Part-Time Faculty Handbook
Valdosta State University
Since 1913, Valdosta State University has been a major provider of educational services for South Georgia. As a regional university in South Georgia, Valdosta State cooperates with other University System institutions to insure that the region receives needed services. To expand its programmatic outreach, it develops and offers programs by distance learning and at off-campus locations throughout the region. Valdosta State University aspires to improve continuously the quality of its programs, scholarship, and student services. Through assessment of programs, the raising of standards, and the refinement of learning technologies, Valdosta State will continue to develop as a regional university serving its south Georgia constituency by implementing programs that meet student needs and by providing the maximum opportunity for faculty development.
College of Arts and Sciences
Connie L. Richards, Dean
The College of Arts and Sciences is dedicated to serving students, faculty, the institution, and the region. All programs and services are governed by a commitment to excellence that is the hallmark of the College.
To serve students. The College serves students through the Core Curriculum and through various programs of study in preprofessional, transfer, and degree programs. The Core Curriculum, most of which is delivered by departments and programs in Arts and Sciences, provides all students of the University a foundation grounded in the liberal arts disciplines of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and mathematics. Learning outcomes of the Core are designed to develop critical thinking, written and oral communication skills, and the ability to use technology effectively. Beyond the Core, the mission of the College is to provide quality minors, associate, bachelor, and graduate degrees in these traditional disciplines and in interdisciplinary programs, and to serve students in programs in other Colleges. All programs are characterized by having clearly defined goals, coherent structure, currency, relevance, and rigor, and all prepare students to meet the challenges of an ever-changing world.
To serve faculty. The College serves its faculty by providing an environment in which instructional excellence is expected and valued, service to the university and community is encouraged, and scholarly activity, research, and creative endeavors are supported and rewarded. Through activities as varied as the recruitment of new faculty to the celebration of the contributions of retiring faculty, the College creates a congenial work environment that supports its faculty intellectually and professionally.
To serve the institution. Beyond program contributions, the College of Arts and Sciences seeks to serve the university community at large by its participation in the various activities that make up the life of the institution outside the classroom. Students and faculty from Arts and Sciences participate in academic and non-academic extracurricular activities, including governance organizations, and serve on departmental, college, and university committees that contribute to the effective functioning of the institution. An integral part of the mission of Arts and Sciences is to seek out and support opportunities for collaboration with other units of the university outside of the College.
To serve the region and beyond. The College of Arts and Sciences, as the largest academic unit of Valdosta State University, plays a major role in helping the university meet its service mission to the intellectual, cultural, and economic life of the region. Through teaching, research, creative endeavors, and the spectrum of outreach and support activities provided by the students and faculty of the College, Arts and Sciences contributes to an improved quality of life for all citizens of the region.
Purpose of Handbook
Valdosta State University (VSU) recognizes the important contribution that part-time faculty members bring to the learning environment. Students can greatly benefit from the experiences of part-time faculty that link education to the real world and workplace. The purpose of the Part-time Faculty Handbook is to provide part-time faculty with an orientation to college policies and procedures to assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities. The handbook does not attempt to reproduce detailed information because this information is continuously being revised and updated. Instead, the handbook identifies and describes sources of essential information and lists additional resources. This handbook is designed as a supplement to the current VSU Undergraduate Bulletin to assist part-time faculty with questions that are unique to the College of Arts and Sciences.
General Information for Part-time Faculty
Individuals desiring to teach for VSU in a part-time capacity must submit a complete application package for employment to the department head of the relevant department. Application forms and employment information may be obtained from the office of the Vice-President for Academic Affairs. To serve as members of the part-time faculty at VSU, individuals must meet the minimum requirements established by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), which include 18 semester hours of graduate work in the discipline in which they desire to teach. In addition, individuals must be certified by the relevant VSU academic department as qualified to teach a specific course or set of courses offered by that department.
Part-time Faculty Orientation
Scheduling of all classes is tentative until registration has been completed. Classes without the required number of registered students will be cancelled during the first days of class. While the University acknowledges that the late cancellation of classes is inconvenient to the faculty and students directly affected, the mandate to use faculty resources wisely requires that the University from do so. Any part-time faculty member who has a class cancelled due to insufficient enrollment will hold the University blameless.
Definition of Part-time Faculty
The following is the Board of Regents’ definition of part-time faculty as found in the Academic Affairs handbook:
Non-tenured faculty employed less than full time:
Shall be known as "part-time" faculty.
Are not accruing time toward tenure.
