Information for Full-Time Faculty
Mission and Vision
Penn State Altoona is committed to being a distinguished baccalaureate institution within the contextual framework of The Pennsylvania State University. Our vision combines the rich educational tradition of a liberal arts college with the challenges and opportunities found at a modern university. We strive to create a vibrant learning environment through our teaching excellence, research and creative accomplishments, and civic, social, and cultural contributions in order to empower students to reach their full potential.
For all of our constituents, we will serve as a source of intellectual and developmental exchange on three levels.
Source for Human Development — We will assist students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members in their intellectual and social growth. Penn State Altoona will assist our constituents in reaching their full personal potential with integrity, so they may be active citizens and leaders in their families, professions, organizations, and communities.
Source for Economic Development — We will sustain our institution as the preeminent educational force for economic development and advanced technology in Blair and surrounding counties. Penn State Altoona will produce knowledgeable and skilled graduates, and will provide a wide array of life-long activities to maintain and improve the skills of our community members.
Source for Cultural Enrichment — We endeavor to enhance and diversify the culture of our community by uniting our constituencies and by establishing international partnerships. Penn State Altoona serves as a center for the arts and humanities and a major force in the community’s cultural development. We will continue to foster a diverse cultural environment by hosting nationally and internationally prominent speakers and performing artists, and by presenting an array of artistic and cultural events that celebrate local, national, and international cultures.
Penn State Altoona’s mission is to engage our students, the local community, and the Commonwealth in the application and dissemination of knowledge through our teaching, research and outreach programs supported by a diverse and intellectually sustaining environment.
Learning: We value learning—classroom and individual learning, outside-of-the-classroom learning, faculty research, and the assessment and improvement of our own academic and administrative processes. We seek to cultivate a life-long respect for learning.
Student–Centeredness: Students are our most important focus, and improving student centeredness serves as a benchmark for all our actions. We value the development of our students and encourage them to take responsibility for their learning and actions. We will work with our students to develop the skills and attributes necessary for success in college and as life-long learners.
Excellence: We strive for excellence in all our processes, including our core processes of teaching, research, scholarship, creative activity, and outreach. Assessment of these core processes is integral to achieving and maintaining excellence.
Citizenship: We value active participation in society and its broader culture. We strive to prepare students to serve as leaders and citizens of their local and global communities by developing an appreciation and respect for people from diverse backgrounds or those who exhibit diverse types of thinking.
Community: We value our mutually supportive relationship with our community. Throughout our history, we have done our best to provide excellent educational and cultural opportunities for the people of our community; they, in turn, have supported us with their efforts and resources.
The purpose of this document is to orient full-time faculty to the basic organization of Penn State Altoona, to explain our expectations, to identify resources available to the faculty, and to clarify various business and personnel matters relevant to your position. The University Faculty Handbook and the Policies and Rules for Students are also valuable information resources.
II. Penn State Altoona History
In September 1939, the Altoona Undergraduate Center was given life in the Webster Building—an abandoned grade school near the center of the city. A.U.C. offices were a few tiny cubicles in the YMCA next door. Nine faculty members met a total of 119 students.
In 1940, the original citizens committee for the Campus became the Citizens Advisory Board. The Advisory Board raised funds to turn the old Madison grade school into a sophomore science laboratory.
World War II almost forced the campus to close. Men went to war, women went to work, and there simply was not enough student support from Altoona alone. The Citizens Advisory Board purchased and operated a women's dormitory from 1944 through 1947 to save the A.U.C. Out-of-town women registered, and the board agreed to finance operating deficits.
By 1946 returning veterans overfilled Webster and Madison buildings. The Advisory Board purchased 38 acres of the old Ivyside Amusement Park in Juniata Gap after raising $50,000. The most significant accomplishment of that period was the renovation of a two block long dressing room into what became affectionately known as "Bathhouse U." Nearly all of the amusement buildings were converted to good use. The shooting gallery became a chemistry building, the refreshment stand became a steam plant, and the skating rink a student union center and cafeteria.
In 1949, A.U.C. was the focal point for Penn State extension and operations in Blair, Bedford, Cambria, Huntingdon, Fulton, and Somerset counties. Enrollments increased giving from the community. Four hundred thousand dollars were pledged to build the E. Raymond Smith Building, the first of the modern brick structures that would be erected at Ivyside during the next quarter century. In 1958, with the opening of the Smith Building, the Altoona Undergraduate Center was renamed the Altoona Campus of The Pennsylvania State University—as the result of a standardization of all campus names in the University.
Incorporation of the associate degree programs in engineering and business of the 1950s brought many more "out-of-town" students to Altoona. The need for resident housing and larger, more adequate student recreational activity areas became urgent. The first residence hall and Slep Student Center opened in 1964 at a cost of $1,250,000.
By 1966, 2,000 students were enrolled at the Altoona Campus; 1,000 in resident instruction and another 1,000 in continuing education. The Advisory Board raised $1,100,000 in 1966 to be matched by state and federal funds to build a library-learning center, science buildings, physical education facilities, second residence hall, and food services building. All were completed by 1971 at a total outlay of almost $6,500,000.
The Edith Davis Eve Chapel, built entirely with privately subscribed funds, brought to thirteen the number of buildings on the growing Altoona Campus, once described by Eric Walker as, "The Flagship of Penn State's Commonwealth Campus System."
An addition to the Steven A. Adler Physical Education Complex opened in the Fall of 1977. The new complex houses an NCAA Competitive swimming pool, handball courts, an all-purpose room, locker and shower rooms, and offices. A weight room addition was completed in 1996.
The Community Arts Center and the Computer and Learning Resources Center opened Fall 1989 and the Maintenance and Operations Building opened Summer 1993. In 2006, the Community Arts Center was renamed the Misciagna Family Center for Performing Arts and the Computer and Learning Resources Center was renamed Learning Resources Center. Since 1995, nearly $30 million in new and renovated building projects has provided the foundation for the shift to college status.
In July 1997, Penn State Altoona attained the status of a college within the University with the authority to grant baccalaureate degrees. This change in status coincided with the completion of the Ralph and Helen Force Advanced Technology Center, which houses our engineering technology programs, and our College’s growth to 4,000 students. The Sheetz Family Health Center opened in Spring 2003, and houses the Health and Wellness Center and the nursing program and faculty. The new classroom building, Hawthorn, was completed in December 2004 and houses the growing baccalaureate programs at Penn State Altoona.
In 2008, the Devorris Downtown Center was expanded to include the 5-story Aaron Building, and the Kazmaier Center which houses Development and Alumni Relations, opened in downtown Altoona. In 2011, the Sheetz Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence opened downtown. The Center will serve as a home for Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE), provide space for the Business and Entrepreneurial programs, and serve as a small business incubator.
We offer Bachelor of Science degrees in Biology, Business, Childhood and Early Adolescent Education (PK-4 option), Criminal Justice, Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology, Elementary and Kindergarten Education-Elementary Education Teaching option, Human Development and Family Studies-Community Human Services option, Mathematics, Nursing (through School of Nursing), Nursing with 2nd or additional degree option, Psychology, Science, and Security and Risk Analysis. We also offer Bachelor of Arts degrees in Communications, Criminal Justice, English, Environmental Studies, History, Integrative Arts, Letters, Arts, and Sciences, Mathematics, Political Science, Psychology, and Visual Art Studies. Penn State Altoona also offers associate degrees in Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Human Development and Family Studies, Letters, Arts, and Sciences, Nursing, and Science.
III. Administrative Organization
The Penn State Altoona administrative organization includes the following offices:
The Chancellor, Dr. Lori J. Bechtel-Wherry (E107 Smith Building, 814-949-5012, firstname.lastname@example.org), is the chief administrative and academic officer of Penn State Altoona. The Chancellor is responsible for administering all affairs of the University on the campus and within the campus area, including working with the Penn State Altoona Advisory Board and community leaders in the five county service area of the College.
B. Academic Affairs
The Academic Affairs Office oversees the credit daytime and evening programs. It is supervised by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Kenneth Womack (W110 Smith Building, 814-949-5090, email@example.com). The Academic Affairs budget supports almost all undergraduate credit instruction and provides support services for all academic programs offered at Penn State Altoona. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs is responsible for hiring and supervising faculty; program development and delivery; supervision of academic services including the Library, the Advising Center, the Adult Center, the Registrar's Office, The Academic Internship Office, The Office of Education Abroad, the Learning Resources Center, the Office of Planning and Institutional Research, the University Scholars and Penn State Altoona Honors programs, and faculty administrative assistant services.
Academic Affairs staff includes: the Interim Assistant Dean for Policy and Planning, Peter Moran (W114 Smith Building, 814-949-5282, firstname.lastname@example.org), who oversees planning, program development, accreditation, and student/faculty complaints; the College Librarian, Bonnie Imler (222 Eiche Library, 814-949-5499, email@example.com), who manages the library; the Senior DUS Programs Coordinator, Joann Shaffer (C106 Smith Building, 814-949-5158, firstname.lastname@example.org), who oversees academic advising and FTCAP; the Registrar, Maggie McNulty (E130 Smith Building, 814-949-5035, email@example.com); the Academic Internship Office, Thomas Shaffer (211B Learning Resources Center, 814-949-5789, firstname.lastname@example.org) who coordinates internships and other community-based learning opportunities for the college; the Office of Education Abroad, Elizabeth Seymour, Interim Education Abroad Adviser (211A Learning Resources Center, 814-949-5335, email@example.com; and Coordinator of the Learning Resources Center, Paula Ford (203 Learning Resources Center, 814-949-5112, firstname.lastname@example.org), who oversees tutoring and other academic support services.
Providing support to faculty and staff who develop requests for external funding of research, teaching, and service is the responsibility of the Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs, LA Wilson (W110 Smith Building, 814-949-5768, email@example.com) in his role as Director of Research and Sponsored Programs (www.altoona.psu.edu/grants/).
C. Business Operations
The Director of Business Operations, Rick Wareham (E103 Smith Building, 814-949-5020, firstname.lastname@example.org), is responsible for the purchasing of goods and services. The Human Resources Manager of Penn State Altoona, Cherrie Henry (C105 Smith Building, 814-949-5093, email@example.com), reports to the Director of Business Operations. Supervision of tech-service employees, Housing and Food Services, Bookstore Operations, Police Services, and Maintenance and Security of the Physical Plant are responsibilities of the Business Operations Office.
D. Continuing Education and Training
The Director of Continuing Education and Training, Jack Sinclair (Downtown at 1431 12th Avenue, firstname.lastname@example.org), is responsible for all non-credit professional development and personal enrichment programs and courses in a five-county service area. This unit also administers all off-campus credit courses, manages the Devorris Downtown Center, and delivers customized training on-site to business and industry.
E. Development and Alumni Relations
The Director of Development and Alumni Relations, N. Susan Woodring (Kazmaier Family Building, 1419 12th Avenue, 814-949-5104, email@example.com), is responsible for all matters related to fundraising, campus development, and alumni relations. This includes sponsorship of events such as the Renaissance Scholarship Fund Dinner and Ivyside Society Induction Ceremony, stewardship of benefactors, management of volunteers, and implementation of a multi-faceted alumni relations program.
