December 2018

Bi-annual newsletter for AFF, ADJ and VIS faculty in CLAS

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Syllabus Tips

The August 2018 issue of the CLAS Teacher contained syllabus guidelines and tips that we wanted you to have handy as you prepare for Winter 2019 courses.

Office hours description:

We have some anecdotal evidence that our newest students do not understand the purpose of office hours. We are including this example text for possible inclusion in your syllabus. This is not a requirement, as you may want to use different text or a verbal description to students in class. Please use an approach that works best for you and your students.

"Office hours” are an occasion for students to meet individually or in small groups with the course instructor. Students can stop by or set up a specific meeting time. These meetings are an excellent opportunity for students to ask questions about projects, assignments, graduate school, research opportunities, or careers in the field.



Online materials pertaining to advising

1.Faculty Repository – The CLAS Faculty Advisor Repository continues to be a great source of information regarding all GVSU policies and procedures that pertain to academic advising, as well as a wealth of information on student success. Book mark it for easy access!

2.The website for the CLAS Academic Advising Center  provides a wealth of academic advising and referral information for students in your classes. Professional academic advisors are liaisons to each major in CLAS – it’s easy to access  who your direct link is in the Center – just click on the liaison list on the front page of the website.

3.What are your responsibilities under FERPA? The Registrar’s Office provides detailed information on the guidelines for this federal law.

Teaching Resources

Teaching Resources from the Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center:

Faculty Absence from Class Policy

As a new year begins, please remember the university’s policy concerning instructor absence from classes.  Faculty Handbook: Section 3.03A.  In instances when absences can be anticipated, please obtain approval from your unit head in advance. You are then responsible for arranging for substitutes or otherwise covering your teaching assignments; please feel free to request assistance in doing so from your unit head. If you must be absent from teaching responsibilities due to an emergency or illness that occurs during working hours, please do your best to notify the unit head as well as your office coordinator, who will notify students either before class begins or at the start of the scheduled class, whichever is possible. When an emergency occurs and you are unable to reach the unit head or office coordinator, please, if you can, post a notice on Blackboard to notify your students that class is canceled and send an email to your unit head.

End of Term in a Nutshell – Q & A from Assistant Dean Betty Schaner

Q. How do I find out when my final occurs?  A. Please see the academic calendar.  

Q. Must I have a culminating experience?

A. Yes. As a reminder, University policy states that all classes must meet for a culminating experience during final exam week, on the appropriate scheduled exam day and time. In the event that the course structure involves a take home final or is an online course, the due date for submission of this exam should be the scheduled exam day and time. Both the Provost and the Dean expect compliance with this policy. There are no exceptions to this policy.


Q. What's the snow policy during exam week?

A. For details on criteria for weather-related cancellation or closure, as well as how affected final exams will be rescheduled, please see the emergency closing policy


Q. When are final grades due?

A. All grades MUST be entered in Banner by noon on Tuesday, December 18. Please plan to enter final grades prior to noon and leave contact information with your unit's office in the event of a missing grade or grades.  Awarding an "I" (incomplete) includes filling out an electronic form in addition to entering the grade.  


Q. Why should grades be posted prior to the deadline? 

A. Grades must be run by the Records Office by the end of the business day on December 18.  This process takes hours to complete.  Missing grades can impact students' academic standing, financial aid, and more. Sometimes grades are inadvertently missed—-the most frequent grade reporting error is omission of last date of academic activity (LDAA) for a failing ("F") grade.  Failure to complete these requirements erases all grades that you entered for that course-not just the one requiring LDAA.