Are not covered under the "Revised Tenure Policies."
Are considered temporary appointees, requiring re-appointment from year to year ( if and as needed)
If written agreements or contracts are issued to part-time faculty members, they must be appropriate to the specific assignments.
Additional justification will be required when part-time faculty member's employment exceeds one-half time for the year.
Selecting and ordering textbooks:
Part-time faculty should work closely with the department head concerned in selecting textbooks and related materials to ensure that the selected materials meet course objectives. Departments must send text orders to the bookstore by mid-term of the previous semester. The department secretary will assist in obtaining desk copies.
E-Mail and Internet Information:
The Department of Information Technology, Microcomputing and Network Services maintains a campus-wide information service for use by all students, staff, and faculty. Information about this service and an online application form is available at http://www.valdosta.edu/vsu/grits/register . All part-time faculty should apply for an email account.
Parking decals are necessary for on-campus parking and may be obtained at the Parking and Transportation Office, which is located at 114 Georgia Ave. Faculty permits cost $60.00 annually.
The library offers a wide variety of resources and services for all faculty and students. In addition to CD databases, Dragon, Galileo, and Internet access, the library staff offers reference assistance and instructional services for individuals and classes. http://books.valdosta.edu/services.html
A number of computer labs are available for student instruction and faculty use. Hours of availability vary according to scheduled classes and are maintained by the department.
The following sources of information are available for examination through departmental offices' and indicated links:
Valdosta State University Faculty Handbook: This handbook describes policies and procedures primarily related to full-time faculty in the areas of faculty governance, rights and responsibilities, evaluation, benefits, and employment. Part-time faculty will find information about the organization of the University System of Georgia and information about Valdosta State University’s history, administrative organization, academic units, and mission. The Academic Code of Professional Ethics for Valdosta State University is contained in the Faculty Rights and Responsibilities section of the Faculty Handbook. http://www.valdosta.edu/vsu/facsen/handbook/handbook
University Bulletins: The University’s Graduate and Undergraduate Bulletins are an important source of information about student affairs, academic requirements, and campus services. All academic procedures and regulations are described for withdrawals, changing majors, academic loads, final exams, grade changes, grade appeals, and academic warning, probation, and suspension status. The campus policy on absence regulations is described and should be reviewed by faculty and students. Faculty and students are expected to familiarize themselves with all the requirements described in the bulletin and the Student Handbook described below. http://www.valdosta.edu/vsu/catalog/9900
Student Handbook: The Student Handbook describes the Student Government Association and contains an overview of the many services on campus available to students. This handbook also outlines many of the academic policies for students including academic warning, withdrawal from courses, Regents’ Testing
Program, and GPA requirements. The University’s official statement regarding student rights and responsibilities, contained in the appendices, defines student conduct rules, disciplinary processes, plagiarism rules, and privacy rights.
Valdosta State University Homepage: The Valdosta State University’s homepage address is http://www.valdosta.edu/. This page provides links to academic areas and student services at VSU. The University System of Georgia's homepage http://www.peachnet.edu/ and the University System Board of Regents’ homepage http://www.peachnet.edu/admin/ provide access to many resources and contain the complete text of the Academic Affairs Handbook in a searchable format.
Part-time faculty members, represents Valdosta State University and the University System of Georgia and are expected to meet the standard of conduct and behavior that is expected of all VSU employees. Part-time teaching faculty report directly to the head of the department to which they are assigned. All part-time faculty members are responsible for performing diverse professional activities including delivering quality instruction to students, informing students regarding course requirements and evaluations, and completing administrative tasks related to their courses. The primary responsibilities of part-time teaching faculty are the following:
Meeting all classes at the time, place, and length of time designated
Teaching assigned courses, which correlate with the catalog descriptions and approved departmental course syllabi in a manner, designed to assist student achievement of specific course outcomes
Providing each student during, the first week of class, with a syllabus that contains the following information:
Outcomes and content for the course of study
Required and supplementary textbooks to be used
Planned schedule of activities and examinations
Out-of-class assignment policy
Method of evaluating student progress toward and achievement of course outcomes, including the method by which the final grade is derived
Information about the part-time faculty members’ availability for consultation outside of class and procedures for making appointments (availability of instructor to student may be enhanced through e-mail)
Other information which advises students of those requirements established by the instructor for meeting the course objectives. (Please see appendix B for detailed Syllabi instructions)
Evaluation of Students
Periodically examining and informing students of their progress toward achieving the course's outcomes (all students should be made aware of their progress in the course before mid-term)
Preparing and administering various types of assessments which measure students' attainment of the course's outcomes
Preparing and administering, at the prescribed time, a final examination that appropriately measures students’ attainment of the course's outcomes
Assigning grades to students and turning in grade sheets on time to the appropriate office
Advising students enrolled in the course on those matters that relate to their achievement of the course outcomes.