The Director of Finance, Rob Hippo (W111 Smith Building, 814-949-5030, firstname.lastname@example.org), is responsible for budgetary planning and financial matters, including interpreting and enforcing University fiscal policies; monitoring Campus budgets (including faculty development awards, research grants, and travel awards), income, expenditures, and payroll; collecting tuition and fees; and maintaining student financial records.
G. Student Affairs
The Director of Student Affairs, Sean Kelly (103 Slep Student Center, 814-949-5053, email@example.com), is responsible for student life, career services, cultural programming, residential life, student aid, health services, counseling and psychological services, disability services, work-study programs, on- and off-campus housing, student insurance, religious affairs, student organizations, international student services, diversity programs, and student conduct.
The Director of Athletics, Fredina M. Ingold (102A Adler Athletic Complex, 814-949-5410, firstname.lastname@example.org), oversees the varsity sports program, which competes at the NCAA Division III level. This includes athletic training, student-athlete eligibility, scheduling, compliance, and supervision of all athletic facilities. The Director also oversees the Department of Intramural and Recreational sports.
The Director of Admissions, Richard Shaffer (E108 Smith Building, 814-949-5466, email@example.com), oversees all aspects of recruitment and admissions to Penn State Altoona, coordinating such activities as open houses and offer receptions.
J. University Relations
The Director of University Relations, Shari Routch (Beech House, 814-949-5105, firstname.lastname@example.org), is the administrator for all matters related to public information, community and media relations, and special events at the college, including publications, photography, public relations and marketing, social media, and the college’s Web site.
K. Information Technology
Joanne C. Peca (236 Hawthorn Building, 814-949-5356, email@example.com), Chief Information Officer, heads the Office of Information Technology. The OIT Help Desk is your one-stop-shop for technology support on campus, including support for office computing, computing labs, classroom and instructional technology, network connectivity, and telephone service. You can contact the OIT Help Desk by phone at 814-949-5356, you may submit a service request at www.altoona.psu.edu/oit online, or you can visit the OIT Help Desk in person at 234 Hawthorn Building.
IV. Faculty Organization
Under the leadership of Chancellor Lori J. Bechtel-Wherry, and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Kenneth Womack, the faculty of Penn State Altoona (with the exception of our campus librarians) are all members of one of four divisions. Some faculty, hired before fall 1997, may also be members of University Park-based Colleges and Departments. All part-time faculty are similarly aligned with one or another of these four divisions. The Division Heads and their Administrative Assistants are located in the Elm building.
1. Division of Arts and Humanities
The Division Head is Brian Black, professor of history, (Elm Building, 814-949-5244, firstname.lastname@example.org). The Division includes faculty in American Studies, Art, Art History, Communication Arts and Sciences, Communications, Comparative Literature, Dance Studies, English, French, German, History, Integrative Arts, Japanese, Latin, Linguistics, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Photography, Religious Studies, Spanish, Russian, Theatre Arts, Visual Art Studies, and Women's Studies. The administrative assistant is Jackie Mowery (Elm Building, 814-949-5829, email@example.com)
2. Division of Business and Engineering
The Division Head is Barbara Wiens-Tuers, associate professor of economics, (Elm Building, 814-949-5829, firstname.lastname@example.org). The Division includes faculty in Accounting, Business, Business Administration, Business Logistics, Computer Science and Engineering, Economics, Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology, Engineering Design and Graphics, Engineering Mechanics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Financial Services, Health Policy Administration, Information Science and Technology, Insurance and Real Estate, International Business, Labor and Employment Relations, Management, Management Information Systems, Marketing, Rail Transportation Engineering, Security and Risk Analysis, and Supply Chain Management. The administrative assistant is Jackie Mowery (Elm Building, 814-949-5829, email@example.com).
3. Division of Education, Human Development, and Social Sciences
The Division Head is Timothy Slekar, associate professor of curriculum and instruction (Elm Building, 814-949-5827, firstname.lastname@example.org). The Division includes faculty in Anthropology, Army ROTC, Art Education, Biobehavioral Health, Counselor Education, Criminal Justice, Education, Human Development and Family Studies, Kinesiology, Library Studies, Music Education, Nursing, Nutrition, Psychology, and Sociology. The administrative assistant is Annette Smith (Elm Building, 814-949-5827, email@example.com).
4. Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
The Division Head is Darin Zimmerman, professor of physics, (Elm Building, 814-949-5827, firstname.lastname@example.org). The Division includes faculty in Agriculture, Astronomy, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Biological Sciences, Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Mineral Sciences, Environmental Studies, Geography, Geosciences, Horticulture, Mathematics, Meteorology, Microbiology, Natural Science, Physics, Science, Soil Science, Statistics and Wildlife and Fisheries Science. The administrative assistant is Annette Smith (Elm Building, 814-949-5827, email@example.com).
B. Faculty Senate
The Faculty Senate is the official faculty governing body of Penn State Altoona. Meetings are held once a month during the fall and spring semesters, and faculty are encouraged to participate in the activities of the Faculty Senate. Meetings are open to all members of the University community. All faculty and administrators are eligible to participate in Senate meetings. However, only senators may cast votes. Faculty need not be senators to serve on most Faculty Senate committees. The Chair of the Senate for 2012-2013 is Peter Hopsicker, assistant professor of kinesiology, (206B Adler Athletic Complex, 814-949-5238, firstname.lastname@example.org).
The standing committees of the Senate are as follows: the Executive Committee; the Committee on Committees; Academic Affairs; Admissions, Records, Scheduling, Student Aid, and Athletic Standards (with a standing Subcommittee on Intercollegiate Athletics); Budgets, College Planning, and University Development; Curricular Affairs; Faculty Affairs; Information Technology; Research; Student Life; and the Social Committee.
V. Basic Expectations and the Evaluation of Faculty
A. Basic Expectations
All full-time faculty at Penn State Altoona are expected to engage in research and creative activity, service, and teaching, which also includes advising students. Teaching assignments are made by the Division Head, in consultation with the faculty member and program or discipline coordinator (where appropriate). The basic teaching assignment at Penn State Altoona is twelve credits or contact hours per semester, or twenty-four credits or contacts hours per year. For faculty who regularly teach 3-credit courses, this would be a four-four course load per year. However, provisional tenure track faculty are automatically assigned nine credits or contact hours per semester, or a three-three course load per year (with 3-credit courses), in order to facilitate their research and creative activities.
(Note: For tenure-track and research active faculty who regularly teach 4-credit courses, the typical assignment will be 8 to 12 credits/contacts per semester, and credit/contact hours would range from 16 to 20 per year with an average of 18 credits a year over a period of several years.)
All other standing faculty may apply for a modification of teaching assignment to a twelve and nine credit or contact hour assignment for the year or to a nine credit or contact hour assignment per semester in order to allow for additional productivity in other areas, such as research. Non-tenure track faculty are not eligible to apply. Tenured faculty should discuss their research plans with their Division Head during the annual review process, and come to agreement on an appropriate modification, to be reviewed annually.
As an additional part of their teaching assignment, almost all faculty have an advising assignment, usually of about 15 to 25 advisees.
All faculty members are expected to remain current in the discipline(s) in which they have teaching assignments. There is a wide range of activities that can be undertaken and documented to demonstrate efforts to remain current in one’s field(s). Tenured and tenure-track faculty are expected to be actively engaged in productive research and creative activities as appropriate to the discipline(s) of their assignment.
All full-time faculty are expected to engage in service activities to further the missions of the College and the University. This service usually takes the form of committee work, participation in governance bodies, administrative support work, service to student groups, and professionally related service to the public.
B. Annual Evaluation
All full-time faculty are evaluated annually using three criteria mandated by university policy: 1) Teaching Ability and Effectiveness, 2) Research, Creative Accomplishments, and Scholarship, and 3) Service to the University, the Public, and the Profession. Librarians are also evaluated using the criterion of Librarianship. For faculty in non-tenure track positions (that is, those with FT1 or FT-Multi Year Contracts), much more emphasis is placed on Teaching and Service than on the other criteria. The emphases for tenure-track faculty are discussed below. In general, the evaluation will be made by the appropriate Division Head, with the concurrence of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and the Chancellor. The basis for discussion, leading to one’s annual evaluation, is the “Annual Faculty Activity Report.”
C. Promotion and Tenure Evaluation
Faculty in tenure track positions are evaluated in the second, fourth, and sixth years of their probationary employment. A third or fifth year review is unusual, but may be mandated by the Chancellor. In the sixth year, candidates are also reviewed for promotion to the associate rank. Subsequently, they may stand for promotion to professor. The criteria used are the same as for the annual evaluation, namely: 1) Teaching Ability and Effectiveness, 2) Research, Creative Accomplishments, and Scholarship, and 3) Service to the University, the Public, and the Profession. Librarians are also evaluated for Librarianship. A formal dossier is assembled for review by a divisional committee, the division head, a college committee, and the chancellor. In the final tenure year and in any review for promotion, it is also reviewed by a university committee and the provost. At each level, a letter of evaluation is placed into the dossier and, at the end of the process, shared with the candidate.
The kinds of information that may be entered into the dossier are indicated on the dividers used in assembling the dossier. (The current version of these can be found in Appendix 1.) In final tenure reviews and in promotion reviews, confidential letters of assessment of the candidate’s research, creative activity, and scholarship, written by scholars external to Penn State, are also included in the dossier.
Penn State Altoona has adopted a statement of procedures for forming promotion and tenure committees and for selecting external assessors. It also has a statement of criteria for evaluating candidates. In general, these call for meeting all three criteria and having a record of either “distinctive” performance in 1 or 2 or “high quality” performance in 1 and 2. While we expect quality of research similar to that of a research-based location, such as University Park, we do not necessarily expect the same quantity of productivity.
For more information, contact your Division Head, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, or Erin Murphy, who assists with faculty dossiers (212 Hawthorn Building, 814-949-5625, email@example.com).
Non-Tenure Track faculty can also be promoted according to guidelines found at www.altoona.psu.edu/senate/promotion_policies.php online.
VI. Instructional Expectations
A. The Syllabus
A written syllabus must be distributed to students in each course within the first ten calendar days of a semester or its equivalent. In addition to course content and expectations, the syllabus must include the course examination policy, basis for grades, and academic integrity policy for the course. Changes to the syllabus shall also be given to the student in writing. (See Senate Policies-43-00, 47-40, 47-60, 48-40, 49-20). The clearer the information that is provided to students (especially in written form), the easier it is for you, Division Heads, or the Associate Dean to resolve student complaints. The syllabus is the primary document (along with grade and attendance records) consulted in grade disputes. During the first class meeting, it is very important to clearly define what is expected of students in performance, behavior, and relevant policy areas and to reinforce this with written statements in your syllabus. Preferably, your policies and expectations should be stated in the most positive terms possible.
NOTE: Significant changes to the syllabus and course expectations should be provided to the students in writing. Only in rare circumstances (emergencies, etc.) should significant changes be made to the course requirements after the last action date (late drop) in the semester.
Syllabus Basics: The syllabus should include the following basic information: your name, class name and number, campus phone number, voice mailbox number, email address (if you have not opened an account, please contact Sherry Dillion, 814-949-5356, for the Penn State Access Account Application), and where appropriate, Web page address. It should also include your office hours, a list of required books, or other necessary materials which the student must acquire independently. It should also include information on the college class cancellation procedures, as well as any additional means for informing students about the cancellation of classes. The syllabus should also include a calendar with dates of class meetings, as well as the written, oral, and reading assignments due on each date. You may also want to identify holidays and the date and time of the final examination (see eLion for date and time of final exam).
Course Expectations: For each course that you are teaching, you should identify goals and objectives for each student to achieve. The grading in the course should reflect the attainment of these objectives. Students should be called to action in explaining the course expectations. You may explain that the course will be difficult, but that they have the skills to be successful and that you (and other members of the college community) will do everything in your power to assist them to succeed. “The distribution of time between class activities and outside preparation varies from course to course; however, for the average student, a total of at least forty (40) hours of work planned and arranged by the University faculty is required to gain 1 credit (Senate Policy 42-23).”
Instructors may also want to use the syllabus (or other handouts) to provide an explanation of major assignments, including lengthy discussions of content, form, and criteria for their evaluation. Clear and specific information on content, form, and criteria for evaluation can assist students in responding to course expectations, and can also assist in resolving student disputes about grades.
Course Policies: The syllabus should provide basic policies, and explain to students the basic assumptions about appropriate behavior and actions. You cannot assume that students know your policies prior to attendance in class. The syllabus should also establish the appropriate decorum and rules of classroom meetings and behavior. This may include whether or not you expect students to raise their hands prior to speaking, whether or not you expect them to bring their books to class or to turn off cell phones prior to the start of class, and other aspects of classroom behavior.
The syllabus should also include your rules on cheating, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty. You should discuss and clarify the application of University and College academic integrity policies in your course. A statement on academic integrity is required by University Senate Rules (see Senate Policy 49-20). A sample academic integrity statement appears in Appendix 3, and Senate Policy can be found at http://www.psu.edu/ufs/policies/. Procedures for handling academic integrity cases can be found later in this handbook.
The syllabus should also contain your policies on class attendance, tardiness, participation, make-up exams and quizzes, extra credit work and other bonuses, due dates and the like. Especially, be careful to explain how such factors could “override” the formula or general grading practice referred to above. Providing clear policy statements can ease the resolution of any complaints raised by students over grades, absences, etc. Any changes to your syllabus should be explained to the students, and provided in writing.
Exams: Non-final exams should be scheduled during the regularly scheduled class time. The holding of evening examinations in courses not normally scheduled in the evening shall be permitted only when all the following conditions are fulfilled: consent of the Chancellor of the college in which the course is taught is obtained; the evening examinations are scheduled in advance with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and announced to the students during the first week of the semester; and no more than four such examinations are scheduled in any one semester in any course. See Senate Rules and Policies, 44-30, at http://www.psu.edu/ufs/policies/.
Field Trips: The syllabus should also contain any information on field trips or other out-of-class activities. If a faculty member is planning a field trip, they should fill out the Field Trip Form well in advance of the trip (see Field Trip Policy and Procedures). In general, faculty should provide a list of participants to the divisional office, ensure appropriate emergency communications are available, and provide for transportation. Given class, work, and family schedules, faculty may want to plan for optional activities for students who can not attend the field trip.
Attendance: According to University Senate Policy 42-27, “it is the policy of the University that class attendance by students be encouraged and that all instructors organize and conduct their courses with this policy in mind. A student should attend every class for which the student is scheduled and should be held responsible for all work covered in the courses taken. In each case, the instructor should decide when the class absence constitutes a danger to the student's scholastic attainment and should make this fact known to the student at once. A student whose irregular attendance causes him or her, in the judgment of the instructor, to become deficient scholastically, may run the risk of receiving a failing grade or receiving a lower grade than the student might have secured had the student been in regular attendance.”
According to University Senate Policy 42-27, “Instructors should provide, within reason, opportunity to make up work for students who miss class for regularly scheduled, University-approved curricular and extracurricular activities.” If the instructor believes that a student’s legitimate absences are hurting their performance, the instructor should provide evidence about the impact of absences on the student’s performance to their Division Head for review. This evidence should include the number of absences, grades to-date, the relative weight of assignments, a recommended course of action, and any other appropriate information. The Division Head will consult with the Associate Dean about an appropriate course of action.
Instructors should also provide reasonable opportunity for students who miss class for other legitimate reasons. According to University Senate Policy, “Legitimate, unavoidable reasons are those such as illness, injury, family emergency, or religious observance.” For a calendar of religious observances, visit the "Holy Day Observance Letter and Calendar" site. Senate policy no longer requires that a student provide official documentation (doctor’s note, funeral notice, etc.), since some of the documents may violate the privacy rights of students. The goal is for faculty and students to engage in reasonable practices and dialogue.
You may not have a policy leading to an "automatic" lowering of the grade, unless it distinguishes between legitimate and unexcused absences (see previous paragraph).
If an instructor believes that a student’s legitimate absences may impact on their grade, the instructor should inform the student immediately. The instructor should keep copies of any correspondence or notes about conversations with the effected student(s) in case of a grade complaint.
Reasonable efforts to allow a student to make-up a missed evaluative event (test, quiz, etc.) do not include requiring the student use their option to drop a test or quiz score as the make-up, if you allow students to drop a score. Also, the make-up event (test, quiz, etc.) should be as similar to the in-class event, as is reasonably possible in order to provide the student with as close to the same opportunity as students who participated in the original test, quiz, or other evaluative event. The Learning Resources Center is able to proctor individual make-up exams. For more information, vist the Learning Resources Web site.
Students have a responsibility for contacting the instructor as soon as possible about legitimate absences. If it is possible to contact the instructor in advance of an evaluative event, the student should make a reasonable effort to do so. Students should be aware that requests for make-up exams or extension based on false claims may be considered violations of the policy on Academic Integrity.
Missing class for varsity athletic contests is an excused absence. Varsity student-athletes are to provide each of their instructors with the regular schedule of competitions and departure times for away contests early in the semester. However, some events (playoffs, re-scheduled competitions, etc.) may not be available at the beginning of the semester, and student-athletes are expected to notify their instructors about these events as soon as possible. These late scheduled events should be treated as legitimate absences by all faculty. Each student-athlete is responsible for making up any missed work. If an instructor has any questions about the dates of athletic events or a student-athlete, please contact Fredina Ingold, Director of Athletics (814-949-5410, firstname.lastname@example.org). Coaches should refrain from contacting instructors directly. If they have concerns about an attendance policy or a student-athlete’s treatment, they should contact the appropriate division head or the Assistant Dean for Policy and Planning.
The university’s grading policy (Senate policy 47-40, 47-60) is that “grades shall be assigned to individual students on the basis of the instructor’s judgment of the student’s scholastic achievement” according to the following definitions: “A (EXCELLENT) indicates exceptional achievement. B (GOOD) indicates extensive achievement. C (SATISFACTORY) indicates acceptable achievement. D (POOR) indicates only minimal achievement. It indicates that the student may be seriously handicapped in carrying a more advanced course for which this course is a specific prerequisite. F (FAILURE) indicates inadequate achievement necessitating a repetition of the course.” Furthermore, for undergraduates, the final grades of A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, D, and F must all be possible. Make sure that you communicate in your syllabus the performance levels you expect for a student to achieve each of the nine possible final grades.
The syllabus should contain a detailed explanation of your grading practices, especially how the final grade will be determined. If you will compute the final grade on the basis of a formula involving percentages or points, please describe the formula specifically. If you will use some other holistic or impressionistic system, please say so and describe your system as specifically as you can. Some sample grading statements appear in Appendix 2. Again, the clearer the information provided to students, the fewer complaints or other problems are likely to emerge, and those that do are easier to resolve. Any changes in your grading system or assignments should be presented to the class in writing.
Remember that it is possible for you to assign an individual or final grade more lenient than required by the standard you have defined in your syllabus if you think that it is appropriate to do so. (You may also decide to accept additional extra credit work that you have described ahead of time.) However, it is not possible to impose a stricter standard than you have defined. Therefore, it is important to think carefully about your policies ahead of time and to express them clearly in the syllabus, and to reinforce them orally and perhaps on individual assignment sheets as well. There are ways to retain flexibility in assignments, grading, and penalties. Please consult with your Division Head, and experienced faculty in your area if you need assistance.
It is important that instructors gain a sense of the standard of performance that is the Penn State norm. This is best achieved by discussing with your Division Head, your discipline or program coordinator, and especially senior faculty members in your discipline what their standards are for success and failure in courses. On an individual basis, you may contact colleagues who are senior instructors and ask them to share their tests and their grading to compare with your standards so that you have a better sense of what other faculty members are requiring of students in similar courses. It is not a good situation to have two different students in two identical courses being asked to achieve different standards and receiving different grades for having achieved those standards. Instructors are not asked to be untrue to themselves. However, instructors are encouraged to work out the dilemma of aligning their standards with those of their colleagues after receiving advice from senior members in their discipline.
Keep good records of grades, attendance, and other factors used to compute the final grade for at least one year. Your Administrative Assistant can order a grade book for you, if you need one.
C. Deferred Grades, No Grade, Change of Grade
If a faculty member decides that a student has a good reason to have the final grade deferred in order to complete specific course requirements, a temporary grade of “DF” is possible (See Senate Policy 48-40). However, the student must request the deferral prior to final exam week. The instructor then selects the "DF" from the pull-down menu, when recording grades via eLion. Deferred grades must be completed within 10 weeks following the end date of the semester, whether or not the student is enrolled for the following semester. Deferred grades that are not completed default to grades of F. To remove a deferred grade, please go to eLion and use the grade change form. Please consult with the Registrar if you are not familiar with the policies or procedures. For more information regarding deferred grades refer to the University Undergraduate handbook.
To insure clarity and minimize grade disputes, the instructor who has approved a deferred-grade request should complete the Deferred Grade Form, have the student sign the form, and file a copy with their divisional office.
No Grade (NG) is an option that an instructor should use if all grades are ready for submission, with the exception of one or two students. Enter the grade on-line with the NG grade (don’t chose anything. NG is not an option. A grade gets listed as NG if none of the options is chosen.) for the student in question. NG grades can be changed electronically until the student has been grade reported (all grades for that student have been submitted) or until the grade reporting deadline (typically, 48 hours after the final exam period). Otherwise, use the grade change authorization form, which can be obtained in the Registrar’s Office, to report late grades. The deadline to assign final grades to NG is four weeks beyond the end of the semester, or grade reverts to an F. (Senate Policy 48-50) Please note as per Senate Policy 48-20.3, "when a student registers for a course but ceases to attend class without officially dropping the course, the student is to be given a grade of "F" for the course."
Grade changes are appropriate if a final grade has been assigned but a miscalculation or error in recording on the part of the instructor has occurred. Use the grade change option in eLion to report the new grade. Corrected grades must be changed within one year of the end of the semester in question. (Senate Policy 48-30) Grades should not be changed for reasons other than miscalculation or error in recording.
D. Grade Mediation and Adjudication
"Grades shall be assigned to individual students on the basis of the instructor's judgment of the student's scholastic achievement as set forth in Section 47-60. This specifically includes the instructor's judgment regarding an appropriate academic sanction for academic dishonesty defined in Section 49-20. The instructor should provide written notification of the basis for grades to students within the first ten calendar days of a semester or its equivalent. Any changes in that basis should likewise be presented to students in writing." See Senate Rules and Policies for Students-47-20 Basis for Grades; See AAPPM — G-10: Grade Mediation and Adjudication
E. Class Lists
Class lists are available electronically via eLion in the eLion Faculty Services Class List. Class lists obtained through this system will be up-to-date, and are printable via eLion. They can also be delivered in minutes to the instructor's Penn State Access Account Email Address, and can be easily imported into a spreadsheet, database or email distribution application. Help for Class Lists/Basic instructions on downloading your class lists, file layouts and general instructions can be found at https://elion.psu.edu/registrar/facultyclasslist.html#email.
To use the eLion Faculty Services Class List application, you must have a Penn State Access Account User Id, Password, and SecurID; you must be listed in the employee database and the student records database. If you do not have a PSU access/email ID and password, contact Sherry Dillon in Information Technology (814-949-5356, email@example.com) If you cannot access the Faculty screen, please check with the Registrar's Office (E130 Smith Building, 814-949-5035). If you do not have a SecurID, contact Jim Spositio (814-949-5277, firstname.lastname@example.org).
To get your class list, go to https://elion.psu.edu/. Click on FACULTY, and login with Access Account (email address) and password. On left side menu, Click on CLASS LISTS, and then select the semester. The menu will bring up a list of your classes, using the button to select the course that you want the roster for, then click on CONTINUE. The class list will come up, scroll to the bottom, and click on PRINT CLASS LIST, or the desired download option for an electronic list. The class list will come up without left side menu, click on PRINT button of internet browser. Repeat as necessary for each class.
Faculty who teach in the early morning hours may want to ask their Administrative Assistant to print a preliminary roster the day before.
F. Informing Students of Progress
One of the most important services instructors provide to students is to keep them well informed of their progress. The customary procedure for doing this is to return graded exams and assignments on a regular and timely basis so that students can mark their own progress. You may also wish to pass out summaries of the students’ grades at one or two times during the semester, together with the computation of what their final grade would be at that time. In addition, you may be queried for a progress report for students in various groups—for example, athletes, at-risk students, and students with disabilities—by the faculty or staff member charged with overseeing those groups.
Students should receive significant grades or other feedback before the University’s “action dates” to help them to evaluate their progress when options are still available. "Action dates" are listed on the Registrar's office Web site each semester. Please note that partial semester classes have different action dates, and the Registrar’s Office should be contacted for information about those dates.
In accordance with University policy AD19, the PSU ID cannot be used to display students' scores or grades publicly (neither by the whole number or by just the last 4 digits).
Instructors can assign a secret code to each student in the class and post grades with this code. The "secret code" created can in no way use any student identifiers, or pieces thereof, such as name, SSN, or PSU ID. Codes used to post grades must be random and not correspond to students in alphabetical, SSN, or PSU ID order. In addition, eLion is a secured environment. With a few exceptions, instructors are required to use eLion to record final course grades. Students can then use eLion to retrieve their final grades. Faculty can also use ANGEL to post grades in a secure environment that is easily accessible for students.
G. Early Progress Report (formerly known as Mid-Semester Evaluation)
Between the start of the third week and the end of the sixth week of classes during both fall and spring semesters, each instructor shall evaluate the performance of each: 1. non-transfer degree candidates who are enrolled in their first or second semester (summers not included); 2. provisional students and; 3. Nondegree regular students who have earned 27 or fewer credits. If any such student has a grade of less than C, the instructor will utilize the online EPR system which will then notify the student and his or her advisers that the performance is unsatisfactory. (Senate Policy 47-70).
H. Defining and Maintaining Academic Integrity
As previously stated, faculty must spell out their adopted policy to each student. Both your definition of academic dishonesty (cheating, plagiarism, etc.) and its penalties must be detailed in the syllabus and discussed at the beginning of the class. Students should be made aware of the criminal severity of theft, sale, and/or possession of stolen property at the first class meeting. To help avoid external hearings and the like, give adequate notice of your rules. Clearly state them in your first class meeting and in your syllabus. A sample statement, which you may wish to make part of your syllabus, is found in Appendix 3.
Procedures — When Academic Dishonesty Is Suspected: The instructor should review the college's Academic Integrity Policy and Procedures at www.altoona.psu.edu/academic/integrity.php, and should contact the Assistant Dean, LA Wilson who oversees the academic integrity process. A checklist for faculty can be found on the listed site above, and outlines the steps for addressing an alleged academic integrity violation (see www.altoona.psu.edu/academic/docs/integrity_checklist.pdf). The instructor should then meet with the student to discuss the situation and give the student an opportunity to respond. The student should be told what the allegation is and what the procedures are for handling such cases. The instructor may assign an academic sanction ranging from a lowered grade or failure on the assignment to failure in the course and/or opt to pursue a disciplinary action in conjunction with the Academic Integrity Committee and Student Conduct (see Section on “XF” Grades). The Penn State Altoona Academic Integrity Committee will provide guidelines on ranges of appropriate sanctions for given types of infractions.
If the student accepts responsibility for the violation and the proposed academic sanction, the instructor will have the student sign the Academic Integrity Form, which closes the case as to the academic sanction, but not with respect to any disciplinary sanction that may be pursued. The instructor will forward this form and appropriate documentation to the Assistant Dean (W110 Smith Building) who will forward it to the Office of Student Conduct for record keeping.
If the student signs that he/she did not accept responsibility, the student can appeal the case to the Academic Integrity Committee. In this case, the Academic Integrity Form and all appropriate documentation should be submitted to the Assistant Dean (W110 Smith Building) who will forward all relevant case materials to the Academic Integrity Committee. If necessary, a hearing to review the facts of the case and/or the proposed academic sanctions will be scheduled. For academic sanctions, the decision of the Academic Integrity Committee is final. At the close of proceedings, the Academic Integrity Committee will notify all relevant parties of its decision and (if the student is found responsible) forward the outcome to the Office of Student Conduct for record keeping.
Referring Cases to the Office of Student Conduct — Cases must be referred to the Office of Student Conduct when the Academic Integrity Committee recommends the application of formal University disciplinary sanctions. In these cases, in accordance with University procedure for handling disciplinary incidents, the Office of Student Conduct will review the facts of the case and may assign disciplinary sanctions when appropriate. Under current University policy and practice, the Office of Student Conduct has the authority to initiate disciplinary sanctions for repeat offenders.
The "XF" Grade — An "XF" grade is a formal University disciplinary sanction that indicates on the student's transcript that failure in a course was due to a serious act of academic dishonesty. To record an "XF," the instructor, the Academic Integrity Committee, and the Office of Student Conduct must concur that this penalty is appropriate. The Academic Integrity Committee may develop conditions that, if met to the Committee's satisfaction, would allow the “XF” grade to be changed to an "F." If the "XF" grade is to be placed on a student's transcript, The Office of Student Conduct will make arrangements with the Registrar's Office to do so.
College Committee on Academic Integrity — The Chancellor shall appoint a Committee on Academic Integrity made up of faculty, students, and academic administrators with faculty being the majority. This committee shall:
I. Disruption of Classes by Students
Classroom disruptions are any behaviors which substantially or repeatedly interfere with the conduct of the class. Obvious examples of disruptive behavior include: threatening the instructor or others with physical violence, disoriented or erratic behavior, constant sleeping or talking, consistently entering class late, shouting at classmates, reading a newspaper or other materials, using cell phones, and any other actions which provide distractions to others. See the Student Guide to General University Policies and Rules 2011-2012, Rights and Responsibilities of Community Living, page 11, for the Policy Statement on Free Expression and Disruption.
In order to safeguard the educational process and maintain an atmosphere of civility in the classroom faculty are encouraged to abide by the following guidelines:
Should a faculty member wish to discuss how best to respond to a student's behavior in class, he/she is encouraged to contact their Division Head, the Interim Assistant Dean for Policy and Planning, Peter Moran (W114 Smith Building, 814-949-5282, email@example.com), the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Kenneth Womack (W110 Smith Building, 814-949-5090, firstname.lastname@example.org), or the Director, Office of Student Conduct, Jay Burlingame (103 Slep Student Center, 814-949-5065, email@example.com).
Please note: Students may not be penalized in the course for missed exams, papers due, etc., until a remedy is determined. These matters must be adjudicated with appropriate procedures so that the student's due process rights are preserved. At the same time, the rights of the other students in the class must be preserved.
J. Student Complaints
Students who have complaints about an instructor, whether it relates to class grade, conduct, or other issues, will be asked to follow the steps below:
At each step in this process, the instructor will be kept informed of the disposition of the complaint. Instructors may be asked to provide a copy of their syllabus, assignment weights and grades, and/or other relevant materials. Faculty can ease the complaint process by providing clear statements of grading criteria and assignment due dates, academic integrity, absences and make-up policies, and expectation about classroom behavior.
Division Heads will provide a report of student-faculty complaints from their division to the Assistant Dean for Policy and Planning at the end of each semester. If a difficulty arises in a course and a number of students have lodged similar complaints, the administration may survey all the students in the course to determine the degree to which there is a common problem.
K. Selection of Books
For some courses the department offering a course will prescribe a book, books, or a list of approved books. Instructors are usually free to supplement these books with others of their choosing. For other courses, instructors may choose any book they think appropriate. If you do not have a book list, consult with your Division Head or Program/Discipline Coordinator to determine which book is currently in use. You are expected to submit your book request form to the Bookstore as early as possible. Deadlines for instructors to provide textbook lists to the Penn State Bookstore have been established to coincide with the beginning of the registration period for the semester: March 1 for fall semester, September 1 for spring semester, and February 1 for summer session.
If no information is available about textbooks or other materials required for a class, "Not Available" should be written on the form. You will then be contacted by the bookstore at a later date in order to provide information about your selection. If required materials for a class will be provided during the first week of classes (such as a list of readings on electronic reserve), "To Be Announced" should be written on the form.
Whether you require a textbook or not, please return the book order form as soon as possible, and please include the above designations depending upon your particular situation. If your textbook information is already available, you may forgo the form itself and use the online input system at www.bookrequest.psu.edu online.
Contact the Bookstore at 814-949-5121 for information on ordering textbooks. You may obtain a desk copy request form from your faculty Administrative Assistant.
L. Office Hours, Offices, and Other Accessibility Outside the Classroom
As a faculty member, you are expected to be available to students in addition to classroom time. State in your syllabus and announce to students what your office hours are and whether you will be regularly available before or after class. An instructor should also be available at special times for students, particularly at the beginning and end of the semester and preceding and following exams. Availability of special office hours should be announced in class. A request for a classroom to have a large group meeting with students can be made through the Room Reservation page at http://intranet.altoona.psu.edu/request online. If you have questions, you can contact the Registrar's Office (E130 Smith Building, 814-949-5035).
Advisers need to be reasonably available at all times. Please note that you are expected to be on campus at least three days a week, even if you teach only two days a week.
Please convey information to students about how you can be contacted outside of your scheduled office hours. Provide students with the telephone number and office location of your faculty Administrative Assistant so that students can leave messages directly with the Administrative Assistant. Your mailbox will be located in your Administrative Assistant’s office area. Inform your students where your mailbox is located, and regularly check your mailbox. Also instruct your students on how to leave you a voice mail message. All students also have access to email accounts, in case you wish to communicate in that medium. Questions concerning voice mail should be directed Jim Sposito (814-949-5277), and questions concerning email should be directed to Sherry Dillon, Computer Center Administrative Assistant (814-949-5356).
M. Common Hour
Beginning in Fall 2001, a common hour was established. This period is from 12:15-1:05 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. No classes will be scheduled during this period in order to provide time for committee meetings and other activities.
N. Cancellation of Classes
Except in unusual circumstances, instructors are expected to meet all classes on the days and times assigned. Canceling a class should be an extremely rare event. Although last minute cancellation should be avoided, there are unusual circumstances, such as an illness or accident, where they may be unavoidable. If bad weather requires the University to cancel classes, the radio and television stations will be informed.
Faculty who know in advance that they cannot meet a class because of University responsibilities or another important reason should attempt to schedule a classroom activity profitable for the student that does not require the faculty member's presence—guest lectures, films, or examinations proctored by a substitute faculty member are possibilities. You may also spend the time profitably in other ways. The Division of Undergraduate Studies Office (C112 Smith Building, 814-949-5084), the Academic Internship Office (Tom Shaffer, 211 Learning Resources Center, 814-949-5789), the Education Abroad Office (Elizabeth Seymour, Interim Advisor, 211A Learning Resources Center, 814-949-5335), the Learning Resources Center (Paula Ford, 201 Learning Resources Center, 814-949-5112), and the Career Services Office (Rebecca Maguda, 103 Slep Student Center, 814-949-5058), can make presentations related to the course on topics such as study skills, internships, study abroad opportunities, and educational and career planning.
Rescheduling a class meeting is difficult, although the 7:00 a.m. time period is usually a good option. A Saturday morning make-up class meeting might also be considered. When arranging a make-up class, be sensitive to the work and family responsibilities of the students. Remember that they cannot be required to attend a make-up meeting. It may be prudent to anticipate this problem by scheduling one or two classes in your syllabus as "catch-up days." If you decide to re-schedule a class meeting, be sure to reserve the classroom through the Registrar’s Web site at http://intranet.altoona.psu.edu/request online.
If you must cancel class, please follow the procedures for changing voicemail, informing your Administrative Assistant, and entering the information onto the Web.
Voice Mail Notification — At the beginning of the semester, faculty members should set the ground rules for class cancellation procedures. Course syllabi should include course cancellation procedures, the dates of any known class cancellations, and the voice mail number of the faculty. When cancellation is necessary, it is required that faculty members utilize their voice mail messaging system to announce cancellations and inform their Administrative Assistant. It is not the responsibility of the Administrative Assistant to notify students. Informing Administrative Assistants is a courtesy that is expected.
To change your outgoing voicemail message: Dial 814-949–5800 to access the voice mail system. The system will prompt you to enter your phone extension number. You will then be asked to enter your password. Press 3 to access your personal greeting (outgoing message) menu. Press 1 to record your class cancellation message. Press 1 to activate your class cancellation message. Press * twice and then 9 to exit the voice mail system. Be sure to note the date in the message, in case you forget to change back to your normal message. Be sure to be specific – are all of your classes cancelled or just one of them? Also, add any special information for your students, i.e. Read the next chapter, or scheduled exam will be given in the next class meeting.
Notes: Remember to change the outgoing message after the class cancellation has passed. In the voice mail system, this consists of: Dial 814-949–5800 to access the voice mail system. The system will prompt you to enter your phone extension number. You will then be asked to enter your password. Press 3 to access your personal greeting menu. Press 3 to activate a new greeting. Enter the number of your everyday greeting (probably 1).
Be sure to inform your Administrative Assistant of your cancellation!
Web notification — Faculty should also go to www.altoona.psu.edu/secure online. You will need to login with your Access Account (email user ID) and email password.
This will lead you to a screen, where you can enter the appropriate information (course date, time the class begins and ends, course name, number, and section). You may also enter comments, such as assignments to be completed for the next class, reminder about exams, etc. This information will be automatically posted to www.altoona.psu.edu/cancel which is the screen where the students would receive class cancellation information. Clicking on the class name will present any comments that the instructor entered. The cancellation will automatically be deleted at midnight after the class was held. If you are unable to access a computer to enter a class cancellation, please call your Administrative Assistant, who will do this for you.
O. Proctoring Examinations and other Instructional Activities
Faculty members are expected to proctor their own in-class examinations. If you cannot be present to proctor your exam, you should make arrangements with another faculty member to proctor the exam. If you are having difficulties in finding another faculty member to proctor the exam, please contact your Division Head, who may be able to assist you in finding an appropriate faculty member to proctor your exam. Faculty Administrative Assistants or other support staff should not be asked to proctor exams.
If a student misses an examination and you wish to allow the student to make up the exam, you (the instructor) are responsible for proctoring the make-up exam. If you are unable to proctor the make-up exam, check with faculty in your program/discipline or your division head. The Learning Resources Center can proctor exams for individual students. Details on this service and the form requesting a proctored make-up exam can be found at www.altoona.psu.edu/lrc. It is important to allow sufficient time for scheduling the make-up exam and for delivery of the exam to the LRC. You should not ask your Administrative Assistant to proctor an exam.
Faculty Administrative Assistants and other support staff (laboratory technicians, work-study students, etc.) should not be asked to engage in instructional activities. Instructional activities include meeting with your class, taking roll, proctoring exams, running experiments, etc., and these activities are the responsibility of the faculty. If you can not meet with your class, you need to make alternative arrangements or cancel the class. Another faculty member, your program coordinator, or division head may be able to assist you. Staff who also serve as instructors can be asked to assist in meeting with your class, but there is no requirement for them to do so.
P. Final Exams
Final exam schedules are available through the eLion Faculty Services Final Exam Schedule prior to the beginning of the semester. You should include the date and time of the final exam for your class in your syllabus. If there is a final exam or other last major exam, whether comprehensive or not, it must be given during this assigned time. Take-home examinations or term papers given in lieu of a final exam may be assigned for submission no earlier than the first day of the final exam period. No exams, other than limited quizzes worth less than 10% of the total course grade, may be given during the last week of classes. (Senate Policy 44-10, 44-20).
Instructors teaching multiple sections of the same course may decide to combine sections to administer the final exam. The common exam time is 10:10 AM-12:00 PM, Monday through Wednesday of finals week. Contact your Division Head, who will review your request. If approved they will pass it on to the Registrar’s Office to schedule the room for your common exam.
If you should require a change in time for a final exam, you must submit a current class roster and separate sheets with each student’s signature indicating that the requested alternate exam time does not conflict with other final exams. This request and supporting documents should be submitted to your Division Head for review. Approved requests will be honored on a space available basis. Faculty are strongly encouraged to offer final exams in the assigned time and making use of appropriate proctors should be considered before applying for a change of exam.
Students may request rescheduling of final exams if extenuating circumstances exist. Students need to contact the Registrar’s Office by the published deadline and the office will contact instructors regarding their ability to be flexible. Extenuating circumstances involve direct conflicts (exams scheduled at same time on same day) or exam overload (three or more exams within a 15-hour period). (Senate Policy 44-25) After the final exam conflict deadline, (available on the Academic Calendar) is past, students must work directly with the faculty member. If a conflict is created due to a faculty member changing the day or time, that faculty member is expected to resolve the conflict.
Q. Submitting Final Grades
Grades will be entered by the faculty through eLion. This requires a Penn State Access Account and a SecurID token, and access to the Web. There are no special hardware or software requirements. If you do not have a PSU access/email ID and password, contact Sherry Dillon in the Computer Center (814-949-5356, firstname.lastname@example.org). If you do not have a SecurID token (or if your token is malfunctioning or lost), contact your Division Head who will make the request for a replacement on your behalf. A fee will be charged to re-issue a SecurID.
For full semester courses, the first day that grades can be entered is the Saturday after the last day of regular classes. For partial semester courses, the first day to enter grades is the day after the last scheduled day of the class. According to University policy, grades must be submitted no later than two business days after the final exam (see AAPPM, G-1).
Log into eLion using your PSU Access/Email userid, password, and six-digit code from your SecurID token. Select the faculty menu in the left-hand frame. Next select GRADE ENTRY from the left-hand frame. Then use the OK button to move to the next screen. Using the ENTER key will not move users to the next screen.
The next screen will show the user the list of courses being taught by the instructor for a given semester. Note the comment in the fourth column from the left, Grading Status, reading either “Ready” or “Not Ready.” Of the “Ready” sections, select the appropriate section using the radio buttons in the left-most column and then the CONTINUE button at the bottom.
The next screen will confirm information about the section selected: instructor, semester, and course information at the top of the screen. The remainder of the screen lists students in the section in alphabetical order, along with the last four digits of the student’s ID number, as well as other pertinent information such as a graduation indicator and Grade Option Messages such as “Withdrew,” “Late drop,” and “Audit.” If a message appears in the “Grade Option” field, only the available grades will appear in the pull down menu for that student’s grade. Example, a student who has late dropped a class can only be given the grade of WN, Policy 34-89.
If a section enrolls more than 36 students, users will see an intermediate screen with the beginning and ending names delimiting what records an instructor will be able to see at one time.
Likewise, students who were fully registered for the course who have not been attending will only be able to be assigned a final letter grade, A through F (+DF). Instructors will not be able to assign a late drop designation based upon the assumption that the student late dropped the course.
Note: if a student who has been attending your class does not appear on the grade roster, the student may not be registered for your course, or the student’s registration may not be complete. Please bring this to the attention of the student immediately. You will not be able to assign a final grade to a student who does not appear on your grade roster. Should the student complete the registration process after grades are initially submitted, instructors are required to assign a final grade by revising grades on eLion. Grades can be changed using eLion for up to one academic year after the course end date.
After assigning grades to all students in the section, a confirmation message will appear on your screen. From the left-hand frame, select REVIEW GRADES, and print a file copy of the grades that you have submitted.
On-going support can be obtained by contacting the Registrar's Office (E130 Smith Building, 814-949-5035).
The University does not mail grade reports to students. Students who have an access account can get their grades through eLion.
