Instructor Responsibilities

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Registered Course Content

All courses taught at SUNY Brockport have a registered content and an “official” course description and objectives. The registered content can be found in the Course Registration Form (CRF) on file in both the department office and the Office of Registration and Records. The official Course Description is the description of the course as it appears in the most recent College Catalog (on file in BANNER). Content of courses as taught should be consistent with the registered content.

Faculty who are teaching a course they did not submit for registration themselves should review the CRF to see how closely the course they are teaching resembles the one “on the books.” This is also a good idea for faculty who have significantly modified a course they themselves did originally write up for registration. Where meaningful and significant deviations have developed over time, a revised CRF should be submitted (in consultation with the department chair and/or departmental curriculum committee) through the Dean to Registration and Records. Department chairs should make certain that associate faculty receive the CRF or have reviewed its content for each course they are assigned. Students can have a valid complaint when course content deviates significantly from the registered content and published catalog description.

Understanding the Issue of “Academic Freedom”

The SUNY Policies of the Board of Trustees acknowledges a faculty member’s right to discuss their subject in the classroom “without limitation.” However, this right does not justify violations of law, violations of other College policies, or actions that threaten or inhibit the personal liberties of others. A faculty member could not, under the guise of exercising “academic freedom,“ slander or harass a student, or make insulting comments about an individual’s race, religion, gender, or sexual preference.

Presenting opinions or material that has no valid relationship to the approved subject matter of a course is not a privilege conferred by the concept of academic freedom. Faculty should refrain from introducing subject matter that has no relevance to the registered content of a course as it is described in the official Course Registration Form (CRF) and/or to their own professionally recognized area of expertise.

Course Syllabus Preparation & Distribution

For each course taught, faculty are required to provide a course syllabus for all their students, and to provide a file copy (by the first day of class) for their academic department office .

In preparing the syllabus, it should be kept in mind that a failure “to make the standards and expectations for the grade known” and/or failure “to apply the announced standards and expectations of the course” are considered legitimate grounds for a student grade appeal. Accordingly, the syllabus should be very clear about the grading system, and any subsequent changes that deviate from your syllabus during the semester should be announced and distributed to the students in writing.

All course syllabi must contain (at a minimum) the following information:

  • List of course learning objectives, requirements, texts, readings.
  • Examination/Assignment Schedule (or explanation of policy if dates are subject to alteration).
  • Description of course grading methodology (assignments/tasks evaluated, weighting system for grades).
  • Instructor’s office location, office hours, campus telephone, and e-mail address.
  • Statement encouraging student academic integrity, and mentioning consequences of violations.
  • Class Attendance Guidelines (College’s - or instructor’s if different), including any policies relating to tardiness.
  • Disability Policy Statement
  • Any requirements instructor has for use of electronic devices (laptops, Ipods, cell phones) in the classroom.
  • Title IX Policy
    • "Sex and Gender discrimination, including sexual harassment, are prohibited in educational programs and activities, including classes. Title IX legislation and College policy require the College to provide sex and gender equity in all areas of campus life. If you or someone you know has experienced sex or gender discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, intimate partner violence, or stalking, we encourage you to seek assistance and to report the incident through resources available at Confidential assistance is available on campus at Hazen Center for Integrated Care and RESTORE. Faculty are NOT confidential under Title IX and will need to share information with the Title IX & College Compliance Officer. For these and other policies governing campus life, please see"
  • Emergency Alert System 
    • "In case of emergency, the Emergency Alert System at SUNY Brockport will be activated. Students are encouraged to maintain updated contact information using the link on the College’s Emergency Information website, Included on the website is detailed information about the College’s emergency operations plan, classroom emergency preparedness, evacuation procedures, emergency numbers, and safety videos. In addition, students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Emergency Procedures posted in classrooms, halls, and buildings and all college facilities."

Policies & Statements that Must be Included in your Syllabus

Statement of Equity and Open Communication

We recognize that each class we teach is composed of diverse populations and are aware of and attentive to inequities of experience based on social identities including but not limited to race, class, assigned gender, gender identity, sexuality, geographical background, language background, religion, disability, age, and nationality. This classroom operates on a model of equity and partnership, in which we expect and appreciate diverse perspectives and ideas. If anyone is experiencing exclusion, intentional or unintentional aggression, silencing, or any other form of oppression, I encourage open communication with myself and/or the class as a whole.

Student Code of Conduct

The following is a link to the College's Code of Student Conduct.

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to read and abide by the policies and procedures set forth in the College's Policy of Student Academic Dishonesty.

Disruptive Student Behaviors:

The following is a link to SUNY Brockport’s policy Procedures for Dealing with Students who are Disruptive in Class.

