Office Hours and Absences

All faculty members are expected to observe reasonable office hours (whether in person or online) during the week and to post the schedule, in order to provide time on a systematic basis for student conferences and consultations with colleagues and visitors.

All absences of faculty members from ordinary service in the University will be reported via OneUSG. No service to the University, however exceptional, will be deemed sufficient to overcome failure to render adequate service in teaching.

Last updated March 24, 2022.

Advisement and Mentoring of Students

All undergraduate students will be advised by the appropriate college advising center while graduate students will be advised by departmental faculty. Each program will develop a process by which students have regular contact with a faculty mentor.

Last updated March 24, 2022.

Course Syllabi

A detailed syllabus helps both faculty members and students. It communicates important information about a class--what it is about, why the course is important, how the faculty member will teach it, and what is required to complete the course successfully. The syllabus also helps set the tone for the course. As part of VSU's compliance with SACSCOC accreditation, all faculty members must upload their syllabi each semester to the VSU Success Portal (directions). See recommendations for preparing a course syllabus

Last updated March 16, 2023.

Adding and Dropping Courses

The official add/drop period is normally the first few days of a term. Students may add or drop a course online via BANNER. As a result of their actions, class enrollment will change.  Therefore, faculty members should look at class rolls on BANNER regularly during the first week of class. After the drop/add period has concluded, students may still add or drop classes but it becomes a paper process. Faculty members will be asked to sign the add or drop forms; if they have questions, before signing, they should consult with their department head. In general, if a student has been attending class, the more appropriate route may be a withdrawal. For more information on the process, see Adding or Dropping a Course

Last updated March 24, 2022.

Attendance Verification

After the drop/add period has ended, the Registrar’s Office will ask faculty to verify whether or not students are attending their classes; the class roll in BANNER is the official record of students in the class. Faculty members will be asked to verify if students are attending or if they have never attended. Faculty members must verify student attendance or non-attendance because student financial aid cannot be dispersed until attendance is verified.

If a faculty member wants to add a student to the BANNER roll, the faculty member may type in the student’s name and identification number. The student should also complete an add form (signed by the faculty member and the department head).

Last updated March 24, 2022.

Dropping vs. Withdrawing from Classes and Late Withdrawals

After the official add/drop period has ended, students may choose to withdraw from a class until a designated point in the semester (usually around midterm). If students withdraw from a class, they will receive a “W” on their VSU transcript. For more information, see Dropping vs. Withdrawing from Classes.

After the designated midterm point, students may only withdraw via an application for a late medical or hardship withdrawal. Information about the process, which is handled through the Dean of Students Office, is available at the Withdrawal Policy webpage. If a student is granted this withdrawal, a “W” will appear on the BANNER transcript. Students are encouraged to keep coming to class, if possible, until the withdrawal process is completed.

Last updated March 24, 2022.

Academic Honesty

As part of its mission, Valdosta State University aims to accomplish the following:

  • Prepare our students to meet global opportunities and challenges through excellence in teaching and learning.
  • Expand the boundaries of current knowledge, and explore the practical applications of that knowledge, through excellence in scholarship and creative endeavors.
  • Promote the economic, cultural, and educational progress of our community and our region, through excellence in service outreach

VSU seeks to accomplish this mission in a dynamic, student-centered learning environment marked by a respect for diverse abilities, backgrounds, and contributions by all members of the university community.

To meet this mission, we must ensure that all faculty, students, and staff conduct their academic responsibilities with honesty and integrity.

Last updated March 24, 2022.

Academic Integrity Student Conduct Code



Section I Academic Integrity Conduct Code

Academic integrity is the responsibility of all VSU faculty and students. Faculty members should promote academic integrity by including clear instruction on the components of academic integrity and clearly defining the penalties for cheating and plagiarism in their course syllabi. Students are responsible for knowing and abiding by the Academic Integrity Policy as set forth in the Student Code of Conduct and the faculty members’ syllabi. All students are expected to do their own work and to uphold a high standard of academic ethics. Examples of Academic Integrity Violations may be found in the Student Code of Conduct.

