FAQOhio State instructors have many questions about policies and procedures related to teaching. Unfortunately, the answers tend to be scattered all across our university. Whether you are new to Ohio State or have been teaching here for years, we hope this FAQ list will help you quickly find some answers to your questions. Have a question we haven’t asked yet? Please email us with “Suggestion for FAQs” in the subject line.

FAQs About Teaching Policies and Procedures

How to use! Click on the questions for their answers.

University Course Structure

  1. Do the course numbers (100, 200, etc.) mean anything in particular?
  2. There is a university classification and course numbering system.

    • Courses numbered 000-099 are non–credit courses (except certain seminars and colloquia) for orientation, remedial, or other noncollege–level experiences. These are courses with credit added to graduation requirements.
    • Courses numbered 100–199 are basic courses providing undergraduate credit, but not to be counted on a major or field of specialization in any department. Courses at this level are beginning courses, required or elective courses that may be prerequisite to other courses.
    • Courses numbered 200–299 are basic courses providing undergraduate credit and may be counted on a major or field of specialization.
    • Courses numbered 300–499 are intermediate courses providing undergraduate or basic professional credit that may be counted on a major or field of specialization.
    • Courses numbered 500–599 are intermediate courses providing undergraduate or professional credit that may be counted on a major or field of specialization and may provide graduate credit only in other departments.
    • Courses numbered 600–699 are courses providing undergraduate or professional credit that may be counted on a major or field of specialization, and may provide graduate credit (in all departments).
    • Courses numbered 700–799 are advanced courses providing undergraduate, graduate, or professional credit.
    • Courses numbered 800–999 are courses providing graduate credit and are open to undergraduates only with the consent of the dean of the graduate school.
    • Courses for which graduate credit is anticipated must be taught by a member of the faculty approved by the graduate committee of the department offering the course. Courses at the 800 and 900 levels must be taught by members of the graduate faculty.

    Source: Rules of the University Faculty 3335–8–05

  3. Are there required courses that all undergraduates must take?
  4. Yes, there are university required courses. Every undergraduate curriculum must provide for a minimum of fifteen hours of free electives. Every undergraduate student must complete forty–five hours selected to ensure acquaintance with the three basic areas of academic study; the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. A minimum of fifteen hours is required in each of the three areas.

    Source: Rules of the University Faculty 3335–8–06

  5. Why do some classes have more than one section, while others do not?
  6. The standards to be applied to the formation of class sections in a course are:

    • When the registration in a course for a particular quarter is less than twenty–five students, it shall be taught in one section only.
    • When the registration in a course for a particular quarter is less than fifty and more than twenty–five students, it shall be taught in not more than two sections.
    • When the registration in a course for a particular quarter exceeds fifty students, the sections into which it is divided must be so formed that no section has less than twenty students.
    • Where specialized methods of instruction are employed or where there are peculiar difficulties in student schedules, the application of these rules may be modified by the chair of the department and the dean of the college or the director of the school upon approval of the executive vice president and provost.
    • The graduate professional colleges may formulate rules to govern the formation of class sections, subject to the approval of the council on academic affairs.

    Source: Rules of the University Faculty 3335–8–18

  7. How are course credit hours determined?
  8. Credit hours may be any number from zero on up; however, in determining the credit hours assigned, the department, school, college and council on academic affairs should use as a guide the following suggested standards:

    • One credit hour shall be assigned for each three hours per week of the average student's time, including class hours, required to earn the average grade of “C” in this course.
    • One credit hour shall be assigned for each two consecutive hours of practical or experimental work per week in any department or school.
    • One credit hour shall be assigned for each three hours of laboratory work per week, when no additional outside work is required. When outside work is required, then the standard in the first bullet of this rule shall be applied.
    • In determining the hours per week required by the course or work, the council on academic affairs may, in appropriate cases, consider the average weekly hours spent during a quarter, semester, or session on the course or work. It should be remembered that the above are guides only and may be deviated from for good cause.
    • When comparing or combining semester credit hours with quarter credit hours, one semester credit hour shall be the equivalent of one and one–half quarter credit hours.

    Source: Rules of the University Faculty 3335–8–24

  9. How are credit points determined?
  10. Credit points shall be assigned on the following basis:

    • For each credit hour of "A," 4.0 credit points shall be allowed
    • For each credit hour of "A-," 3.7 credit points shall be allowed
    • For each credit hour of "B+," 3.3 credit points shall be allowed
    • For each credit hour of "B," 3.0 credit points shall be allowed
    • For each credit hour of "B-," 2.7 credit points shall be allowed
    • For each credit hour of "C+," 2.3 credit points shall be allowed
    • For each credit hour of "C," 2.0 credit points shall be allowed
    • For each credit hour of "C-," 1.7 credit points shall be allowed
    • For each credit hour of "D+," 1.3 credit points shall be allowed
    • For each credit hour of "D," 1.0 credit points shall be allowed
    • For each credit hour of "E," 0.0 credit points shall be allowed
    • For each credit hour of "EN," 0.0 credit points shall be allowed

    All other marks (see, Rule 3335–8–21 of the Administrative Code) carry no credit points.

    Source: Rules of the University Faculty 3335–8–24

Enrollment and Student Absence

  1. Can I disenroll a student from my course?
  2. The instructor (or in the case of a graduate teaching associate, the supervising faculty member), the chair of the instructor's department (with the agreement of the instructor), or other appropriate administrative official may disenroll a student from a course if:

    1. After the third instructional day of the quarter, semester, session, or term, the first Friday of the quarter, or the student’s second scheduled class session of the course, whichever occurs first, the student fails to attend the scheduled course without giving prior notification to the instructor. Under this paragraph, no student may be disenrolled from a course until after the first course meeting following the student’s registration. When the department elects to use this procedure, the instructor, the chair, or other appropriate administrative official shall notify the student’s enrollment unit. The enrollment unit will notify the student and take appropriate action to remove the student from the course. Since not all departments exercise the option to disenroll students in all courses, this rule does not relieve the student of the responsibility for dropping a course the student is not attending.
    2. The student enrolls to audit a course without the instructor’s approval, or fails to meet the prerequisites of the course. Disenrollment procedures shall be the same as in paragraph (1) of this rule.
    3. Before the third Friday of a quarter, semester, or session, or the second Friday of a summer term, and following completion of a placement examination, or another appropriate measure of preparation or ability, the student is judged to be registered in an inappropriate course. The department or school offering the course may then instruct the secretary of the college or school in which the student is enrolled to change the student’s registration either to a more elementary or more advanced course.