Attendance Policy

Attendance in online courses is determined by appropriate participation in course activities. Professors are able to track both logging on times and dates as well as viewings of course materials. View the College's Attendance Policy.

Disability Statement

SUNY Brockport is committed to fostering an optimal learning environment by applying current principles and practices of equity, diversity, and inclusion. If you are a student with a disability and want to utilize academic accommodations, you must register with Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to obtain an official accommodation letter which must be submitted to faculty for accommodation implementation. If you think you have a disability, you may want to meet with SAS to learn about related resources. You can find out more about Student Accessibility Services at, or by contacting SAS via, or 585-395-5409. Students, faculty, staff, and SAS work together to create an inclusive learning environment.

The following is a link to the College’s policy Procedure for Accessing Services for Students with Disabilities.

Sexual Harassment/Title IX Statement

Gender discrimination and sexual harassment are prohibited in class. Title IX legislation requires the College to provide gender equity in all areas of campus life. If you or someone you know has experienced gender discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual assault, we encourage you to seek assistance and to report the incident through resources available at Confidential assistance is available at Hazen Center for Integrated Care. For these and other regulations governing campus life, please see all of our Student Polices at

Emergency Management

In case of emergency, the Emergency Alert System at SUNY Brockport will be activated. Students are encouraged to maintain updated contact information using the link on the College’s Emergency Information website, Included on the website is detailed information about the College’s emergency operations plan, classroom emergency preparedness, evacuation procedures, emergency numbers, and safety videos. In addition, students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Emergency Procedures posted in the classrooms, halls, and buildings, and all college facilities.

Electronic Devices

The following is a link to the College's electronic devices policy.

Hybrid & Online Courses

Hybrid and online courses must have on file with the Registrar a “Hybrid and On-line Course Approval Form” before being taught in these formats. The policy and the approval form can be found here.

Cancelling a Class

Faculty are expected to be present at all classes for which they are scheduled. A faculty member, who cannot hold a class because of illness or other extraordinary circumstance, must notify their chairperson as soon as possible prior to the scheduled class. In consultation with the chair, a decision will then be made to provide alternative coverage for the class or for make-up of the missed class at another time. In the case of an anticipated absence from class (e.g., for religious holiday observance, presentation of a paper at a professional conference), the chair must be notified at the start of the semester (or as soon as possible thereafter) so that an alternative learning experience can be developed. Department chairs should also be notified when an instructor’s absence is planned and the class is to be conducted by a guest lecturer.

Some faculty expand the learning process through the scheduling of additional class activities. In such cases, the instructor must excuse without penalty, or arrange an alternative activity for, students who cannot attend such required additional activities because of conflicts with previously scheduled classes, job/family responsibilities, or events/activities in which the student is officially representing the College (faculty may expect the student to provide documentation from the supervising official).

Office Hours — The College's Expectations

All faculty are expected to announce and honor their commitment to a regular schedule of office hours. Full-time faculty should be available in their offices for a minimum of four regularly scheduled office hours per week. Part-time faculty are encouraged to be available before and after class for at least one hour per week, per course, or otherwise schedule equivalent office hours coverage.

Faculty should also make sure that information regarding their office hours is easily accessible to their students. Accordingly, it is the instructor’s responsibility to notify their department chairperson or secretary of their office hours and to provide this information on the course syllabi. It is also customary to post office hours on the office door.

Evaluating & Grading Students

In addition to providing instruction, faculty also have an obligation to fairly and meaningfully evaluate student performance (the College uses a plus and minus grading system and faculty may not arbitrarily choose to ignore this) and to provide useful feedback to students regarding their performance.
This responsibility carries with it the expectations that student performance will be measured across the entire semester and that graded assignments/examinations will be returned (or made available in some manner) to students in a timely manner. For all assignments and exams, a record of each student’s grades and their derivation according to the instructor’s grading policy will be maintained for at least one subsequent academic year, and can be made available to each student upon request. Persons who will not be available for discussion of grades during that year should make a copy of their grades and final grade calculation in each course available to the department chair in case there are student questions or grade appeals.

Undergraduate students and graduate students who do not hold appointments as graduate assistants should not be used (delegated authority) to grade other students. This violates FERPA regulations regarding confidentiality, and is an inappropriate assignment of responsibility by the instructor of record. This prohibition includes such practices as giving students answer sheets to score, examination responses to evaluate, or exchanging exams in class for the purpose of grading each other.