S. Evaluation of Teaching
The University requires all faculty members to have students evaluate their teaching. Beginning Fall 2010, the University’s Student Rating of Teaching Effectiveness (SRTE) form used for evaluation will be administered online. Evaluations for your class will automatically be made available for your students to complete and submit during the last two weeks of class, according to the Registrar’s open/closed list. The SRTEs cannot be completed during final exam week. Instructional Services will automatically make the necessary preparations for online SRTEs for every course section offered at Penn State Altoona. For additional details, guidelines, or specific questions concerning the administration of SRTEs, please contact the Instructional Services office (127 Eiche Library, 814-949-5082).
Peer evaluation is also a possibility. Peer evaluation by College and discipline peers is required in every promotion and tenure dossier. Evaluation also may be invited by the instructor or prompted by student complaints, but only after the instructor is notified that a visitation will take place.
Other forms of teaching evaluation may be explored and considered as well, but not in lieu of either SRTEs or peer evaluation.
VII. Resources for Teaching
A. Audio-Visual Resources, Computer Projection, Videoconferencing, ANGEL (CMS), and Digital Commons
The Instructional Services Staff (127 Eiche, 949-5082) are available to assist faculty with films, audio-visual aids, overhead projectors, computer projection, videoconferencing, and other audio-visual equipment and materials. If you have questions regarding what equipment is available and would best meet your needs, please contact Instructional Services. Also, Instructional Services can assist with the design and implementation of new instructional materials for specific pedagogical needs.
It is important to schedule the use of A/V equipment with Instructional Services even if you believe that the equipment you plan to use is permanently installed in the classroom or is “always there.” To order A/V equipment for classroom use, like an overhead projector, data projector, slide projector, or VCR/DVD player, please submit the request via email to the Instructional Services staff: Drew McGhee (email@example.com), Chris Venesky (firstname.lastname@example.org), Todd Harshbarger (email@example.com), and Cathie Stultz (firstname.lastname@example.org). You may also call Instructional Services at 5082 to make your request; if the call goes to voice mail, please leave your request in the Classroom A/V Request voice mailbox. To access the Classroom A/V Request voice mailbox directly, dial 814-949-5300 then, when prompted, dial 6868 and leave a message.
With all requests, please be sure to include the building and room number, the date, and the beginning and ending time of the class or event. (For semester-long, recurring requests, individual dates are unnecessary; the days of the week will suffice.) If you are unsure of exactly what equipment you need, please describe what you would like to do. You may feel more comfortable using the equipment after someone from Instructional Services has given you a demonstration of how to use it. To schedule an equipment review session, contact Instructional Services with a date, time, and room number for the meeting. Remember to verify with the Registrar’s office that the room will be available, and if possible, choose a room where you plan to use the equipment in the future.
Remember that equipment is limited, and requests are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. For best response, please request equipment at least one class day in advance.
If you find that you will not need to use A/V equipment (due to an exam, class cancellation, field trip, etc.) on a date for which you have already scheduled it, please contact Instructional Services to cancel your request for that date.
Videoconferencing, or video teleconferencing, combines the use of video, computing, and communications technologies to allow people in different locations to meet face-to-face and have a live discussion. Penn State faculty members may use videoconferencing as a method of extending their classrooms to students at different locations or to bring a distant guest speaker into a class. Videoconferencing has been called Pic-Tel, Picture-Tel, and Polycom, as well, since these are names of the various videoconferencing equipment used here. The Campus has three videoconferencing rooms, which seat 8-12 participants comfortably. Please contact Instructional Services for more information about videoconferencing at Penn State Altoona.
Adobe® Acrobat® Connect™ Professional (Connect) and Skype™ are Web-based programs available to Penn State faculty to communicate, collaborate, and/or teach from virtually anywhere to virtually anywhere at any time. They allow two-way video and audio conferencing, as well. Connect, formerly Macromedia Breeze, needs no special software. With Connect, all one needs to conduct a virtual class, either live or asynchronously, is an Internet connection, browser, and Adobe® Flash® (Flash) Player (which is already installed on most computers). If you would like to connect to someone who will be using a device that does not support Flash, such as the iPhone or iPad, Skype also offers applications for mobile and other devices that the user may download. For more information about using Connect or Skype in the classroom, please contact Instructional Services.
Drew McGhee can provide assistance with getting your course sections up and running on ANGEL. ANGEL is the course management system (CMS) available for use by instructors, students, and staff at Penn State. Go to http://cms.psu.edu for the Help and Information Guide, which is the most current resource for help, news, and information about ANGEL.
Films and videos from University Park are ordered by the faculty themselves on-line. These films and videos are then delivered to the Eiche Library. Films and videos are handled the same way as other inter-library loans. Faculty will need to pick-up and return their films and videos to the Eiche Library. An on-line catalog can be accessed, which lists the films and videotapes available through the University's extensive collection. Additional audio-visual tapes and other resources are included in the University Libraries collection. These can be accessed on the CAT. See the inter-library loan staff for details and assistance. Remember to contact Instructional Services to request the equipment required (VCR, DVD player, Blu-Ray player, 16mm projector, etc.) to present the film or video. Some foreign videos and DVDs require a special player. If you plan to present a foreign cassette or disc, you may want to contact Instructional Services first to determine if a Multi-Region player will be needed.
Media Commons, formerly Digital Commons, is located in 128A Eiche Library. Penn State’s Media Commons Web page (www.mediacommons.psu.edu) features tutorials on the available equipment and software. Please contact Instructional Services with questions about Media Commons, to reserve the room, or to request training for your classes.
B. Extra Help For Students
1. Professional Tutoring
Assistance is provided for students experiencing difficulty with English/writing and mathematics. All schedules and further information about the tutoring program are located at www.altoona.psu.edu/lrc. Changes or updates to the schedules are put on this webpage as soon as they are made.
2. Peer Tutoring
Peer tutoring is available for individualized assistance in many courses—the list changes each semester depending on which courses students apply to tutor. If you would like peer tutors for the courses you teach, encourage your best students to apply for tutoring jobs. The Learning Resources Center can't guarantee that it will hire all who apply, but students who have a faculty recommendation and meet all criteria (see www.altoona.psu.edu/lrc/apply.php) will have a good chance of being hired.
Students who need assistance should be referred to the Learning Resources Center webpage (www.altoona.psu.edu/lrc) where schedules for drop-in hours and a form for requesting help by appointment are available.
When appropriate, group tutoring sessions are arranged for selected courses. Instructors who are interested in scheduling peer-led review sessions should contact Paula Ford (814-949-5112 or email@example.com) for more information.
Note: All Learning Resources Center services are provided free of charge to students registered for courses at Penn State Altoona.
3. Study Skills
Courses, counseling, group seminars, and workshops are available for students who wish to improve their study skills. Academic Success Courses are available to students to help them make the transition from high school to college. These include Effective Study Skills and Time Management, The First-Year Experience, and College Reading Improvement I (LL ED 5). For more information contact Joann Shaffer in DUS (C106 Smith Building, 814-949-5158). Study skills consultants are also available through the Learning Resources Center (Paula Ford, 203 Learning Resources Center, 814-949-5112).
Advising is a responsibility of all full-time faculty and is considered to be a component of the University's teaching mission. Advisers are expected to have set office hours and to assist students with their concerns. All students are assigned an adviser with whom they can consult regarding academic matters. For example, students should consult with their adviser before dropping a course or withdrawing from the University. The University Undergraduate Advising Handbook can be found at www.psu.edu/dus/handbook.
Students may also wish to speak with the Program Coordinator or College Contact Resource Representative for the College in which they are enrolled. Students may also consult with an adviser from the Division of Undergraduate Studies. The DUS Senior Programs Coordinator is Joann Shaffer (C106 Smith Building, 814-949-5158), and she is responsible for oversight of the academic advising program.
5. Working with Students with Disabilities
The Pennsylvania State University encourages academically qualified students with disabilities to achieve full participation and integration of its educational programs. It is Penn State’s policy not to discriminate against qualified persons with disabilities in its admissions policies and procedures or its educational programs, services, and activities. The Pennsylvania State University Guidelines are provided in the interest of assuring that documentation is appropriate to verify eligibility under the ADA and to support requests for reasonable accommodation, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids.
Students must be referred to Disability Services located in the Sheetz Family Health Center at Penn State Altoona in order to receive requested academic accommodations.
For more information please contact Dr. Joy Himmel, Director Health and Wellness Center (814-949-5540) and visit the Health and Wellness Web site for the Faculty Handbook on Disability Services. You are also encouraged to review the “In Their Shoes” Web-based training on working with students with disabilities. This program is designed to provide a glimpse of what it is like to walk in the shoes of those with disabilities.
The Learning Resources Center also has some adaptive equipment for students with low vision or learning disabilities, or who use a wheelchair.
6. Academic Internship Office
The Academic Internship Office provides assistance for students seeking internships for academic credit. For more information contact Tom Shaffer, Academic Internship Coordinator (211 Eiche Library, 814-949-5789, firstname.lastname@example.org), or visit his Web page at www.altoona.psu.edu/internships/.
7. Career Services Office
The Career Services Office provides a variety of services including individual career counseling, resume writing, job search strategies, and an on-campus recruitment program. There is also a Career Resource Library. For more information contact Rebecca Maguda, Director of Career Services (126 Slep Student Center, 814-949-5058) or visit their Web page at www.altoona.psu.edu/career.
8. Medical Care, Counseling and Psychological Services, and Health Education
Services to students include counseling, health care for acute and chronic conditions, allergy clinic, immunizations, and nutrition counseling. The Health and Wellness Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, and some evenings (814-949-5540). Faculty are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with the RESOURCES for FACULTY and STAFF found at www.altoona.psu.edu/healthwellness.
Information on the Early Alert system as well as the Working with Worrisome Students module are available at that site. Faculty are also strongly encouraged to complete the AT RISK module, an interactive, Web-based training simulation that uses educational gaming technology to teach university faculty and staff to effectively identify, approach, and refer students exhibiting symptoms of mental distress including depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide. At RISK may be accessed at www.kognitocampus.com/student/ (enrollment key = psu07). For additional information, please contact Dr. Joy Himmel at 814-949-5540.
9. Study Abroad Office
The Study Abroad Advisor provides assistance to students who are interested in studying abroad, and to faculty who are interested in developing study abroad programs. For more information, contact Elizabeth Seymour, Interim Advisor (211A Eiche Library, 814-949-5335) or visit the Web page at www.altoona.psu.edu/studyabroad.
10. Veteran's Representative
The Veteran's School Certifying Official assists veterans in applying for education benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill and can direct them to other resources. For more information, contact Jean Lasinski (W114C Smith Building, 814-949-5282) or visit the Web page at www.altoona.psu.edu/veterans.
C. Cancellation of Students' Schedules
Student schedules may be cancelled due to non-payment by the end of the fourth week of the semester, and these students will not be allowed to re-add these courses. They will have to file for re-enrollment for a future semester through the Registrar's Office. Students will be provided with multiple notifications of this deadline, and encouraged to contact the Bursar's or Student Aid Office to discuss possible financial aid or payment options.
As faculty, you will be notified when the cancellation process is completed, and faculty should review their course rosters. Please note: It is a liability to Penn State Altoona to allow a student to remain in classes if they are no longer on the course roster.