    Source: Rules of the University Faculty 3335–8–33

  3. Is there a university policy about student absences from class?
  4. Each department or school may make its own rules relative to occasional absences by students from scheduled activities. If, however, a student is absent from a course to such an extent as to imperil his or her credit, or is notably irregular in attendance, it shall be the duty of the instructor concerned to report the facts promptly to the dean of the college in which the student is enrolled. The dean may take such action as deemed appropriate.

    Source: Rules of the University Faculty 3335–9–21

  5. What do I do about school-sanctioned absences (e.g. athletics, performances) from my class?
  6. When a student misses class in order to participate in a university sanctioned event, such as a field trip for another class, or an athletic or band event, or a specially scheduled class or examination scheduled in accordance with Rule 3335–8–15 of the Administrative Code, it is the student's responsibility to present, at the earliest possible date, documentation of the required absence to each instructor whose class is to be missed. Documentation may include a copy of the course syllabus that shows the scheduled activity from a class scheduling an event or special session, or a memo from the instructor, coach, or person in authority requiring the absence. It shall be the responsibility of the instructor of the class or coordinator of the event causing the student to miss class to provide such documentation to the student. This documentation may be the basis of an excuse for an absence from class under the policies provided in Rule 3335–9–21 of the Administrative Code.

    Source: Rules of the University Faculty 3335–9–22

Military Duty

  1. What are the procedures if I am called up for military duty?
  2. Graduate students who are members of the Ohio National Guard or any other reserve component of the United States Armed Forces or who involuntarily are ordered to extended United States military service, are granted leave without pay. The GA is required to submit to the supervisor a copy of military orders or other statement in writing from the appropriate military authority as evidence of the call for training or duty. Within 90 days from the date of honorable discharge or completion of training or active duty, the GA will be returned to the former position or its equivalent, without loss of seniority, upon application for such a position and reenrollment as a graduate student.

    Source: Ohio State Student Employment Policy 10.10(III)(E)(1)–(3).

    Download a copy of Ohio State Human Resources Student Employment Policy 10.10. Additional Human Resources policies regarding Ohio State student employee appointments and salary guidelines is available here.

    Ohio State’s Office of Human Resources provides information here for Ohio State faculty and staff who have been called to active military duty.

    Ohio State’s Office of the University Registrar (OUR) provides information here that is specifically written for students who have been called to active military duty. The OUR provides information here that is specifically written for faculty and staff, regarding how to respond to the needs of students who have been called to active military duty.

Instructor Rights and Freedoms in the Classroom

  1. What academic freedom do I have?
  2. The university has reaffirmed its commitment to academic rights and responsibilities in April, 2006. As a member of the American Council on Education (ACE), the university endorses the following principles:

    • Academic freedom and intellectual pluralism are core principles of America's higher education system.
    • Government's recognition and respect for independence of colleges and universities is essential for academic excellence.
    • Colleges and universities should welcome diverse beliefs and the free exchange of ideas.
    • Grades and other academic decisions should be based solely on considerations that are intellectually relevant to the subject matter.
    • Neither students nor faculty should be disadvantaged or evaluated on the basis of their political opinions.
    • Any member of the campus community who believes he or she has been treated unfairly on academic matters must have access to a clear institutional process to address grievances.

    For additional information about Ohio State’s policy regarding academic freedom and responsibility, see Rules of the University Faculty 3335–5–01.

    Students who are concerned that their grade in a course has been affected by a consideration not intellectually relevant to the subject matter, or who are concerned about unfair academic treatment on the basis of political opinions or other personally-held tenets or points of view, should refer to Rules of the University Faculty 3335–8–23(C), regarding cases of grade grievance that are not due to grading procedures, as well as to Rules of the University Faculty 3335–5–04, associated with complaints against Ohio State faculty members. An undergraduate student may choose to consult an academic advisor or the student advocacy office for advice on this process. A graduate student may choose to consult the graduate studies committee chair for advice on this process.

  3. Can I change the time that my class meets after the quarter has already started?
  4. No instructor shall change the hour or place of meeting of any class to which a student has been assigned except with the approval of the office of the university registrar. Instructors who deviate from regular university schedules by holding special sessions or examinations must have received approval from their department chair, regional campus dean and director or college dean to hold such special sessions or examinations. Such instructors shall accommodate students who may have conflicts because of required attendance in regularly scheduled classes. This rule does not apply to policies for the scheduling of final examinations which are provided in Rule 3335–8–20 of the Administrative Code.

    Source: Rules of the University Faculty 3335–8–15

  5. Am I required to administer a final exam? If so, do I have to give my final according to the university final exam schedule?
    • At the close of each course as defined in Rule 3335–8–01 of the Administrative Code, an examination will be given on the student's capabilities relative to the stated course objectives, the method of examining to be determined by the instructor or supervisor of the course.
    • Examinations in laboratory and seminar courses shall be optional with the instructor concerned.
    • All other final examinations shall be centrally scheduled by the office of the university registrar. The official examination schedules shall be strictly adhered to by all instructors. Any deviation must first be approved by the appropriate university official (department chair, regional campus dean and director, or college dean) in consultation with the office of the university registrar, which shall have the power to resolve all conflicts. Final grades for graduating students must be submitted electronically to the office of the university registrar by the deadlines established by that office.
    • In performing its scheduling function the office of the university registrar shall limit individual examinations to two–hour duration and the total examination period to no more than five days.

    Source: Rules of the University Faculty 3335–8–19

GTA Employment Policies

  1. How many hours can a GTA work each week?
  2. The majority of GAs are appointed at 50 percent time (an average load of 20 hours per week over the duration of the appointment period). It is customary that the GTA appointment duration is for 12 weeks in order to accommodate time spent in teaching preparation and finals week. A GA may not hold an appointment for more than 75 percent time, whether as a single appointment or combination of appointments.

