Policies and Procedures Manual
Department of English
Valdosta State University
Revision #4 Revised: August 11, 2011
I. Mission Statement
The Department of English offers a strong and diversified major, provides support at all levels for departments, colleges, and programs campus-wide, and fosters its reputation in the community and the region by exhibiting the following characteristics.
- A commitment to preparing undergraduate and graduate majors whose understanding and appreciation of their literary heritage will inform and shape their intellectual and ethical understanding and whose communication and critical thinking skills will allow them to contribute to the region in a variety of careers and professions.
- A commitment to teaching important core classes that promote writing and critical thinking skills to be developed further in the students’ major departments and introduce students to interpretive skills and literary works form diverse cultural perspectives.
- On the undergraduate level, a commitment to its position as a regional center for academic excellence in literary studies and in composition, with active programs in professional writing, journalism, and creative writing, and on the graduate level, a commitment to its position as the regional focal point for a strong master's degree program, flexible enough to provide more advanced study for those who wish to further their intellectual development and rigorous enough to prepare students for doctoral work and the professions.
- A commitment to serving the region, not only by providing graduates well-schooled in the liberal arts, but also making specific services available through its professional centers and by offering special programs open to the community.
- A commitment to the profession by fostering research, scholarship, and creative endeavors that are recognized regionally and nationally.
II. Department Operating Policies and Procedures
A. Department Business
Department members, whenever possible, should communicate ideas and proposals affecting curriculum and the operations of the department to the Department Head or to the chair of the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee will remand the proposal to the appropriate advisory committee for further action.
B. Department Organization
The Department Head is responsible for hiring and evaluating faculty and staff, managing the department budget, overseeing all operations of the department, providing leadership within the department, and representing the department within the larger university structure. The Assistant Department Head(s) will assume various duties assigned by the Department Head, including preparing class schedules, chairing job searches, chairing the Executive Committee, and assisting with the annual report.
The Department operates with the recommendations of the following advisory committees:
1. Assessment Committee
Evaluates results from the Senior Seminar and is responsible for policies and procedures related to program assessment in the department.
2. Core Curriculum Committee
Reviews Regents’ Testing Program appeals; scores Alternative Proficiency Exams; evaluates College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests for ENGL 1101 credit; mentors adjunct faculty; and develops policies and procedures related to core courses.
3. Executive Committee
Coordinates activities among the various standing committees; organizes department faculty forums; and serves as an advisory body to the Department Head.
4. Graduate Committee
Admits new graduate students; advises or assigns advisors to graduate students; selects graduate assistants and teaching assistants; identifies graduate award recipients; and is responsible for the administration of the graduate program.
5. Major Programs Committee
Is responsible for the administration of major programs; makes and reviews recommendations for changes to major programs; oversees advertising and selecting papers and posters for the Council on Undergraduate Research Annual Symposium; and identifies undergraduate award recipients for Honors Day.
6. Planning Committee
Develops a strategic plan to deal with the Department’s needs, specifically hiring needs, budgeting priorities, technological needs, and facility needs; oversees short- and long-range goals for individual tracks and for the Department as a whole; collects the data necessary to support the decision-making process.
7. Promotion, Tenure, and Faculty Evaluation Committee
Comprised only of full professors within the Department, conducts the department processes for promotion, tenure, third-year review, and post-tenure review; and is responsible for developing department policies and procedures related to promotion, tenure, and faculty evaluation.
In order to function efficiently, this committee must have a minimum of five faculty members and a maximum of seven faculty members at any time. Should the committee not have the minimum number, then department members at the rank of Associate Professor may be elected to the committee by vote of all tenured and tenure-track department faculty. Should the committee exceed the maximum number, then one or more full professors may be rotated off the committee for a year. Those to be rotated off will be determined by time served on the committee or the discretion of the Department Head.
8. Ad Hoc Committees
The Department Head may appoint ad hoc committees for a stated purpose to last a limited period of time. Committee chairs may also appoint ad hoc subcommittees for a stated purpose related to a committee issue. Ad hoc committees appointed by the Department Head will report directly to the Department Head. Ad hoc subcommittees will report to full committees.
