The fundamental responsibilities of teaching include the instruction, evaluation, and advisement of students. While faculty members may sometimes receive assistance, through appropriate University channels, in carrying out these activities, the primary responsibility for ensuring they are carried out appropriately rests with the faculty.
This chapter provides general information about instruction, advising, the Academic Honor Policy, dealing with problem situations, and resources for students, in order to help faculty members enhance the rewards and minimize the challenges of their interactions with students. More specific information regarding each of these topics is found in the Florida State University General Bulletin, the Florida State University Graduate Bulletin, and the Florida State University Online Student Policy Handbook. Please note that the Florida State University Faculty Handbook is intended to be a general reference to familiarize faculty members with University policies and procedures. Links to appropriate policies (indicated either by bold text or by listing the site) are provided throughout the text.
The information in this section is divided into four parts: “Teaching,” which contains general information useful for instructors, “When Problems Arise,” which contains information about handling problems in accordance with university polices, “Undergraduate Advising Information and Resources,” and “Student Resources.”
The following items have been chosen for inclusion in this section because they pertain to how faculty members fulfill their obligations toward students in a course. They are placed in alphabetical order for ease of reference.
In addition to teaching, faculty are required to perform both service and research activities. These activities will occasionally require an instructor to miss a class meeting. For an anticipated absence, such as religious holy day observance or for conference attendance that is approved in advance by the program or department chair, instructors should find an acceptable substitute for their classes or obtain the chair’s approval for an alternate means of making up the student contact hours. For unanticipated absences such as illness or family emergency, instructors must notify the program or department chair or academic dean as soon as possible so that arrangements can be made regarding classes and other scheduled activities. Failure to notify the program or department chair of a missed class meeting or excessive absences from class obligations can result in disciplinary action.
The academic year consists of two semesters, each lasting approximately 15 weeks. Note that faculty contracts typically begin prior to the start of classes. Some instructors teach during the summer, which is divided into several semester scheduling options. A detailed calendar may be accessed in the appropriate Registration Guide on the Registrar’s Web site: http://registrar.fsu.edu/calendar/.
The instructor decides what effect unexcused absences will have on grades and will explain class attendance and grading policies in writing at the beginning of each semester. Instructors must accommodate absences due to documented illness, deaths in the family and other documented crises, call to active military duty or jury duty, religious holy days, and official University activities and must do so in a way that does not arbitrarily penalize students who have a valid excuse. Official University activities include official events at which the student is representing the University, such as athletic competitions and academic activities sponsored by a student’s academic department or college. Registered Student Organizations (RSO’s) and Greek Life activities are not considered official university activities. The current list of Registered Student Organizations can be found at: https://nolecentral.dsa.fsu.edu/organizations. Consideration should also be given to students whose dependent children experience serious illness. All students are expected to abide by each instructor’s class attendance policy. Students must also provide advance notice of absences (when possible) as well as relevant documentation regarding absences to the instructor as soon as possible following the illness or event that led to an absence. Regardless of whether an absence is excused or unexcused, the student is responsible for making up all work that is missed. University-wide policy requires all students to attend the first class meeting of all classes for which they are registered. Students who do not attend the first class meeting of a course for which they are registered will be dropped from the course by the academic department that offers the course. In order to enforce this policy, instructors are required to take attendance at the first class meeting and report absences to the appropriate person in their department or school/college. For further information, consult the FSU General Bulletin at: http://registrar.fsu.edu/bulletin/undergraduate/. Please note that some colleges and special programs have more stringent requirements for class attendance. Also, see “Medical Excuses” and “Military Short-Term Absence Accommodation Policy” in this chapter.
Center for the Advancement of Teaching
The Center for the Advancement of Teaching seeks to recognize and cultivate learner-centered teaching throughout the university by providing support to faculty as they balance cutting-edge research with thoughtful teaching. We help you bring your innovative spirit and scholarly attention to bear upon the classroom setting, making student learning the object of our study. The Center provides a space for collegial exchange about teaching and learning, bringing together faculty at all levels and across disciplines, to hone their expertise in facilitating learning and to promote our collective project of providing our students with a preeminent education. Ultimately, The CTE promotes student success by supporting faculty in the important and difficult work of crafting transformative learning experiences, and by fostering a culture in which effective teaching is valued and rewarded.
Please contact the Director, Leslie Richardson, at email@example.com or 850-645-2306.
Confidentiality of Student Records
The Family Educational and Privacy Rights Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) guarantees students access to their educational records and protects those records from unauthorized release to others. Faculty members may access student records only when they have a legitimate need to know the information, such as when serving in an advisory capacity. Faculty must not release confidential information to others. Because of the risk of identity theft and violation of student privacy law, grades must never be posted by complete social security number, and any records containing social security numbers must be protected carefully and must be shredded when discarded. The confidentiality of email is not protected; instructors wishing to communicate grades to students should do so through the University-authorized learning management system (currently transitioning from Blackboard to Canvas). If email communication concerning grades takes place, such communication should be sent to the official FSU student email account. Non-university email accounts such as Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc. should not be used to communicate protected student information. The Registrar’s statement on FERPA rights, along with other helpful information, is found at: http://registrar.fsu.edu/records/ferpa/.
U.S. Copyright Law protects the interests of those who create knowledge and works of art; faculty must comply with its requirements. Written permission must be obtained to place duplicated articles on reserve for longer than a semester at the library. Local copy centers will help obtain permission to duplicate articles that are submitted well in advance for inclusion in student course packets. Also, see “Copyright and Fair Use” in Section 6 of this Faculty Handbook and consult with a reference librarian at Florida State University Libraries.
In most undergraduate and graduate courses, one semester hour of student credit represents approximately 50 minutes of faculty-student contact per week, or two or more hours of regularly-scheduled laboratory, practice, directed independent study, or other formal course activity per week within the 15 weeks of scheduled class time per semester.
Digital Studio (DS)
The Digital Studio provides support to students and faculty working individually or in groups on a variety of digital projects, such as designing a website, developing an electronic portfolio for a class, creating a blog, selecting images for a visual essay, adding voiceover to a presentation, or writing a script for a podcast. The DS has both Macs and PCs, and some of the software available in the DS includes Photoshop, InDesign, Windows Movie Maker, Apple's iMovie, and more. There are two Digital Studio locations on campus: Williams and Johnston.
The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that reasonable accommodation be provided for individuals with documented disabilities. Students who are registered with the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC) are accommodated through the combined efforts of individual faculty members and the SDRC. Instructors should not provide accommodations unless a student has provided a letter from the SDRC. Each course syllabus is required to include information about how a student requests accommodations for a course. Please ensure that the current statement, as approved by the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee, is included on each course syllabus, found at: http://facsenate.fsu.edu/Curriculum-Resources/syllabus-language.
Florida State University offers a wide array of courses through distance learning, some of which are part of entire degree programs available online. Instructors developing or teaching distance learning courses can find resources and support through the Office of Distance Learning. If a faculty member is assigned responsibility for generating or for substantially revising a distance learning course, the AOR will reflect a commensurate level of effort.
Evaluation of Teaching
The University evaluates teaching using the Student Perception of Courses and Instructors (SPCI) instrument. Departments may also use additional methods of teaching evaluation, including peer evaluations and additional instruments. All instructors are required to have these evaluations administered during the last two weeks of each fall and spring semester for all classes in which at least 5 students are enrolled. Administration for classes with lower enrollment is not encouraged due to anonymity concerns. Numeric aggregate results of the SPCI are public information and are available online. All other teaching evaluations are confidential.
Examination papers of students should be kept by faculty members for one year after the end of the semester. Faculty members leaving the University before the completion of that year must leave the examination papers in the departmental files. Exams administered during a course as well as other class work materials related to grades should be kept by the instructor until at least the end of the next semester. For more information, see the General Bulletin or the annual policy memo from the Office of Faculty Development and Advancement.
Final Exam Policy
The University Undergraduate Final Exam Policy states:
- The scheduling of a final examination at any time other than the regularly scheduled final examination period is a violation of University policy.
- Unless an exam is given during the final examination period, no test may be given during the last week of classes.
- Make-up exams are permitted for an undergraduate student when justified by illness, conflicting exams, three or more exams in a twenty-four-hour period, or for certain emergencies.
The final exam schedule is published on the Registrar’s Web site and is based on the regular class meeting time or is a block examination in which all students in certain courses take final exams at the same time, regardless of class section. Courses that utilize the Testing Center for a block exam, or which are limited to specific days and times because of seating and scheduling constraints, will take precedence in the case of final exam conflicts, and higher-enrollment classes will take precedence over lower-enrollment classes. The student is responsible for identifying such conflicts as early as possible, notifying all instructors in advance, and working with all instructors to resolve those conflicts. Conflicts not resolved at least one month in advance of the scheduled exam must be resolved by using the established make-up time. Exceptions to this schedule for individual students are made by the academic dean of the unit teaching the course (in response to a written request from the instructor). Exceptions to hold the entire undergraduate course exam at a time different from the published exam schedule, including the use of the FSU Testing Center, are considered by the Undergraduate Policy Committee of the Faculty Senate, in response to a written request received at least three weeks in advance. If a final exam is given in a graduate course, the exam should follow the established final exam schedule unless clear arrangements are made with the students and the Registrar’s Office.
See “Grade Appeals” under “When Problems Arise” later in this section.
The University employs a plus/minus grading system in which grades earn the following quality point values:
Instructors must explain, in writing, an evaluation (grading) statement that will be used in the process of determining grades in each course. See University Curriculum Committee guidelines at http://facsenate.fsu.edu/curriculum-resources.
Final grades should be reported to the Registrar’s Office by the deadline set each semester and in accordance with the procedures that will be communicated by each academic department. “Incomplete” (“I”) grades should be recorded only in exceptional cases when a student, for documented reasons, has failed to complete a well-defined portion of a course, but was passing the course up until the time he or she failed to complete the work. Even under these circumstances, the authority for determining whether to grant an “Incomplete” rests with the instructor. Graduate Teaching Assistants must have approval from the supervising faculty member to grant an “Incomplete.” (One exception to this guideline occurs when an “Incomplete” is applied as a result of allegations of academic dishonesty that have not been resolved by the end of a semester.) Deans’ offices can often provide guidance to instructors regarding individual cases. When assigning an “Incomplete” grade, instructors must indicate the time frame for resolution of the grade as well as the default grade to be assigned if the student does not complete the work.
For more information, see the General Bulletin sections on grading policies.
University Libraries partner with faculty in research, creative activities, and teaching by providing a wide range of services, a wealth of resources, and professional expertise. Subject librarians are appointed to academic units to work with faculty to acquire necessary resources, consult on research and publishing, participate in courses, and collaborate on grants or research projects. Events, such as lectures, symposia, and receptions provide opportunities for faculty to share ideas and research and to connect with others across disciplines. Strozier Library is the main library and performs central services such as ordering of materials, cataloging, faculty reserves, local campus van courier services, and statistical reporting for many of the university libraries. Each of the various libraries in the FSU system maintains its own web page, which may be accessed through: https://www.lib.fsu.edu. The libraries provide a number of services of special interest to faculty. These services include: the ordering of specific library materials; delivery of materials to faculty offices; a 16-week loan period with renewal options; course reserves; information literacy instruction; interlibrary loan; recall of items; research resources; a digital repository for faculty publications, and general reference services.
Medical Visit Verifications
Documentation regarding missing class because of illness must be provided by the student to the instructor in a timely manner. Instructors may further specify deadlines for documentation submission in their syllabi. University Health Services (UHS) will issue a signed document attesting to the fact that the student received medical treatment at UHS if requested by the student. Such documentation will only be provided if seen at UHS by a Physician (MD, DO), Physician Assistant (PA) or Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP). Documentation will not be provided by UHS for illnesses or injuries retrospectively or for those that are not monitored by UHS practitioners. These documents, or other medical information submitted by the student, should be used by instructors in making decisions regarding whether an absence is excused but should not be construed as a “medical excuse.” Ultimately, the authority for deciding whether the documentation presented by the student justifies an excused absence rests with the instructor. Also, see “Attendance (student)” in this chapter.
Military Short-Term Absence Accommodation Policy
The University recognizes and appreciates the important contributions made in service of our country by Active Duty, Reserve, and National Guard members and their dependents. In order to accommodate those students and their dependents, University faculty and staff will provide these students the following options to accommodate unexpected training/drill, deployment, or change-of-station orders:
For any training/drill, deployment, or change-of-station orders: Students will attempt to make arrangements with instructors to maintain and/or make up classwork as needed and to assign grades as appropriate (including Incompletes, to be made up later). Registration for those courses in which instructors accommodate the absence will remain intact and tuition and mandatory fees will be assessed in full for those courses. Service members should provide instructors with maximum advance notice of absences, providing copies of training/drill, deployment, and/or change-of-station directives from the Military, Reserve, or National Guard.
Instructors must accommodate absences of up to two weeks in duration (or equivalent in summer) in accordance with paragraph 1.
When unable to make satisfactory arrangements with all instructors: Courses will be dropped and the tuition and mandatory fees for those courses will be rescinded.
When unable to make arrangements with any instructors for unexpected orders requiring longer than a two-week absence: The student’s entire registration will be withdrawn or cancelled and 100% of the tuition and mandatory fees will be rescinded.
Also see “Attendance (student)” in this chapter.
Every member of the teaching faculty is expected to post (in a conspicuous place including on the course website) and to honor specific office hours during each semester in which he or she conducts classes. While department expectations vary, faculty members typically schedule at least one hour a week for each course taught.
Posting of Student Grades
The University-authorized learning management system (Blackboard, transitioning to Canvas) is the most secure method for posting student grades. Because of the risk of identity theft and violation of student privacy law, grades must never be posted by complete social security number, and any records containing social security numbers must be protected carefully and must be shredded when discarded. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requires instructors to guard each student’s educational records carefully. See also “Confidentiality of Student Records” in this section.
Religious Holy Days
Florida State University policy on observance of religious holy days provides that each student shall, on notifying his or her instructor in advance within the first two weeks of the semester, be excused from class to observe a religious holy day of his or her faith. While the student will be held responsible for the material covered in his or her absence, each student shall be permitted a reasonable amount of time to make up the work missed. Instructors and University administrators shall in no way arbitrarily penalize students who are absent from academic and social activities because of religious holy day observance. Instructors will find the University of Missouri’s annotated calendar a useful resource as they respond to student requests for absence. For more information, see the General Bulletin.
University policy requires that a course syllabus be distributed at the beginning of the semester that includes the course number, title and description, credit hours, instructor contact information, written student learning objectives and an evaluation (grading) statement. This statement should indicate what procedures will be used to evaluate students and should make it possible to discern the approximate weight of each grade component. All syllabi should also include an Americans with Disabilities Act statement; a statement regarding academic integrity (see the Academic Honor Policy in Appendix A of this Handbook) and the University attendance policy. It is recommended that a faculty member include a statement of his/her policy and/or expectations regarding classroom conduct and missed work, in addition to information about tutoring services available on campus. Once the course has begun, no changes should be made to the syllabus that will substantially affect the implementation of the instructor’s grading [evaluation] statement. For more information, see http://facsenate.fsu.edu/curriculum-resources.
Syllabi for each course section offered each semester should be kept on file within the department or unit for a minimum of two years or until the unit has determined the syllabus is obsolete. Each time a special topics course is offered a copy of the syllabus should be submitted to the Office of the Registrar.
Syllabi submitted for approval through the University Curriculum Committee will have at a minimum, the course number, credit hours, mode of delivery, course catalog description, student learning objectives, course topics, an example of evaluation (grading) methods, and required university policy statements.
The Board of Governors’ interpretation of the 2008 legislative HB 603 (2008-78 Laws of Florida) regarding textbook affordability and notification requires state universities to:
- Post on their websites a list of textbooks required for each course not less than 30 days prior to the first day of class for each term; and
- Include as part of the list the titles, all authors listed, publishers, edition numbers, copyright dates, published dates, and other information necessary to identify the specific textbooks required for the course.
Florida State University is committed to improving education access and affordability through innovative approaches intended to reduce textbook and instructive material costs for students. For more information, see FSU Regulation 5.098, Textbook Adoption and Affordability.
Requiring the use of a textbook written by the instructor of the course, by a relative of the instructor, or by a team of authors that includes the instructor, is considered a conflict of interest when the potential royalty income exceeds $500 (Section 112.313, Florida Statutes). If a faculty member wishes to use a textbook under these circumstances and will receive more than $500 in one year from that use, he or she must request permission from the President in writing, through the Vice President for Faculty Development and Advancement. The memo should include a justification of why the required text is the only one uniquely suited for use in the author’s class, as well as the number of students expected to enroll in the class. The request must be made well before the start of each year in which the faculty member wishes to use the textbook.
In 1971, the Florida Legislature enacted a statute requiring that “each full-time faculty member at any institution . . . who is paid wholly from state funds shall teach a minimum of 12 classroom contact hours per week,” providing, however, that any faculty member who is assigned by the departmental chair or other appropriate University administrator to certain other specific duties “shall teach a minimum number of classroom contact hours in proportion to 12 classroom hours per week as each especially assigned aforementioned duties and responsibilities bear to 12 classroom contact hours per week.” See “credit hour” explanation.
Deans and department chairs have considerable discretion in the allocation of teaching responsibilities, which will vary widely. Various instructional responsibilities expected of a faculty member may include: teaching, departmental advising, departmental committee participation, and service.
Faculty and students may receive information and support for assessing student performance, including assessment design and promoting academic integrity, through the Assessment and Testing unit of the Office of Distance Learning. The unit also schedules and administers a variety of national, state, and course‐related examinations.
Web-based Course Resources
Course websites can be used to support on-campus or fully online courses through communication tools (including discussion boards, live chat, and e-mail) and the delivery of course materials. See https://campus.fsu.edu for more information or contact the Office of Distance Learning at 850-644-4635.
Skill in writing is not something that can be cultivated in a single pair of courses. Recognizing this, the State of Florida mandates that all undergraduates complete an additional six credit hours of coursework that emphasize college-level English language writing skills. Florida State University addresses this need through the E-Series courses and the “W” (State-Mandated Writing) courses. See http://liberalstudies.fsu.edu/curriculum.html for more information.
When Problems Arise
Florida State University has several policies and procedures in place that can help to resolve problems arising in the academic environment. The Academic Honor Policy emphasizes the University’s values regarding academic integrity and outlines procedures for resolving cases of alleged dishonesty (cheating, plagiarism, etc.) that occur. The Grade Appeals System handles students’ concerns about final grades in a course, and the Student Conduct Code helps faculty members respond to inappropriate student conduct not directly related to the integrity of their academic work. The Sex Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy protects the rights of both faculty and students to an environment free of intimidation, and the general grievance process helps to resolve situations in which students allege that academic regulations and procedures outside the realms of grade appeals and academic integrity have been improperly applied. In specific instances, the Faculty Senate Student Academic Relations Committee (SARC) serves as the final arbiter for both general grievances and the procedures used to determine grade appeals in the colleges.
Academic Honor Policy
Students are expected to participate in class activities without causing disruption or infringing on the rights of others. They are also expected to comply with the reasonable order of any University official, including an instructor. Behavior that does not meet these standards can subject the student to charges under the Student Conduct Code. Instructors may ask that students leave class immediately when their behavior is disrupting the learning process. Instructors who have concerns about disruptive student behavior should contact the Dean of Students (via http://report.fsu.edu, at 644-2428 or at http://deanofstudents.fsu.edu). The FSU Police Department (911, 644-1234 or http://www.police.fsu.edu) will respond directly to classroom situations at any time and should be called if an instructor believes that a class disruption might pose a risk to his or her safety or to the safety of students. The Student Situation Resolution Team coordinates communication and problem-solving efforts in situations involving distressed and distressing students whose behavior is causing concern to the University community. It may be accessed through filing a report at http://report.fsu.edu or by contacting either the Dean of Students (http://deanofstudents.fsu.edu or 850-644-2428) or the Associate Vice President for Faculty Development and Advancement. (http://fda.fsu.edu or 850-644-6876) Note that permanent removal from the course may not be determined by the instructor but may occur through either informal or formal means.
Conflict of Interest in Graduate Student Supervision
A supervisory committee's judgments on the quality of a student's thesis or dissertation should be based solely on the academic merits of the work before them. Any other standard risks a breach of professional ethics or law and undermines the integrity of the process and those involved. Any conflicts of a personal or financial nature (e.g. involving the major professor, committee members, and/or student) that may create the perception of bias in that process must be avoided. This would not include the typical practice of hiring a student on a university assistantship in the home unit, but would include the student being hired by the major professor’s private company. If any such conflicts of interest do exist, they should be reported to the administrative head of the student’s academic unit, who will evaluate same for potential harm and take appropriate action.
Sexual Relationships and Conflicts of Interest
The following policy concerning conflicts of interest applies to students who are being supervised or evaluated by faculty as well as graduate students who are serving as teaching assistants and thus supervising or evaluating undergraduates.
Sexual relationships between faculty members and students where a direct supervisory or evaluative relationship exists are fraught with the potential for exploitation. The respect and trust accorded a faculty member by a student, as well as the power exercised by the faculty member in a direct supervisory or evaluative role, make voluntary consent by the student suspect. In their relationships with students, faculty members are expected to be aware of their professional responsibilities and to avoid conflict of interest, favoritism, or bias.
- When any direct supervisory or evaluative role exists, a consensual sexual relationship between a student and a faculty member is a conflict of interest.
- Any situation of direct supervision or evaluation will be ended immediately when a consensual sexual relationship between a student and a faculty member exists.
- Any such relationship must be disclosed to the faculty member’s supervisor immediately.
- Direct supervision includes any type of evaluative role. Examples of direct supervision of the student include teaching the student’s class; serving as a thesis or dissertation director, instructor of record, member of the student’s thesis or dissertation committee, member of the student’s comprehensive or doctoral exam committee, or member of other committees where the focus is evaluation or supervision of the student’s academic competence or the student’s assistantship.
Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Violence
Discrimination based on membership in a protected group, sexual harassment, and sexual violence will not be tolerated by the University, whether by faculty, students, staff, or by others while on property owned by or under the control of the University. For more information about reporting discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual violence and related grievance procedures, consult the Sex Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy or the University’s Title IX Statement or contact the Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance at 645-6519 or the Dean of Students Department (for complaints against students) at 644-2428 or http://srr.fsu.edu. All University faculty and staff members must report every incident or complaint of sexual misconduct or discrimination to the Title IX Office through http://report.fsu.edu or at http://titleix.fsu.edu.
The purpose of the grade appeals system is to afford an opportunity for an undergraduate or graduate student to appeal a final course grade under certain circumstances. Faculty judgment of students’ academic performance is inherent in the grading process and hence should not be overturned except when the student can show that the grade awarded represents a gross violation of the instructor’s own specified grading standards and therefore was awarded in an arbitrary, capricious, or discriminatory manner. The grading standards utilized during the grade appeals process are those that were contained in the instructor’s syllabus at the beginning of the semester. This system does not apply to preliminary or comprehensive exams or to thesis or dissertation defenses; these issues are reviewed by the Student Academic Relations Committee via the Assistant Vice President for Faculty Development and Advancement.
Step 1. Within 30 calendar days following the date that final grades are made available to students, the student must contact the instructor in question to discuss the grade and attempt to resolve any differences. The student should document any attempts to contact the instructor to establish that the appeal was begun within this 30-day period. In the event that the instructor is not available, the student should provide that documentation to the instructor’s program or department chair. Either the student or the instructor may consult with the appropriate program or department chair during this process.
Step 2. If no resolution is reached within this 30-day period, after the student’s documented attempt, the student has an additional 15 calendar days to submit a written statement to the program or department chair. This statement must include an account of attempts to resolve the issue, as well as the evidence that forms the basis for the appeal.
Within 20 calendar days thereafter, the department or program chair will arrange for a meeting of a grade appeals screening committee composed of three students enrolled in the academic unit offering the course to review the appeal. Appropriate students who have no conflict of interest will be chosen to serve on this screening committee by a student organization associated with the program or department, if such an organization exists. If none exists or if members of such an organization are not available, the department or program chair will select appropriate students who have no conflict of interest. Both the student and the instructor may attend the meeting.
The role of the screening committee is solely to determine whether the student has presented sufficient evidence to warrant further review. Within five calendar days after this meeting, the screening committee will render its decision in writing (recommend/do not recommend further review) to the program or department chair, the student, and the instructor. A negative decision will end the appeal. A positive decision will trigger the next step in the process.
Step 3. Within 20 calendar days of a positive decision from the grade appeals screening committee, the program or department chair will appoint and arrange for a meeting of a grade appeals board. This board is composed of three faculty members and two students other than those who served on the screening committee.
The purpose of this board is to determine whether or not to uphold the final grade assigned by the instructor. The board will consider only the evidence provided by the student and the instructor in making the determination. Both the student and the instructor may attend the meeting.
The grade will be upheld unless the evidence shows that the grade was awarded in an arbitrary, capricious, or discriminatory manner, as a result of a gross violation of the instructor’s own grading standards. If the original grade is not upheld, the board will recommend that an alternative grade be assigned by the program or department chair.
If the student has evidence that this grade appeals process has deviated substantially from these established procedures, resulting in a biased decision, the student may consult with the Vice President for Faculty Development and Advancement regarding referral to the Student Academic Relations Committee.
Grievances (Students on main campus)
Students who allege that academic regulations and procedures have been improperly applied in specific instances may have their grievances addressed through the general academic appeals process. In this process, the student brings a complaint first to the instructor, then to the department chair, and finally to the academic dean appropriate to the course involved, stopping at the level at which the complaint is resolved. If no resolution is reached, the student brings the complaint to the attention of the Associate Vice President for Faculty Development and Advancement for either resolution or referral to the Student Academic Relations Committee of the Faculty Senate. A graduate student whose complaint is unresolved must see the Dean of The Graduate School prior to meeting with the Associate Vice President for Faculty Development and Advancement.
The Student Academic Relations Committee has the authority to direct, through the Vice President for Academic Affairs, that corrective action be taken when justified.
Grievance Procedure (Panama City Campus)
Students who allege that academic regulations and procedures have been improperly applied in specific instances may have their grievances addressed through the general academic appeals process. In this process, the student brings a complaint first to the instructor, then to the Panama City Associate Dean, and then to the Panama City Dean, stopping at the level at which the complaint is resolved. If no resolution is reached in Panama City, then the student will go to the department chair, and finally to the academic dean appropriate to the course involved, stopping at the level at which the complaint is resolved. If no resolution is reached, the student brings the complaint to the attention of the Associate Vice President for Faculty Development and Advancement for either resolution or referral to the Student Academic Relations Committee of the Faculty Senate. A graduate student whose complaint is unresolved must see the Dean of The Graduate School prior to meeting with the Associate Vice President for Faculty Development and Advancement. The Student Academic Relations Committee has the authority to direct, through the Provost and the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, that corrective action be taken when justified.
Reporting Troubling Situations
The Dean of Students Department, Division of Student Affairs, has implemented a new online route for faculty members to raise issues of concern related to their students: http://report.fsu.edu. In addition to using the system to report instances of sexual misconduct, violations of the Student Conduct Code (for non-academic behaviors), and ADA issues, instructors may provide information about students who are exhibiting any academic, emotional, or physical behavior that concerns them. Reported classroom behavior issues are routed to the Student Situation Resolution Team, a group composed of academic and student affairs administrators, law enforcement, and counselors/health care providers to ensure that students of concern receive the assistance they need to navigate the university environment with minimal disruption to themselves and others. Note that report.fsu.edu is not intended as a way to report emergencies. If you believe that you need to report an emergency, please call FSUPD at 850-644-1234.
Student Academic Relations Committee
The Faculty Senate Committee on Student Academic Relations (SARC) hears appeals from students who allege that decisions about their academic work have been made improperly or unprofessionally in colleges or schools. The Committee is a last resort for grievances and does not rule on academic work itself, but on procedures and faculty actions that affect academic work or evaluations of work. Referral to SARC takes place through the Associate Vice President for Faculty Development and Advancement (644-6876 or http://fda.fsu.edu).
Student Conduct Code
The Student Conduct Code governs disruptive behavior in the classroom as well as other non-academic expectations for student conduct. The Student Conduct Code is implemented by the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities, Dean of Students Department, Division of Student Affairs.
Undergraduate Advising Information and Resources
The following items may be of use to faculty members in fulfilling their roles as academic advisors for undergraduate and graduate students. The list is arranged alphabetically for ease of reference. Also see the Undergraduate Advising Policy in Appendix B.
See Appendix B.
The Florida State University Center for Academic Retention and Enhancement, (CARE), is an academic support unit that assists the University in its outreach and support to undergraduate students who may be disadvantaged due to economic, educational, family or cultural circumstances. CARE provides programs and services that are targeted to first-generation college students and helps to facilitate those students’ preparation, recruitment, adjustment, retention and graduation from college. CARE implements programs and services for eligible entering first-year students, as well as for selected middle and high-school students with similar backgrounds. It also houses the Unconquered Scholars Program, which provides support to students who experienced homelessness. CARE has been recognized nationally for its outstanding work.
Combined Degree Programs
The Combined Bachelor’s/Master’s Degree Programs provide academically talented students an opportunity to complete both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. These programs allow recognition of certain graduate courses for both degrees.
Information on available programs, student application procedures, and procedures for departments wishing to develop combined programs is available on the Graduate School website. Various departments also offer the possibility of combined master’s and doctoral degree programs. Interested students should contact the appropriate department chair’s or dean’s office, and faculty members interested in developing a combined degree option should contact the Office of Faculty Development and Advancement at 850-644-6876.
Each major course of study has an academic plan or map that includes a sample schedule leading to graduation within four years for full-time undergraduate students in nearly all majors. Each map identifies key courses and criteria, such as GPA, and a timetable for achieving these “milestones.” All milestones have been determined to be critical in a student’s progress toward graduation. Students failing to satisfy the milestones within the defined timetable are targeted for specialized advising and possible re-direction to a different major. Copies of the maps for each major are available. Students are strongly encouraged to “take 15” credits each semester in order to make timely progress toward graduation.
Freshman Interest Groups
The FIG program, open to incoming first-year students, offers pre-packaged clusters of high-demand first-year courses. It assists students with their initial selection of liberal studies courses, helps them select courses that carry a common thread of interest, and connects them within small groups of like-minded students.
Garnet and Gold Scholar Society
The Garnet and Gold Scholar Society facilitates the involvement of and recognizes the accomplishment of its member students. The students involved in the program are required to excel within and beyond the classroom in the areas of Leadership, Internship, Service, International Engagement, and Research.
Undergraduate students who have earned 90 credit hours should initiate graduation checks with the Registrar’s Office and with their department or college. The Registrar’s Office provides an overview of University requirements, and the department or college ensures that major and college/school requirements are met. Students who do not complete both graduation checks by the time they are close to graduating will have stops placed on their registration.
Students must also apply for a degree at the Registrar’s Office by the deadline listed on the Academic Calendar for the term in which they wish to graduate. They may also be placed on the “graduation list” by their college.
The University Honors Office houses two programs for many of the university’s most talented and motivated students:
University Honors Program
The University Honors Program is targeted at First Time in College (FTIC) students. Students in the Program have access to special Honors courses, priority registration, Honors housing, and Honors advising. Students in the Program can choose to pursue the University Honors Medallion, which is awarded upon the completion of 18 Honors credits and is noted on the transcript. The 18 Honors credits must include at least nine credits from Honors courses; however, the remainder of the credits can be earned from activities outside the classroom, including Honors DIS, non-credit Honors research activities, non-credit Honors community service activities, and Honors in the Major projects. These activities usually require a faculty sponsor. Standards for earning Honors credits in DIS and non-credit activities can be found in the Honors Program section of the General Bulletin.
There are two types of Honors courses: Honors Seminars and stand-alone Honors sections of regularly listed courses. Most courses designated as Honors courses generally satisfy at least one university-wide requirement (such as liberal studies), are open to students from all majors, and are generally limited to 25 students. Honors Seminars are courses designed exclusively for University Honors Program students and are limited to 15 students. Honors credit may also be earned by contracting with faculty to do an additional paper or project in non-honors courses.
Honors in the Major
This program, coordinated by the Honors Office in cooperation with academic departments, is intended to encourage talented juniors and seniors to undertake significant independent and original scholarship as part of the undergraduate experience in a framework similar to that of a thesis-based master’s degree program. Completion of the Honors in the Major Program is recognized by the distinction of graduating “With Honors,” as designated on the transcript. Honors thesis work is carried out by the student over a period of two or three semesters in collaboration with a Directing Professor and two or three other faculty members who serve on the student’s honors thesis committee. Committee members must be full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty. A visiting scholar may be included on the committee if approved by the Director of the University Honors Program. The Honors thesis project culminates with the defense before the honors thesis committee.
Currently this “community of communities” includes seven academic engagement programs geared primarily to first-year students and focuses on either shared academic interests, shared majors or shared career paths. Program participants in a learning community live in the same residence hall and participate in an academic component designed by the faculty director of the community (several programs have a weekly colloquium and several offer one or more related 3-credit-hour courses). Each community introduces participants to a variety of the programs, resources, and expertise the University has to offer, including access to some of FSU’s most distinguished faculty members.
The Office of National Fellowships (ONF) assists undergraduates in preparing for competition for national awards such as the Rhodes, Marshall, Truman, Fulbright and Goldwater Scholarships. The office recruits and advises students interested in awards, from initial inquiry throughout the application process. Activities include maintaining up-to-date information about national fellowships and scholarships at both the undergraduate and graduate levels; administering undergraduate research and creativity awards to students preparing for national scholarship competitions; acting as the institutional representative to the agencies sponsoring awards; and working with faculty, staff and students to raise awareness of opportunities and publicize student achievements. The Director also coordinates the work of faculty committees involved in the fellowship selection process and invites faculty participation in all phases of this process.
Reading/Writing Center (RWC)
Part of the English Department, the Reading-Writing Center and its affiliated Graduate Writing Center serve Florida State University students at all levels and from all majors, including: first-year students writing for composition class; upper-level students writing term papers; seniors composing letters of applications for jobs and graduate schools; graduate students working on theses and dissertations; and multilingual students mastering American academic English. The RWC is located in Williams, Johnston, Strozier, Dirac, and the College of Engineering, and hours vary by location. The tutors in the RWC are graduate students in English with training and experience in teaching writing, and undergraduate students who have completed a 3-credit English elective course in tutoring writing and who have been apprentice tutors in the RWC.
Second Bachelor’s Degree and Double Major
There is a difference between earning a second baccalaureate degree (two diplomas) and graduating with a second major (one diploma with both majors listed). Students may receive a second baccalaureate degree provided that the requirements for each major and minor as well as individual college requirements for both the first and the second degrees are satisfied and 30 semester hours in residence are completed, in addition to the hours required for the first degree. The additional 30 semester hours must be completed in residence after the completion of the requirements for the first degree. Hours earned by the student during the completion of the first baccalaureate degree, over and above those extra credit hours actually required for the first degree, may not be included in the 30 additional semester hours. There are no liberal studies requirements for the second degree. To obtain a second or double major, the student must meet all requirements of the college of the primary major but only the major requirements of the secondary major. For many students this can be completed within the 120 credit hour allotment. The primary major is listed first on the student database and determines the student’s academic dean for the purposes of academic regulations. This means rules regarding student dismissal, reinstatement, and all general academic qualifications at the University are governed and enforced by the primary major and that major’s corresponding academic dean. Conflicts between primary and secondary major policies shall in all cases be resolved in favor of the primary major. Second-major academic deans are responsible for monitoring the student’s completion of all requirements, pre-requisites, etc., for the second major.
