Start of Semester Memo

August 14, 2017

The items below address many of the principles and practices by which the College educates our undergraduates. A few minutes spent in a review of these guidelines will eliminate a lot of confusion and save us all a lot of time in the semester about to begin.

ASSISTANCE FROM MONROE HALL

Every College student has an Association Dean to whom you can direct inquiries or whom you can alert to special situations with students. The Association Deans, each of whom teach in one of the College's Departments, stand ready to clarify the policies described in this memorandum. You can learn the name of a student's association dean through the College's online advising system. The staff in Monroe Hall can also assist you (924-8864).

The College's homepage carries information that instructors and students have found helpful in earlier semesters. The "Advising Newsletter", where Departments announce late breaking news about courses, can be found here under "Advising." The College also has a Facebook page and we regularly post announcements regarding talks, new classes, policy changes, etc. Please send items for posting to Abigail Holeman in this office.

There is also a page of quick links that advisors and Undergraduate Major Directors may find helpful.

KEEPING UP WITH ADVISEES AND MAJORS

Faculty can access information on advisees through SIS and through the College's online advising system. In SIS, after the first few weeks of a semester, advisors can review the performance of their advisees from the previous semester and learn about the imposition of any academic sanctions by following these steps in SIS:

  • Navigate to the student's Student Center
  • Click on the Academics Tab
  • On the left, scroll down slightly and click on the relevant term
  • On the right, look for ACADEMIC STANDING STATUS (Data unavailable typically means good standing as there is no notation of probation or suspension)

Most departmental staff have access to Discoverer reports that provide data on the standing of all students in a major.

RULES OF THE FACULTY

Course instructors do not have the authority to waive or modify the add, drop, withdrawal, grade option deadlines, final examination schedule, guidelines for Incompletes, or any other rules of the Faculty. The Undergraduate Record lays out the general academic guidelines and policies by which the College operates. The Association Deans in Monroe Hall do not make College rules; we implement the policies approved by the Faculty by way of the Committee on Educational Policy and the Curriculum (CEPC). Every student has the right to appeal negative decisions to the Committee on Faculty Rules (CFR), made up of faculty who do not have responsibilities in Monroe Hall.

SYLLABUS, COURSE GUIDELINES, AND USING COLLAB

Sound pedagogy and common sense suggest that students receive in writing at the outset of a course notification of how it will progress, how it will be conducted (attendance, for example), daily or weekly assignments, information on office hours and information on how the grade is determined. A key element in the resolution of disputes that arise occasionally between instructors and students is this very notification. Items for inclusion are: the grading policy, dates of quizzes and final examination, attendance policy, your office hours, and how to reach you. Students adding late should receive this information when they enroll. If your course is not already included in the Collab offerings, please consider signing up. Instructions can be found at https://collab.itc.virginia.edu/portal Instructors and students find that Collab enhances teaching and learning by improving communications among the participants in a class.

Statements and Assignments Related to Violence Prevention

Sample syllabi statements related to violence prevention.
Extra credit assignments related to violence prevention.
Paper and journal topics related to violence prevention.  

Mandatory Reporting

See the Just Report It web site for details.
Click here for more information on Reporting by Responsibile Employees.
Title IX and VAWA information.

PLAGIARISM

Because of the number each year of misunderstandings among students about the definition of academic fraud, instructors are encouraged to address this subject in their classes. It is also recommended that these standards be distributed in writing to the class and posted in Collab.

ACADEMIC CALENDAR

The College's add, drop, and withdrawal dates carry no provision for any "one time grace period", student rumor to the contrary. Please include the dates below on your course syllabus and announce them in class. You are also encouraged to have, if possible, at least one graded assignment before the withdrawal date.

Sept. 5 Last day to ADD a class, elect the audit option, change the grading basis (grade or CR/NC), or establish an independent study
Sept. 6 Last day to drop a course (deletion from the transcript)
Oct. 17 Last day to withdraw from a class (completed by students in SIS)
Nov. 14 Last day to Withdraw from the University and Return for Spring 2018
Nov. 29 Last day to request a change in exam schedule

MANAGING COURSE ENROLLMENTS

Once the enrollment capacity number has been set by a department, colleagues manage enrollments in their classes by

(1) Using the SIS Wait List OR
(2) using the SIS Permission List

For extenuating circumstances ONLY, Course Action Forms are available (online).

Instructors can request the creation of a permission list by writing to permission@virginia.edu. Students who add into a course via SIS are deemed to be legitimately enrolled. Faculty who wish to control their course enrollments are encouraged to use the Permission List (this assumes no wait list has been created). For technical support with the Permission List write to cod-tec@virginia.edu; for advice on whether to select a permission or a wait list, please contact Rachel Most.