The Department Head will meet at least once a semester with the Executive Committee and will chair a general meeting of the Department at least once a semester. Additionally, near the midterm of fall and spring semesters, the Executive Committee will schedule a faculty forum during which the chairs of all the standing committees will report on their activities for the semester.
C. Procedure for Committee Composition & Departmental Meetings for Actionable Items:
- Members of each standing committee, including the chair and vice chair, are appointed by the Department Head. Faculty may submit requests to the Department Head for assignment to specific committees.
- Most committee memberships and chairs rotate every two years (or according to the individual committee’s bylaws), with the vice chair moving to chair.
- Members, whether tenured or tenure-track faculty or lecturers or full-time instructors, may vote within committee on issues raised.
- Standing committees will meet at least once a semester. The date and tentative agenda of the meetings will be announced by the committee chair to the department at least one week prior to the scheduled date.
- Unless superseded by department policy, all department and committee meetings will follow Robert’s Rules of Order.
- A copy of the minutes of each committee meeting will be submitted to the Department Head as a matter of record and will be kept in a binder in the main office.
- Committee decisions requiring department action must be submitted to and reviewed by the Executive Committee before being presented to the Department for action. Actionable items from the committees must be made available for perusal (such as on Restricted Area of Dept. of English Webpage via BlazeView) by the general faculty at least one week prior to the scheduled meeting.
- No later than May 1 of each year, committee chairs will present a written report to the Department Head summarizing the committee’s action during the academic year. Annual reports will be kept in a binder in the main office.
- All full-time faculty may attend meetings; however, the Department Head will determine who is required to attend when actionable items are on the agenda:
• a quorum requires at least 2/3s of the tenure-track and tenured faculty members in the department to be present (including proxies) unless the Department Head has not required tenure-track or tenured faculty to attend (in such case, a quorum would require at least 2/3s of the non-tenure-track lecturers and full-time instructors to be present, including proxies). If no quorum is achieved, the Department Head can call a subsequent meeting with a week’s notice;
• actionable items are approved or rejected only when they receive the votes of at least 51% of the faculty (general and graduate) present (including proxies); and
• only faculty required to attend a meeting may send a proxy, and each faculty member may carry only one proxy.
D. Department Budget
The Department Head is responsible for budgetary items. The Planning Committee completes the strategic plan, identifying needs of the Department, and presents it to the Department Head. The department budget is allocated for the routine operation of the Department. (See section V.E. below for a statement on research funding.)
D. Allocation of Student Workers
The Department Head is responsible for the assignment of (and the allocation of funds for) all office student assistants. The Department Head or, with the Department Head's specific authorization, the department secretary, monitors and signs the time sheets for the student workers assigned to the department office.
The Director of the Writing Center is responsible for the operation of the Writing Center, including administration of the Writing Center budget, and for the supervision and training of graduate assistants and peer tutors assigned to the Center.
A designated faculty member is responsible for the supervision of graduate teaching assistants.
E. Technological Support
1. Audio-Visual Equipment
To enhance instructional quality, the department has television monitors, VCRs, a DVD player,an In-Focus projector, and overhead projectors that faculty may sign out for classroom use. Additional AV equipment is available from Media Services, located in Odum Library.
Supplementary AV material, including videocassettes (the Lannan Literary Video Series of 35 tapes plus a few feature films and PBS programs) and CDs, are available in the filing cabinet (bottom two drawers) in WH 202.
All AV equipment and instructional materials must be reserved. The secretary has sign-out sheets for the TV/VCRs, In-Focus projector, and overhead projectors. Sign-out cards are provided for videos, films, and cassettes. Use of equipment outside of the department must be approved in advance by the Department Head. Equipment and materials should not be left in unlocked classrooms or in the hallways. No one other than faculty should be allowed to use equipment unless supervised by a faculty member.
2. Computers for instructional use
The Department has several computer facilities in West Hall available for instructional use: electronic classrooms, several "smart" classrooms, and the Writing Center (WH 204). The key for WH 202 and 204 is kept in the Department's main office. All facilities must be locked when not in use.