Valdosta State University policy is that a violation of Appendix A, Section I may and should be handled by the professor, the student, and possibly the department head or academic dean concerned with the offense. Sanctions for an academic integrity violation should be outlined in the course syllabus.

Any faculty member who has documentation and/or suspects that academic dishonesty has occurred shall

  • gather all pertinent information, and
  • meet with the student or students involved, and
  • inform the student or students of the academic response to an alleged violation of academic integrity. The faculty member will notify his/her department head and/or dean of these decisions and may also contact the Student Conduct Office in the Dean of Students office for procedural clarification if desired.

The most severe action that may be administered by any faculty member is a grade of “F” in that particular course. This is an academic response and not a disciplinary recommendation. A student who wishes to appeal an academic response to an alleged violation of academic integrity may follow the grade appeal process (grade appeal form).

To initiate the disciplinary response process to an academic integrity violation, a faculty member should submit an Academic Integrity Report, along with supporting documentation as noted on the report to the Student Conduct Office in the Dean of Students Office. This report shall be made part of the student’s disciplinary record and shall remain on file with the Student Conduct Office in the Dean of Students Office in accordance with Board of Regents record retention policy. A student’s file on academic dishonesty is not intended nor designed to allow access by faculty members seeking historical information or otherwise concerning a particular student. The purpose of the file is for the Dean of Students Office to determine if multiple cases of academic dishonesty have occurred during a student’s academic career at Valdosta State University. If a student is found to have cheated/plagiarized and withdraws from the course prior to the awarding of a grade, the Academic Integrity Report will still be placed on file in the Student Conduct Office.

After a second (or subsequent) Academic Integrity Report has been submitted to the Student Conduct Office in the Dean of Students Office, official charges will be drawn up and the disciplinary matter will be referred to the Valdosta State University Judicial Committee. The VSU Judicial Committee will utilize the disciplinary procedures outlined in Appendix B, Sections II.-V. of the Student Code of Conduct. The most severe sanctions such as expulsion or suspension should only result from a VSU Judicial Committee hearing and can be appealed via Appendix B, Section V of the Student Code of Conduct.

Faculty members may request that a particularly serious violation of the Academic Integrity Policy (buying or selling papers, stealing an exam, significant plagiarism at the graduate level, etc.) be referred directly to the VSU Judicial Committee. The Dean of Students and the academic dean of the student’s major will consult concerning the referral of a particularly serious first offense to the VSU Judicial Committee.

Last updated March 24, 2022.

Using Turnitin at VSU

Turnitin is a plagiarism prevention service that works with VSU's BlazeVIEW course management system. This service helps educators prevent plagiarism by detecting unoriginal content in student papers. In addition to acting as a plagiarism deterrent, it also has features designed to aid in educating students about plagiarism and importance of proper attribution of any borrowed content. (Turnitin).

Instructors who choose to use Turnitin in their classes should use it as a tool to assist students in detecting and preventing plagiarism. Using the Turnitin tool in BlazeVIEW, instructors may directly submit any student work or they can allow students to submit work themselves and receive an originality report in order to make needed corrections.

At VSU, faculty members who would like to begin using Turnitin with any of their classes should complete the ONLINE TURNITIN ORIENTATION, located in the BlazeVIEW D2L Faculty Course Tools module.

Remember that Turnitin only helps to identify passages in a student’s work that are unoriginal and provides the instructor (and the student) with a similarity match.

Last updated March 24, 2022.

Timely Assessment of Student Progress and Midterm Grades

Any student has the right to an evaluation of his/her grade in a course prior to the end of the withdrawal period. Faculty must report midterm grades for all lower division (1000- and 2000-level courses) via BANNER. Generally, faculty are required to submit these grades approximately one week before midterm.

