Section 4.0 INSTRUCTIONAL POLICIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES4.1 COURSE SYLLABI
The syllabus for each course should be reviewed annually and revised as appropriate by the faculty. Instructors are encouraged to think and plan course and units of instruction, i.e., content, methods of presentation, teaching aids, student roles and tests in terms of student behavioral objectives. Student participation in planning, where practical, and their orientation about course plans tend to enhance course relevancy. Copies of syllabi should be filed with the department chairperson and the appropriate dean.
4.1.1 Syllabus Statements
Each syllabus should include the following Diversity Statement and the Disabilities Statement appropriate to the location of the course.
184.108.40.206. Diversity Statement
In this class, the teacher will establish and support an environment that values and nurtures individual and group differences and encourages engagement and interaction. Understanding and respecting multiple experiences and perspectives will serve to challenge and stimulate all of us to learn about others, about the larger world and about ourselves. By promoting diversity and intellectual exchange, we will not only mirror society as it is, but also model society as it should and can be.
220.127.116.11. Disabilities Statement
Students with disabilities, including but not limited to physical, psychiatric, or learning disabilities, who wish to request accommodations in this class should notify the Disability Services Office early in the semester so that the appropriate arrangements may be made. In accordance with federal law, a student requesting accommodations must provide acceptable documentation of his/her disability to the Disability Services Office. For more information, call or visit the Disability Services Office through the Guidance and Counseling Centers at Reese Center (Building 8) 716-4606, or Levelland (Student Services Building) 716-2577.
18.104.22.168. Non-Discrimination Statement
South Plains College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age in its programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Vice President for Student Affairs, South Plains College, 1401 College Avenue, Box 5, Levelland, TX 79336. Phone number 806-716-2360.
4.2 CLASSROOM DISCIPLINE
It is incumbent upon each faculty member to provide a classroom environment that promotes an equal opportunity for every student to learn. In doing this, faculty must insure that student conduct in the classroom does not hinder that learning experience.
To insure that students understand what type of conduct is expected in the classroom, faculty should clearly define in the syllabus these expectations and the consequences of misconduct. When necessary, the faculty member should be prepared to reiterate these expectations verbally.
Faculty should become familiar with the South Plains College Student Guide. It is an excellent resource for determining what constitutes misconduct and the process for dealing with it.
When faculty becomes involved in cases of student misconduct in the classroom, some suggestions for actions to be taken are:
- Consult with other faculty, department chair, or dean for ideas.
- Use corrective counseling or warnings.
- Remove the student from the class.
- Refer the student to the department chair and/or dean.
- In extreme cases, involve the Campus Police.
When communicating with students about inappropriate conduct, faculty should always remember to:
- Protect the privacy of the student.
- Stay professional in their conduct.
- Stay in charge of the situation.
When in doubt as to what action to take, consult with the dean of students, associate dean of students, or the dean of the Reese Center.
4.3 GRADING PRACTICES
Each faculty member should explain to every class, at the beginning of each semester, the basis for evaluation that is to be used in awarding grades in that particular class.
4.3.1 Grade Changes
A grade is assigned for all courses in which a student is regularly enrolled during any semester or summer term. A grade once earned and entered upon a student's record cannot be removed and may not be changed without the approval of the instructor and the division dean. If a student repeats a course, it is with the understanding that the last grade earned is the one to be counted toward fulfillment of degree requirements.
Grades, generally, should reflect the extent to which students have attained course objectives. Course objectives should be the common knowledge of the instructors and the students.
4.3.2 Grade Interpretation
Student grades may be interpreted as follows:
Grade Grade Interpretation Points Per Semester Hrs.
A Excellent 4
B Good 3
C Average 2
D Below Average 1
F Failure 0
I Incomplete Not Computed
P Pass Not Computed
W Student initiated withdrawal Not Computed
X Administrative withdrawal Not Computed
PR Progress Not Computed
Note: Grade PR is used for academic skills development courses only.
4.3.3 Posting of Grades
The only acceptable way grades can be posted is by assigning a random number code to each student using a non-alphabetized class roster. Faculty members are not required to post grades.
