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As a teaching-intensive institution at the undergraduate level, Tufts University expects full-time faculty members to fulfill a primary responsibility to their students and their courses. This responsibility includes holding office hours and attending departmental meetings.
Faculty members are expected to create a respectful teaching environment. Faculty members are also expected to attend every class period scheduled per course. With the approval of the department chair, faculty may make substitute provisions for an anticipated absence from class to attend professional meetings or for equally important professional reasons. Absences from class should be made known to the department chair and the students as promptly as possible, and faculty members who intend to be absent must make every effort to provide satisfactory alternative arrangements. If a faculty member plans to miss more than two consecutive classes or more than three total classes in a semester, he/she must request permission in writing from the department chair or program director and the relevant dean. Repeated absences may constitute a conflict of commitment. (See Examples of Outside Professional Activities.)
Consult the appendix and the website of the Division of Undergraduate and Graduate Students for student policies and procedures regarding academic matters.
In the graduate programs, teaching is equally rigorous but takes on additional dimensions. Effective mentoring is crucial for graduate students. Faculty mentors must commit to dedicating substantial time to graduate students to ensure their academic and professional development. A relationship of mutual trust and respect should be established between mentors and graduate students to foster healthy interactions and encourage individual growth. In addition, working with graduate students as teaching assistants is a valued part of graduate student training.
At the beginning of each term, faculty members are expected to distribute to their students a detailed syllabus, indicating required course work, examinations, readings, office hours, and other expectations, including learning objectives. As a general guideline, undergraduate students in the School of Arts and Sciences are expected to spend at least two hours of work outside the classroom for every hour of in-class instruction. Faculty members should adhere to the syllabus as closely as possible and to the standards for grading that are established; deviations from the syllabus should be discussed with the department chair and explained to students, and should occur only when pedagogically appropriate.
In an institution such as Tufts that values teaching, a faculty member's regular presence on campus and accessibility to students are important. Faculty office hours should be posted on the office door and the department's website. Provision for three hours per week is recommended, although faculty teaching large courses may wish to offer more office time. Full-time lecturers in the School of Arts and Sciences are required to hold office hours for at least two hours per week. Additional office hours may be necessary at registration, at the beginning and end of the semester, and at the time of important examinations, when students need more time for consultation.
While formal attendance records for students are not required, faculty members are asked to report excessive absences to the appropriate associate dean of undergraduate education. In the case of graduate students, faculty members should contact the associate dean of graduate education in the School of Engineering or the dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, as appropriate. Absence from more than three class hours is normally deemed excessive. In the case of deficiencies arising from absences, the instructor must determine both the reasonableness of the circumstances and the need for special work to remove the deficiencies. A faculty member should require documentation for extended absence or absence from an examination.
Students may drop a course without record of enrollment during the "drop" period in the first few weeks of the semester. After that date, they may withdraw from the course through the last day of classes, but the course will appear on the transcript with a noncredit mark of W. (This mark will appear automatically; professors do not need to enter this on the grading sheet.) Students are responsible for dropping or withdrawing from a course by the deadlines established by the registrar; professors may not grant permission to the student to override the deadline.
Student course evaluations are intended to help improve the quality
of teaching. They are considered in decisions regarding tenure and
promotion, in contract renewals, and in annual faculty salary
reviews. The Faculty of Arts, Sciences and Engineering has approved
a uniform course evaluation form for use in all courses.
The reading period set by the university for preparing for final
examinations may not be used to give examinations or hold extra
class meetings (other than voluntary study sessions). A thesis
defense may take place during the reading period. Faculty should
adhere to the schedule of final examinations prepared by the
registrar. A faculty member may offer an earlier or later
examination if students do not have the opportunity to take the
examination at the originally scheduled time.
In courses for which faculty members have responsibility, they also
have primary responsibility for proctoring and grading examinations.
Faculty members are accountable for reviewing all grading done by
assistants. Staff members should not proctor exams.
University policy states grades in any course are based on all
evidence available to the instructor. Such evidence includes a final
examination unless the instructor decides other evidence may
appropriately be substituted. To maximize the educational character
of grading, faculty members should provide written or oral comments
on papers and examinations, indicating problems and areas of
improvement, and return these materials to students in a timely
fashion (normally, within two weeks of the final examination).
The standing of the student in each subject is expressed by one of
the following letters.
In computing a grade average, each course grade of A counts as 4.00; B, 3.00; C, 2.00; D, 1.00. Appropriate value is given to plus and minus grades and to half-credit courses. Averages are computed to three decimal places, and semester and cumulative averages are rounded to two decimal places. Since changes cannot be made after graduation, seniors are urged to rectify any errors on their transcripts well before that date.
Tufts undergraduate students and graduate students are subject to a
policy on academic integrity. Faculty members who encounter
evidence of academic dishonesty must report it to the
Office of the Dean of Student Affairs. Please use the online
reporting form to report your concern. This academic integrity
policy assures consistency in the treatment of academic dishonesty
and allows the institution to identify repeat offenders. The Office
of the Dean of Student Affairs works with the faculty member in
applying university and departmental policies and can assist in
determining an appropriate academic outcome. Please review the
Student Judicial Process for information about the
grading and disciplinary guidelines for academic integrity
violations for undergraduate and graduate students.
Federal law (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or
FERPA) requires that Tufts University be particularly vigilant in
protecting the privacy of student records. The Faculty of Arts,
Sciences and Engineering determined by vote in spring 2008 that only
the following personnel shall have access to the transcripts and
educational records of the following groups of students to carry out
the necessary academic responsibilities of advising, monitoring, and
promoting student progress.
Faculty members should be respectful of the privacy rights of their students. Paper transcripts should not be left in public spaces. When no longer of use, they should be disposed of properly (that is, filed or shredded by nonstudents). Faculty members should never request and consult a transcript in the process of assigning a student's grade. They may request and consult a transcript, however, if this will help them to address an academic concern or to identify an academic problem.
More information regarding FERPA is available here.
As the academic calendar is constructed, religious holy days are not
the sole factor in determining days on which classes are held or
suspended. However, it is the policy of the faculty that students be
encouraged to observe their
appropriate religious holy days; that
instructors strive to facilitate this by allowing absence from
classes for such purposes and by trying to ensure that no
examinations, written reports, oral reports, or other mandatory
class assignments are scheduled for or due on such holy days; and
that instructors provide ample opportunities for such students to
make up work missed on such occasions without penalty.
Faculty members must exercise reasonable care regarding the safety
of students in classes and laboratories. They should be aware of the
location of all safety devices (such as eye-rinsing facilities and
fire extinguishers). Tufts Environmental Health and Safety (TEHS) is
an important resource for health, safety, and environmental
protection in teaching and research. It provides training, advice,
and other compliance assistance to faculty members. More information
can be found at http://publicsafety.tufts.edu/ehs/. Faculty members
should also consult their departments for information specific to
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