Dear Department Chairs and Directors:
As we prepare for the start of classes for the fall term, I am writing to remind you of the importance of communicating with all faculty members the content and significance of the University policies, especially those applicable to faculty members. Please reserve time in a faculty meeting to highlight these policies each year, as we have an obligation to ensure that all faculty members are aware of them. I am especially concerned that new faculty members and part-time instructors know about them and am relying on you to inform them.
The Office of Legal Affairs has prepared excellent resources for you to share with your faculty related to policies and academic integrity: Faculty Policy Quick-Reference Chart, Academic Integrity Faculty Guide, Academic Integrity Faculty FAQs, Academic Integrity Resources, as well as general information found on the Office of Student Conduct & Academic Integrity’s Academic Integrity website. Also available from the Office of Legal Affairs is an extensive library of guidelines for classroom policies and practices, including new FAQs on classroom recordings and FERPA, as well as reference materials presented at the Symposia on Legal Issues and Legal Training Sessions. Faculty members can also access all Academic and University policies online at the Office of Academic Affairs website.
As faculty revise syllabi for the coming year, please ask them to remember the following:
- Required contact hours include the scheduled final examination time. Classes must meet during this time period, although it may be used for oral presentation, discussion, lecture or whatever is appropriate.
- No required activities are permitted on Reading Day, a policy that was reaffirmed by the Faculty Council in 2012.
- Grades must be submitted by the deadline (for fall semester, the deadline is noon on December 20, 2021). Failure to submit grades on time can have severe consequences for our students in terms of financial aid, registration, and graduation.
- Reasonable accommodations for students’ religious obligations should be made according to University Policy 409, Religious Accommodation for Students. This policy requires UNC Charlotte to (1) authorize a minimum of two excused absences each academic year for religious observances as required by the faith of a student; and (2) provide students the opportunity to make up any missed work.
- The Schedule Interruption Guidelines have been developed to provide clarity for faculty when classes and labs are not able to meet in their usual location and time. Again this year it is particularly important that faculty be prepared for continuity of instruction and to be prepared for students who may need to miss class due to circumstances surrounding COVID-19. In addition, as previously announced, undergraduate day and evening classes as well as graduate day classes are canceled for the installation of the Chancellor on Thursday, September 23, and three weekday football games (Friday, September 3; Friday, September 24; and Thursday, October 21) will require classes on the main campus that begin after 2:00 p.m. to make alternative arrangements. The UNC Charlotte Academic Procedure: Faculty Illness also provides guidance on how to handle incidences where faculty are absent due to illness.
- Pursuant to University Policy 204, Textbooks and Instructional Materials, faculty are required to provide the information regarding their course materials to the campus bookstore.
All UNC Charlotte employees, including faculty members, are expected to relay any information or reports of sexual misconduct they receive to the Title IX Coordinator or one of the Deputy Title IX Coordinators if they learn about an incident of sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking that involves a UNC Charlotte student. The preferred method of such reporting is to use the online incident report form. For more information, please visit title ix.unc.edu.
Finally, the Office of Legal Affairs has recommended standard syllabus language to help faculty notify students about a variety of relevant topics. Updated suggested syllabus language has been added to: 1) require face coverings in classes and labs, 2) clearly set forth a policy on absenteeism during COVID-19, 3) prevent sexual harassment in web-based or web-assisted courses, and 4) prohibit student recording in the classroom (in person or online). Please encourage faculty to consider using this language to clearly articulate classroom expectations. Teaching during the time of COVID presents a variety of new challenges and I encourage faculty to continue to make use of the excellent guidance and resources of the Center for Teaching and Learning.
My very best wishes for an excellent beginning of the academic year.
Joan F. Lorden
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs