Beginning/End of Semester Teaching Information

The final day for students to drop courses from their schedule is Saturday, January 13, 2024. The final day to add courses to their schedule is Sunday, January 14, 2024. (See the full Academic Calendar.) Enrollment may vary up until 11:59 p.m. on those dates. Keep this in mind for course schedules involving early team formation or other early work.

Important: Do not give permission to students to add your course if it is full or if they do not meet the course requisites. Please refer all questions to their adviser or email the Advising office.

If students insist that they “must” be in your section, feel free to hear them out. If you think it’s a persuasive case (e.g., they need the course to graduate this semester, you think they have the necessary background to succeed in the course) and there is still room in your classroom, encourage them to talk to their academic adviser. You can also email the student’s academic adviser if you’d like to support their case.

Remember that in the age of LionPATH, there may be a functioning waitlist for a class, and prerequisites are enforced via LionPATH. Between these two mechanisms, students are expected to manage their own schedules.

We have an increasing number of students who have received approval for learning accommodations. An accommodation is an individualized, reasonable modification or assistance that will ensure equal access to and enable full participation in academic pursuits, according to the Student Disability Resources (SDR) webpage. You should not provide accommodations until you receive a letter from the SDR office. Upon receipt of the letter,  you are mandated under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to provide the accommodations. If you have questions about how to make 1.5x or 2x testing arrangements, how to get captioning for course videos, where to send students, or other SDR-related services, consult the following:

If a student’s behavior is dangerous or threatening—including self-harm or harm to others—call 911 or the University’s Behavioral Threat Management Team 3-2868.

Occasionally, an individual student will approach you with special needs or questions, or you may observe behavior that suggests they are in crisis. The University has developed a protocol for managing students in distress.

For resources to support a student in distress, visit the University’s Supporting Students in Distress website and, if warranted, refer to the Red Folder at Penn State.

In cases where the student has requested confidentiality of their academic record (a blue “nightshade” symbol in LionPath or a red asterisk in Canvas roster), you may not share details of the student’s concern or behavior with other instructors or students, including acknowledging that they are enrolled in your class.

For non-urgent concerns, there are several options from which to choose:

Managing Classroom Emergencies

While unlikely, it’s important to set expectations with your students and develop a plan in the event of an emergency. The college has prepared a slide deck template for use in the Westgate Building, but it can be modified for any location in which you are teaching. You can view the template here. In the event of a medical emergency, call 911 and follow instructions.

Instructor Attendance

There may be times throughout the semester when missing a class is unavoidable. When such circumstances arise, we encourage you to make arrangements with a colleague who can swap with you to cover your class. Other options include using guest speakers/presentations, group project work days, etc. in your absence. (Please be advised that instruction led by a TA is often interpreted negatively by our students as a sign that faculty do not take teaching seriously.)

Student Attendance

The Penn State Attendance Policy has an allowance for instructors who become concerned that student absences for University-sanctioned events are hurting the student's scholastic performance. But the policy expects that you first inform the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies of your concerns—sooner is better if you anticipate or begin to suspect such a problem. If you have specific questions, please review Penn State’s E-11 Class Attendance Policy.

Religious Observances and Exam Make-Up

When religious conflicts do arise, please be sure to work with the students in your class to reschedule any missed work and exams.

The following University policies provide more information:

The college’s Teaching, Learning, and Assessment team has developed a detailed website outlining the requirements needed for a syllabus, including:

  • Grade Breakdown
  • Exam Policy
  • Academic Integrity Statement
  • Copyright Statement

To view the full list, visit Syllabus Requirements and Recommendations.

Starfish for Student Success

Instructors are strongly encouraged to use Starfish to communicate to students about course progress concerns (i.e., attendance, course participation, exam results). Academic advisers will be copied on this communication for their awareness and appropriate follow-up.

For more information and best practices on using Starfish, view the Starfish Quick Start Guides.

Academic Advising

Academic advisers are available to help students understand the curricular requirements for their major. Students may discuss their academic plans, progress, and concerns with their assigned adviser. When in doubt, send them to their academic adviser!

Peer Tutoring

In-person peer tutoring sessions will be held on Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 7:00-10:00 p.m. in E208 Westgate. Sessions will begin the second week of classes (Monday, January 15) and end the final week of classes (Thursday, May 2). World Campus students can make appointments by visiting the Online Tutoring webpage.

Teaching and Learning Assistants

At the beginning of the semester, faculty will be contacted requesting that they allow their assistants to hold office hours during the college’s common tutoring hours. This helps to provide a full roster of people to assist students who come for tutoring.

Additional questions or concerns can be directed to Erica Fleming, assistant director of Teaching and Learning.

The college has adopted the University’s online Academic Integrity Reporting Portal to manage incidents of suspected academic dishonesty. The system automatically notifies the student, places a hold so the course can’t be dropped, and notifies the Office of Student Accountability to conduct a prior violation review.

Visit the Academic Integrity Resource page more detailed information on the academic integrity process, or reach out to Sue Lauver with any questions or concerns.

Final exams begin Monday, April 29 and continue through Friday, May 3. 

  • Final grades should be entered within 48 hours of the due date of the final assignment or exam in the course
    • Whenever possible, please try to have all grades entered by end of day Friday, May 3 o The absolute deadline to submit all grades is midnight Tuesday, May 7, 2024 
    • If you expect any delays entering grades or if you know a graduating student will not pass your class, let our advising colleagues know as soon as possible
  • Offering a deferred grade 
    • If the student has completed most of the semester and has a justifiable reason, then set a schedule of deliverables with them.
    • There is a time limit on when they can finish; typically 10-weeks for undergrads, and 12-weeks for graduate students. 
    • Information on the Registrar’s page about deferred grades can be found here