Last updated March 24, 2022.

Textbook Policies

Faculty-Authored Textbooks

The practice at VSU has been to allow for the use of faculty-authored texts (Educational Policies Committee, Faculty Senate Minutes, April 15, 2004), provided that the department/program provides an appropriate third-party review process for the adoption of these texts (BOR Policy Manual 3.10).

Textbook Ordering Deadlines

One of the provisions of Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) is that institutions must “disclose, on the institution’s Internet course schedule and in a manner of the institution’s choosing, the International Standard Book Number and retail price information of required and recommended college textbooks and supplemental materials for each course listed in the institution’s course schedule used for preregistration and registration purposes. . . .”

Therefore, faculty must order texts and materials according to the schedule below:

    • For summer and fall terms: no later than last working day in February
    • For spring term: no later than October 1

Textbook Policies from the University System of Georgia

Last updated March 24, 2022.

Field Trip Authorization

Completion of the Field Trip Authorization Form is required for any off campus activity involving a student group in an academic class (other than those regularly scheduled classes for off-campus courses). The form is also required for University-sponsored field trips not directly related to an academic course. Participation by students in Field Trips outside regularly-scheduled class meetings or off-campus events is not normally required. Student transportation in University or University-rented vehicles must have approved drivers such as current University employees or hired licensed commercial drivers. Students who provide their own transportation assume all liability. Students should, prior to the Field Trip, present a completed copy of this form to professors of classes that will be missed and should request permission to be absent and an opportunity to make up work as appropriate. The Field Trip Authorization does not excuse the student from other classes except with the approval of the professors of those courses.

Last updated March 24, 2022.

Grading System

Grades and quality points represent the instructor’s final estimate of the student’s performance in a course. All grades assigned remain on the student’s permanent record and transcript. The following letters denote grades that are included in the computation of the grade point average:

Grading                                   Quality Points

A = Excellent                           4 per semester hour

B = Good                                3 per hour

C = Satisfactory                       2 per hour

D = Passing                             1 per hour

F = Failing                                0

WF = Withdrew failing               0

When faculty members are requested to enter final grades through BANNER at the end of the term, they will have the option of assigning the letter grades of A-F. If faculty members assign a failing grade, they will be prompted to add an approximate date when the student stopped attending a class (the default setting will be the final class day).

Grades not available for a faculty member to assign in BANNER:

W:  a withdrawal means that students have withdrawn themselves from a class prior to the designated withdrawal date or that they have completed an approved medical or hardship withdrawal after that date. In this instance, the faculty member will see the “W” already entered in the grade sheet. For complete information, see the Withdrawal Policy webpage. If a student has withdrawn from a class in order to avoid a failing grade for academic dishonesty, a faculty member may call the Registrar’s Office to change the grade from a “W” to a “WF”.

I:  In order to request an incomplete, a student, in conjunction with the faculty member, should complete the Request for a Grade of Incomplete form. An incomplete “I” (incomplete) should indicate that a student was doing satisfactory work at the end of the term but, for non-academic reasons, was unable to complete all requirements. A report of “I” requires the subsequent completion of all course requirements within a time limit specified by the instructor, not to exceed one calendar year from the end of the term in which a grade of incomplete is assigned, regardless of the student’s enrollment status during the period specified for completion. It is the student’s responsibility to request that a grade of “I” be assigned for a class. Faculty members should encourage students to keep attending class, if possible, until the paperwork for the “I” is submitted. Additionally, their graduation dates will be adjusted if their incompletes are not resolved by their projected graduation date.

A grade of “IP” indicates that credit has not been given in courses that require a continuation of work beyond the semester for which the students signed up for the course. The use of the symbol is approved for dissertation and thesis hours and project courses. It cannot be substituted for an “I.”

Last updated March 24, 2022.

Grade Posting Policy

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) specifically prohibits the posting of grades by social security number or in any manner personally identifiable to the individual student.