  3. As a GTA, can a graduate student teach a course independently?
  4. Specific graduate associate responsibilities are determined by the appointing units. These may include teaching classes, recitations, and labs; advising and counseling students; grading papers; gathering and analyzing data; writing reports; and assisting faculty members and administrators. GTAs must certify proficiency in spoken English before assuming GTA duties involving direct student contact (applies only to international non-English speaking graduate students). If the student is enrolled in a bachelor’s/master’s combined program, they can hold only a GA appointment that does not involve the teaching of other students.

Grading

  1. Do I need to use a specific grading scale? If so, what is it?
  2. The official marks of the university are as follows: "A," "A-," "B+," "B," "B-," "C+," "C," "C-," "D+," "D," "E," "EM," "EN," "I," "K," "P," "PA," "NP," "R," "S," "U," "W."

  3. What do these official marks (grades) mean?
  4. These marks shall have the following meaning:

    "A," "A-"
    The instructor judged the student to have satisfied the stated objectives of the course in an excellent manner. The student's performance was judged to be in this range of high quality based upon a comparison with other students in the course, and/or with students who have taken the course previously, and/or the instructor's personal expectations relative to the stated objectives of the course, based on the instructor's experience and expertise.

    "B+," "B," "B-"
    The instructor judged the student to have satisfied the stated objectives of the course in an above–average manner. The student's performance was judged to be in this range of above–average quality based upon a comparison with other students in the course, and/or with students who have taken the course previously, and/or the instructor's personal expectations relative to the stated objectives of the course, based on the instructor's experience and expertise.

    "C+," "C," "C-"
    The instructor judged the student to have satisfied the stated objectives of the course in an average manner. The student's performance was judged to be in this range of average quality based upon a comparison with other students in the course, and/or students who have taken the course previously, and/or the instructor's personal expectations relative to the stated objectives of the course, based on the instructor's experience and expertise.

    "D+," "D"
    The instructor judged the student to have satisfied the stated objectives of the course in a low but acceptable manner. The student's performance was judged to be in this range of below average but acceptable quality based upon a comparison with other students in the course, and/or with students who have taken the course previously, and/or the instructor's personal expectations relative to the stated objectives of the course, based on the instructor's experience and expertise.

    "E"
    The instructor judged the student not to have satisfied the stated objectives of the course. Credit for a course in which the mark "E" has been received can be obtained only by repeating and passing the course in class (see Rules 3335–8–23 through 3335–8–28 of the Administrative Code).

    "EM" – examination
    This mark indicates credit given to students registered in the university on the basis of examinations taken prior to or after admission to the university. The level of achievement which must be demonstrated by the student on these examinations in order to receive "EM" credit shall be determined by the department or school in which the course is offered for credit, in accord with the criteria for the award of letter grades. This credit, up to a maximum of forty–five credit hours, shall be assigned only upon the authorization of the chair of the department or the director of the school and with the approval of the authorized representative of the dean or director of the student's enrollment unit. Additional examination credit hours may be assigned specific curricular programs with the prior approval of the council on academic affairs. Examination credit shall not be given to a student for a course in which the student has received a mark at this university or for which the student has transfer credit from some other college or university. Conversely, no course for which "EM" credit has been received can be taken later for a grade or credit. No credit points are Allowed for courses in which a mark of "EM" is given.

    "I" – incomplete
    An "I" indicates that the student has completed a major portion of the work in the course in a satisfactory manner, but for reasons judged by the instructor to be legitimate, a portion of the course requirements remains to be completed.

    "K" – credit
    This mark shall be used for work credited from other institutions by the director of undergraduate admissions only. "K" credit shall be counted as hours only and shall not be considered in determining a student's point–hour ratio under Rule 3335–8–26 of the Administrative Code.

    "EN" – E, non–attendance
    This mark shall be used to indicate that the student was properly registered for the course, but failed to complete the course because of non–attendance. It does not differentiate between the student who never attended or stopped attending at some point during the academic term. When assigning this mark, an instructor must also provide some indication (e.g. day or week of the academic term) of when the student stopped attending the course. This mark shall be treated as an "E" for the purpose of calculating a student's point–hour ratio.

    "P" – progress
    This mark is used to indicate that the student has shown satisfactory progress in a series or sequence of courses where the mark is not recorded until the final quarter, semester, or session of the series or sequence is completed. Until such time as a final mark is recorded, the mark of "P" shall be given and the credit shall be counted as hours only, and shall not be considered in determining a student's point–hour ratio under Rule 3335–8–26 of the Administrative Code. When a final mark is submitted by the instructor, all previous "P" marks shall assume and be recorded with the value of this final mark.

    "PA" – pass, "NP" – non–pass
    The grade pass "PA" means the student has satisfied the stated objectives of the course, and the grade non–pass "NP" is the equivalent of the grade "E." These marks may be used at the option of undergraduate or continuing education students only, subject to the following conditions:

    • This grading pattern may be chosen for a maximum of thirty credit hours, provided the student has an accumulated point–hour ratio of 2.0 or higher.
    • Among these thirty credit hours, an undergraduate student may elect this option for courses in fulfillment of the curricular requirements of Rule 3335–8–06 of the Administrative Code.
    • An undergraduate student may elect this option for courses that are not required or designated as required electives in the curriculum leading to the degree for which the student is a candidate.
    • Hours graded pass "PA" count toward the minimal number of hours required for a degree. Pass or non–pass marks ("PA," "NP") are not computed in the point–hour average of the student.
    • Before five p.m. of the third Friday of a quarter or the second Friday of a term, a student must have declared intention to take a course on this basis by filing the appropriate form with the dean or director of the student's enrollment unit. A student may not change to or from this option after five p.m. of the third Friday of a quarter or the second Friday of a term.

    "R" – registered to audit
    This mark indicates that the student has registered to audit the course and has met the conditions established for audit enrollment in the course. No credit hours shall be awarded for this mark (see Rules 3335–8–29 and –8–33 of the Administrative Code). Before five p.m. of the third Friday of a quarter, semester, or session, or the second Friday of a term, a student must have declared intention to take a course for audit or to change from a credit to an audit basis by filing the appropriate form with the dean or director of the student's enrollment unit. A student may not change to or from the audit option after five p.m. of the third Friday of a quarter, semester, or session, or the second Friday of a term.

