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210 Academic Freedom and Responsibility of Faculty

210.01 Academic Freedom

  1. The SUNY Policy of the Board of Trustees, Article XI, Title I states: "It is the policy of the University to maintain and encourage full freedom, within the law, of inquiry, teaching, and research. In the exercise of this freedom the faculty member may, without limitation, discuss his/her own subject in the classroom; he/she may not, however, claim as his/her right the privilege of discussing in his/her classroom controversial matter that has no relation to his/her subject. In his/her role as citizen, the faculty member has the same freedom as other citizens. However, in his/her extramural utterances he/she has an obligation to indicate that he/she is not an institutional spokesperson."
  2. The Brockport Faculty Senate passed the following resolution concerning academic freedom on March 6, 1967.
    • "Be it resolved that the Faculty Senate affirms the necessity for safeguarding national security through legally constituted means and, further, affirms the responsibility of staff members, as citizens, to testify concerning unlawful activities. The Faculty Senate, however, opposes the practices of any member of the academic community, of indiscriminate surveillance or reporting of the activities of colleagues, including activities involving expression of unorthodox or unpopular views."
  3. Article 9 of the collective bargaining agreement between the United University Professions and the State of New York provides:

Academic Freedom: It is the policy of the University to maintain and encourage full freedom, within the law, of inquiry, teaching and research. In the exercise of this freedom faculty members may, without limitation, discuss their own subject in the classroom; they may not, however, claim as their right the privilege of discussing in their classroom controversial matter which has no relation to their subject. The principle of academic freedom shall be accompanied by a corresponding principle of responsibility. In their role as citizens, employees have the same freedoms as other citizens. However, in their extramural utterances employees have an obligation to indicate that they are not institutional spokespersons.

"Be it resolved that the Faculty Senate views the University as a community in which there must be no threat to the free expression and examination of ideas and issues, including those considered controversial in nature. The responsibility to assist in the search for reasoned solutions too academic and social problems rests with every individual who accepts appointment to membership in the academic community. In the exercise of his responsibilities to institutions or agencies other than the University, it is conceivable that a staff member might be tempted to act in a manner reflecting something less than full dedication to the principles of academic freedom and responsibility. The decision to be made under such circumstances rests with the individual. The Senate reminds every staff member of his obligation in this regard and holds him liable to faculty censure if proper investigation and hearing give evidence that, as a consequence of his action, the personal, professional, or academic freedoms of others have been threatened or inhibited. The Faculty Senate would regret the continuance within the academic community of any staff member thus censured."