Advising students regarding the types of services and assistance that are available to students who are failing to make satisfactory progress toward meeting the course's requirements.
Part-time faculty should be familiar with the various requirements for documenting students’ enrollment in class and for completing necessary forms.
Early in the semester, computer printouts or proof rolls, which contain the names of individuals who are registered for a class, are sent to the departments. Departmental secretaries send proof rolls to course instructors. Instructors must verify enrollment by identifying names of students who are attending but do not appear on the roll and students whose names appear on the roll but who have never attended class. The due date for returning proof rolls to the Registrar is included in the instructions on the proof rolls.
Grade sheets are due by the date designated each semester by the registrar. Instructors are to indicate a letter grade and "bubble" in the grade on the computer op-scan form. Grade sheets are due in the Registrar's Office as indicated in bold print on the grade sheet. A "not reported (NR) grade" is assigned to students when grade sheets are not submitted to the Registrar's Office prior to the deadline. Each instructor who does not meet the requirement will need to fill in a separate grade change form for each student in the class. A copy of each grade sheet and a detailed description of how grades were assigned must be placed on file in departmental offices at the end of each semester.
Grade Changes for Incomplete
Part-time faculty should not assign a student an incomplete without the permission of the department head. If an incomplete grade is assigned, the course requirements should be completed and a grade assigned within one year. All remaining requirements for completion of the course must be stated in writing, signed by the instructor and student, and filed in the departmental office. Incomplete grades are changed to a grade of "F" after the one-year period.
A student may withdraw from a course following the scheduled drop-add period by completing the appropriate forms and acquiring the appropriate signatures. The instructor must sign the drop form and may assign a grade of a "W" at the time of withdrawal. A student will not be allowed to withdraw from a course after midterm without completing a "petition for late withdrawal" form. Withdrawals are not official until received and processed by the Registrar's Office. It is primarily the student’s responsibility to follow the appropriate procedures when asking to withdraw from a class.
Instructors are expected to give their final examinations following the published exam schedule for each semester. Final examinations scheduled for days other than those designated for that purpose must have prior approval of the department head and the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
All courses and instructors are evaluated near the end of the course to provide information for on-going improvements. Student evaluation forms are distributed prior to the last class session, and students are given the opportunity to complete them with the instructor out of the room. They are collected and turned in to the departmental office by a member of the class. Part-time faculty members should check with departmental secretaries to determine the manner in which forms for student evaluation are distributed and collected. Generally, after the department head reviews evaluations; they are shared with the instructor. Examples of course/instructor evaluation forms are available in the departmental offices. In addition to student evaluations, the department head or a senior faculty member may observe classes a part-time faculty member teaches. A letter of evaluation and discussion which is designed to point out areas of possible improvement will follow all class observations.
The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia establishes minimum contact hours as 750 minutes for each credit hour. A course carrying three semester hours of credit, for example, must meet 2250 minutes (37.5 hours). You must meet your class for the hours specified for the course.
All grading criteria are to be listed on the syllabus. In addition, students must have at least one major grade given to them prior to mid-term of the semester. Students are usually allowed to withdraw from any class without receiving a grade other than "W" until mid-term. Following mid-term, the instructor must assign a grade of "WP" or "WF"only with the approval of the department head and dean. Any issue involving academic integrity should be discussed with the department head before a discussion is held with the student.
Students are entitled to confidentiality in their dealings with faculty members. Examination and course grades will not be posted using student numbers. Faculty must conform to the requirements set forth in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as amended (the Buckley Amendment). Guidelines for implementing that act are included as Appendix A of this document.
While office hours are not required, part-time faculty should make every effort to accommodate the students' need to meet. Most often being available before and after class is sufficient. If more time and privacy are necessary, the department head wall help find the necessary. Email can also be useful in answering basic student inquiries.
Part-time faculty members are expected to check their departmental mailbox at least once a week during any semester in which they are teaching. Email should be checked several times a week. Faculty members with emergencies that will prevent them from meeting their class at the scheduled time must notify the department head and should try to make arrangements for a substitute instructor or a make-up session.
