Academic Policies

Absence/Failing Reports

Faculty should notify students of excessive absences or poor performance on-line via "Absence-Failing" notice provided for that purpose, preferably between the 20th and 40th class day of the semester. Absence/failing reports significantly reduce registration errors and ease academic advising for subsequent semesters. An instructor of record (or proxy) may submit the absence/failing report directly to the Office of the Registrar.

Academic Dishonesty

The established procedures for dealing with suspected incidents of academic dishonesty (or other student misconduct) are also included along with guidelines for navigating the student discipline process are published by Student Judicial Services, Office of the Dean of Students.

Assistant Instructors' Teaching Loads

Assistant Instructors should not be assigned more than one course per semester unless the second course is a one-hour lab or discussion section that is considered part of the total course offering.

Assistant Instructors Teaching Upper-division Courses

Although the Handbook of Operating Procedures states that Assistant Instructors (AIs) are to be assigned primarily to lower-division courses, there are some instances in which the use of AIs for upper-division instruction offers curriculum and other academic benefits and may receive the approval of the Office of Graduate Studies. In these cases, the faculty should establish the format for and content of their instructional service. In addition, all duties and services of assistant instructors are to be carried out under established supervision and direction of departmental faculty.

Petition Procedures

  1. Submit a petition for each AI to be assigned to an upper-division course.
  2. Include all of the following information:
    • Course number and title of the upper-division course to be taught
    • Assurance that course 398T has been completed
    • Name of the GSC member who will supervise the AI and the course
    • Explanation for assignment of the AI to the upper-division course
    • Statement of the AI’s qualifications for teaching the upper-division course
  3. Submit the petition to the Graduate School's Office of Student Services.

Minimum Required Assistant Instructor Qualifications

  • Have a master’s degree or 30 graduate hours with 18 in subject to be taught; and,
  • Credit for 398T plus one semester as a TA (some flexibility given on these given evidence of other appropriate teaching credentials).

For more information, please contact the Office of Graduate Studies: Julie Meyer,, or visit the Graduate School page on Conditions for Student Employment.

Textbook Authorizations

From the Regents' Rules and Regulations: “Textbooks, notebooks, manuals or other materials for the use of students of a component institution, written or prepared by a member of the faculty of that institution, shall not be prescribed for the use of students in that institution or sold to such students until such books, notes, manuals, or materials shall have been approved with reasons stated, by the departmental faculty, the dean or deans concerned, and transmitted to the institutional head for approval and inclusion in the next regular docket. All such requests shall indicate the proposed prices and profits, and their authorization shall be effective only to the end of the fiscal year (August 31) for which such approval has been given.”

The Provost’s Office has recently updated their process for submitting textbook authorization requests from submitting signed forms via email to a more efficient system using DocuSign. Please read the Textbook Authorization Guidebook for more on the process.

Conference Courses

Conference courses are reserved for academic coursework relating to reading, writing, and/or research topics not available for study through an organized course offered by a department or listed in the department’s catalog course inventory. Departments are responsible for maintaining the integrity of conference course offerings by ensuring they are structured within the policies and guidelines set forth by the College.

For the College’s policy, please see the Conference Course Policy (pdf).

To maintain consistency throughout the College, we encourage departments/center to use our template for their Conference Course Approval Form (doc).

For more information, please contact Lisa Vera,

Course Inventory

The course inventory is the set of courses that the University is authorized to teach by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. A new course or a change to an existing course must be recorded in the inventory before it may appear in a University catalog or Course Schedule. For more information, see the Course Inventory page (missing).

Course Proposal Policies

For more information on the definitions and policies on the following courses or course designations: Core Courses; Flags; Signature Courses; Cultural Expression, Human Experience and Thought; Social Science; Alternative Natural Science; and Designated ROTC Courses, see the Course Proposals page (missing).

Course Scheduling Policies

The college has established policies and guidelines for various aspects of course scheduling including unnumbered topics course certification, cross-listing, and meeting at non-standard times. For more information, see the Course Scheduling page (missing).

Final Exam Policies

Faculty Council legislation requires that a handout be circulated to the faculty at the beginning of classes each semester that reminds them of these rules:

  • Prohibition of Substantial Examinations During Last Class Week, Reading Days, and No-Class Days
  • Faculty Presence on Campus During Final Examination Periods

For more information, please see the Office of the Registrar - Final exam request system.

Incompletes (X Grades)

An incomplete (X) is a temporary delay in reporting the final course grade. It is intended to allow students with non-academic issues the time to make up missing work so that a fair final grade is assigned. It is not to be used to allow a student to replace graded coursework. For your own protection, a written agreement between student and instructor should accompany every assigned incomplete so that there is a clear understanding of what must be done to complete the work.

For more information, please see: Guidelines when Assigning Incomplete Grades

Internship Courses

The purpose of these undergraduate courses is to establish the academic foundations of a student's internship. Students will integrate knowledge derived from their academic studies with the experiences gained from real-world work settings. The internship presents an opportunity for academic and professional growth. Internship classes will support these work experiences by fostering analytical, interpersonal, and communications skills.

Credit is only granted for internships taken in the semester in which the student is enrolled (no retro-credit).

Minimum Standards

  • Internships should include physical deliverables, e.g., weekly journal, portfolio of experience, research paper, etc.
  • Student shall complete 120-160 work hours during the semester (approximately 10-15 hrs/wk).
  • Students should have a minimum GPA of 2.25 to participate.
  • Students should have earned at least 30+ hours of coursework to participate.

Office Hours

Members of the teaching staff are expected to hold office hours. These scheduled times should be included in the course syllabus. Departments should also post and/or publish a list of their faculty member's office hours.

Plus/Minus Grading

Beginning with the Fall 2009 semester, instructors will have the option to implement plus/minus grading in their undergraduate courses. The grading scale must be included in the syllabus. Departments are encouraged to establish grading guidelines for courses with multiple offerings. For example, all instructors of GOV 310L should either implement +/- grading or continue with base-grade grading.

For answers to some frequently asked questions, please see Plus/Minus Grades Implementation (pdf).

Religious Holidays

Religious holy days sometimes conflict with class and final examination schedules.

For more information on the policies dealing with these conflicts, please read the memo regarding Observance of Religious Holy Days (pdf).

Small Classes

Department chairs/program directors should take preemptive steps to cancel small classes before the first class day unless they meet one of the “Compelling Reasons”. This helps to minimize the impact on both the students’ and the instructor’s schedule.

For the College’s policy and the list of “Compelling Reasons”, please see the Small Class Policy (PDF).

To assist with the petition process, please feel free to use our Small Class Petition (PDF, updated Sept. 2011) for petitioning fewer than four courses in one semester. Otherwise, please submit a memo as outlined in the policy. You can also review a pdf that provides a quick guide to small class petitions, Small Class Petitions: A Quick Guide (PDF)

For more information, please contact Lisa Vera,

Syllabus Requirements

The policy and information on House Bill 2504, which requires the public posting of course syllabi and instructor-of-record curriculum vitaes, can be found on the Provost's site.

The Faculty Innovation Center outlines required content and offers some additional tips on what to include in the syllabus.

We recommend that faculty include the following information on their course syllabi.

In addition, please include flag information as appropriate.