Teacher-scholars are engaged in teaching; scholarship, research, creative and/or professional activities; and service to the University, the profession and the community. Teacher-scholars are dedicated, hardworking professionals who are expected to put forth exceptional efforts, inside and outside the classroom, for the benefit of their students, discipline, school and the University. Suffolk University supports and defends the academic freedom of faculty members. As privileged members of the University, important role models for students, and participants in civic, social, and professional communities faculty members must adhere to the highest standards of ethics and professionalism.
As a general guideline, it is expected that faculty members will spend their working time on teaching, scholarship and service. Each department and/or school will develop clearly defined work-load expectations for faculty members across the three responsibilities of teaching, scholarship and service. Individual faculty members in any year may be assigned a work load allocation different from the school and/or department norms provided that the faculty member is meeting the expectations and needs within their school and department reflective of their position as determined by the dean.
The normal teaching load for faculty varies from school to school and is detailed in the school-specific sections of this handbook. Based on the expected workload, the department chair or dean, in consultation with the faculty member, assigns individual faculty members to courses based on curricular and student need. Faculty members may be assigned to evening courses as part of their regular teaching load. Faculty members are not required to teach during the summer term, intercession or spring break week. Upon the request or consent of the faculty member, a dean may count the teaching of summer term, intercession, spring break, or other irregularly timed courses toward a faculty member’s teaching load requirement.
The dean or chair should establish minimum enrollment levels for courses and share that information with faculty members assigned to such courses. If enrollment does not meet the minimum level, the dean may cancel the course. If a faculty member’s scheduled course is canceled, he or she should expect to be assigned an alternative course in that semester or an additional course in a subsequent semester.
With the approval of the dean, a faculty member who is already assigned to teach the maximum course load per year may be allowed to teach additional courses. However, in no case may a faculty member be allowed to teach overloads that would lead them to be compensated over 133% of the annual salary identified in her or his letter of appointment. The acceptance of a teaching overload by a faculty member does not diminish or reduce his or her responsibilities with regard to research or service.
Each faculty member is responsible for designing and conducting courses at the appropriate level within the context of the school’s or department’s curriculum; creating a classroom environment conducive to student learning; meeting the course’s stated learning objectives; providing timely feedback on course assignments; preparing and implementing appropriate assessment tools and efficiently managing the course.
a. Syllabi: Faculty will provide students in each class with a syllabus containing the course’s learning objectives, descriptions of the materials to be covered, required readings, course policies, and course requirements. Faculty should employ the syllabus template.
b. Class Meetings: Faculty members are expected to conduct all of their classes at the place and times assigned. Absent faculty members must notify the department chair and/or registrar as required under the specific school policy described in the school-specific sections of this handbook. If a faculty member is absent from regularly scheduled classes, the faculty member is responsible for ensuring there is sufficient coverage of the classroom material either through make-up classes, substitution of instructors or alternative instruction methods. If the faculty member is unable to do so, he or she must consult with the department chair and/or dean to obtain appropriate coverage for the course.
c. Credit Hour Fulfillment: Each faculty member is responsible for conducting class in a manner that demonstrably complies with the U.S. Department of Education’s “credit hour” definition.
A credit hour is defined as an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutional established equivalence that reasonably approximates no less than:
While it is the University’s responsibility to provide sufficient classroom space for a faculty member to meet the credit hour requirement, it is the responsibility of the faculty member to supply the minimum time of instruction required.
d. Final Examinations: If a course has an examination, all faculty members are expected to give the final examination when scheduled. The faculty member may not cancel or change the date of the final examination without approval of the department chair and/or the dean and the registrar. In courses that do not require a final examination, the faculty member is responsible for the appropriate use of the scheduled class time (including the time scheduled during the exam period in the CAS and SBS) for teaching and assessments. Each school and/or department will retain final exams to comply with applicable accrediting organizations.
e. Grades: Course grades must be submitted by the deadline set by the registrar. Grades should be submitted electronically. Once submitted, a student’s grade cannot be changed unless there was a demonstrable calculation or transcription error in the grading process. The procedures for changing grades in each school are described in the school-specific sections of this handbook.
f. Office Hours: All faculty members are expected to schedule appropriate office hours for each class taught each week while classes are in session. Office hours must be scheduled in advance and at particular times when the faculty member will be present when the students are most able to utilize them. Faculty members must list office hours, the faculty member’s email address, office phone number and office location on the course syllabus and in other appropriate ways to insure student accessibility to the faculty member.
g. Assessments of Learning Outcomes: Faculty members must employ assessment methodologies that fairly evaluate students regarding the stated course goals and objectives. Assessment procedures should allow students to demonstrate their command of material covered and the assignments given. Assessments should, in accordance with the University’s obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act and other state and federal laws and policies, be made in formats that are accessible to all students.
h. Academic Advising and Mentoring: Academic advising and mentoring are critical for student success and all faculty members are expected to dedicate time to these activities as an important aspect of teaching responsibilities. Faculty members, when advising and/or mentoring should follow student-centered learning principles just as they would in teaching the subject matter of a course. Advising and mentoring are aspects of the regular teaching load of faculty members. The specific requirements for advising and mentoring by faculty members are further described in the school-specific sections of this handbook.
i. Faculty Monitoring of Student Attendance: Federal regulations require universities that receive Title IV federal funding to implement a policy monitoring student attendance in class. Each faculty member is required to implement the University student attendance policy, responsible for informing students of this requirement at the beginning of each course, and tracking student attendance. Faculty may only allow students who are registered for a course to attend.