    "S" – satisfactory, "U" – unsatisfactory

    • The mark "S" may be used to record either satisfactory progress in or completion of work, provided that the course has been approved for this mark by the dean of the college offering the course, and in the case of courses carrying graduate credit, by the dean of the graduate school. It shall be used as an alternative to "U" or "I" in all individual studies courses whatever their number. "S" credit shall be counted as hours only, and shall not be considered in determining a student's point–hour ratio under Rule 3335–8–26 of the Administrative Code.
    • The mark "U" shall be used for unsatisfactory work in courses in which a student would be entitled to the mark of "S" if the student's work had been satisfactory. No credit shall be given for work marked "U." This mark shall not be considered in determining a student's point–hour ratio under Rule 3335–8–26 of the Administrative Code.

    "W" – withdrew
    This mark is used for students withdrawing from one or more courses or from the university.

    Source: Rules of the University Faculty 3335–8–21

  5. If I give a student "I" (incomplete), what is the timeline for completing the work?
  6. An "I" indicates that the student has completed a major portion of the work in the course in a satisfactory manner, but for reasons judged by the instructor to be legitimate, a portion of the course requirements remains to be completed:

    • The mark "I" shall be reported to the office of the university registrar together with the mark which the university registrar is authorized to enter on the student's official record unless a different mark is reported to the office of the university registrar in the manner and within the time described below.
    • The student must complete the work so that the instructor of the course may report the final mark at the earliest possible time, but not later than noon of the sixth Saturday of the quarter, semester, or session, following that in which the "I" was received. For legitimate reason the instructor may establish a deadline for the completion of the work which is within the maximum time permitted. Upon petition of the student within this period, the instructor or, if the instructor is unavailable, the chair of the department involved, may for good reason allow a student additional time in which to complete the work. An extension beyond the date grades are due for the quarter, semester, or session following that in which the "I" was received requires concurrence of the instructional unit's dean, director, or college secretary. Any decision extending the period shall set forth the time in which the student shall complete the work and a copy of the decision shall be forwarded to the office of the university registrar.
    • As soon as the incomplete work has been made up, the instructor, or in the case of the instructor's absence from the university, the department chair or the director of the school, shall file the proper mark in the office of the university registrar. Until such time as a final mark is recorded the credit for the mark "I" shall be counted as hours only, and shall not be considered in determining a student's point–hour ratio under Rule 3335–8–26 of the Administrative Code.
    • In no case shall a student who has received the mark "I" be permitted to repeat the course in which such mark was received until such time as the "I" has been removed and then only in such cases as fall within Rule 3335–8–28 of the Administrative Code.

    Source: Rules of the University Faculty 3335–8–21

  7. How do I grade a student who never shows up to my class?
  8. A student who stops attending a course and does not officially withdraw from it shall have the appropriate mark as submitted by the instructor entered on the student's official permanent record for the course(s). Such a mark shall be based on the grading criteria used to evaluate all students in the course.

    An "EN" (E, non–attendance) mark shall be used to indicate that a student was properly registered for the course, but failed to complete the course because of non–attendance. It does not differentiate between the student who never attended or stopped attending at some point during the academic term. When assigning this mark, an instructor must also provide some indication (e.g. day or week of the academic term) of when the student stopped attending the course. This mark shall be treated as an "E" for the purpose of calculating a student’s point-hour ratio.

    Source: Rules of the University Faculty 3335–8–21

  9. Do I need to grade on a curve?
  10. There is no university policy stating that you must (or must not) grade students on a curve. However, you should ask your department chair about its procedures, typical practices, and expectations.

Keeping Student Records

  1. How long should I keep materials submitted by students?
  2. Materials submitted by a student to satisfy course requirements shall either be returned to the student or made available for the student's inspection, after they have been marked or otherwise evaluated, before the end of the quarter, semester, session, or term in which the work is performed or, in the case of final projects and final examinations, no later than the fourteenth day of instruction of the following quarter, semester, session, or term. Materials of this kind which have not been returned to the student shall be retained by the academic unit or the individual instructor until the last day on which a grade change may be initiated. An exception to this rule may be made in the case of materials that are impracticable to store if the need for such exception is clearly communicated in writing and distributed to the students at the beginning of the course.

    Source: Rules of the University Faculty 3335–8–23.1

  3. I am using Ohio State's Carmen software to support courses that I am teaching. How can I maintain a backup copy of the Carmen files for my courses?
  4. Ohio State instructors who use Carmen, the software for Ohio State’s online learning management system, are reminded by the Office of Technology Enhanced Learning and Research (TELR) that

    [i]t is the instructor’s responsibility, as well as a highly recommended best practice, to maintain a current copy of the Carmen grade book and other critical course and content files outside the system at all times.

    Source: TELR’s Common Questions [about Carmen]: Backing Up Data

    TELR provides information here about how instructors can back their Carmen files.

Disruptive Student Behavior

  1. Can I disenroll a student in my class for being disruptive?
  2. The instructor (or in the case of a graduate teaching associate, the supervising faculty member), the chair of the instructor's department (with the agreement of the instructor), or other appropriate administrative official may disenroll a student from a course. The chair must consult with the instructor and the student in question, and utilizing other university resources, as desirable, the chair (or other appropriate administrative official) may disenroll a student from a course if the student presents a clear and present threat of bodily harm or injury to the instructor or fellow students, or, after warning, continues to engage in disruptive conduct, either of which results in impairment of teaching or learning processes.

    Source: Rules of the University Faculty 3335–8–33

  3. If students miss my class or exam, do I need to accommodate them?
  4. Instructors of the regularly scheduled classes which have been missed by students attending special sessions or examinations (see "group absences) should make reasonable efforts to assist students who miss a class due to authorized absence. The instructor, however, is not obligated to provide make–up classes, laboratory exercises, field trips, or examinations. The student is responsible for material covered in class during the absence. If an examination will be missed, the student should make alternate arrangements prior to the absence with the instructor of the class.

Distressed Students

  1. How can I recognize signs of mental distress in students?
  2. Counseling and Consultation Service (CCS) provides an outstanding guide for recognizing signs of mental distress in students here.

  3. Are there any trainings to teach me how to recognize signs of distress and point at-risk students in the right direction?
  4. Yes. The Campus Suicide Prevention Program offers frequent Suicide Prevention Trainings. UCAT hosts one of these each quarter, so check our Events page for upcoming dates.

    Additionally, UCAT and CCS sponsor the At-Risk simulation training. Through this online program, you can work through conversations with virtual students that will help you develop the skills to get at-risk students the help they need. The training is free to faculty, instructors, and GTAs in the Ohio State community. Find out more here.