A committee has been formed to review each student's circumstances and allow for exceptions prior to cancellation. Faculty who may know of a student with extenuating circumstances, and wish to request an exception, can submit a REGISTRATION REVIEW, an on-line form for Penn State faculty and staff is available at www.altoona.psu.edu/secure/registration_review.
Please refer to www.altoona.psu.edu/registrar/facstaff.php for further information regarding the Registration deadlines.
D. The Library
Robert E. Eiche Library supports the academic needs of Penn State Altoona’s students and faculty and provides bibliographic and instructional support for the curriculum. There are over 90,000 titles in the library collection that include books, videos, and CDs. Materials outside of the Penn State System are accessible through Interlibrary Loan.
Through Penn State’s Online Catalog (the CAT), faculty have access to materials throughout the Penn State Library System. There are between 450-500 periodical databases and other electronic sources. Go to www.libraries.psu.edu to learn about these and other resources. If you would like individual assistance with your research needs, contact the Reference Desk at 814-949-5253.
If interested in scheduling an instruction session for any classes, please contact Jeff Knapp, Instruction Coordinator, at 814-949-5493, email@example.com or use the online form www.libraries.psu.edu/psul/secure/forms/altoona_forms/instructionform.html
For Course Reserves information, please call 814-949-5256 or use the online form www.libraries.psu.edu/psul/secure/forms/reservesforms/bookres.html
For Circulation information including renewals, please call 814-949-5256.
To suggest titles for purchase, contact any of the reference librarians or use the online form www.libraries.psu.edu/psul/secure/forms/altoona_forms/suggestform.html
To learn more about the Library, visit the Eiche Library Web site www.libraries.psu.edu/psul/altoona.html
E. Computer Resources
Faculty and students have access to a variety of computer resources ranging from powerful mainframes to personal computers available from the Office of Information Technology. The Office of Information Technology has three instructional areas. 258 Hawthorn Building is equipped with 44 IBM compatible networked PCs. 253 Hawthorn Building has 20 Mac computers. 259 Hawthorn Building houses 44 IBM workstations. These areas may be reserved for classroom instruction by contacting the Registrar's office (E130 Smith Building, 814-949-5035). Remember to contact Instructional Services if you plan to use the data projector, VCR/DVD player, and/or overhead projector in these rooms. Students may use open areas or unreserved classrooms on a first come, first served basis.
An Arts Computer lab is located in room 115 of the Misciagna Family Center for Performing Arts. This lab has 20 MAC computers with various graphics packages, scanner, and printers. To reserve for class use, contact Madelyn Greenberg (239 Hawthorn Building, 814-949-5521).
Faculty and students who need access accounts should contact Sherry Dillon (814-949-5356), the Administrative Assistant in the Office of Information Technology. Full-time tenure track faculty are given appropriate university support for computer use in their offices as well. Information on computing policy and procedures can be found at the Strategic Planning for Information Technology web page at www.altoona.psu.edu/spcit/
F. Administrative Assistant Services
All faculty are provided word processing, duplicating, and other administrative assistant services for their academic needs. Administrative Assistants can make overheads, send faxes, and handle other kinds of relevant correspondence. Administrative Assistants should not be asked to proctor exams, cover class during absences, or engage in any other instructional activities. The Learning Resources Center can proctor exams for individual students. Details on this service and the form requesting a proctored make-up exam can be found at www.altoona.psu.edu/lrc. A full-time administrative assistant will be assigned to you, and in many offices, another administrative assistant will work in the same area in the evenings. In general, you will need to provide your administrative assistants with materials to be word processed and duplicated at least two days in advance of the date you plan to use them. Should there be any difficulty regarding this service, the concern should be expressed to the Senior Executive Assistant for Academic Affairs, Michele Kennedy (814-949-5090, MAK31@psu.edu). Your mailbox will also be located in your Administrative Assistant's office.
G. Grading Assistance
Six Scan-Tron 888P automatic test scoring computers are located in the following areas: the hallway of the 129 office complex in the Smith Building, Hawthorn, Cypress, Sheetz Family Heath Center, 107 Science, and Aaron Building. Ask the faculty administrative assistant in your building to show you the many types of answer keys available.
No teaching or grading assistants or exam proctors are available. Faculty are responsible for grading all of their evaluative instruments and cannot involve students or administrative assistants with correcting tests, grading, recording grades, administering exams or quizzes, or proctoring them.
H. Admitting Students to Your Class
If your class is officially closed, you have the option of requesting that the Registrar admit a student to it. In general, you should not do so, especially when there are still openings in other sections of your course or other courses that would satisfy the student's requirements. However, students enrolled in degree programs which must be completed here—our Associate degree programs and Penn State Altoona baccalaureate degree programs—rather than University Park must be guaranteed normal degree progress. You may wish to make an exception in their cases. You may also wish to consider the requests of students whose schedule is complicated by the need to maintain a part-time or a full-time job.
If you decide to admit a student to your section you must sign the reverse of the "Registration Drop/Add Form" on the line for departmental approval. Prior to signing this form, you must ensure that the classroom will accommodate the additional student. You may need to check with the Registrar's office, 814-949-5035, to ensure that you do not exceed the room's capacity. Many classes are full to room capacity. When this is the case, the student can not be admitted to the class, even with your approval. You should also check with the Bookstore to ensure that there are books available.
The drop/add form is available in the Registrar's Office (E130 Smith Building), or the form can be printed from the Web. The student will then take the form to the Registrar's Office, who will override the system. Please note that online scheduling is not available for course adds that require a faculty member's signature.
On occasion, students that instructors have approved to be added to their classes are not able to be accommodated. Classes cannot be overloaded beyond the capacity of the classroom, and students with holds on their records or incomplete registration activity are not able to make schedule changes. Every effort will be made to accommodate students that you have signed into your sections. Should you decide not to over-enroll your section, the Registrar's Office will abide by your decision.
Late Adds: Students who ask to add your course after the end of the regular add period must bring an add slip for you to sign. However, please note that you are under no obligation to allow the student to add your course. If you feel that the student has missed too much work and/or too much critical class time, then you can simply explain that to the student. You are not obliged to add students into your courses after the end of the ADD period (the add period ends at 8 am on the day following the end of the drop period, which normally ends on the tenth calendar day of the semester.
If you do decide to admit a student to your class after the add period, you may want to put your expectations for making up missed work in writing and sharing this with the student. This can head off grade issues later in the semester, and serves as the equivalent of an amended syllabus for the student who added the course late. You are not responsible for re-teaching the missed class material, but should provide reasonable assistance to the student to make-up missed material with the student having the main responsibility for catching up.
I. Teaching and Learning Consortium
Our college values learning in all its forms. To foster excellence in teaching and learning, the Penn State Altoona Teaching and Learning Consortium sponsors a variety of activities to enhance the culture of learning at Penn State Altoona. For more information contact Kitty Mussett (KAM13@psu.edu, 814-949-5211), or visit their Web site at www.altoona.psu.edu/tlc).
J. The Grace D. Long Faculty Excellence Award
The Grace D. Long Faculty Excellence Award was created in 1989 to recognize two faculty members, who by their performance as teachers and their work in the areas of advising, scholarship, research, and service, demonstrate excellence in their profession.
Nominations will be requested at the beginning of the Spring semester. The nominations are reviewed by a committee composed of three members of the Executive Committee of the Senate, three members of the Executive Staff, and a student representative. The recipients receive a plaque and a cash award during the Spring Semester Academic Awards ceremony.
K. The Barbara Long Beck Endowed Excellence Award
The Barbara Long Beck Endowed Excellence Award was created in 2006 to honor and recognize outstanding achievement by a faculty member and staff member of Penn State Altoona who represent the field of nursing. If there are no nominees in the nursing category, then it will be used to recognize faculty and staff from any other area.
Nominations will be requested at the beginning of the Spring semester. Four nominees (two staff members and two faculty members) will be selected by the Executive Committee of the College Senate. From the final four nominees, two recipients (one staff member and one faculty member) will be selected by the officers of the Advisory Board of Penn State Altoona. Recipients will receive a plaque and a cash award during the Spring Semester Academic Awards Ceremony.
Advising is a responsibility of all standing faculty and fixed-term appointees who have advising duties designated as part of their contract. During the fall semester, a mandatory advising orientation program for new advisors is coordinated by the advising center staff. This program is designed to introduce faculty advisors to the academic structure of the University and prepare them to offer assistance to their advisees regarding curricular requirements and academic policies/procedures. As advisers of students, faculty are expected to have set office hours and to assist students with their academic concerns. Each of the traditional, discipline colleges in the university has a College Representative on campus. He or she is responsible for assigning advisees to advisers and to make sure that you are provided with the basic information necessary to advise students successfully. The Division of Undergraduate Studies Senior Program Coordinator, Joann Shaffer (C 106 Smith Building, 814-949-5158), who oversees the campus advising program, is another resource. Each college also has an advising office at University Park. These may be called for additional information. The University Undergraduate Advising Handbook can be found at www.psu.edu/dus/handbook/.
Advisers are also expected to serve as the first empathetic contact for a student with other concerns as well. Advisers should refer students to the appropriate office of the university for their concerns. The Learning Resources Center (Paula Ford, 203 Learning Resources Center, 814-949-5112), the Division of Undergraduate Studies, (Joann Shaffer, C 106 Smith Building, 814-949-5158), the Health and Wellness Center (Joy Himmel, Sheetz Family Health Center, 814-949-5053), and the Career Services Office (Rebecca Maguda, 126 Slep Student Center, 814949-5058) may be appropriate resources to which to refer students.
IX. Professional Development
Several types of resources are available to support professional development projects such as research, presentations of scholarship and creative expression, attendance at workshops and conferences, and pedagogical enhancement. The Research and Sponsored Program Office at Penn State Altoona was created to support the faculty in their pursuit of external funding for teaching and research (W110 Smith Building).
Anyone seeking to engage in research on a campus of the University (whether funded or not) is subject to the rules governing the use of human subjects and animal experiments. Faculty should review policies regarding use of human subjects and be prepared to submit a completed form. All requests for external support—regardless of the nature of the activity—that in any way obligate the resources of the university and result in a contract of some sort, must be reviewed before submission to a granting/contracting agency.
A. Policies Regarding Research
B. External Sources
Penn State Altoona has access to an external funding sources database which contains information about funding from agencies external to the University. The Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs, L. A. Wilson (W110 Smith Building, 814-949-5768) will help you identify appropriate external funding agencies for a project and provide assistance with proposal development. Your Division Head and senior faculty in your discipline who have had successful grant applications may be good resources as well.
C. Internal Sources at Penn State
Several funding sources are available from Penn State Altoona and from the University at large. Criteria for funding are summarized for each source as follows. Please note that procedures and dates may be revised.
1. Penn State Altoona
X. Personnel Matters
A. Contracts, Benefits, and Payroll
There are basically three kinds of faculty appointments: Standing Faculty; full-time Non-Standing Faculty (Fixed-Term I or Fixed-Term Multi-year); and part-time Faculty (Fixed-Term II). Full time faculty, whether Standing or Non-Standing, are eligible for the full range of University benefits. Faculty should consult with the Business Office (E103 Smith Building, 814-949-5020) for details.
