wide variety of teaching methods are available and that no singular approach is superior to others––that circumstances dictate the style most appropriate. The Board recognizes and congratulates the faculty and administration on their ability to attract high quality students to Auburn. By endorsing this statement, the Board desires that faculty, department heads/chairs, and deans be aware of its interest in and support of their dedicated efforts to offer Auburn students the highest possible quality of instruction.

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4.2.3 Academic Contingency Policies

Provisions for individual faculty, departments, and colleges to maintain the instructional mission of the university in response to faculty absence and other emergencies

https://sites.auburn.edu/admin/universitypolicies/Policies/AcademicContingencyPolicies.pdf

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4.2.4 Retention of Exams by Faculty

Final examinations or similar evaluative material that has not been returned by faculty members should be retained by faculty members until the first day of the third semester after the final grade has been assigned.

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4.2.5 Evaluation of Teaching

(See also Chapter 3, Section 7, “Evaluations and Reviews”)

The University views the evaluation of teaching as an ongoing process that relies on multiple assessment measures, including, at a minimum, both peer evaluations and data from student ratings of teaching effectiveness, gathered by means of the University’s standard survey instrument or an equivalent survey instrument. This policy mandates the collection of student-generated data on a regular basis, but these data are not to be used as the only mechanism to rank-order faculty; the data must not supplant other ongoing methods of teaching evaluation; and the data should be only one of several forms of teaching information gathered on a regular basis to assess teaching effectiveness.

The purposes of gathering student evaluations are

  1. To assist individual instructors in improving their own teaching.

  2. To assist academic administrators in counseling instructors about their teaching.

  3. To assist faculty in reviewing the overall educational value and effectiveness of the course.

  4. To provide input in judging the teaching component in tenure, promotion and salary determinations.