  5. Is there a statement I can include on my syllabus to let students know I am willing to help them?
  6. The following statement is recommended for all syllabi at The Ohio State University.

    A recent American College Health Survey found stress, sleep problems, anxiety, depression, interpersonal concerns, death of a significant other, and alcohol use among the top ten health impediments to academic performance.

    Students experiencing personal problems or situational crises during the quarter are encouraged to contact the OSU Counseling and Consultation Service (614-292-5766; www.ccs.osu.edu) for assistance, support and advocacy.

    This service is free and confidential.

Teacher/Student Interactions

  1. Can I date a student?
  2. Romantic and/or sexual relationships between faculty/staff/graduate associates/undergraduate TAs and students cannot continue whenever there are supervisory, teaching, evaluation, advising, coaching, or counseling responsibilities for the student. The person in the position of higher institutional authority has the responsibility to eliminate the conflict of interest. The conflict of interest must be eliminated in a way which minimizes potential for harming the person with lower institutional authority. Alternative academic/supervisory arrangements must be made to avoid being in a prohibited relationship; if acceptable alternative arrangements are not feasible, the relationship cannot continue.

    Individuals in positions of power must be aware that romantic or sexual relationships with students are fraught with danger for exploitation and pose a legal risk to both the individual and the institution. There are special risks in any sexual or romantic relationship between individuals in inherently unequal positions of power. These relationships may be subject to concerns about the validity of consent and unfair treatment of other students or employees. Such relationships can undermine the atmosphere of trust essential to the educational process and the employment relationship. They may, moreover, be less consensual than the individual whose position confers power believes. The apparent consensual nature of the relationship is inherently suspect due to the fundamental asymmetry of power in the relationship and it thus may be difficult to establish consent as a defense to a charge.

    Even when both parties consented at the outset to a romantic or sexual involvement, this past consent does not remove grounds for or preclude a charge or subsequent finding of sexual harassment based upon subsequent unwelcome conduct. The greater the institutional power differential that exists the greater risk there is for exploited consent. Exploited consent exists when consent to a relationship is given as a function of the position of power one occupies over another within an institution.

    Many international students, faculty, and staff come from cultures in which deference to any authority figure is important and sexual harassment laws do not exist. Some individuals may be especially vulnerable to exploitive relationships given cultural, language, and immigration/visa issues. Faculty, staff, and students should be very careful to avoid relationships that may be exploitive in nature.

  3. What constitutes sexual harassment?
  4. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature when it meets any of the following:

    • Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or academic status.
    • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting such individual.
    • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for working, learning, or living on campus. Sexual harassment can occur between any individuals associated with the University, e.g., an employee and a supervisor; coworkers; faculty members; a faculty, staff member, or student and a customer, vendor, or contractor; students; or a student and a faculty member.

    Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:

    • Some incidents of physical assault.
    • Direct or implied threats that submission to sexual advances will be a condition of employment, work status, promotion, grades, or letters of recommendation.
    • Direct propositions of a sexual nature and/or subtle pressure for sexual activity that is unwanted and unreasonably interferes with a person's work or academic environment.
    • A pattern of conduct that unreasonably interferes with the work or academic environment (not legitimately related to the subject matter of a course) including:
      • Sexual comments or inappropriate references to gender.
      • Sexually explicit statements, questions, jokes, or anecdotes regardless of the means of communication (oral, written, electronic, etc.).
      • Unwanted touching, patting, hugging, brushing against a person's body, or staring.
      • Inquiries and commentaries about sexual activity, experience, or orientation.
      • The display of inappropriate sexually oriented materials in a location where others can view them.

    Click here to access additional information about Ohio State’s sexual harassment policy, provided by Ohio State’s Office of Human Resources.

Student Privacy Laws (FERPA)

Please Note: The following information offers an introductory overview to Ohio State's FERPA policies. Click here to access the “General Information” section of The Ohio State University Registrar’s web site, which provides more comprehensive information regarding Ohio State’s FERPA policies. Ohio State’s Office of the Treasurer provides information about FERPA, tailored specifically for students’ parents and guardians, here.

  1. What student privacy issues should I be concerned with?
  2. FERPA is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of students’ education records. Education records include any information or documentation that is recorded in any way, including records produced by handwriting, computer, email, audio, and video, among others. Educational records contain information directly related to a student, and are maintained by Ohio State or any party acting on its behalf.

    FERPA protects the privacy of students' education records by setting forth strict instructions and limitations governing the release of information about students. Although FERPA contains exceptions for the release of "directory information" without a student's prior written consent, students have the right to request that even such directory information be withheld from disclosure to third parties.

    Given the restrictions of FERPA, you should assume that all of your students must provide written consent that follows the format specified in FERPA before any education records may be released to anyone other than the student. Information cannot be released to any third party, including the students' parents, relatives, and friends. Particularly sensitive information includes students' social security numbers, race or ethnicity, gender, nationality, academic performance, disciplinary records, and grades.

  3. Can I post student grades outside my office door?
  4. The only acceptable method to post grades publicly is to assign students in your class unique, confidential numbers or codes for the purpose of posting grades, and further, to ensure that such codes and posting are not alphabetic. Publicly posting grades using names, social security numbers, or Ohio State identification numbers are all violations of FERPA. Mailing grades to students is only acceptable if the information is enclosed in a sealed envelope. Mailing grades via postcards violates a student's right to privacy.

  5. Can I return student assignments, papers, or exams by putting them in a pile on the desk in the classroom?
  6. It is a violation of FERPA to leave any graded assignments, papers, or exams unattended for students to pick up where students could view the work of other students. Such work can be returned to students in such a manner if it is in sealed envelopes with the student's name on the envelope. Further, it is appropriate for a staff member to keep such student work and return it to the students upon verification of the student's identity. Please ensure that any staff member who is responsible for keeping graded assignments for return to the students is apprised fully of his/her obligations under FERPA to prevent the unauthorized release of that work to someone other than the student.

  7. With whom am I allowed to talk, about a student's academic performance?
  8. A student’s academic performance is part of his/her education record, and discussing the student's performance with anyone other than the student (or another school official with a "legitimate educational interest") is a violation of FERPA. Please refrain from discussing the academic performance, grades, or other parts of a student's education record with anyone other than the student.

