Appendix B

3/17/20

SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION

CORRECTED COPY
(Shaded areas in [square brackets] reflect editorial revisions made after the Senate meeting. ) 

Creation of Senate Policy 45-00 Faculty and Student Responsibilities Regarding Cancelled Classes When a Campus is Closed, Revisions to Senate Policies 34-83 Change in Class Meeting Time, 43-00 Syllabus, and 44-10 General Examination Policy

(Legislative)

Implementation: Upon approval by the Senate (and development of procedures when applicable)

Introduction and Rationale

During the 2018-19 academic year, The University Park campus canceled classes and closed non-essential services an unprecedented six (6) times due to severe or inclement severe weather. Closures across the commonwealth show similar numbers. During these times, faculty were uncertain of how to ensure students received the entirety of the course content. Students were also uncertain of the methods their professors were allowed to use to teach content. These students reached out to the University Park Undergraduate Association’s (UPUA) Academic Affairs Chair with various questions regarding the methods professors used to make up for missed class periods. In response, the UPUA reached out to University Administration and Senate Leadership to interpret current Senate policy and provide the best answers possible.

These closures brought to light a gap in Senate policy. The proposed policy 45-00 Faculty and Student Responsibilities Regarding Cancelled Classes When a Campus is Closed fills this gap by providing general guidelines as to what cannot be done in the event of a class cancelation due to campus closure. By doing so, faculty and students alike will have a policy to refer to in cases of confusion. The changes to complementary policies are simply to point faculty and students to the correct policy when questions arise. Changes to the policy 43-00 Syllabi, requires faculty to have a plan in place should closures occur, as to mitigate any confusion. Should these changes receive Senate approval, the UPUA will work with the Administrative Council for Undergraduate Education to draft potential syllabi statements.

Recommendations.  Based on the above, our committee recommends the creation of policy 45-00 Faculty and Student Responsibilities Regarding Cancelled Classes When a Campus is Closed and changes to complementary policies 34-83, 43-00, and 44-10.

Please note that the following contains bold text for additions and strikeouts indicating deleted text. Deleted text is notated with [Delete] [End Delete]. Added text is notated with [Add] [End Add].


34-83 Change in Class Meeting Time

No [Delete] instructor [End Delete] [Add] faculty member [Add] has the right to change the regular scheduled meeting day and time for a class or to [Delete] allow [End Delete] [Add] require [End Add] students to attend other sections of the same course without the consent of the dean of the college or the campus executive officer in which the course is taught, except when a student is directed to change from one section of a course to another section of the course by the [Delete] instructor’s [End Delete] [Add] faculty’s [Add] department head.

[Add] In the case of a campus closure, please refer to Senate Policy 45-00 Faculty and Student Responsibilities Regarding Cancelled Classes When a Campus is Closed for more information. [End Add]


43-00 [Delete] Syllabus [End Delete] [Add]  Syllabi [End Add]

A written (paper or electronic form) syllabus must be distributed to students in each course on or before the first class meeting. Changes to the syllabus shall also be given to the student in written (paper or electronic) form. In addition to course content, expectations, and location of the program, the syllabus must include the following information:

Inherent to course:

  • Course examination policy;
  • Grade breakdown by assessment type and percentage;
  • Required course materials;
  • Course Goals and Objectives.Course Goals are broad educational benchmarks describing general understanding and knowledge domains in each course.

Course Objectives are more specific, should map to broader course goals, and represent unique, focused skill sets with learning outcomes that are assessable.

Both Goals and Objectives should reflect the most current course description on record.  Each Penn State course should offer similar educational and knowledge domain experiences regardless of campus location and adhere to Senate Policy 42-10, referred to as the 80%/20% course content rule.