4.4 STUDENT RECORDS
South Plains College is bound by the Texas Public Information Act, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-380 Education Amendments of 1974), and institutional procedures in determining access to or the release of student records.
4.4.1 Release of Information
Other than directory information, which may be released to the general public without the written consent of the student, the college generally will not permit release of educational records of students without the student's written consent.
A student may request that all or any part of the general information be withheld from the public by making written request to the Office of Admissions and Records. This request will apply to only the current enrollment period.
4.4.2 Faculty Access
Only authorized South Plains College personnel should have access to student academic information, and they may use it only for official purposes relating to the college.
Faculty and staff who have access to student records- whether from student files in a department office, the South Plains College computer or other sources- are legally responsible for the security of student information. Printed copies of student records should not be left on a desk, for example, and must be shredded and disposed of when no longer needed. Computer screens should not be left on if the computer is in a high-traveled area or if the operator is away from the terminal.
4.4.3 Further Information
The student-record policy is explained in Section FAD of the Policy and Procedure Manual. A complete copy of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is on file in the Office of the Dean of Admissions and Records.
4.5 CURRICULUM REVISION
Revisions to the curricula offered at South Plains College must follow the process as outlined here:
- The proposed course/program change (addition, deletion or revision) should be initiated at the department level and must be approved by the appropriate chairperson/director.
- A written request should be sent to the divisional dean on the correct form.
- If the dean approves the change(s) she/he will forward it to the academic council.
- The Academic Council will review the proposed change at the next scheduled meeting.
- All proposed course/program changes are submitted to the Academic Council for official institutional action. The Academic Council, chaired by the vice president for academic affairs, has legislative authority and generally meets twice a year.
- All course/program changes approved by the Academic Council are presented to the Board of Regents by the vice president for academic affairs. This is generally done at the April board meeting.
4.6 INSTRUCTIONAL AND OFFICE HOURS
4.6.1 Instructional Hours
Faculty members are expected to be on campus seven (7) hours each day, Monday through Friday, for a total of 35 hours per week, including class time, laboratory time and office hours. It is also understood that several hours each week are required to comply with the duties and responsibilities cited in Section 2.1. If faculty members teach one or more classes in the evening college, as a part of their regular load, corresponding time may be taken off each week. The same portion of the day should be taken off each week and should be filed as a part of the faculty member's regular class and office schedule. Corresponding time is not to be taken off for overload teaching. Travel time is deductible.
4.6.2 Office Hours
Each faculty member must file a schedule of classes, laboratories and office hours with the appropriate chairperson and division dean shortly after classes begin each semester. It is expected that faculty members will be available for student consultation and must adhere to their posted office hours (8 hours per week). Office hours per week must be scheduled on Fridays if the faculty member’s teaching load does not include a class scheduled on Fridays. Faculty should be available as needed on Fridays for office hours or meetings as directed by each departmental chairperson.
4.6.3 University Interscholastic League (UIL)
Each spring semester South Plains College sponsors, on the Levelland campus, a University Interscholastic League (UIL) Regional I-A meet for Literary and athletic events. These events are very important to South Plains College as many high school students are exposed to our faculty, staff and facilities. Many faculty members are assigned to serve as officials for the contests and activities, and their cooperation is important.
4.7 DISMISSAL OF CLASSES
In order to dismiss a class, a faculty member must check with the department chairperson who will report to the divisional dean of the college. "Walks" are not a part of the educational program at South Plains College. Classes must not change time of meeting or room assignments without first reviewing the situation with the appropriate chairperson and dean. All changes must be approved by the registrar.
4.8 INSTRUCTIONAL LOAD POLICY
Instructional load is primarily based on instructional contact hours (ICH), student contact hours (SCH) and program specific student enrollment. Fifteen instructional contact hours (14 for physical education activity courses) or 510 student contact hours are considered a normal load for full-time faculty members. For some technical programs 600 student contact hours or the program specific faculty to student ratios are considered when determining a normal load for full-time faculty members.