  9. A student's parents are calling me about their child's academic performance. What can I tell my student's parents?
  10. Although parents often are paying for their child's education, unless the student is a dependent student as defined under the Internal Revenue Code, parents are not entitled to review the student's records without the student's permission. Therefore, faculty who give parents updates about their child's academic performance without express written permission of the student/child may be in violation of FERPA.

    If parents do request such information, you should assume that the student is not a dependent student and explain that you cannot discuss the student's academic performance without written permission of the student. Grades, classroom performance, quiz and test scores, and exams are all part of the student's education record and require written permission to divulge to parents. Student authorization must detail exactly what information can be released to the parents and should be provided in writing, signed by the student.

  11. Are there things I cannot include when writing a student recommendation letter?
  12. Recommendation letters on behalf of a student that contain specific information from the student's educational record, such as grades or a student's grade point average, are in violation of FERPA unless the faculty member has received prior written permission from the student to disclose that information. When you receive requests for letters of recommendation from the student, you should have the student sign a written authorization enabling you to disclose such relevant information in the letter. In the alternative, the content of the letter should not contain information from the student's education record as described above.

  13. What is a legitimate reason for accessing student records?
  14. Faculty members should not have access to student's education records absent a "legitimate educational interest." As school officials, faculty members have legitimate educational interests when they are advising the student, working on student attrition, or other similar educational interests. Casual conversations among faculty members discussing students' grades, performance, or other aspects of their education records violate FERPA absent a legitimate educational interest.

Academic Misconduct

  1. What is academic misconduct?
  2. The Ohio State University'sCode of Student Conduct defines academic misconduct as "[a]ny activity that tends to compromise the academic integrity of the University, or subvert the educational process." While many people associate academic misconduct with only "cheating," academic misconduct actually includes a wider scope of student behaviors, which include (but are not limited to):

    • Violation of course rules;
    • Violation of program regulations;
    • Knowingly providing or receiving information during a course exam or program assignment;
    • Possession and/or use of unauthorized materials during a course exam or program assignment;
    • Knowingly providing or using assistance in the laboratory, on field work, or on a course assignment, unless such assistance has been authorized specifically by the course instructor or, where appropriate, a project/research supervisor;
    • Submission of work not performed in a course: This includes (but is not limited to) instances where a student fabricates and/or falsifies data or information for a laboratory experiment (i.e., a "dry lab") or other academic assignment. It also includes instances where a student submits data or information (such as a lab report or term paper) from one course to satisfy the requirements of another course, unless submission of such work is permitted by the instructor of the course or supervisor of the research for which the work is being submitted;
    • Submitting plagiarized work for a course/program assignment;
    • Falsification, fabrication, or dishonesty in conducting or reporting laboratory (research) results;
    • Serving as or asking another student to serve as a substitute (a 'ringer') while taking an exam;
    • Alteration of grades in an effort to change earned credit or a grade;
    • Alteration and/or unauthorized use of University forms or records.

    To go to the Committee on Academic Misconduct (COAM) web site for more information, click here.

    Source: Reprinted with permission from COAM.

  3. Can I deal with cases of academic misconduct on my own?
  4. No. One of the primary duties and responsibilities of the Committee on Academic Misconduct is to "investigate...all reported cases of student academic misconduct, with the exception of cases in a professional college having a published honor code, and decide upon suitable disciplinary action," and "instructors shall report all instances of alleged misconduct to the committee" (University Faculty Rule 3335–5–48.7(B)(1)). Aside from this rule, there are several additional reasons why faculty should report all instances of alleged misconduct to the Committee. When a case of alleged academic misconduct is brought to the Committee:

    • The case is resolved by an impartial hearing panel;
    • The panel uses a consistent standard in reviewing alleged violations of the Code of Student Conduct;
    • The panel uses a consistent standard when applying sanctions;
    • The panel has the authority to determine if a student has a prior history of misconduct and to take this into consideration when sanctioning a student; and
    • The panel has the authority to authorize grade sanctions for courses in which students have violated the Code of Student Conduct.
    • The Committee has the authority to impose other sanctions as necessary to maintain the academic integrity of The Ohio State University.

    To go to the Committee on Academic Misconduct (COAM) web site for more information, click here.

    Source: Reprinted with permission from COAM.

  5. Do I need to include a statement about academic misconduct in course syllabus?
  6. The Committee on Academic Misconduct (COAM) recommends that every faculty member, instructor, and graduate teaching associate who is teaching a course prepare and distribute (or make available) to all students a course syllabus. Furthermore, COAM recommends that the course syllabus contain a statement concerning "academic misconduct" or "academic integrity." The Ohio State University does not have a standardized statement on academic misconduct that instructors can use in their syllabi. Thus, COAM has prepared the following statement, which course instructors are free to use (with or without modification) for their syllabi.

    Academic integrity is essential to maintaining an environment that fosters excellence in teaching, research, and other educational and scholarly activities. Thus, The Ohio State University and the Committee on Academic Misconduct (COAM) expect that all students have read and understand the University's Code of Student Conduct, and that all students will complete all academic and scholarly assignments with fairness and honesty. Students must recognize that failure to follow the rules and guidelines established in the University's Code of Student Conduct and this syllabus may constitute "Academic Misconduct."

    The Ohio State University's Code of Student Conduct (Section 3335–23–04) defines academic misconduct as: "Any activity that tends to compromise the academic integrity of the University, or subvert the educational process." Examples of academic misconduct include (but are not limited to) plagiarism, collusion (unauthorized collaboration), copying the work of another student, and possession of unauthorized materials during an examination. Ignorance of the University's Code of Student Conduct is never considered an "excuse" for academic misconduct, so I recommend that you review the Code of Student Conduct and, specifically, the sections dealing with academic misconduct.

    If I suspect that a student has committed academic misconduct in this course, I am obligated by University Rules to report my suspicions to the Committee on Academic Misconduct. If COAM determines that you have violated the University's Code of Student Conduct (i.e., committed academic misconduct), the sanctions for the misconduct could include a failing grade in this course and suspension or dismissal from the University.

    If you have any questions about the above policy or what constitutes academic misconduct in this course, please contact me.