210.02 Workload Policy

  1. The SUNY Policies of the Board of Trustees defines the academic year as up to 10 months (e.g., approximately September 1 through June 30), but note that an "academic year employee may be required to commence the...professional obligation date reasonably prior to September 1 as may be necessitated by...operating requirements." In practice, the College expects faculty to participate in events such as Faculty and Staff Convocation, Academic Convocation, student registration, and to meet other responsibilities (e.g., advisement, course preparation, departmental retreats) that may fall prior to or after the actual meeting of classes. The dates for the formal academic year at Brockport are available on the Office of Human Resources web site.
  2. Workload - The Faculty Roles and Rewards Committee's final report (11/98) recommends the following policy: "The normal expectation (for full-time faculty) is a 3/3 course load or its equivalent for faculty demonstrating an active program for scholarship as defined by individual departments and/or with major or multiple service responsibilities." However, current practice carries the expectation that activity appropriate to rank in all three areas should be the norm (i.e., no "and/or" tradeoff between Service and Scholarship). Furthermore, current practice utilizes a model in which faculty who are not performing to expectation in all three areas receive a compensatory workload adjustment in one of the two remaining areas. Historically, this has almost always happened where scholarly activity has not met expectation and has resulted in a 4/4 course-teaching load instead of 3/3 (in such cases the faculty member is still expected to perform at rank in service.
  3. Decisions regarding teaching load adjustments are made by the faculty member's department chair in consultation with the appropriate school dean. In all cases, such decisions are made in the context of the Faculty Roles and Rewards Committee final report recommendation the "consideration in granting faculty release time should ensure that total departmental effort is not compromised and that other faculty within the department are not required to take on an unfair load." In making such decisions, current practice also includes the following considerations.
    1. For reduction from a four course-teaching load to a nominal three course load:
      • For faculty whose performance record would otherwise justify a four course teaching load, a lecture section enrollment of about 120 students or more (and with no adjunct or graduate student assistants in that lecture section) may by counted as two courses to three). There is no comparable reduction in teaching load for faculty whose performance record normally qualifies for three courses (i.e., they remain at three courses).
      • For faculty whose performance record would otherwise justify a four course teaching load, a total overall enrollment of about 180 students across three lecture sections (and with no adjunct or graduate student assistants in any of these lecture sections) may satisfy the teaching load requirement for that semester (i.e., effectively reducing the load from four courses to three). There is no comparable reduction in teaching load for faculty whose performance record normally qualifies them for three courses (i.e., they remain at three courses).
      • For faculty whose performance record would otherwise justify a four course-teaching load, significant service responsibilities (those that are tantamount to an official administrative position) may, in unusual circumstances and with approval of the dean, be considered in lieu of a course (i.e., effectively reduce the load from four courses to three). There is no comparable reduction in teaching load for faculty whose performance record normally qualifies them for three courses (i.e., they remain at three courses).
    2. For reduction below a nominal three course load:
      • For any faculty whose teaching assignments include both (a) an enrollment of at least 120 students in one lecture section and (b) a total enrollment of 180 students across two lecture sections (with no adjunct or graduate assistants in those lecture sections), these two sections alone may suffice as the teaching load for that semester.
      • Official administrative positions (e.g., department chair, associate dean, ad hoc administrative appointments, etc.) and extramural grants that provide for release time may result in a teaching load below the nominal 3/3.
      • Workload assignments are determined on the basis of a faculty member's anticipated activities during the coming year. They are not rewards for past activity.
    3. Departments versus College obligations - Faculty appointments generally carry with them an understanding of the faculty member's teaching responsibilities to his/her home department. However, many responsibilities (e.g., APS sections, honors, courses, and interdisciplinary programs with no assigned faculty lines) transcend specific departments and represent campus-wide obligations to be shared across existing academic units. Similarly, certain advisement responsibilities (e.g., CSTEP, McNair) are also outside any existing department. For this reason, faculty (and their department chairs) must by responsive to these needs as well as those uniquely associated with their own academic programs.

210.03 Orientation Programs

  1. For new undergraduate students, a period of time prior to registration and the beginning of semester instruction is scheduled so that freshmen and transfer students may be introduced to a variety of aspects of the College. New graduate students are oriented individually. Faculty is called upon to participate in various phases of these programs, and participation in such programs is a part of the professional obligation.

210.04 Academic Advising by Faculty

  1. The academic advising of students is an integral part of the faculty's teaching obligation. Faculty members advise both undergraduate pre-majors and majors, as well as graduate students as an important part of their professional obligation and are expected to be able to interpret College degree requirements as well as requirements for the major.
  2. The advising of undergraduate majors and graduate students is arranged by the chairperson of the department having jurisdiction over the students' plans of study. Department chairpersons are responsible for seeing that all declared majors have faculty advisors and for the monitoring of departmental advising activities. The advising of pre-major, primarily freshmen, sophomores, and new transfers who have yet not declared a major, is coordinated by the Director of Academic Advisement, who relies on the assistance of both faculty and professional staff.
  3. In all cases, once a student has declared a major, the responsibility for academic advising lies with the student's major department.

210.05 Advising and Student Services

A faculty member should refer a student to any of the College's specialized services when it is felt to be necessary or appropriate. The most frequently used services are listed below. If faculty or staff need assistance in identifying an appropriate service, or if there are other questions concerning students, they should call the Office of the Vice
President for Student Affairs or the Family/Student Helpline (395-2796) located in the central Student Affairs offices.