4.8.1 Individual Instruction
A very limited number of courses are offered by individual instruction. The educational maturity and a demonstrated ability of the student should be basis for enrollment in individual study.
Admission in this type of study just for the convenience of the student should not be considered. Individual study is not encouraged by the administration. The departmental chairperson and divisional dean must approve any individual study.
4.9 FACULTY ADVISORS PROGRAM
The faculty advisors program is under the direction of the director of guidance and counseling. In the faculty advisors program, faculty members participate as advisors of students as assigned by departmental chairpersons.
Each student enrolled in South Plains College is assigned an advisor to assist him/her in making educational and occupational choices. Students are encouraged to visit their advisors regularly. All faculty members will have regular office hours posted for the students' use.
4.10 FINANCIAL AID
4.10.1 General Information
The objective of the Financial Aid Program at South Plains College is to provide assistance based on documented financial need to students unable to attend college without such aid. The college catalog provides information regarding what is available, how students can obtain financial aid and disbursement of funds.
4.10.2 Students Wishing to Withdraw
It is important that students wishing to withdraw from South Plains College during the semester be advised by course instructors and/or advisors to contact the Financial Aid Department before withdrawing. Unless they have met the federal guidelines, unearned Title IV funds must be returned to the federal government by the institution and the student. If restitution is not satisfactorily resolved, the student will lose financial aid eligibility at every institution of higher education in the United States.
4.11 ATTENDANCE AT COLLEGE ACTIVITIES
It is recommended that faculty members have sufficient interest in the college to attend a variety of functions during the year (faculty are encouraged to support various functions by their appearances at student dances, athletic contests, drama productions, musical presentations, etc).
In addition, all full-time faculty are required to attend commencement exercises, back to school breakfasts, and other departmental meetings. Absences from commencement must be approved in advance by the president, as outlined in 22.214.171.124.
4.12 FACULTY MEETINGS
General faculty meetings are called by the president or the vice president for academic affairs. All faculty members are expected to attend these meetings. Faculty meetings will generally be limited to one hour in length, which will necessitate careful scheduling of items to be presented. Reports and announcements must be kept to a minimum but a free and open discussion of all items of business is encouraged at all times.
4.13 FACULTY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
In an effort to meet its mission to maintain and to enhance a dedicated and qualified faculty, South Plains College encourages its faculty to develop professionally throughout their teaching careers. Both the institution and the individual faculty member are responsible for faculty renewal and development. Each faculty member should take the initiative for his or her own development and for having it documented. The institution provides funds and opportunities to enable faculty to participate in development activities. Such encouragement is made for full-time and part-time faculty.
Development is encouraged through, although not limited to, the following procedures: in-service programs, attendance at professional meetings, teleconferences, summer projects, professional development leave, continuing education, graduate study, business and/or industrial growth, and consultation with the appropriate departmental chairperson, director, and/or dean.
4.13.1 Staff Development Programs
The institution will provide funds for appropriate staff development programs. A department, a division, a campus or the institution may sponsor programs using available funds.
126.96.36.199. Sexual Harassment Training
South Plains College considers sexual harassment a serious offense that is subject to disciplinary action including dismissal. Sexual harassment is counterproductive to the college's commitment to a productive learning environment. Sexual harassment is illegal and will not be tolerated at South Plains College. To help faculty members better understand this form of discrimination, South Plains College provides an on-line training program for its employees as required by state law. The South Plains College Harassment Policy is included in this program for the faculty member's review. Upon completion of the mastery test, printed documentation should be directed to the Office of Human Resources for personnel files.
4.13.2 Professional Meetings
Through the budgetary process, all departments are allocated professional travel funds. Faculty may use those funds for approved professional meetings. Approval is granted through the departmental chairperson and the appropriate divisional dean.
4.13.3 Summer Projects
Faculty may apply for available funds for a summer project that will enhance the educational mission of the institution. Such projects are granted through the departmental chairperson and the divisional dean.