    Please note that this is a generic statement, which may or may not fit the needs of your course(s). Please read the following carefully before use and edit as necessary to fit your specific needs. If there are additional policies or guidelines that apply specifically to the course(s) that you teach, please include these policies and/or guidelines in your syllabus.

    Other sources of information on academic misconduct (integrity) to which you can refer include:

    To go to the Committee on Academic Misconduct (COAM) web site for more information, click here.

    Source: Reprinted with permission from COAM.

  7. What do I do if I catch a student violating the academic code of conduct?
  8. If you suspect that a student is violating the Code of Student Conduct, you should take the following steps:

    • Observe the student's behavior carefully and write down what you saw;
    • If possible, have another person verify your observations, especially in a testing situation, and have this person write down what s/he saw;
    • Collect any other information that might be relevant to the alleged academic misconduct, such as examinations, answer sheets, notes, or other materials;
    • Include in your observations the date, location, and time of the alleged misconduct, as well as the student's name;
    • If the faculty member teaching the course is not present when the alleged misconduct occurs, contact the faculty member immediately.

    To go to the Committee on Academic Misconduct (COAM) web site for more information, click here.

    Source: Reprinted with permission from COAM.

  9. What do I do if I suspect a student has cheated/plagiarized (after the item has been turned in)?
  10. If possible, contact the student and make arrangements to meet with him/her. This meeting should be held in private, and a witness (e.g., another faculty member, a department/college administrator, a teaching associate) should be present. Explain to the student that you believe that he/she has violated the Code of Student Conduct, and explain the basis of your suspicion. For example, "I believe that you violated the Code of Student Conduct by altering your exam and turning it in for regrading." Tell the student that you are required by University Rules to report these allegations to the Committee on Academic Misconduct, and that the Committee will determine whether or not he/she has violated the Code of Student Conduct.

    If the student wishes to comment on the allegations of academic misconduct during this meeting, he/she should be permitted to do so. You can include in your report to the Committee any comments that the student makes. However, the primary purpose of the meeting between you and the student is to inform the student of the allegation of academic misconduct; you should not interrogate the student.

    The Committee on Academic Misconduct recommends that you inform a student of an allegation of academic misconduct before submitting the allegation to the Committee. However, the Committee also realizes that it is sometimes difficult to contact students, especially if the student has completed the course, project, or activity in which the misconduct allegedly occurred, so the meeting with a student is not mandatory. The Committee on Academic Misconduct will accept and adjudicate cases of alleged academic misconduct even if this preliminary meeting between student and instructor is not held.

    In cases involving alleged academic misconduct by a graduate student, consultation with the chairperson of the student's graduate program and/or the Graduate School might be warranted prior to contacting the student or COAM.

    Students often want to know how an allegation of academic misconduct will affect their enrollment or grade in a course. Thus, for allegations related to a course, you should tell the student that (1) he/she is permitted to continue in the course without prejudice and (2) his/her final grade will be determined after the allegations of academic misconduct are adjudicated.

    To go to the Committee on Academic Misconduct (COAM) web site for more information, click here.

    Source: Reprinted with permission from COAM.

  11. How do I report a case of alleged academic misconduct?
  12. The course of action you take depends in part on the nature of the alleged misconduct, but you should submit all original documents (e.g., examinations, answer sheets, lab reports) and a copy of the course syllabus to the Committee on Academic Misconduct. If the allegations include plagiarism, include a copy of the student's work and the work that you believe was plagiarized, and highlight the sections that you believe were plagiarized in both the original and the student's work. If the allegations include collaboration among students, submit the work of all of the students, and explain the basis of your allegation. If the allegations include possession and/or use of unauthorized materials, include the unauthorized materials.

    When submitting this information, please remember that:

    • The members of a panel hearing a case of alleged academic misconduct may come from diverse academic disciplines. Thus, unless the nature of the allegation is clear, you should provide the panel members with a concise, written explanation of the reason(s) for the allegations of academic misconduct.
    • The materials that you send constitute the "evidence" the panel will consider in determining whether or not the student has violated the Code and the sanctions. Additional evidence may not be introduced during a hearing.

    All cases submitted to the Committee on Academic Misconduct should be accompanied by a letter from the department chairperson or program director (or other appropriate administrative officer). These materials should be sent to the Committee in a way that maintains confidentiality.

    COAM has prepared a template that provides step–by–step instructions for (1) what to report and (2) how to report it. Click here to access the template.

    Send materials to:
    Committee on Academic Misconduct
    33 W. 11th Avenue, Room 107
    CAMPUS

    To go to the Committee on Academic Misconduct (COAM) web site for more information, click here.

    Source: Reprinted with permission from COAM.

Accommodating Students with Disabilities

  1. Do I need to include a statement about disability accommodations on my syllabus?
  2. All instructors are encouraged to include in their syllabus a statement inviting students with disabilities to meet with them in a confidential environment to discuss making arrangements for accommodations. There are several reasons why this syllabus statement is critical. This statement both normalizes the accommodation process and helps to create a positive and welcoming environment for students with disabilities. Also, the statement creates a collaborative vehicle for making legally mandated accommodations and serves as a reminder to students who need the accommodations that these arrangements need to be made.

    The following is an example of a syllabus disability statement that can be used or adapted for your course syllabi:

    Any student who feels s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact me privately to discuss your specific needs. Please contact the Office for Disability Services at 614–292–3307 in Room 150 of Pomerene Hall to coordinate reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities.

    To go to the Office for Disability Services (ODS) web site for more information, click here.

    Reprinted with permission from the ODS Faculty Handbook.

  3. What types of assistance does the Office for Disability Services provide students?
  4. There are six main service areas at ODS. They include: exam accommodations, alternative media, sign language interpreting/transcribing services, Assistive Technology and Training Center (ATTC), note taking assistance, and counseling and auxiliary aids staff support.

    ODS does not provide personal assistance or equipment, i.e. homework assistance, typing, personal laptops, or personal aides.

    To go to the Office for Disability Services (ODS) web site for more information, click here.

    Reprinted with permission from the ODS Faculty Handbook.

  5. Who is responsible for determining appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities?
  6. ODS is the office on campus that determines appropriate accommodations. The office bases decisions upon documentation collected from a student with a disability, the student's functional limitations, and the student's clarification about specific needs and limitations.

    To go to the Office for Disability Services (ODS) web site for more information, click here.