Concern Service Location
Academic programs/policies Academic Advisement Hazen
Medical, health concerns Health Center Rakov
Emotional/psychological + + Counseling Center Hazen
Part-time employment Career Services Rakov
Career choice/major selection Career Services Rakov
Establishing credentials file Registration and Records Rakov
Financial aid Financial Aid Rakov
Veterans assistance Financial Aid Rakov
Students with disabilities Cultural Center College Union
International students Cultural Center College Union
Academic support/tutoring Ctr. For Academic Improvement Cooper
Overseas program International Education Rakov
++ If a student with emotional problems refuses to seek assistance, faculty/staff are encouraged to consult with a Counseling Center professional regarding concerns.

210.06 Faculty Meetings

All members of the faculty are expected to attend faculty meetings as called by the President of the College or the Faculty Senate President. Additionally, faculty members are expected to attend all meetings called by the department chairperson.

210.07 Schedule of Classes

Department chairpersons and the deans are responsible for making class schedules in consultation with members of the department or with a departmental scheduling committee.

210.08 Office Hours

  1. All faculty are expected to maintain a regular schedule of office hours. Full-time faculty should be available in their office for a minimum of four regularly scheduled office hours per week. Part-time faculty are encouraged to be available before and after class for at least one hour per week, per course or otherwise schedule equivalent office hours coverage. Faculty should also make sure that information regarding their office hours is easily accessible to their students. Accordingly, it is the instructor's responsibility to notify their department chairperson or secretary of their office hours and to provide this information on their course syllabus. It is also customary to post office hours on the office door. Faculty may also want to consider using various electronic formats (e.g., e-mail, web sites) to increase their access to students.
  2. At the beginning of each semester or summer session, the members of a department must notify the department chairperson of their office hours so that the chairperson may assure that his/ her faculty are keeping their office hours, and so that inquiries about office hours made to the department office can be handled by the department secretary.

210.09 Course Objectives and Evaluation Of Students

Faculty is required to provide a course syllabus for all their students and to provide a file copy by the first day of class for their academic department office (this is also a Middle States requirement). In preparing the syllabus, it should be kept in mind that a failure "to make the standards and expectations for the grade known" and/or failure to "apply the announced standards and expectations of the course" are considered legitimate grounds for grade appeal (See "Your Right to Know"). Accordingly, the syllabus should be very clear about the grading system and any changes from your syllabus during the semester should be announced and distributed to the students in writing.