Part-time faculty members are essential in enhancing the quality of the educational experience made available to VSU students. This handbook is designed to help answer questions concerning processes and procedures, but it certainly cannot deal with all the questions an individual part-time faculty member may have. The department head should be able to answer any remaining questions.
Guidelines for implementation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as amended (the Buckley Amendment)
TO WHOSE RECORDS DOES THE ACT APPLY?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as amended (FERPA) applies to the educational records of persons who are or have been in attendance in postsecondary institutions, including students in cooperative and correspondence study programs. If an employee of VSU is uncertain as to whether or not records of a specific individual are covered by FERPA, he or she will treat the record as confidential until the department head makes a determination.
TO WHAT RECORDS DOES THE ACT APPLY?
The Act applies to all educational records maintained by Valdosta State University that are directly related to a student. Records containing a student's name, social security number, or other personally identifiable information are covered by FERPA unless identified in one of the Act's excluded categories. If an employee of VSU is uncertain as to whether or not a specific educational record is covered by FERPA, he or she will treat the record as confidential until the department head makes a determination.
WHO HAS ACCESS TO RECORDS COVERED UNDER FERPA?
The law provides, with some exceptions, that students and former students have the right to review their records, request explanations concerning them, obtain copies, and challenge records that they feel are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise inappropriate. The challenge procedure includes a full and fair opportunity for the student to present relevant evidence at a hearing. Students and former students may not have access to educational personnel records in the sole possession of the person who created such records; records maintained for law enforcement purposes; employment records of non-students; records maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, or psychologist; financial records of a student's parents; or letters of recommendation to which they have waived their right of access. Institutional personnel with a legitimate educational interest in student records may have access to those records. This access requires a demonstrated need to know by those officials of the institution who act in the student's educational interest, including faculty, administration, clerical and professional employees, and other persons who manage student information. Demonstrating a "legitimate educational interest" requires that (1) the information or records requested are relevant and necessary to accomplishing of some task or determination; and (2) the task or determination is an employment responsibility for the inquirer or is a properly assigned subject matter for the inquirer's employment responsibility.
In addition to VSU employees having a "legitimate educational interest," the law provides access to student records to certain other governmental, quasi-governmental agencies, and parents certifying that a student is carried as a dependent for income tax purposes.
A syllabus must be made available to each student at the start of the course. Syllabi used by part-time faculty are to be comparable in every way to syllabi used by full-time faculty. Syllabi used in courses leading to degrees offered off-campus will be the same syllabi used for the course on-campus. Part-time faculty teaching at the upper-division or graduate level must especially work with their department in preparing their syllabi.
The following list of recommendations should be considered in preparing a syllabus.
The syllabus should clearly identify the course (both number and title), term and instructor. Name should be placed at the beginning of the syllabus, along with a means for students to contact the instructor.
Required and/or recommended texts should be clearly listed on the syllabus, along with any other material required for the course (calculator, graph paper, etc.). Readings which are on reserve must be listed, specifying where those readings can be found.
Course outcomes must appear on the syllabus. These indicate to students what they should expect to learn from the course.
Course requirements, linked to the grading scheme, should be specified on the syllabus. Your requirements should be linked explicitly to your grading scheme. The following issues should be addressed:
Grades: A complete listing of those items that will be factored into the final grade, including any examinations, written assignments, class participation, etc. This list must include weighting criteria, for example:
Term paper: y%
Class participation: z%
Attendance: Attendance policy must conform to Board of Regents' guidelines. Each instructor must make a reasonable, good-faith effort to accommodate students who are absent due to University-sponsored events or jury duty requirements. If the final grade will be based in any way upon attendance, that policy must be specified on the syllabus.
Written Assignments: Some form of written assignment is recommended for each course. Courses stressing the development of technical skills (accounting, quantitative methods, etc.) may place less emphasis on written assignments than other courses. For these technical courses, some form of application paper is recommended. If students will be penalized for turning in their written assignments late, that policy must be spelled out on the syllabus.
Examinations: Final examination must be administered following the published schedule. Changes to the University exam schedule are not to be made without the express permission of the department head.
Course Outline: A list of course assignments by the date they are due should be attached. Any penalty for late assignments must be specified in the syllabus.
- ADA Statement: Each syllabus should contain a statement indicating VSU support for the Americans with Disabilities Act. A sample statement is provided below:
Valdosta State University complies fully with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If you believe that you are covered under this act, and if you have need for special arrangements to allow you to meet the requirements of this course, please contact the Office of Special Services in Nevins Hall. Also, please discuss this with the instructor at the time of the first class.
Updated January 2001