The Division of Undergraduate Studies serves as the academic home for most first-year and sophomore students, monitors many statewide and university Liberal Studies requirements for graduation, and sponsors several programs designed to promote academic success.
Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program
The Center for Undergraduate Research and Academic Engagement coordinates several programs that provide enrichment opportunities for undergraduate students, including the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program, the Gap Year Fellows, the Global Scholars Program, and the Presidential Scholars Program.
In their roles as instructors and advisors, faculty members sometimes need to refer students to various campus offices and programs. If this list does not contain the specific service needed in these circumstances, please consult the University website or call a related office for assistance.
Center for Leadership and Social Change
The Center for Leadership and Social Change is the FSU student body’s source for leadership learning, service opportunities, and social justice education on Florida State's campus. The Center serves as the campus hub for linking students to service through both curricular and co-curricular experiences and for assisting faculty with strategies for connecting service to the curriculum.
FSU Child Development Programs include two centers that serve the needs of FSU students, faculty, and staff. They are: the FSU Children’s Center and the Infant and Toddler Child Development Center. Both were originally established to assist student parents in the care and education of their children so that they could attend classes as well as to provide “hands on” experience and training for various academic departments on the FSU campus. FSU Child Development Programs are governed by Florida State University and are administered by University Housing.
The University Counseling Center provides support services that help each student grow and develop emotionally, interpersonally, and intellectually. All currently registered students are eligible for free services at the UCC. The UCC offers various counseling methods tailored to meet students’ individual needs.
Dean of Students
The primary focus of the Office of the Dean of Students is to support the academic mission of Florida State University and the Division of Student Affairs by providing services, programs, resources and advocacy for the needs and interests of all students. Staff members provide educational opportunities for students to develop their values, decision-making skills, and leadership capabilities. The Dean of Students Department fulfills this mission through the following offices: Case Management, Student Rights and Responsibilities, Withdrawal Services, Victim Advocate, Student Disability Resource Center, and New Student and Family Programs. For more information, call 644-2428.
The Florida State University’s Office of Student Financial Aid, located on the fourth floor of the University Center (suite A4400), assists students in obtaining funding to reach their educational goals. Students receive aid in the form of scholarships, grants, work study, and loans. Scholarship information is available through the Financial Aid Web site.
University Housing provides housing in the context of promoting positive student development and academic success for undergraduate and graduate students, including family housing. Several living-learning centers are operated in collaboration with academic units.
The Division of Student Affairs, which includes University Housing, the Dean of Students Department, Oglesby Union, University Health Services, Student Counseling Center, and numerous other student services, is led by the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs. The Division of Student Affairs works closely with Academic Affairs to support the academic success of students.
Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC)
The Student Disability Resource Center offers an opportunity for students with disabilities to achieve their academic and personal goals. As the primary advocate on campus for students with disabilities, the SDRC works with faculty and staff to provide accommodations for the unique needs of students both in and out of the classroom.
Student Government Association
The Student Government Association is comprised of elected and appointed representatives of the student body. Activity and Service (A&S) fees support various agencies and numerous student organizations. Faculty are encouraged to support student groups by serving as faculty advisors and participating in student activities.
Free tutoring is available for a wide range of courses and topics at Florida State University, including help in those courses typically perceived by students as particularly rigorous. Tutoring provides targeted content review outside of the classroom for any enrolled student. For more information about free tutoring, visit http://ace.fsu.edu. FSU tutoring options include:
ACE Learning Studio
In Johnston Ground (ground floor of WJB), the ACE Learning Studio provides tutoring in a large number of subject areas. The Learning Studio also provides study rooms, advising, collaborative learning technology, and iPads/laptops for check out. Call 850-645-9151 for more information.
Sponsored by the University Libraries and Student Government, the Learning District is a drop-in tutoring option for students during the later evening hours, from 8pm to 1am in Strozier Library, in a variety of subject areas. Tutoring is also available in Dirac Library during select hours.
Reading / Writing Center
From the Department of English in 222C Williams, RWC offers individualized instruction in composition and reading through one-to-one tutoring and small group workshops. Help from the RWC is also available in Johnston Ground and Strozier Library during select hours.
A part of the ACE Learning Studio, the Math Studio provides walk-in math tutoring in many introductory and intermediate math courses, in Johnston Ground (ground floor of WJB).
The Biology Major Study Center is staffed by teaching assistants in BSC2010 and BSC2011. Tutoring is provided in 1054 King Life Sciences Building for any student enrolled in one of these two courses. Tutoring in BSC1005 is available in 425 Carothers (in addition to the ACE Learning Studio and the Learning District).
University Health Services
University Health Services, staffed by a team of dedicated professionals, provides healthcare, prevention, education and outreach services to a diverse student population and eligible recipients in a safe and supportive environment. The Center also promotes campus wellness, encouraging healthy lifestyles and personal responsibility to enhance students’ capacity for reaching academic and personal goals. Some services are also available for faculty and staff members.
Victim Advocate Program
The Victim Advocate Program provides advocacy to victims of crime. An advocate is on call 24 hours a day to respond to FSU students who are victimized, or others who are victimized on our campus. Services offered include emotional support, instructor notification, referrals, and educational programming for our campus community.
Graduate Student Resources
While many of the above services and resources serve both undergraduate and graduate students, the following is a listing of resources especially for students at the graduate level.