Swipe locks guard doors of all computer facilities. These rooms must be locked when a faculty member is not present (do not leave doors propped open between classes). Faculty members should check with the secretary to activate their ID cards.
a. Electronic Classrooms
Equipped with computers, writing software, and a projector, WH 203 and 249 are used as classrooms for certain writing-intensive courses; software is provided for word processing (usually Microsoft Office), grammar diagnostics, Internet connection, desktop publishing, and other applications. Faculty should indicate their preference to teach particular courses in these rooms on the teaching schedule preference sheet, distributed once per year.
b. Smart Classrooms
“Smart” classrooms are equipped with an instructor-operated computer, projector, screen, and speakers. They are used as classrooms for film classes, technology-enhanced literature classes, and certain writing-intensive classes. Faculty should indicate their preference to teach particular courses in these rooms on the teaching schedule preference sheet, distributed once per year.
c. Writing Center
While it is considered the department's computer laboratory, the Writing Center is open to all university students. Thus, the Writing Center is open and staffed by student assistants during published hours. Faculty members may periodically reserve the use of the Writing Center for their own classes by signing up for reserved time on the master calendar in the Writing Center at least 24 hours in advance.
The Writing Center computers have software for word processing (generally a recent version of Microsoft Office) as well as grammar diagnostics, browsers, and other resources. Student tutors are available for computer orientation and individual tutorials.
3. Office computers
While faculty members have the right to use whatever software that they may choose, Microcomputing and System Services will keep office computers updated for word processing with the most recent version of Microsoft Office that each office computer can run. Other support, such as updating browsers and virus checkers, is offered routinely. Faculty members needing specialized hardware or software for classes or research should consult with the Department Head.
Problems with office computers should be reported to Microcomputer Support (245-4357).
b. Computer supplies
Supplies for department computers and printers such as diskettes, cartridges, and paper are available through the department office.
To prevent theft and unauthorized tampering with computers in offices, faculty members must lock their office doors when they leave.
d. Computer ethics statement
Software that is copyrighted must not be duplicated or used on university equipment without proper authorization from the author or publisher; similarly, university software may not be duplicated or used on non-university equipment without authorization from Microcomputer Support.
4. Campus Electronic Mailing Lists
a. To subscribe to the VSU Faculty electronic mailing list, send a message to
The message should read as follows:
sub vsufac [your first and last name]
b. To subscribe to the English Department’s electronic mailing list, send a message to
The message should read as follows:
sub engfac [your first and last name]
F. Library Ordering Procedures
1. Books, films, videos, CDs, and serials
Each year, the Department receives notice of its library allocation. All faculty members may submit orders for individual books, films, videos, CDs, and serials to the department head. Serials requests will be submitted to the Department for approval at the next faculty meeting; all other requests will be submitted to the Department Head for approval.
To place an order for a book, video, or CD, faculty should fill out an order card, kept in the mailroom next to the mailboxes, then place it in the Department Head’s mailbox.
The Department also receives Choice cards, containing brief reviews of new academic texts, on a periodic basis. If a faculty member thinks the text is one our library must purchase, the faculty member should sign her/his name to the card and place it in the Department Head’s mailbox. If the faculty member thinks the text would be a valuable but not vital addition, she/he should initial the card and replace it in the packet of Choice cards. Cards that receive three or more sets of faculty initials will be ordered.
2. Collections or major purchases
For the purchase of multi-unit collections or other high-cost items, faculty members should consult with the Department Head and submit a proposal for use of Library Contingency Funds to the Faculty Senate's Library Affairs Committee for consideration (forms available from this committee). The deadline for submission for these requests is normally early in the Spring Semester and is generally made via VSUFAC.
1. Permission to Travel
Whenever a faculty member travels on official business (for classes, research, or professional reasons), the faculty member must submit a Request for Authority to Travel form, which is available online via the Department web page and the Financial Services web page. Whenever possible, this form should be submitted at least two weeks prior to the travel. This form must be submitted to the Department Head, regardless of when the travel will occur, weekends and breaks included.
2. Reimbursement for Travel
Faculty members may receive money from a number of on-campus sources to support approved travel, including the Faculty Development Fund, the Faculty Research Fund, and the Faculty Internationalization Fund. These funds require a completed application form and a copy of the applicant’s curriculum vitae; these are submitted to the appropriate university faculty committee for review. Application forms and FAQ about the application process are available through the Academic Affairs homepage. A limited amount of money may also be available through the English Department’s travel budget. Faculty should check with the Department Head to find out if funds are available.