Grades may be posted within the BlazeVIEW learning management system (LMS) that students may access with a unique username and password.

More information about FERPA, FERPA 34 CFR Part 99 and Protecting Student Privacy

Last updated March 24, 2022.

Grade Changes

In cases of reporting or other errors, faculty members may submit grade change forms. These forms must be signed by the faculty member and the faculty member’s department head. If a faculty member is changing a grade to a “W,” the Dean and the Vice President for Academic Affairs must also sign the form. These forms are kept in the Registrar's Office and in departmental offices. Under no circumstances should students be allowed to handle these forms. 

Last updated March 24, 2022.

Student Evaluation Policy

The main goal of student evaluations is to help faculty improve courses and instruction; moreover, student evaluations are used in the annual evaluation of faculty. Therefore, faculty will administer student evaluations for each course they teach during the fall and spring semesters, and the summer sessions. All student evaluations must include both quantitative and qualitative sections and be completed by the last teaching day of the semester or summer session. Results from these evaluations will be returned to the faculty member in a timely manner. All academic units are expected to follow this policy and exceptions should be reported to the Academic Affairs Office. The Faculty Evaluation Model (FEM) was approved by VSU Faculty Senate April 19, 2007 and revised March 25, 2021. This model includes a standard Student Opinion of Instruction (SOI), a university-wide evaluation form with four standard quantitative questions and two qualitative questions (see Procedures for Administering VSU’s SOIs).

Last updated March 24, 2022.

Request for a Grade of Incomplete

To request a grade of incomplete, a student must have completed most of the work for a class, be passing the class, and for non-academic reasons be unable to complete the remaining assignment(s). Students must complete their portion for the Request for a Grade of Incomplete form. If instructors agree to the incomplete, they will work with the student to list the remaining assignment(s) and a timeline. The student will submit the form to the Registrar’s Office and the Registrar will enter the grade of “I.” When the work is completed, the instructor must submit a change of grade form. All incompletes must be finished within one calendar year or the grade will change from an “I” to an “F."

Last updated March 24, 2022.

Final Exam Schedule

Each faculty member is expected to select appropriate times for the periodic examination or assessment of students. The complexities of an academic institution make it necessary that all faculty comply with the schedule of final examinations.

A copy of the final examination schedule is included as a part of each semester's published Registration Guide and on the Registrar’s Office website. Each faculty member is required to use the specified schedule for final examinations and assessment. Whenever unusual circumstances require a departure from the published schedule, clearance for such deviation must be obtained in advance from the department head and dean and be announced in the course syllabus, or, if the departure is not anticipated at the beginning of the semester, students should be informed in time to allow adequate preparatory time.

Last updated March 24, 2022.

Student Grade Appeals

Students have the right to appeal their grades; however, they should do so within thirty days of the grade’s posting on BANNER. To appeal their grades, the student access the grade appeal form on the Registrar’s website. The student should complete the form and then speak with the faculty member about the change. If the faculty member and the student do not resolve the situation, the student may then proceed to appeal to the department head and the dean. 

No student shall receive or give or attempt to receive or give assistance not authorized by the instructor in the preparation of any essay, laboratory, report, examination or other assignment included in any academic course.

Last updated March 24, 2022.

Records Retention Policy for Course Materials

According to the USG Record Retention Policy, instructors should keep copies of examinations, tests, term papers, homework records, and gradebooks for at least one term after the student has completed the course if the course grade was uncontested or until a grade appeal is resolved.

Last updated March 24, 2022.

Proposing or Revising Curriculum

A faculty member has the right to propose new courses or revisions of existing courses. Curriculum proposals must be approved by each of the following:

  • the faculty member's Department or Division,
  • the College's or Division's Executive Committee,
  • the Graduate Executive Committee (if the course is on the graduate level),
  • the Academic Committee of the Faculty Senate.

To initiate the formal process, a faculty member should follow the guidelines and use the applicable forms.

Last updated March 24, 2022.