Mid-term Grades

For undergraduate courses, specific policies also exist for mid-term grades and final exams. In regard to Mid-term grades, faculty are required to provide “Mid-Term Progress Reports” for their undergraduate students. Accomplishing this, in turn, requires that at least one graded assignment, examination, or performance measure be completed prior to the deadline set for submission of the Mid-term Progress Report (to ensure a meaningful basis for the reported grade). Issuing a single or common grade (“blanket” grades) for all students in a course, failure to provide a graded assignment or exam, or any other failure to meaningfully evaluate students prior to the Mid-term Progress Report deadline, is violation of this policy. Any justifiable exception to this rule must be approved by the department chair and the Dean (in such cases the chair will notify the Registrar of this exception). Faculty should immediately report to the Registrar any student who is participating in class but not on the Mid-term grade list.

Final Grades

Final course grades should be submitted by the due date specified in the College calendar and should — whether by final exam, term paper, or some other means — reflect an evaluation of student performance through the end of the semester (failure to do so effectively shortens a faculty member’s period of instructional obligation). College policy requires that all end-of-semester examinations of either the comprehensive “final” or “last unit” type be given during the formal Final Exam Period. Setting due dates for take-home examinations, term papers, and term projects (at the instructor’s discretion) to fall within the last week of classes or the formal final exam period is allowed. School deans will receive a report of all final grades that are not submitted on time to the Registrar’s Office.

Entering Exam Grades into BANNER.

Faculty members will submit their grades online. Printed grade sheets are no longer distributed by the Registrar. Below are the instructions for entering grades online. Only the students who appear on the online rosters are officially registered in the course and eligible to receive grades and credit for the course. Only faculty who are assigned to a specific course can enter the grades.

If you are teaching a course for which you are not listed as the instructor call the Office of Registration and Records immediately, 395-2531.

Submitting Changes of a Final Grade

The Registrar’s Office provides a form that instructors can use to make revisions to already submitted final grades. Grade changes are usually made for the purpose of correcting errors in the instructor’s calculation of a student’s final grade. If the grade change is justified for a reason other than instructor’s error, a written explanation for the grade change is required on that form.

Drops, Adds, & Withdrawals

A student may de-register from a course either by dropping or withdrawing. There are three stages to dropping/withdrawing from a course.

Stage 1 — Drop Period

The Drop Period takes place during the first four weeks of the semester. During this period, a student may drop a course for any reason (no permission is required), and no notation of this action will appear on the permanent transcript (Registration and Records does need to be notified).

Stage 2 — Withdrawal Period

The Withdrawal period extends from week five through week 10. Students who withdraw during this period must provide their instructor(s) with a copy of the withdrawal form, but the instructor's signature and permission are not required. The student receives a permanent “W” on the transcript. A withdrawal fee is charged.

Stage 3 — Late Withdrawal Period

The Late Withdrawal Period extends from the end of Stage 2 through the Friday preceding the last day of classes. In order to withdraw during Stage 3, the student must fill out a Late Withdrawal form, document specific "extraordinary circumstances" for necessitating a withdrawal, and obtain the signature and approval of the department chair but not course instructor, on the withdrawal form. There is an appeal procedure (to the school dean’s office) for dealing with disputed requests to withdraw. Students who withdraw during this period will receive a notation of "W" on their permanent record and a withdrawal fee is charged. Instructors will receive a paper copy of the withdrawal form as notification of the student’s withdrawal from their course. Physical illness or injury, mental health issues, financial emergency (job requirements), and similar circumstances may be considered legitimate grounds for withdrawing from a course. Poor grades, poor judgment in the selection of courses, and changes in one's major, minor, certification, or other academic program are not legitimate grounds for withdrawal. In considering the legitimacy of a withdrawal request, chairs need to consider not only whether an extenuating circumstance exists, but also if the circumstance truly prevents completion of the course. Otherwise, incomplete ("I" grades), or make-up assignments may be more appropriate options.

Students who are separating from the College will continue to be allowed to withdraw from all courses at will through the Friday before the last week of classes. This usually also involves receiving a leave of absence and is handled through the College Separations Office in Rakov Center.
Please note: Whether a student is  “dropping” or “withdrawing”, it is the responsibility of the student to notify Registration and Records, and provide that office with any necessary forms (students at Brockport cannot drop or withdraw by simply ceasing to attend a class). It would be helpful for instructors to remind their students of this when they are consulted about these procedures. There are also certain conditions under which students cannot drop or withdraw from courses online. In such situations, the student should be instructed to go in person to the Registrar’s Office to process a drop or withdrawal.