3. Travel Expense Statement
To be reimbursed for approved travel, faculty must fill out a Travel Expense Statement, available from the department secretary. Completed forms must be accompanied by original receipts for housing, travel, conference fees, limousine, taxi, or parking fees, gasoline, etc. Beginning and ending odometer readings are necessary for mileage reimbursement. Receipts are not necessary for food expenses. (The department secretary can provide the current reimbursement rates for meals and mileage.) Faculty members should complete and sign a Travel Expense Statement and submit it with supporting documentation (receipts). The department secretary will photocopy all Travel Expense Statements and supporting documentation and file them with the Business Office. [revised]
H. Instructional Costs
The use of department copiers is reserved for material that is directly related to an employee's work at Valdosta State University. Any copying of personal or business materials not directly associated with employment at VSU is not authorized.
While the department encourages research and professional activity, the use of copiers for these purposes should be limited. If a faculty member needs to copy substantial amounts of material, she or he should apply for a research grant through the Dean of Graduate Studies, Faculty Development, or external sources.
Faculty should not run multiple copies of copyrighted material without appropriate authorization from the author or publisher except when the material falls under the “Fair Use” guidelines.
Faculty members requiring services from the Odum Library Media Center, including but not limited to burning CD’s or copying videos, must have approval from the Department Head before incurring the cost.
I. Building and Office Security
Faculty members should lock their office doors when they leave the department. Also, any doors (offices, entrance, storage areas) which have been left open or unlocked by custodial or other persons should be reported to the department secretaries as soon as possible.
Keys for offices and West Hall are obtained from the Key Control office of Plant Operations. Faculty members are responsible for any keys issued to them. If keys are lost, the faculty member should contact Plant Operations and will be held responsible for any replacement costs. Access to classrooms with swipe locks installed may be obtained by having one’s faculty ID card activated by the Key Control office of Plant Operations.
J. Class Scheduling (Classes, Times, Locations)
1. Teaching during the academic year
The Department Head is responsible for ensuring class schedules are completed according to the Registrar’s deadlines. The schedule must include all class instructors, courses, times, and locations. The Department Head is also responsible for overseeing any modification of class schedules. Once per year, faculty will be given preference sheets to complete, indicating any schedule, course, or classroom requests. These preferences will be taken into consideration when compiling the schedule.
Unless time does not permit, the Department Head will see that the tentative schedule is distributed to faculty members for corrections a week before the tentative schedule is due to the Registrar. All requested changes are made at the discretion of the Department Head.
Upper-division and graduate courses are normally offered according to the Department’s course rotation (coordinated by the Major Programs and Graduate Program committees). The Department Head may make adjustments based on enrollment needs and personnel availability.
2. Summer teaching
VSU does not guarantee opportunities for summer teaching. Each fall, the Department Head or Assistant Department Head circulates a call for faculty members interested in teaching during the summer. Unless budget constraints dictate otherwise, preference for summer teaching positions will be given to tenured and tenure-track faculty. If more faculty request summer teaching than the Department’s summer budget will support, the Department Head will first honor requests from those who have not taught most recently. All summer teaching assignments depend on student enrollment in each course.
The English Department will make a good faith effort to grant retiring faculty members two summer courses for the two summers prior to retirement. To receive consideration for maximum summer teaching loads, retiring faculty members must submit written notice of their retirement date by December 1 of the year preceding their threshold year.
Faculty members are required to attend scheduled classes on a punctual basis. When a faculty member is unavoidably absent from a class, however, he or she should immediately notify the Department Head if possible and, if not, the department secretary, who shall convey instructions from the faculty member to the class.
Prior to the cancellation of any regularly scheduled class for professional or university business, the faculty member must complete a Request for Authority to Travel form (see Section I. G. above) and receive authorization from the Department Head.
Faculty members are expected to attend at least one graduation exercise each year. This exercise requires appropriate academic attire.
3. Department and university meetings
Faculty members are expected to attend department, college, and university faculty meetings unless they are in class or on university-related business.
4. Sick Leave
Every full-time faculty member accrues eight hours of sick leave each month. Faculty members teaching during the summer also accrue sick leave at an adjusted rate.
Faculty members who must miss class for any reasons other than travel to professional meetings or other university business must report the classes missed to the Department Head or the department secretaries. Even if the faculty member arranges for someone to fill in, sick leave is still taken.