  1. All syllabi should contain (at minimum) the following information:
    • Course objectives, requirements, texts, and readings
    • Examination/Assignment Schedule (or explanation of policy if dates are subject to alteration)
    • Description of reading methodology (factors evaluated, weighting systems, etc.)
    • Instructor's office location, office hours, campus telephone and e-mail address
    • Statement regarding academic integrity and consequences of violations
    • College's Attendance Policy
    • Disability Policy Statement (See Section 200.19)
  2. Student objections to course requirements:
    • Students are expected to meet all course requirements. In some instances, a student might find some requirements objectionable (e.g., laboratory work with animals, discussion of controversial matter, etc.) To be fair to students, faculty should be mindful of such potential requirements, making them clear to students at the beginning of the course and affording them the opportunity to drop the course without prejudice if they should find such requirements personally unacceptable.
  3. Evaluating (Grading) Students:
    • In addition to providing instruction, faculty also have an obligation to (a) fairly and meaningfully evaluate student performance (the College uses the plus and minus grading system and faculty may not arbitrarily choose to ignore this and (b) provide useful feedback to students regarding their performance. This responsibility carries with it the expectations that (a) student performance will be measured across the entire semester, (b) graded assignments/examinations will be returned or made available to students in a timely manner and (c) for all assignments and exams, a record of each student's grades and their derivation be maintained for at least one subsequent academic year and made available to each student upon request.
  4. Mid-Term Grade:
    • Specific policies also exist for mid-term grades and final exams. In regard to mid-term grades, faculty are required to provide "Mid-Term Progress Reports" for all their students. This requires that at least one graded assignment, examination or performance measure be completed prior to the deadline set for submission to the Mid-Term Progress Report (to insure a meaningful basis for the reported grade). Issuing a common grade for all students, failure to provide a graded assignment or exam or any other failure to meaningfully evaluate students prior to the Mid-Term Progress Report deadlines is a violation of this policy. Any justifiable exception to this rule must be approved by the department chair and the Dean (in such cases the chair will notify the Registrar of this fact).
  5. Final Grade:
    • Course final grades should be submitted by the due date specified in the College calendar and should, whether by final exam, term paper or some other means, reflect an evaluation of student performance through the end of the semester (failure to do so effectively shortens a faculty member's period of instructional obligation). College policy requires that all end-of-semester examinations of either the comprehensive "final" or "last unit" type be given during the formal final exam period. Take home examination, term papers and term projects may, at the instructor's discretion, be due the last week of classes or the formal final exam period.
  6. Grade Appeals:
    • Students have the right to appeal grades if they feel that the course instructor has failed to make the standards and expectations for the grade known in a reasonable manner or that the course instructor has not fairly applied the announced standards and expectations of the course. The procedures for treating such grade appeals have been codified and involve a set of reviews at the departmental and dean's level.

210.10 Meeting/Cancelling Classes

Faculty is expected to be present at all classes for which they are scheduled. A faculty member, who cannot meet class because of illness or other extraordinary circumstances, must notify his/her chairperson as soon as possible prior to the scheduled class. In consultation with the chair, a decision will then be made to provide alternative coverage for the class or for make up of the missed class at another time. In the case of an anticipated absence from class (e.g., for religious holiday observance, presentation of paper at a professional conference), the chair must be notified at the start of the semester (or as soon as possible thereafter) so that an alternative learning experience can be developed. Department chairs should be notified when instructor absence is planned in relation to any class to be conducted by a guest lecturer.

Some faculty expands the learning process through the scheduling of additional class activities. In such cases, the instructor must excuse without penalty, or arrange an alternative activity for students who must be absent from such required additional activities because of conflicts with previously schedule classes or events/activities in which the student is officially representing the College (you may expect the student to provide you with documentation from the supervising official).

In the case of cancelled classes, the department chair should provide the information to the campus switchboard operator and to the Brockport's radio station WBSU.

210.11 Use of Community Resources for Teaching

Faculty who assign projects to students which may involve contacts with private, voluntary, or governmental agencies are expected first to establish with the administration of the given agency the feasibility and acceptability of the contacts.

210.12 Reporting Absences, Verification of Class Rosters, and Unregistered Students

  1. Faculty members must be sure that preliminary and final class rosters are accurate because these data form the basis for student records and for assigning FTE generation to the departments. Detailed instructions are sent to each instructor with both preliminary and final class rosters. The verified rosters are returned to the department chairperson who will forward them to Registration and Records.
  2. Faculty noting excessive numbers of absences by student(s) is urged to report this fact to the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs so that the student's whereabouts and circumstances can be ascertained. Faculty may, of course, establish their own attendance requirements provided that they are clearly stated (preferably in writing) at the beginning of each semester.
  3. Under no circumstances will a course instructor at SUNY College at Brockport knowingly allow an unregistered student to continue attending a class. Instructors must check their class lists at the beginning of each semester and immediately inform any unregistered student(s) that they may not return to class without proof of current enrollment, and that the student(s) will not receive any credit for the course without prompt registration. Instructors may not make any informal arrangements by which a student would be allowed to continue to participate in a course and register at a later date. The student may confirm his/her registration by obtaining a current schedule showing registration in the course from the Office of Registration and Records. Instructors having access to EAGLE may confirm the registration by this means. Student(s) may have their registration revoked at later times during a semester for non-payment or failure to comply with the MMR policy. Instructors may not allow these student(s) to continue in class until they can offer proof of registration.

