General Teaching Polices

These policies and expectations apply to all classes I teach. They are in addition to any other policies or expectations articulated in the course syllabus. They are adapted from similar policies expressed by other instructors at Penn State and other institutions.

You are welcome in my classroom. I will treat you fairly, respectfully, and without regard to your age, sex, race or color, sexual orientation, gender identity, ancestry or national origin, religion or lack thereof, or political views. I subscribe fully to Penn State’s nondiscrimination policy and will enforce it in my classroom.

You will make your best effort on all homework, exams, and other class assignments. “Best effort” includes

  • Completeness: you will attempt to complete all elements of every assignment;
  • Timeliness: your complete work will be submitted when due; and
  • Clarity of presentation: your response to every question in every assignment must be clearly expressed and include enough explanation that the thought processes that underly it are clear to me

I will be fair in the grading of homework, exams, and all other class assignments. I will grade all assignments and exams uniformly, including the award of partial credit. As a corollary, I do not award or assign “extra credit” to individual students.

You will receive a url link to an electronic version of the course syllabus no later than the end of the first class meeting. The syllabus will include (in addition to that information required by the Faculty Senate)

  • Course learning objectives
  • Teaching methodology, assessment and grade assignment procedures and policies
  • Course calendar
  • Contact information,required materials, and prerequisites courses and skills
  • Course-specific student responsibilities
  • Course-specific guidance on studying and learning management.

The course calendar will be kept up to date with any changes that may be required to respond to class needs or other eventualities.

You will familiarize yourself with the syllabus and consult it first when you have questions on course policies, rules, expectations, assignments or assignment due dates.

You may collaborate with other students without penalty on homework and laboratory assignments, but not on tests, term papers, or other assignments unless explicitly instructed otherwise and in writing. All collaboration is subject to the following conditions:

  1. You must note on the assignment that you have collaborated and name your collaborators: e.g., with the phrase “John Smith and I collaborated on this homework”;
  2. Your contribution to any graded assignment may not drop beneath one-third of the total effort. In the case of an assignment with multiple, independent parts, your contribution to the total effort of each independent part must be at least a third of the total effort;
  3. All written material must be in your own words: plagiarism of any kind is forbidden. Please note that copying without collaboration is not permitted.

If you develop an illness, have a family emergency, or experience any other problem that affects your academic performance, you will bring it to my attention in a timely manner and I will do what I can to accommodate you. This may include advising you to contact the University Office of Student and Family Services

If you have a disability, you will contact and work with the Office for Disability Services, who will determine how your disability shall be accommodated. I will defer to the Office for Disability Services’ judgement in all matters concerning student disabilities and their accommodation.

If you will miss a class or an examination owing to a religious observance, you will bring it to my attention in a timely manner, but in no event later than one week prior to the observance. I will work with you to find a suitable alternative means for satisfying the academic requirement involved.

I will gladly discuss with you, by appointment, the reasons for any specific assignment, examination or course grade. Assignment grades are based on my evaluation of the material submitted on the due date. That material must include enough explanation that the thought processes that underly your response to the assignment are clear to me. I will not change an assigned grade owing to any subsequent elaboration, interpretation or explanation.

I will respect the privacy of your academic records and any other communications we may have. I am, however, required by law to report certain kinds of information that you may disclose to me, even should you request confidentiality. Examples of such information include, but are not limited to, allegations of sexual misconduct.