Various means of teleconferences are available for faculty development. The State of Texas has its own network, Starlink, that provides informative developmental programs for faculty. Departments may also budget for teleconferences to meet specific needs.
4.13.5 Professional Development Leave
Professional development leave provides for leave with pay as outlined in the Faculty Handbook section 5.4.
4.13.6 Continuing Education
Some faculty members, particularly those holding a license in a specialized area, periodically are required to complete approved continuing education units in order to maintain licensure in their respective specialty. Through the budgetary process, funds are made available to the faculty to participate in continuing education courses to upgrade their knowledge and to maintain the required licensure.
4.13.7 Graduate Study
The institution works closely with faculty members who are pursuing additional graduate study. A faculty member may pursue graduate study around one's teaching schedule with the approval of the departmental chairperson and the appropriate dean. Faculty members receive pay incentives upon completion of specified education levels.
4.13.8 Business and Industry Experience
Faculty are encouraged to work in business and/or industry in areas that directly relate to the teaching discipline of the faculty member. Such work experience keeps the faculty member abreast of the contemporary knowledge in their field of instruction. Details of scheduling the business and/or industrial experience and any monetary incentives are approved by the appropriate dean after consultation with the departmental chairperson, the involved faculty member, and the designated business and/or industrial representative.
Consultation with the appropriate chairperson, director, and/or dean is used primarily with part-time faculty. Each chairperson of South Plains College is responsible for orientation and development of its part-time faculty. Part-time faculties are welcome to attend on-campus staff development meetings. Departmental funds can be used for part-time faculty to attend other professional meetings.
4.14 INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY POLICY
4.14.1 Policy Purpose and Criteria
In compliance with Texas Education Code, Chapter 51, Section 51.680, the South Plains College District adopts the following intellectual property policy, which addresses the following provisions:
- disclosure of scientific and technological developments, including inventions, discoveries, trade secrets, and computer software;
- institutional review of scientific and technological disclosures, including consideration of ownership and appropriate legal protection;
- guidelines for licenses, scientific and technological developments;
- clear identification of ownership and licensing responsibilities for each class of intellectual property;
- royalty participation by inventors and the institution; and
- equity and management participation on the part of the inventor or inventors in business entities that utilize technology created at the institution of higher education.
4.14.2 Ownership of Intellectual Property, Copyrighted or Invented Material (Board Policy DBD)
Employees of South Plains College are encouraged to publish, copyright, invent and patent materials and objects of their own creation, which will contribute to the advancement of knowledge. It is the desire of the College to encourage these activities and to protect the interest of its personnel in relation to disclosure of scientific and technological developments, including inventions, discoveries, trade secrets, computer software and original works and ideas which may have monetary value. It is also the responsibility of the College to ensure that public funds and property are not used for personal gain. The author, creator, or inventor is free to benefit from royalties and monies accruing from such publication or invention subject to the following guidelines:
- All classes of intellectual property, scientific and technological developments, including inventions, discoveries, trade secrets, computer software and original works and ideas created on the employee's own time, and without the use of College facilities, equipment, materials or support, shall be the sole property of the creator.
- All classes of intellectual property, scientific and technological developments, including inventions, discoveries, trade secrets, computer software and original works and ideas created by employees at College expense or on College time or using College facilities or equipment shall be the property of the College. The College, in return for unrestricted license to use and reproduce original work without royalty payment, shall transfer to the creator of that work full ownership of any present or subsequent copyright/patent. However, in the event that intellectual property, scientific and technological developments including inventions, discoveries, trade secrets, computer software and original works and ideas are sold to entities outside the College, all income will go to the College until all developmental expenditures incurred by the College for that project, including stipends paid to the developer (over and above contract salary), prorated support staff salaries, supplies, and other expenses related to the creation of the materials or objects, are recovered. Thereafter all remuneration as a result of copyright publication or patented sale will go to the creator(s) of the materials or objects.
- When the production of intellectual property, scientific and technological developments including inventions, discoveries, trade secrets, computer software and original works and ideas involve College support, but the employee is not specifically assigned and paid for the work, the employee will secure prior presidential approval before proceeding with the project.