210.13 Student Discipline

  1. The faculty member ordinarily handles minor infractions of conduct at the time. Any disciplinary problems not so handled should be reported immediately to the (Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs) Campus Judicial Coordinator. Instructors who discover cases of theft, vandalism, or other serious offenses by students should report them to (Student Affairs) University Police. (See Chapter 520 of this volume.)
  2. A faculty member may exclude from attendance any student who, in the instructor's judgment, has seriously impaired the class' ability to achieve the objectives of the course. On the other hand, the student may appeal a disciplinary action by a faculty member, which the student considers arbitrary or unjust.

210.14 Academic Integrity

Faculty is urged to discuss the issue of academic honesty with students at the beginning of each semester. The academic integrity policy and its procedures are contained in Chapter 540 of this volume.

210.15 Advising Student Organizations

Students may ask members of the faculty and professional staff to be advisers to approved student groups from time to time. Faculty and professional staff should discuss proposed advisory responsibilities with department chairpersons/directors before accepting any assignments. Faculty and staff are invited to discuss matters relating to their advising functions with the Director of Campus Life.

210.16 Tutoring

Tutoring of College students for pay by College faculty is prohibited.

210.17 Sexual Harassment and Personal Relations with Students

  1. It is the intent of the College that students be secure from any sexual harassment by faculty, staff, and administrators. (See Chapter 285 of this volume).
  2. It is the sense of the Faculty Senate that it is inappropriate for a member of the faculty/staff to engage in consensual romantic or sexual relations with any student over whom he/she holds a position of authority with regard to academic or administrative judgements or decisions.

210.18 Academic Community and Intelligence Agencies

The University Senate has provided "Guidelines Governing Relationships
Between the Academic Community and United States intelligence agencies."

  1. The College may enter into research contracts with the Central Intelligence Agency or other United States intelligence agencies provided that such contracts conform with the University's normal rules governing contracting with outside sponsors, and that the existence of a contract is made known to the academic community by University officials.
  2. Individual members of the academic community may enter into direct or indirect consulting arrangements for United States intelligence agencies to provide research and analytical services. The individual should report, in writing, the existence of such an arrangement to the President.
  3. Any member of the academic community who has an ongoing relationship with United States intelligence agencies as a recruiter should report that fact, in writing, to the President. Such a recruiter should not give any intelligence agency the name of another member of the academic community without prior consent of the individual. Members of the academic community whose advice is sought on a one-time or occasional basis should carefully consider whether, under the circumstances, it is appropriate to give the name of another member of the academic community without prior consent of the individual.
  4. Members of the academic community should not undertake intelligence operations for United States intelligence agencies. They should not participate in propaganda activities if the activities involve lending their names and positions to gain public acceptance for materials they know to be misleading or untrue. Before undertaking any other propaganda activities, an individual should consider whether the task is consistent with scholarly and professional obligations.
  5. No member of the academic community should assist United States intelligence agencies in obtaining the unwitting services of another member of the academic community. United States intelligence agencies should not employ members of the academic community in an unwitting manner.
  6. Questions concerning the interpretation and application of these guidelines should be discussed with the President.

Note: While these "guidelines" apply to "United States intelligence agencies," the intent is that they apply to all intelligence agencies of whatever country.

210.19 Disability Statement

Students with Disabilities - The Federal Civil Rights Law protects the rights of students with disabilities. Faculty are obligated to comply with whatever accommodations are determined by the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD). You are also obliged to read and distribute in writing (as part of your course syllabus) the following statement:

"I would appreciate hearing from anyone in this class who has a special need that my be the result of a disability. I am reasonable sure we can work out whatever arrangement is necessary, be it special seating, testing or other accommodations. See me after class or during my office hours, as soon as possible."

