Course Syllabi and Grades
Civility in the Classroom
Final Exam Policies
Students with Disabilities
At the beginning of each semester, every faculty member will provide to students a syllabus with information about course requirements, assignments, grading procedures and how the final grade will be determined, attendance policies, and so on. The Student Resolution Center offers a helpful guide for creating effective syllabi.
A copy of each syllabus will be given to the departmental chairperson and kept on file in the departmental office for at least one long semester beyond the semester in which the syllabus was distributed.
Extra credit should be made available in a class to all students or to no students. Making extra credit available to selected students opens a faculty member to accusations of discrimination, to grade appeals, and to possible legal action.
Posting student grades is highly problematic. For the protection of student privacy, Texas Tech policy is that no grades should be posted. However, in the case of very large classes in which it would not be reasonably possible to return test grades individually, grades may be posted, but only by numbers assigned randomly and confidentially, never by names or social security numbers or student identification numbers.
Final examinations and grade records should be retained for at least ninety days beyond the start of the next long semester to ensure that critical materials would be available in the event of a grade appeal. Faculty who leave Texas Tech must turn over their last final exams and grade records to their School Director/ Department Chair.
The responsibility for determining grades and judging the quality of academic performance in a course rests with the instructor assigned to the course. A grade can be formally appealed only when there is demonstrable evidence that prejudice or arbitrary or capricious action on the part of the instructor has influenced the grade. The Visual and Performing Arts Grade Appeals Committee, comprised of a voting chairperson, two other faculty members, and two students is charged with reviewing grade appeals. More information about grades, grading, and grade appeals can also be found in the Faculty Handbook, in the Student Affairs Handbook, and in the University's Operating Policy and Procedure Manual.
The university's Civility in the Classroom brochure, provided by the combined efforts of the Provost's Office and the Office of Student Affairs, offers information and suggestions about dealing with disruptive students and about maintaining a classroom atmosphere conducive to learning. More information about civility policies is available from the Student Affairs web site; see also in the Student Affairs Handbook, under the Code of Student Conduct.
- All Final Exams must be given at the assigned time. They may not be given prior to the officially assigned time.
- If students miss a Final Exam, they must contact their Instructor. This is a matter between the student and the Instructor. The Office of the Dean cannot reschedule a Final Exam or provide the student an excused absence.
- There is no policy on how many Final Exams a student can have in one day.
United States law requires that universities and all faculty and staff therein make reasonable accommodation for students with disabilities. Faculty should ask at the beginning of the semester for students with disabilities to identify themselves to the professor in private (after class or during office hours) and indicate what accommodations they may need. Faculty are not obligated to provide accommodation unless the student provides proof of a disability for which the accommodation requested is appropriate; at Texas Tech, such proof is provided by written notification from AccessTECH that indicates the student has completed the university's process for establishing the need for disability accommodation. Faculty should not ask for further proof of disability. Students presenting other kinds of verification should be referred to AccessTECH in the Student Counseling Center in West Hall. Any disclosures about disabilities must be treated with confidentiality; for example, a student's disability-related accommodations must not be discussed with or in front of other students or faculty.
Faculty members should include in each of their course syllabi a statement such as the following: "Any students who, because of a disability, may require special arrangements in order to meet course requirements should contact their instructor as soon as possible to make the necessary accommodations. Students should present appropriate verification from AccessTECH in the Student Counseling Center in West Hall. No requirement exists that accommodations be made prior to the completion of this approved university process."
In their interactions with students, other faculty, staff, and administrators, faculty members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner. Professionally appropriate behavior requires, among other things, that faculty members avoid profanity (including but not limited to profanity of a sexual, scatological, or religious nature); personal criticism of a student's, staff member's, or coworker's appearance, intelligence, or background; and sexual innuendo. Of course, in the presentation of some subject matters, as in, for example, some literature classes or psychology classes, a discussion of issues related to sex, religion, or other sensitive topics may be entirely appropriate. In these cases and in all matters, professors must avoid creating an atmosphere which students, staff members, or coworkers find sexually harassing or harassing in any other sense. Instructors should avoid meeting with students behind closed doors, and meetings that may become confrontational should be witnessed by a colleague or, perhaps preferably, a supervisor. Furthermore, all student information should be considered confidential; in general, since passage of the Buckley Amendment no one, not even a student's parents, has a right to information about a student unless the student has signed a waiver allowing the release of information.