Using 15-instructional-hours-per-week as the base for all full-time faculty, sick leave is calculated as follows:
Every month, faculty members sign the “Employee Absence and Leave Record,” showing their beginning balance (how much sick leave accrued since beginning employment at VSU), the month’s accrual (8 hours), the leave taken for the month, and the balance forward. The signed record is considered the correct leave statement and is used when reporting sick leave for credit towards retirement. When this leave balance is exceeded by monthly sick charges, both Human Resources and Payroll are contacted to adjust the faculty member’s payroll accordingly. The faculty member’s pay stub will show sick leave totals; the total on the stub will, however, lag behind the Department’s monthly report (e.g., sick leave hours taken in September and listed in the Department’s monthly report are transmitted to Payroll and entered during the month of October).
1. English majors
Unless they request a specific member of the department, English majors are assigned an adviser by the Department Head. Advisors are responsible for making students whom they advise eligible for registration via BANNER. For each advisee, the advisor should maintain an active file that includes (1) a copy of an advising form, signed by the student, for each semester and (2) a running checklist of the advisee’s progress through the core curriculum and one of the Department’s major tracks. Students should be encouraged to read the consult the English Majors’ Handbook, available on the Department’s website. Students must follow the guidelines for the major listed in the VSU Catalog posted online during the semester in which they declared their major. Ultimately, it is the student's responsibility to adhere to the curriculum requirements.
Any time a student refuses to adhere to an advisor's recommendation, a written note to this effect should be entered into the student's file for future reference.
It is the student's responsibility to file for graduation at the appropriate time. Advisors should remind their advisees to file a request for graduation at least two (2) semesters prior to their anticipated date of graduation.
3. Graduate students
The Graduate Coordinator or a faculty member assigned by the Graduate School initially advises graduate students. As they do for undergraduates, advisors should maintain active files for their graduate students and are responsible for making students eligible to register via BANNER.
When the student has completed approximately 18 semester hours of coursework, he or she selects a permanent graduate advisor whose expertise best matches the subject area of the proposed thesis or comprehensive examination. The permanent graduate advisor in consultation with the graduate student selects at least two other members of the graduate faculty to serve on the student’s committee. If the student has opted to write a thesis, one of these two committee members must be from a department other than English. Advisor and student will also establish a timetable for the thesis or a reading list for the comprehensive examination. Advisors are also required to work to remind students about posted deadlines for thesis defense and to remind advisees to file an application for graduate at least a semester prior to the anticipated date of defense.
For deadlines and details on these procedures, advisors and students should consult the guide to Graduate Study in English on the Department’s website and the Graduate School’s website.
M. Space Utilization and Office Allocation
The Department Head determines the space necessary for classroom, office, and administrative use.
In order to promote efficient utilization of department space, faculty offices are assigned by the Department Head on the basis of the following criteria:
- programmatic needs of the department
- rank of the faculty member
- seniority of the faculty member
III. Department Office Policies and Procedures
A. Supervision of the Office Staff
The Department Head is ultimately responsible for the supervision of senior department secretaries and student workers assigned to the Department. The Department Head, however, may delegate some of the day-to-day supervision of student workers to the senior secretaries.
Although senior secretaries may check the roll for an absent faculty member and administer student evaluations for faculty members upon request, secretaries are not to administer tests, show films, or conduct classes.
The department secretaries and student workers are not permitted to do personal favors for faculty members. Work for department office staff should be submitted in a timely fashion with clear written instructions.
Any questions or problems regarding the office staff should be brought to the attention of the Department Head.
Faculty members will be provided with a department mailbox. With the exception of authorized department workers, students should not add or remove material from faculty mailboxes; students are not permitted in the faculty work room.
The University will provide postage for work-related correspondence only. Office mailboxes should be checked at least once per working day.
Outgoing long distance calls by faculty members should be limited to University business and must be made on the faculty member's office telephone rather than the department office telephones.
D. Textbook Ordering Procedures
1. Dates [revised]
The VSU Bookstore has set the following due dates for textbook orders:
- Fall semester: March 15
- Spring semester: October 15
- Summer terms: March 15
Faculty members should place their orders online through the Bookstore’s web page. Additionally, faculty members should give a hard copy of their book orders to the Department’s secretary.