Students who have been determined to require such accommodations must present a form to you from OSD that will specify exactly what accommodations are required. You should also keep in mind that proving special accommodations to students without disabilities certified by OSD gives those students and advantage not made available to the other students in the course, creating yet another inequity. For this reason, in the absence of an official not from OSD accommodations that are not made available to all students must not be provided to any student.

210.20 Patents and Copy Rights

It is the policy of SUNY and the Research Foundation of SUNY to get inventions into the marketplace for the benefits of the inventor, the inventor's campus, the University, industry, and the public. This policy is implemented through the Research Foundation's Technology/Transfer Offices. The following provisions (among others) relate to any faculty member who, in using SUNY owned or controlled facilities, discovers and idea, process or device or develop software that may be patentable (SUNY makes no claim to ownership to the inventions or software developed wholly on the faculty member's own time without using SUNY facilities):

  • Faculty are required to disclose such results "promptly and completely." SUNY then has six months to decide whether or not to pursue patent or marketing of the invention.
  • If the decision is to pursue patenting or marketing, the Technology Transfer Office assists in this process.
  • SUNY, or the Research Foundation of SUNY, retains ownership of all inventions and software that are made using SUNY facilities
  • An inventor receives 40% of the gross royalty received by SUNY or the Research Foundation.
  • The remaining royalties are returned to the inventor's campus to be distributed according to the campus' own guidelines.

The following provisions (among others) apply to copyright work (including software):

  • For works produced as a requirement of a grant or contact administration by the Research Foundation, the copyright belongs to the Research Foundation (unless different terms are agreed to with the sponsor)
  • For works produced incidentally to the primary research conducted on a grant or contract, the copyright resides with the creator.

For more information about patents and copyrights, the Office of Faculty Research and Sponsored Programs should be consulted.

210.21 Policy on Examination at End of Semester

  1. Each member of the faculty shall have the right and the responsibility to determine the form and content of end-of-the-semester examinations (whether of the comprehensive "final" type or of the "last unit" type), subject to departmental regulation. Specifically, he/she may determine that some other form of evaluation is more appropriate.
  2. All end-of-the-semester examinations of the comprehensive "final" or "last unit" type shall be given during the period designated in the academic calendar for examinations according to a schedule published no later than mid-semester by the Office of Registration and Records.
  3. Take-home examinations, term papers, and term projects may be scheduled with a due date during the last week of classes or during the examination period.
  4. The periods designated for examinations shall be spread over a period of at least five days. Each examination period shall be two hours in length. There shall be at least 15 minutes (and, if possible, 30 minutes) between examination periods.
    1. Examinations for single section courses will be scheduled according to normal class meeting times, and places.
    2. Multiple section courses having a common class meeting will be examined during the examination period assigned for the common meeting time.
    3. Multiple section courses for which a single examination is required of all sections may be examined according to the meeting times of the several sections, or a request may be made for special scheduling at the time the course is requested to be listed in the class schedule. Five examination periods will be reserved for the scheduling of such multiple section courses. Preference will be given to courses with large enrollments.
  5. The Office of Registration and Records shall have the responsibility to permute the end-of-the-semester examination schedule so that no particular class meeting time is continually assigned to any one-examination period.
  6. Changes from the published schedule may be made only under extremely unusual circumstances, and with the approval of the appropriate dean. Clearance for the physical arrangements will be made with the appropriate administrative officer. The instructor is obliged to notify his/her students of such re-scheduling at least three weeks prior to the examination.
  7. Students with more than two examinations in one day or with more than one examination scheduled during the same time shall have the right to request re-scheduling. The scheduling difficulty must be verified by the appropriate administrative officer, after which the examination will be re-scheduled for a time mutually agreeable to the instructor and the student. At least one period on the last day of the end-of-the-semester examination period shall be reserved for the resolution of conflicts, which cannot otherwise be resolved.

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Last Updated 8/28/17

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