Advising and Orientation
Graduate student advising is accomplished through the efforts of faculty in individual academic departments; the Graduate School provides assistance on general academic matters. Many academic units offer a department-specific orientation for their new students. Each fall semester The Graduate School coordinates a university-wide graduate student orientation program.
Congress of Graduate Students
COGS is the representative government for all graduate, professional, and post-baccalaureate students at Florida State University. COGS promotes accessibility to education and funds graduate organizations that contribute to the professional development of graduate students at Florida State University. COGS works closely with The Graduate School.
Financial support is available to graduate students in the form of teaching and research assistantships. Students are urged to make specific inquiries to each program for information regarding deadlines and eligibility.
Teaching Assistantships - Almost all departments offer teaching assistantships to aid the college or departmental teaching effort. Duties can range from serving as a grader to full responsibility for teaching a course. Such appointments depend on experience and training, and range in time commitment from 10 to 20 hours per week. Stipends vary from discipline to discipline, but each discipline attempts to be competitive in its area. Almost all assistants receive nine hours of tuition waivers each term in addition to the stipend. Students should contact the chair or director of graduate studies in the appropriate college or department for more information and application forms.
Research Assistantships - Departments that have been successful in gaining outside support through contracts and grants may employ graduate students as research assistants on research projects. Duties and stipends vary from program to program but each program attempts to offer competitive stipends. Research assistants also receive tuition waivers. These opportunities should be discussed with grant holders and with the chair or director of graduate studies in the department.
Application for a graduate assistantship should be made to the major department. Only students with regular graduate student status are eligible for graduate assistantships. Special and provisional students are ineligible. The stipend varies depending on the amount of service rendered, the nature of the service, and the qualifications of the student. A new student whose application for an assistantship is under consideration must also complete an application for admission through the Office of Admissions in the usual manner. To remain eligible for an assistantship, a student must discharge the assigned duties satisfactorily as determined by the director of the program. A graduate student with less than a 3.0 cumulative grade point average is not allowed to continue more than one term as a graduate assistant. Graduate assistants may request a waiver of the out-of-state tuition and matriculation fees. Refer to “Tuition Waivers, Deferments, and Financial Arrangements” section of the Graduate Bulletin for details.
Office of Graduate Fellowship and Awards - OGFA offers services that help students to navigate the external fellowship and awards funding process. These services include finding appropriate external fellowship opportunities, guidance throughout the application process from outlines to editing application drafts, and preparing for interviews.
University-wide Graduate Fellowships and Assistantships
The Graduate School Administers a variety of fellowships offered to graduate students through the University. Some require duties and some do not. For detailed information regarding all Fellowship and Assistantship opportunities administered by the graduate school, please visit The Graduate School website. Listed below are funding opportunities that require faculty and departmental nominations and/or commitments.
- Fellows Society Adelaide Wilson Fellowship
- International Dissertation Semester Research Fellowship
- Legacy Fellowship
- Leslie N. Wilson-Delores Auzenne Fellowship for Minorities
- McKnight Doctoral Fellowship Program
- McNair Scholars Fellowship
Office of Distance Learning
The Office of Distance Learning supports students, instructors and administrators in establishing and accessing high-quality online instruction.
Office of Postdoctoral Affairs
Part of the Florida State University's Graduate School, the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs serves as a central resource for all postdoctoral researchers as well as faculty and staff who work with postdoctoral researchers at FSU. Activities of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs include:
- Serves as an information repository and liaison among postdocs, faculty, administrators, and external organizations
- Provides professional and career development programming and resources for postdocs
- Facilitates community building and networking events
- Advocates for postdoc inclusion in the activities of other campus organizations
- Undertakes initiatives to increase visibility of postdocs
- Advocates for resources and policies that enhance postdoctoral training
Program for Instructional Excellence
Also part of the Graduate School, the Program for Instructional Excellence provides intensive training for new graduate teaching assistants; hosts ongoing workshops to promote graduate TA instructional excellence; coordinates a Teaching Associate program that embeds trained TAs in academic departments; and recognizes teaching excellence among TAs.
The Graduate School
The Graduate School provides assistance to graduate students and faculty on general academic matters and sponsors annual orientation programs for new graduate students and teaching assistants. These include offering advice on university-wide degree requirements, approving thesis and dissertation formats, and administering faculty and graduate student awards, university-level assistantships, fellowships, and scholarships.
Faculty awards administered by the Graduate School
Responsible Conduct of Research and Creativity & Professional Standards Award - The Graduate School and the Office of Research invites proposals for faculty and/or department to develop and conduct educational components (e.g., courses, course-imbedded modules, workshops, seminars, discussion groups, brown bag gatherings) that provide training for graduate students, particularly doctoral students, in professional ethics and standards.
Graduate Faculty Mentor Awards - The purpose of these awards is to honor faculty mentors whose dedication to graduate students and commitment to excellence in graduate education and mentoring have made a significant contribution to the quality of life and professional development of graduate students at Florida State University.
Graduate Student awards administered by the Graduate School
Dissertation Research Grant - The Dissertation Research Grant is a $750 award paid by the Graduate School to assist doctoral students with expenses associated with research necessary to prepare dissertations. Dissertation Research Grants are awarded each fall and spring semester.
Graduate Student Research and Creativity Awards - Sponsored annually by Florida State University's Graduate School and Office of Research, this awards program is designed to recognize the superior contributions of six graduate students to research and creative endeavors.
Graduate School Student Leadership Award - Sponsored annually by Florida State University’s Graduate School and the Congress of Graduate Students this award recognizes outstanding graduate student leaders who are making a positive difference in their scholarly/creative campus, and wider, communities.
Graduate Student Teaching Associate Assistantship - Associates are experienced teaching assistants nominated by their academic departments and selected and trained by the Program for Instructional Excellence. Teaching Associates receive a stipend of $2000 per academic year. This stipend is in addition to the TA stipend (and waiver) that will be provided by the department.
Outstanding Teaching Assistant Awards - Sponsored annually by the Florida State University’s Graduate School these awards recognize outstanding graduate student teaching assistants (TAs) for their distinguished contributions to student learning through excellence in instruction.