2. Standard Required Texts
In certain courses, the department has approved a text required to be used in all sections. Generally, the standing committee in charge of the course will recommend a small number of texts, give a presentation to the faculty of the strengths and weaknesses of each, and then make the selection by majority vote of the Department. For ENGL 1101 and 1102, the required text is generally a handbook; for ENGL 2110, 2120, 2130, and 2140, the required text is an anthology; for ENGL 3010, the required text is a business writing textbook. Faculty teaching these courses are required to use these texts in the sections that they teach; however, they may supplement the required text with additional texts. Book orders for these required texts are automatically placed by the Department secretary.
3. Desk copies
The bookstore will provide desk copies to faculty until their requested desk copies arrive from the publisher. It charges these to the Department’s supply account but will reverse that charge when it receives a clean and unmarked copy of the book from the faculty member or Department within the academic semester in which it was sold. To receive a desk copy from the bookstore, faculty members must first get a Desk Copy form the department secretary.
IV. Teaching Policies and Procedures
A. Student Evaluations
While the University encourages its faculty members to be actively involved in research and service to the community, the primary purpose of the University is teaching. In order to help the faculty in the evaluation of their teaching, instructors are required to administer student evaluations for each course (except for ENGL 4800, ENGL 8999, and JOUR 4800; any other exemptions must be approved by the Department Head) at least once per term. The evaluation forms are made available to the faculty by the week following mid-term in the Department office. The faculty will conduct the evaluations in accordance with the policies of the College of Arts and Sciences. Faculty members must leave the room during the evaluation, and they should not see the evaluation forms until after the end of the term.
Results of the student evaluations are returned to the faculty member during the following term. Faculty will receive a copy of the scores for each course taught, along with a copy of department averages for core courses and a copy of all student written responses, typed by the Department secretary. Evaluations must be retained by the faculty member, as they are required elements of the promotion, tenure, and review process.
Faculty members are expected to develop and distribute a syllabus to each student during the first week of class. A copy of each syllabus should also be given to the Department Head each term. At a minimum, a syllabus must include the following information:
- grading method/criteria
- attendance policy
- required texts
- course content
- how the course goals support the Department's stated outcomes or performance standards
- accommodations policy:
"Students requiring classroom accommodations or modifications because of a documented disability should discuss this need with me at the beginning of the semester. In order to receive special accommodations, you must be registered with the Access Office for Students with Disabilities (1115 Nevins Hall). If you are not registered, then you should contact that office at 245-2498."
General syllabuses for ENGL 1101, 1102, 2110, 2120, 2130, and 2140 are available on-line on the English Department’s web page.
C. Student Enrollment Caps
All courses have enrollment caps: 25 per section for ENGL 1101 and 1102; 45 per section for ENGL 2110, 2120, 2130, and 2140; 25 for ENGL 2060 and most upper-division courses; and 15 for all graduate courses. [Note: enrollment caps for online courses are to be addressed by the Vista Advisory Committee now set up through the VPAA’s office.] Courses or sections of courses that are under enrolled may be cancelled at the discretion of the Department Head, with the faculty member being reassigned to another course.
Faculty are under no obligation to add students above the enrollment cap. If, however, a faculty member wishes to allow a student to add her/his course, the faculty member must give official permission. The student must obtain, fill out, and have signed by the faculty member and the Department Head an override form.
D. Office Hours
All faculty members are expected to observe reasonable office hours 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.
E. Recorded Grades
Faculty post in-progress grades (required for all 1000- and 2000-level courses; optional for all upper-division courses) and final grades electronically through BANNER. The Registrar will send out e-mail notices of the posting dates. Faculty must print out a hard copy of the posted grades to give to the department secretary. Faculty are strongly advised also to keep a hard copy for their own records.
Unless posting officially via BANNER, faculty should not post student grades under any circumstances. Grades and classroom issues should be addressed by speaking in person with the student or communicating online ONLY VIA the student and faculty member’s university-issued e-mail accounts (BlazeNet). If desired, grades may be given to the students confidentially. Students may also view their grades through BANNER.
Grade books maintained by faculty for their classes are considered the property of the University and are often needed to settle grade disputes or other issues for students past and present. Thus, faculty should make every effort to keep good records of student attendance and grades and must save the grade books for their time of service; when faculty leave the University, they must leave their grade books with the Department Head.