Adding, Dropping & Withdrawing Courses Policy

Incomplete (I) & “PR” Grades

A grade of Incomplete or "I" should be submitted only where circumstances beyond the student's control prevent the student from completing a minor part of the required work and some additional time is needed
In this case, an "I” Contract, which specifies the work that needs to be completed, must be submitted to the Registrar. Information required includes the date by which the work must be done (no later than the end of the following semester) and an alternate grade to be assigned if the specified work is not completed as described (which in many cases is an "E"). Faculty should keep in mind that unless formal course policy (stated in the course syllabus) allows such opportunities to all students, additional time for extra work to raise poor grades, for work missed because of unexcused absences, etc., are not legitimate grounds for assigning a grade of Incomplete. Faculty must not, under any circumstances, offer a student an “I” as a method of retaking an entire course or a substantial portion of a course without reregistering for the course in a succeeding semester. “I” grades issued when more than a minor part of the work is outstanding are very often fated to become “E” grades when the work is not completed on time as specified. Students cannot be graduated with an uncompleted “I” grade on their transcript.

Certain courses by design are not intended to be completed in one semester. This is a common practice for particular kinds of graduate courses. For these courses, the "PR” grade is used instead of an "I.” This designation may remain on the transcript for a maximum of two semesters, after which the grade is automatically changed to an "I." Courses must be approved through the Registrar’s Office in advance to allow an instructor to submit the “PR” grade.

Three Other Possibilities: "I", "PR" & "W" Policy

Unregistered Students

Under no circumstances should any instructor knowingly allow an unregistered student to continue attending class.
Doing so is against College policy. This means attendance will need to be taken in some manner and checked against the final class roster issued at the beginning of each semester; faculty may also check BANNER to confirm registrations. The one exception to this is for students auditing a course. Full-time students may audit a course with permission of the instructor and the Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Respectful Treatment of all Students

Every faculty member is expected to treat all of his/her students in a civil and respectful manner. Students have a right to complain if they are treated disrespectfully. Sometimes the most well-intended expressions of professional judgment (e.g.; “perhaps you would better off in a different major”) will be misconstrued as an intentional insult. Concern for such misinterpretation should not interfere with, or inhibit, carrying out one’s responsibilities to instruct, guide, and advise.

When advising students about their problems or deficiencies, it is prudent to remain mindful of the potential to offend student sensibilities through either one’s behavior towards, or comments about, the student’s academic performance.

Personal Relationships

A related issue involves faculty/student relationships outside the academic context. In this regard, faculty should be aware of the following College Senate resolution: “It is the sense of the Faculty Senate (now College Senate) that is inappropriate for a member of the faculty/staff to engage in consensual romantic or sexual relations with any student over whom s/he holds a position of authority with regard to academic or administrative judgments or decisions.”

Students with Disabilities — Rights and Accommodations

The Federal Civil Rights Law protects the rights of students with disabilities. Faculty are obligated to comply with whatever accommodations are determined to be appropriate by Student Accessibility Services (SAS).

Faculty are expected to honor the SAS-approved accommodations as issued on the letter of accommodations and should not reduce, exceed or otherwise change those accommodations without approval of SAS. If one faculty member offers additional but unapproved accommodations, it sometimes sets a student expectation that other faculty will or should do the same. When faculty have difficulty in providing the requested accommodations, they may initiate a conversation with the coordinator of SAS regarding how to maintain the integrity of the course and meet the student’s needs as well.

Accommodations Offered Without SAS Approval

Faculty should not offer any special accommodations to students who claim disabilities but who have not received approval of these accommodations on a letter of accommodations from SAS. Without prior SAS approval, accommodations that are not made available to all students in a course must not be provided to any student in the course.

Student Problems

All students must respect the rights of others. The SUNY Policies of the Board of Trustees states that “No person…shall deliberately disrupt or prevent the peaceful and orderly conduct of classes, lectures, and meetings.” Where such behaviors do occur, it is the faculty member’s responsibility to deal with the situation. This includes:

  • Documenting all behavioral infractions and disciplinary actions taken
  • Discussing the situation with the student(s) to allow opportunities to change the disruptive behaviors
  • Notifying University Police (if a student needs to be forcibly removed from class) or one’s chairperson or dean (if questions arise about how to handle a situation) (see Procedures for Dealing with Students Who are Disruptive in Class. Disruptive students can also be referred directly to the Student Behavioral Consultant Team (SBCT).

Academic Dishonesty

Any episode of academic dishonesty is a major violation of College policy and should not be tolerated. Repeated offenses are particularly egregious and can result in Conduct Dismissal from the College. For these reasons, faculty are expected to both respond to cases of academic dishonesty and to provide a record of such transgressions. This means that even if no official penalty has been applied, a record of the offense should still be established. Procedures for treating academic dishonesty and a copy of the Student

Academic Dishonesty Policy

Confidentiality of Grades & Other Student Information

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, sometimes called the Buckley Amendment, gives students the right of access to all records maintained by the College regarding their academic history at Brockport, and denies access to any third parties without the student’s consent

The College's FERPA Policy

Policies to Include in Your Syllabi

Last Updated 8/6/21