  • [Add] Course instructions for a campus closure
    Course instructions for a campus closure must include a communication plan to students about changes in exam procedures, assignment deadlines, submission procedures and any other necessary instructions. It is crucial that faculty provide timely communication to facilitate their students’ success. In the event of a closure, students do not have the same access to University resources, therefore demonstrating a need for reasonable accommodations to be made. [End Add]
  • Academic integrity policy for the course;
  • Information on
    • procedures related to academic adjustments identified by the Office of Student Disability Resources,
    • reporting educational equity concerns through the Report Bias website, and
    • available Counseling & Psychological Services.

Inherent to [Delete] instructor [End Delete] [Add] faculty [End Add]:

  • Contact information for all course [Delete] instructors [End Delete] [Add] faculty [End Add]

Related resources:

  • Academic Integrity
  • Student Disability Resources
  • Educational Equity/Report Bias
  • Counseling and Psychological Services

R-5 Syllabus


[Add] 45-00 Faculty and Student Responsibilities Regarding Cancelled Classes When a Campus is Closed

In the event of a campus closure, all University activities are cancelled for the time period specified in the closure. This cancellation can cause significant issues to course schedules and assessments. Faculty should strive to minimize the impact of the cancellation when possible. However, it is important that faculty recognize that during a campus closure, all students will not have equal access to the same necessary University resources and may have other commitments (e.g., childcare) during the closure. When a campus closes, faculty may not move a cancelled residential instruction class meeting to a synchronous online meeting, per Senate Policy 34-83 Change in Class Meeting Time. However, faculty may provide asynchronous online instruction to make up for the cancelled class as long as students are given a reasonable time after the closure to complete it. Faculty should be mindful of the increased demand on student time from such make-up assignments.

If the closure causes an in-class exam to be rescheduled, the faculty will administer the exam[Delete] during [End Delete][Add] no sooner than [End Add] the next regularly scheduled class period. If the exam is taking place outside of class, students will be given a reasonable and timely notice to reschedule the exam. In the case of an exam administered through an online learning management system [Add]on the day of the closure, [End Add] [Delete] (such as Canvas), [End Delete], faculty will [Add]communicate an opportunity to make up the exam to students who are unable to take it that day. [End add] [Delete] allow students to take the exam on the next academic day without penalty. [End Delete]The same considerations will be given to previously announced assessments and/or assignments with submission deadlines on the day of a closure. [End Add]


44-10 General Examination Policy

Periodic examination of student accomplishments is essential for both teaching/learning and evaluation purposes. Examinations may include traditional written examinations, whether in-class or take-home; oral examinations; term papers; laboratory or project reports; or studio projects. The faculty teaching and coordinating a course are responsible for both the method and substance of examinations used in each course, including the final examination or other integrating evaluative instrument.

In the case of multiple-section courses, the faculty teaching the various sections will determine the examination policy for the course (e.g., common examinations), subject to any restrictions determined by the entire faculty of the section, department, or division offering the course.

Written notification of the examination procedures (including the faculty’s final examination policy) to be used in each section of each course must be made available to the students in the section during the first ten calendar days of a semester or its equivalent.

[Add] In the case of a campus closure, please refer to Senate Policy 45-00 Faculty and Student Responsibilities Regarding Cancelled Classes When a Campus is Closed for more information. [End Add]


SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION

  • Vinita Acharya
  • Kelly Austin
  • Barbara Barr
  • Erin Boas
  • Gretchen Casper
  • Delia Conti
  • Renata Engle
  • Joyce Furfaro, Vice-Chair
  • Yvonne Gaudelius
  • Vicki Hewitt
  • Peggy Johnson
  • Peter Linehan
  • Megan Marshall
  • Katherine Masters
  • Jacob Moore
  • Richard Page
  • Kathleen Phillips
  • Karen Pollack
  • Brianne Pragg
  • Jay Precht
  • Michele Rice
  • Diego Santos
  • Wen Shen
  • David Smith
  • Michele Stine, Chair
  • Samia Suliman
  • Stephen Van Hook
  • Tiffany Whitcomb
  • Chelsea Wood