F. Valdosta State University Policy on Incomplete Grades
Incomplete grades should be given only sparingly to students who are doing satisfactory work in a course when non-academic circumstances which are beyond their control (e.g., a medical condition) have interfered with completion of all required coursework. The instructor must submit a note on the final grade sheet, explaining the incomplete grade. Incomplete grades for undergraduates must be removed by the mid-term point of the immediately succeeding semester; for graduate students, incompletes must be removed within a calendar year. Incompletes not removed within the prescribed time will automatically be changed to an F or WF.
G. Department Policy on Cheating
Department faculty believe that academic cheating, including plagiarism, violates the integrity of the classroom. Cheating should be reported to the Department Head. The
Valdosta State University Student Handbook explains the university policy regarding cheating: To avoid confusion concerning alleged incidents of cheating and plagiarism, under the normal process, a violation of Appendix A Section I of the Student Conduct Code is handled academically (between the student and the concerned professor). The most severe action that may be administered by the professor in a course is a grade of "F" in that particular course. This is an academic, not a disciplinary, sanction.
The Faculty Handbook makes the following statement: "Penalties for academic dishonesty may range from a reduced grade on the particular work in question to permanent suspension from the University." VSU policy is that under the established process, a violation of Section I may and should be handled by the professor, the student, and possibly the Department Head or Dean concerned with the offense. However, the most severe sanction that may be administered through this process is to give a grade of "F" in a course.
If a stronger sanction is desired, or if an agreement cannot be reached between the above parties concerning the incident, it is no longer a matter that addresses itself only to the academic school or division. If a student continues to violate Section I after having been warned or sanctioned by one or more professors, he or she should then be referred to the Office of Students Affairs, where official charges may be drawn up and the student subjected to the established disciplinary process.
H. Curriculum Change Procedure
Course proposals, course revisions, and curriculum revisions originate in appropriate department committees. After committee approval, they are sent to the Department’s Executive Committee for its review. The proposals are then presented to the full Department for consideration. After they are approved by the Department, they are submitted for institutional review. Every new course, revised course, or revised curriculum must be approved by the Dean, the Arts and Sciences Executive Committee, the Academic Committee of the Faculty Senate, the Graduate Executive Committee (if a graduate course), and the Faculty Senate. Forms are available on-line through the Office of Academic Affairs’ web page (see Online Forms.) A full description of the process appears in the
Faculty Handbook, available on-line through the Faculty Senate web page.
I. Regents’ Test
A description of the University System of Georgia’s Regents’ Test, sample reading tests, sample essay topics, sample rated essays, and a list of ways students may exempt the exams are available online at the following address:
V. Faculty Personnel Policies and Procedures
A. Faculty Grievances
In the case of a grievance, faculty members should initiate all communications at the Department Head level and from there proceed via the chain of command, i.e., Department Head, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Vice President for Academic Affairs. If efforts at resolution fail, faculty members may seek advice informally from a member of the Faculty Grievance Committee (see committee memberships listed on the Faculty Senate web site), or they may initiate a formal procedure (see formal grievance procedures described in the
Faculty Handbook, also listed on the Faculty Senate web site). The faculty member may appeal to the elected Faculty Grievance Committee before appealing in writing to the President. Alternative Dispute Resolution is also available. More information about this process is available in the Office of the Assistant Vice-President for Academic Affairs.
B. Faculty Recruitment
The Department will undertake job searches to fill new or vacated faculty lines. Permission for these lines is granted by the VPAA. The Department Head has the discretion to initiate job searches whenever need arises.
Job searches for tenure-track lines generally begin in the fall semester. The Department Head will solicit interest in serving on a search committee from the tenured and tenure-track faculty and appoint the committee and its chair. The committee will then, in consultation with the Department Head, compose the advertisement announcing the opening.
Job searches for Full-time temporary and part-time positions are generally undertaken in the late spring or summer. The Department Head will appoint a search committee made up of tenured or tenure-track faculty, but if not enough tenured and tenure-track faculty are available, Full-time Temporary faculty will be asked to serve.
Faculty are recruited according to VSU policy. A complete description of policies governing this process is available on-line in the VSU Faculty Handbook: Employment Policies: Appointment to the Faculty.