A wait list cannot be changed to a permission list once enrollment has started if the wait list contains students.

Students on your class roll are not to be disenrolled unless they fail to present the publicized prerequisites or fail to appear for the first scheduled meeting AND have not sent notice to you or the Department. Instructors may request their department staff to drop such students, but it is the student’s responsibility to verify his or her schedule by the enrollment deadlines. Dropping a student in Collab does NOT remove the student from your class roster in SIS; adding a student in Collab does NOT add the student to your class roster in SIS.

CLASS ROSTERS

Class rosters may be obtained through SIS. DO NOT RELY ON COLLAB FOR COMPLETION OR ACCURACY OF THE CLASS ROLL. SIS, AND NOT COLLAB, IS WHERE OFFICIAL ENROLLMENT IS TRACKED FOR INSTRUCTORS AND STUDENTS.

CREDIT/NO CREDIT; INDEPENDENT STUDY AND INST COURSES

The Committee on Faculty Rules has strongly reaffirmed the add deadline as the deadline for choosing the CR/NC option. After the add deadline our office will only process those changes for which both a student and the instructor affirm that there has been a registration error. The add deadline serves similarly as the last date for students and instructors to arrange for independent study. INST courses may be set up to start later than the add deadlines, but students must be enrolled by the College's add deadline (see above).

ATTENDANCE

Note the following; more detail may be found at:

  • Regular attendance in classes is a vital part of the educational process. At the University of Virginia, students are expected to accept the responsibility of attending classes regularly and promptly.
  • Students must be enrolled in classes by the College's add deadline; students who are cancelled and/or who miss this deadline must wait until the following term to return.
  • Only enrolled students may attend classes.
  • It is recommended that instructors state their attendance policies to their classes. The instructor is not obligated to allow students to make up missed work; it is the instructor’s decision whether students may be allowed such a privilege.

For more information click here.

GRADES

Please note that once you post a grade a student may not to extra work to raise the grade. See Grade Changes for more information.

ABSENCES

Serious illness or death within the student's immediate family, religious holidays and participation in field trips and athletic contests are all understandable reasons for missing class. I urge you not to penalize students who are absent for such reasons. These students have the obligation ahead of time to make the necessary arrangements for make-ups. Students not attending class, or attending so irregularly as to be making no progress in the course, may be excluded. Up to the Withdrawal deadline, the resultant grade is a W; thereafter, an F. This policy is reasonable, however, only when announced to the students in advance. You also are not obligated to provide makeup tests for students whose absence is not warranted by the above circumstances.

Students occasionally disappear for extensive intervals from the radar screen. When that happens or should you have serious concerns about the well-being of a student, please alert the Office of the Dean of the College in Monroe; the student’s association dean will follow up with you in these regards.

SAFETY AND SECURITY

Click here for UVA information for Faculty and Staff.
Click here for UVA information for Students.
Training Programs

Planning an academic field trip with your class? You must contact the Office of Risk Management first. Click here for academic field trip information. You cannot require a trip that takes place outside of the regular class meeting time.

STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES, TITLE 504 AND AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT

The Student Disability Access Center (SDAC), located in the Elson Student Health Center, can provide screening services when instructors suspect the possibility of a learning disorder. SDAC makes recommendations to faculty in terms of proposed classroom accommodations for students with disabilities and other medical conditions which are covered under federal legislation. If you would like to refer a student to SDAC services, the student can fill out an electronic application through the SDAC Online Services portal.

Melvin Mallory is the ADA Coordinator in the Equal Opportunities and Civil Rights office. The ADA coordinator helps to resolve issues, provides information and conducts training, and serves as the University’s primary resource about services and accommodations for individuals with disabilities. 

Brad Holland is the University's Ombudsperson. He can be reached by phone at 924-7819 and via email at bholland@virginia.edu. For further information consult the webpage.

A student's Association Dean can also respond to requests for information or assistance.

VALIDATION OF STUDENTS' EXCUSES

Neither our office nor Student Health provide written excuses for students; nor do we validate their reasons for absences or failure to meet course requirements. Only when a student is called out of town on an emergency or is incapacitated or otherwise unable to contact instructors, will the student's Association Dean notify Faculty. In other instances instructors, in responding to requests from students for accommodation in the completion of course requirements, may find it helpful to solicit from students a written statement, pledged on their Honor.

Best wishes for a successful and productive semester! All of us in Monroe Hall look forward to working with you during the semester. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of assistance.

Rachel Most, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Academic Programs