The University issues paychecks at the end of each month. Most full-time faculty have nine-month contracts, but compensation is paid over 12 months; the exception is the first year's payments, which extend from August to June with 2/12ths being paid in August. Payroll questions should be directed to the Bursar/Finance Office (W111 Smith Building, 814-949-5030).
B. Faculty Leaves of Absence
Penn State Altoona has a commitment to provide support for its faculty, and will work with faculty members when they face illness, maternity, or other times of need. Although there is no formal vacation and/or sick leave policy for faculty, the University grants several types of leaves, both with and without salary. Plans to apply for any leave should be discussed with your division head, who may ask for a written request for leave. The division head will then meet with the Associate Dean to determine appropriate action. Questions of salary continuation, health-care coverage, etc., often arise when a faculty member is absent from the normal schedule for an extended period. The following information is intended to provide summary information addressing questions most frequently asked about leaves of absence. This information is not intended to be definitive on policy matters. Faculty should call the Human Resources Coordinator, Cherrie Henry (C105 Smith Building, 814-949-5093, firstname.lastname@example.org) for information regarding benefits coverage, etc., and for more detailed policy information.
C. ID Cards
Faculty checking materials out of any of the Penn State Libraries need an ID+ card. These may be secured from the Housing and Food Service Office, located in the Port Sky Café. This same ID card is the only identification necessary for the faculty member to use Penn State Altoona facilities, including the Adler Athletic Complex, the Computer Center, and the Eiche Library. The ID+ card also has a variety of other usages, including as an ATM card. Check with the Business Office for further information.
The gymnasium, tennis and racquetball courts, pool, weight room, and other facilities are also available to the immediate families of all employees. Family members may use the facilities when accompanied by the faculty member. The faculty member needs to obtain a special id card for their family members from the University Relations office (Beech House, 814-949-5105).
Free parking is provided. A parking permit may be obtained from the Police Services Office (Willow Building, 814-949-5222). This permit, used appropriately, is also valid at University Park and other Penn State locations. All individuals employed at Penn State Altoona are expected to park in assigned lots and to display the parking permit on their car. Those parking outside of their assigned lots will be ticketed. If you should fail to pay the ticket, the fine will be deducted from your pay. If you believe special circumstances should provide for an exception to this policy, you should appeal to the Director of Business Operations.
E. Scheduling and Classroom Assignment
In scheduling classes, we first seek to meet the needs of the students and then to accommodate the scheduling needs of faculty. The schedule planning process takes place as early as twelve months prior to the beginning of a semester. Division Heads and Program/Discipline Coordinators will request input from the faculty about their teaching times. The Division Heads will make recommendations to the Registrar in light of the needs of the students and the availability of facilities.
Classrooms are assigned by the Division Heads. The Registrar will try, as space constraints permit, to accommodate the specialized needs of faculty to teach in certain classrooms (for computer projection capability, for example), but the first concern of the Registrar is to maximize the use of classrooms for the benefit of students. There are also a limited number of classrooms in various sizes. If you prefer to teach in a particular classroom, make your needs known to your Division Head who will consider your request and make a recommendation to the Registrar.
Once classrooms are assigned, instructors should not request a room change unless the room is obviously inadequate for the needs of the class, and all requests must go through the Division Head. Under no circumstances may faculty change classrooms without the Division Head's permission.
F. Travel Reimbursement
Full-time faculty are eligible for travel reimbursement under the existing funding levels and travel regulations of the University. A Travel Support Form is available from your Administrative Assistant. This form must be approved by the division head before it can be submitted for reimbursement. The form should be returned to your Administrative Assistant, who will submit its data via the computer to the appropriate offices for approval and execution.
G. University Vehicles
Several cars and a van are available for University business. These should be scheduled as far ahead of time as possible. You may do so at the switchboard (E101 Smith Building, 814-949-5000).
Two campus buses (26 seats and 32 seats) can be scheduled for group trips through the Athletics Office. Please contact Debbie Wasko for details (101 Adler Athletic Complex, 814-949-5410).
H. NOW: News on the Web
Penn State Altoona's NOW Web site is the on-line hub for college-related news and information. The site features access to internal and external news items, the college's calendar of events, photos and videos of college events, faculty/staff and office directories, access to course cancellations, and more. Faculty who are active in community affairs, scholarly conferences and publishing, and other academic activities are encouraged to share information on NOW through the college's intranet site at http://intranet.altoona.psu.edu. NOW: News on the Web is maintained by the office of University Relations (Beech House, 814-949-5105).
Appendix 1: Promotion and Tenure Reviews
Information on HR-23 can be found at http://guru.psu.edu/policies/OHR/hr23.html.
Information on the forms used for Tenure and Promotion dossiers can be found at http://guru.psu.edu/gfug/instruct/4-21.html.
Dossier divider for The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Effectiveness can be found at http://guru.psu.edu/gfug/instruct/4-21etex.pdf.
Dossier divider for The Scholarship of Research and Creative Accomplishments can be found at http://guru.psu.edu/gfug/instruct/4-21erex.pdf.
Dossier divider for Service and the Scholarship of Service to the University, Society, and the Profession can be found at http://guru.psu.edu/gfug/instruct/4-21esex.pdf.
Dossier divider for Librarianship Ability and Effectiveness can be found at http://guru.psu.edu/gfug/instruct/4-21elex.pdf.
Appendix 2. Sample Grading Statements
Elaborate Statement (from a Comparative Literature Class)
50% QUIZ AVERAGE. There will be daily quizzes composed of no more than three questions — two "What happened?" questions and one "What does it mean?" or "Did you think about what I asked you to think about?" question. Also, I will try to construct questions that cannot be answered correctly by students who have read only Cliff's Notes. In computing your final grade, I will drop the lowest four of the twenty-nine total quizzes from your final quiz average. The quizzes will be given only in the first five minutes of class. I will repeat questions for late-comers, but I will not allow them any extra time to complete the quiz.
10% FIRST ESSAY. 2 1/2 to 3 pages typed (or done on a computer word processor), on a topic to be announced, relevant to the Classical works we study.
15% SECOND ESSAY. 2 1/2 to 3 pages typed (or done on a computer word processor), on a topic to be announced, relevant to the Medieval works we study.
10% PARTICIPATION in class discussions. Students who seldom or never volunteer should expect a "D" or an "F"; students who volunteer constructively — even questions on things that they didn't understand — will do much better.
15% FINAL EXAMINATION. First, there will be quotations from the various works discussed during the entire semester. You will briefly identify the work, its author, and the language it was written in. Then you will comment on the significance of the quotation to the work from which it comes. Second, there will be an essay question relevant to the works we study from the Renaissance.
ATTENDANCE. Students who miss more than four classes will have their final grade lowered by one-half grade per absence beginning with the fifth absence. I will use your quizzes to keep attendance, so even if you don't know the answer to any of the questions, please turn in a sheet of paper with your name on it for your quiz. Students who are tardy or who leave class early may be marked absent at my discretion.
Your individual grades will be converted into a percentage of the points available for each of the above categories out of a total of 1000. (There are 100 points available for something worth 10% of the final grade, 150 points for something worth 15%, etc.) Numerical grades will be converted to a number of points proportionate to them. Letter grades will be converted according to the following scale: A+ earns 100% of the points available; A 95%; A- 92%; A/B 90%; B+ 88%; B 85%; B- 82%; B/C 80%; C+ 78%; C 75%; C- 72%; C/D 70%; D+ 68%; D 65%; D- 62%; D/F 60%; F (for conscientious efforts on essays or for silent participation) 50%; F (for non-conscientious efforts on essays, for not turning something in, for plagiarism or other forms of cheating, or for detracting participation) 0%.
When your earned points are added together, 921 to 1000 points = A; 900 to 920 points = A-; 880 to 899 points = B+; 821 to 879 points = B; 800 to 820 points = B-; 780 to 799 points = C+; 700 to 779 points = C; 600 to 699 points = D; and 0 to 599 points = F.
The final grade in the course will be computed as follows:
50% QUIZ AVERAGE. There will be daily quizzes. In computing your final grade, I will drop the lowest four of the twenty-nine total quizzes.
ATTENDANCE. Students who miss more than four classes will have their final grade lowered by one-half grade per absence beginning with the fifth absence. Students who are tardy or who leave class early may be marked absent at my discretion.
In general, A = 95%, B = 85%, C = 75%, D = 65%, F = 55%, with up to five percentage points added or subtracted for completeness and format. Work that is not turned in or is plagiarized does not earn any credit.
When your earned points are added together, 921 to 1000 points = A; 900 to 920 points = A-; 880 to 899 points = B+; 821 to 879 points = B; 800 to 820 points = B-; 780 to 799 points = C+; 700 to 779 points = C; 600 to 699 points = D; and 0 to 599 points = F.
Sample Grading Statement Based on Improvement
Appendix 3: Sample Statement on Academic Integrity for Syllabi
DEFINITION AND EXPECTATIONS OF ACADEMIC INTEGRITY
Academic integrity includes a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation or deception. Such acts of dishonesty violate the fundamental ethical principles of the University community and compromise the worth of work completed by others.
To protect the rights and maintain the trust of honest students and support appropriate behavior, faculty and administrators should regularly communicate high standards of integrity and reinforce them by taking reasonable steps to anticipate and deter acts of dishonesty in all assignments. At the beginning of each course, it is the responsibility of the instructor to provide students with a statement clarifying the application of University and College academic integrity policies to that course. (see Policies and Rules for Students, Section 49-20).
Consequences of academic dishonesty:
Appendix 4: Definition of Diversity and Diversity Mission Statement
Penn State Altoona Definition of Diversity
We value learning in all of its forms – classroom instruction, independent learning, co-curricular learning, faculty research, and study and improvement of our own administrative and academic processes. Learning involves developing an appreciation for people from different backgrounds and who exhibit diverse types of thinking.
At Penn State Altoona we proactively engage faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members to explore and experience various cultures and diverse life experiences that are available on campus and in the community. As a learning community we challenge and support each other to understand how various cultural backgrounds, life experiences, challenges, and orientations affect how we see the world. These interactions afford us the opportunity to broaden our worldview, as well as enhance our sensitivities and appreciation of diversity.
Penn State Altoona is committed to being a leader within the University and our community by fostering an environment where diversity in all of its forms is celebrated, affirmed, and vigorously pursued. It is our intent to create a campus community that affirms the dignity, value, and uniqueness of each person. It is our intent to aggressively pursue the recruitment and retention of a more diverse administration, staff, faculty and student body. Moreover, we want to ensure that the campus climate is welcoming and affirming for all persons.
It is our goal to graduate individuals that understand and appreciate the things we all have in common, as well as those things that make us unique. We strive to instill in them the skills, attitudes, and sensitivities that will be essential for them to be leaders and change agents in a diverse, multicultural world.
Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity and the diversity of its workforce.
This publication is available in alternative media on request.
Revised July 2012, 7/31/2012
If there are corrections that need to be made to this manual please contact the Office of Planning and Institutional Research at 814-949-5282.