C. Faculty Self-Evaluation
By the beginning of spring semester, each faculty member must submit a Faculty Self-evaluation to the Department Head. The Department Head conducts an annual evaluation of each faculty member, which is used when determining merit increases, as well as in considering recommendations for promotion and tenure.
D. Faculty Peer Evaluation and Review
1. Tenure-Track Faculty
During their first three years of employment, all tenure-track faculty must be observed and evaluated annually by a member of the Department’s Promotion, Tenure, and Faculty Evaluation Committee. Requests for classroom observation must be submitted to the chair of the committee.
2. Full-Time Temporary Instructors and Part-Time Instructors
All full-time temporary instructors and part-time instructors must be observed and evaluated by the Department Head during their first year of service. In subsequent years, such faculty members may also request a classroom observation from the Department Head or another full-time faculty member. These evaluations are useful to the Department Head when completing annual evaluations for faculty.
3. Other Faculty Members
All other faculty members may request a classroom observation and evaluation from a member of this committee. All requests for such visits should be submitted to the chair of the committee. Again, such evaluations often serve as important supporting documentation for the Department Head in writing annual reviews of faculty; they may also bolster a candidate’s application for tenure, promotion, or post-tenure review.
E. Promotions, Tenure, and Faculty Evaluation
The Department Head must notify in the spring semester faculty eligible or required to apply in the fall for promotion and tenure about application deadlines, announced by the VPAA, and procedures. The Promotion, Tenure, and Faculty Evaluation Committee is responsible for carrying out pre-tenure third-year reviews for new faculty members in tenure-track positions; promotion and tenure reviews; and post-tenure reviews for tenured faculty every five years from their most recent personnel action. Guidelines and explanations of the processes the faculty member must go through for each of these reviews are contained on the College of Arts & Sciences web page as well as in the VSU
The committee will hold an informational session for Department tenure-track faculty every spring semester to clarify aspects of the application process. Forms and additional information are available from the chair of this committee. After candidates for personnel actions have completed their packets, following the directions and policies of the Department and the College of Arts and Sciences and adhering to the announced due dates, this committee reviews these packets and passes them along with its written recommendations to the Department Head. Candidates then meet face-to-face with the Department Head to discuss the committee’s decision.
F. Graduate Faculty
Faculty must be accepted to Temporary, Associate, or Full membership in the Graduate Faculty before teaching graduate-level courses. Criteria for appointment and a complete description of the application process are available in the
VSU Faculty Handbook. A Graduate Faculty Application Form is available on-line through the Graduate School web page.
G. Reassignments for Research
Consideration for reassigned time should be requested in writing, along with substantial documentation of the rationale, one year in advance from the Department Head. Special forms are available in the department office. Faculty members who have completed at least six years of continuous employment may also apply for leave with pay for professional development; forms are available in the Department Head’s office and in the Vice President for Academic Affairs’ office. After department review and approval, the request goes to the Dean of Arts and Sciences and then to the Vice President for Academic Affairs for review and approval.
H. Institutional Grants
Funds for faculty research are available, on a competitive basis, from the Faculty Research Grant Committee, administered through the Dean of Graduate Studies or through the Center for Faculty Development and Instructional Improvement Forms for both are available on-line. (See the Office of Grants and Contracts web page.) Funds for publication and paper presentations as well as for faculty development can also be requested through the Center for Faculty Development and Instructional Improvement.
For example, for every class (except RGTE and PERS courses and a few other exceptions), faculty members teach three hours per week. If faculty members miss one 50-minute class, it is calculated as one hour; if they miss a 75-minute class, it is calculated as 1.5 hours; if they miss a three-hour class, it is calculated as three hours. Once the actual class time missed is determined, that number is multiplied by 2.67 (a 40-hour week divided by a 15-hour teaching load). Therefore, if a faculty member misses a MWF 9-9:50 class on a Monday, the 2.67 hours of sick leave will be deducted (1 x 2.67). If a faculty member misses a TR 9:30-10:45 class on a Thursday, then 4 hours of sick leave will be deducted (1.5 x 2.67). If a faculty member misses a Wednesday night 5:30-8:15 class, then 8 hours of sick leave will be deducted (3 x 2.67).