    Reprinted with permission from the ODS Faculty Handbook.

  7. Am I required to provide exam accommodations to students who request it?
  8. Yes. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), protect students with disabilities. These laws require that qualified students with disabilities get equal access to an education, including exam accommodations.

    To go to the Office for Disability Services (ODS) web site for more information, click here.

    Reprinted with permission from the ODS Faculty Handbook.

  9. A student has asked for accommodations. How do I know the student truly has a disability and needs accommodations?
  10. You may ask the student to provide you with a letter verifying that he or she has a disability. The student, if registered with ODS, will be given a letter within 24 hours after a request is made. ODS has a file with documentation of the disability for every student who is registered with the office. The specifics of the disability cannot be disclosed due to confidentiality issues.

    To go to the Office for Disability Services (ODS) web site for more information, click here.

    Reprinted with permission from the ODS Faculty Handbook.

  11. A student with a disability has requested that she take an exam at ODS. How do I know that my exam will be safe and that the student will get no unfair advantage?
  12. ODS has developed a systematic and secure procedure for getting exams from faculty and returning them once the student has taken the exam. They have rigid check in and check out procedures for exams, and no student is able to take an exam with appropriate accommodations without authorization. While exams are at ODS, they are kept in a locked file. As students are taking the exam, they are monitored. Test studios have small windows to enable the staff to periodically view the students while they are taking tests. Each in–house exam studio is outfitted with a video monitoring device. ODS staff may do a periodic room check. Any inappropriate behaviors or exam materials are reported back to the instructor.

    To go to the Office for Disability Services (ODS) web site for more information, click here.

    Reprinted with permission from the ODS Faculty Handbook.

  13. What do I do when a student asks me to fill out an ODS proctor sheet?
  14. In order for students to arrange for exam accommodations at ODS and in order for ODS to administer your exam to your student, you must quickly and completely fill out the proctor sheets. It is often very helpful to meet with the student during office hours so that you and the person requesting accommodations can complete the proctor sheet together and are in agreement about the arrangements for the administration of your exam. Not only does the proctor sheet help facilitate scheduling and but it also helps ODS to administer the exams using your specific requirements for the entire quarter.

    To go to the Office for Disability Services (ODS) web site for more information, click here.

    Reprinted with permission from the ODS Faculty Handbook.

  15. Should I continue to give students my lecture notes (as an accommodation) if s/he has missed most of the lectures?
  16. If a student with a disability regularly skips class, then he or she has no right to get notes on the days skipped. The note taker should be informed of this. If the student has a legitimate excuse for the absence, i.e. illness, death in the family, handle the situation as you would with all other students.

    To go to the Office for Disability Services (ODS) web site for more information, click here.

    Reprinted with permission from the ODS Faculty Handbook.

  17. I have a student who is having difficulty in my class. I think s/he may have a disability. What should I do to help him?
  18. Talk privately with the student to discuss your observations. The student may reveal s/he has a disability. If this is the case and the student is registered with ODS, suggest that s/he talk to her/his counselor in that office. The student may also be referred to ODS for diagnostic testing for a suspected learning disability, or ODS may refer students to other qualified professionals for other disability diagnoses. Suggest that the student call ODS at 614–292–3307 for further information.

    To go to the Office for Disability Services (ODS) web site for more information, click here.

    Reprinted with permission from the ODS Faculty Handbook.

  19. Am I required to lower the standards of a required assignment because the student has a disability?
  20. No. Standards should be the same for all students; however, some students with disabilities may exhibit their knowledge, production, and other course expectations differently than their peers. For example, a student with a learning disability in writing may produce an essay exam by using a computer or scribe rather than writing out an answer without the use of accommodations. The quality of the work should be the same.

    To go to the Office for Disability Services (ODS) web site for more information, click here.

    Reprinted with permission from the ODS Faculty Handbook.

  21. Do I have any recourse if I disagree about requested accommodations?
  22. To clarify any disagreement about a requested accommodation, first contact ODS at 614–292–3307. Start with the student's disability counselor, but you are also free to talk to the director of ODS. If the disagreement continues, you can contact Ohio State's Office of the ADA Coordinator (Link opens new window) at 614–292–6207. Occasionally, some students may ask for unreasonable accommodations. These requests are not authorized by ODS. When in doubt, call the office to discuss your concerns.

    To go to the Office for Disability Services (ODS) web site for more information, click here.

    Reprinted with permission from the ODS Faculty Handbook.

  23. Do I have to provide an accommodation for a student requesting it late in the quarter?
  24. Yes. There could be numerous reasons why a student makes a late request. Perhaps he or she could not get documentation of his or her disability any earlier and, therefore, could not initiate accommodations earlier. Some students try to take a class without accommodations but find that they aren't doing well and need accommodations. Whatever the reason, students may make requests for accommodations any time during the quarter.

    There may be a few situations where students make a request for accommodations so late that appropriate arrangements are impossible to make. An example of such a request might be a student requesting an entire textbook be converted to alternate format at the end of a quarter. You must provide accommodations only at the point when a student makes a request and you and ODS are able to make appropriate arrangements. The student's request is too late if he or she reveals a disability after the completion of a clss and requests deletion of unsatisfactory grades.

    To go to the Office for Disability Services (ODS) web site for more information, click here.

    Reprinted with permission from the ODS Faculty Handbook.

  25. Do I have any obligations to provide web–based accommodations for students with disabilities?
  26. Yes. Ohio State students with disabilities are protected under several laws, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Under Section 504 requirements, postsecondary institutions of education need to make appropriate adjustments, and provide reasonable accommodations, that allow students with disabilities to fully participate in activities and programs that are available to students without disabilities. Reasonable accommodations include changes in the way things are customarily done in an academic environment, so that qualified students with disabilities receive equal educational opportunities.

    The Ohio State Web Accessibility Center (WAC) provides guidance to Ohio State instructors about accessible design and universal web design, to help accommodate and promote access to online course material for students with disabilities. For example, the WAC assists faculty with online distance education courses and web–enabled lecture series. Further, the WAC provides training in web accessibility, along with technical assistance, to all Ohio State faculty and GTAs for their course–related materials on the Web.

    The WAC, which is housed in Ohio State's Office for Disability Services, maintains web–based resources that explain why and how to design accessible web sites, as well as ways to validate their effectiveness. Click here to learn more.