- The College or the employee may relinquish his/her rights at any time to the other party, or he/she may offer his/her portion for sale to the other party.
- All written agreements regarding intellectual property rights and royalty fees require the approval of the President of the College.
- The College will ensure equity and management participation on the part of the inventor or inventors in business entities that utilize technology created at the College using College resources.
- No College employee shall realize a profit from materials sold exclusively to South Plains College students. When instructional materials developed by the faculty are sold in the bookstore for a profit, the publisher of the material must be approved by the President.
4.14.3 Disclosure and Institutional Review
Any College employee who intends to create any intellectual property, scientific and technological developments including inventions, discoveries, trade secrets, computer software and original works and ideas developed wholly or partially using College time, equipment, materials, or facilities and who intends to copyright, patent, or otherwise merchandise those materials or objects will inform the President of the College through the appropriate vice president of that intent at least 60 days prior to start of the project. The College will initiate an institutional review of scientific and technological disclosures, including consideration of ownership and appropriate legal protection. The President of South Plains College shall retain final approval right in the institutional review process.
If disclosure of intent to create intellectual property is not made as required, it will be presumed that the intellectual property was developed on College time using College funds, facilities and equipment and is College-supported work.
Once property rights are established through guidelines (a.) through (g.) listed above, the licensing rights of intellectual property, scientific and technological developments including inventions, discoveries, trade secrets, computer software and original works and ideas developed under this policy shall follow those established institutional procedures and require the final approval of the President. Faculty are responsible for determining institutional policy and procedure prior to proceeding in each instance.
4.14.4 Creation of Educational Materials
Personnel of divisions or units whose function is to produce educational materials may not realize a profit from the sale of those materials. In the case of any materials produced exclusively by these units, copyright will be held by South Plains College. Materials produced under an externally funded grant will be guided by the terms of the grant.
4.15 HARASSMENT, INCLUDING SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY
Harassment, including sexual harassment, is contrary to basic standards of conduct between individuals and is prohibited by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and state regulations. Any employee who engages in any of the acts or behavior defined below violates College policy, and such misconduct will subject an employee to corrective action up to and including immediate discharge.
This policy applies to employees of South Plains College in their interaction with other employees and students. Furthermore, executive management at each College location will establish appropriate procedures to insure that non-employees (vendors, contractors, trades people, etc.) on College premises are also made aware of the intent of this policy.
Employees who feel they have been discriminated against on the basis of gender, or sexually or in any other manner harassed, should immediately report such incidents, following the procedure described below, without fear of reprisal. Confidentiality will be maintained to the extent permitted by the circumstances.
Harassment. Verbal, physical or visual conduct of a racial, ethnic or other type, which in the employee's opinion impairs his or her ability to perform the job.
Sexual Harassment.Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances or visual, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. This definition encompasses many forms of offensive behavior, including gender-based harassment of a person of the same gender as the harasser, conduct of a sexual nature that creates an offensive, intimidating or hostile work environment; and coerced sexual conduct by a person in a position of authority in the workplace. Examples of prohibited sexual harassment include:
- unwelcome sexual flirtation or advances,
- offering employment, promotions or other benefits in exchange for sexual favors,
- making or threatening reprisals for refusing sexual advances,
- visual conduct such as leering; making sexual gestures; displaying sexually suggestive objects or pictures; cartoons or posters; suggestive or obscene letters, notes or invitations.
- verbal conduct such as derogatory comments; epithets; slurs; sexual innuendo; sexual jokes; graphic verbal commentaries about an individual's body; sexually degrading words used to describe an individual, and
- physical conduct such as unwanted, suggestive or offensive touching; assault; impeding or blocking movement.
Employee: Any employee of the College.
Student: An individual enrolled in any credit or non-credit course at South Plains College.
Complaints of harassment of any type will be handled through the College's Grievance Procedure Policy, which provides several options and a specific process by which an employee or student may initiate action on a job or instructional related complaint.
Approved by: Executive Council
Date Issued: 11/97