The University recognizes that research, creative endeavors, and/or professional activities are an integral part of faculty life. Excellence in teaching requires faculty members to remain current in their fields. Scholarly research, creative work, and/or professional work is expected as part of the normal workload for all tenured, tenure-track and other faculty as described in this handbook. The school-specific requirements of scholarship for faculty are further defined in the school-specific sections of this handbook.
Service activities draw on faculty skills, knowledge, and experience in order to maintain the central role of faculty regarding academic and University matters. Additionally, in order for faculty to have a meaningful role in the University’s shared governance system, those able to serve the community must do so as part of their responsibilities as a member of the faculty. Faculty service helps all members of the University community achieve their individual and collective goals.
The vitality of the University is predicated on faculty participation in a broad range of operational matters, outreach events and ceremonial occasions. Additionally, faculty members participate in shared University governance by serving on various departmental, school or University committees. Faculty members are obligated to attend department and school faculty meetings, University convocation (CAS and SBS), school commencement, and other University ceremonial events. It is important that faculty also serve the broader community, therefore service also includes efforts to the profession or discipline (e.g., editorial boards, professional committees).
Faculty members must consult with their chair or dean before they engage in outside employment that has any potential to interfere with their responsibilities as a faculty member. Additional restrictions may apply in specific schools as outlined in the school-specific sections of this handbook. In no case is a faculty member allowed to teach a course or participate in sponsored research or a sponsored program at another school, college or university without the permission of the dean. All compensated external employment must be reported in each faculty member’s annual review.
The University encourages and supports the teaching, research, creative endeavors, and professional activities of the faculty. To foster these activities and support its mission as a talent catalyst, the University acknowledges faculty ownership in faculty-created course materials and works of scholarship. The University may be considered a joint author where a work is created with the substantial use of University resources. The University may also assert an exclusive copyright interest where a work is created or commissioned for use by the University (fee for service); or created under the terms of a sponsored project where the terms of the project require the copyright be owned by the University.
With respect to potentially patentable inventions or discoveries, the University will assert a limited ownership interest only where the invention was made by an employee (1) within the scope of his or her employment, (2) while working on a sponsored project, or (3) with the substantial use of University resources. If the University pursues a patent for the invention, the University will share royalties on a 50-50 basis with the inventor-employee, after the costs of the patents are recovered, or on the percentage of royalties as established in existing external agreements. See the University’s Intellectual Property Policy.
Faculty members are assumed to be diligent and professional in their teaching, scholarship and service efforts. However, a faculty member who engages in conduct incompatible with the responsibilities of serving as a faculty member may be subject to sanctions, up to and including dismissal. Faculty actionable conduct can take many forms including:
Reports of actionable conduct should be made to that faculty member’s dean. Reports of discrimination or harassment should be made to the chief human resources officer.
If the dean determines that the reported conduct or the faculty member poses an immediate threat to the proper administration and operation of the University, the faculty member may be placed on an administrative leave and removed from all duties at the University, while a final decision is made regarding the alleged actionable conduct. In this event, the faculty member shall be notified of the reason for the removal and given an opportunity to respond. However, where such a process is not, in the opinion of the dean, reasonable or possible, the failure to meet with the faculty member will not invalidate the decision.
If a report of actionable conduct relating to the standards to be considered in a tenure and/or promotion process is brought against a faculty member who is undergoing review for tenure and/or promotion, the process for tenure and/or promotion will be suspended pending a final decision on the report regarding actionable conduct. A determination of actionable conduct relating to the standards to be considered in a promotion or tenure review will be considered relevant in a promotion or tenure review.
Sanctions for actionable conduct may include, but are not limited to:
Major sanctions are reserved for those situations in which there is just cause. Just cause exists in those circumstances in which a faculty member engages in conduct that demonstrates gross neglect of duty, unfitness in one’s professional capacity, or an unusually serious or sudden case of gross personal misconduct. If a faculty member continues to engage in actionable conduct after a prior written sanction, that may be considered as just cause.
The dean or designee shall investigate the report of actionable conduct and determine whether the report is supported and whether a sanction is warranted. Such investigation will include an interview with the affected faculty member. The faculty member will have an opportunity to identify individuals that she or he believes have relevant information. The investigation shall be complete within 45 days of the initial report of actionable conduct. If the actionable conduct includes allegations of discrimination, the chief human resources officer or designee shall investigate the allegations either with or without the dean or designee.
The dean shall determine, upon completion of the investigation, whether a sanction will be imposed. If a sanction will be imposed, the dean shall send the faculty member a written notice which shall set forth the report of actionable conduct, the findings and the sanction to be imposed.
a) If the faculty member disagrees with the sanction she or he may, within fourteen days of the receipt of the written notice, request that the provost reverse or modify the sanction to be imposed. The provost shall thereafter meet with the faculty member to discuss the actionable conduct and the sanction. By agreement with the faculty member, the provost may hold other meetings with the faculty member and the dean and/or others to reach an agreed-upon resolution. The provost shall send the faculty member a written decision within five working days of the final meeting explaining whether she or he is reversing or modifying the sanction.
b) If the faculty member disagrees with any decision to impose a major sanction, the faculty member may appeal that decision in writing by submitting a notice of appeal to the provost, within fourteen days of the receipt of the Provost’s written decision. Upon receipt of the notice of appeal, and as soon as practicable, the provost shall convene a hearing panel, which will be composed of three faculty members: one member will be selected by the faculty member, one will be selected by the provost, and one will be chosen by lot from the faculty Senate. None of the panel members will be from the same department as the sanctioned faculty member. Any faculty member who believes that he or she has a conflict of interest shall decline the request to serve on the hearing panel. The faculty members on the hearing panel shall designate one individual to serve as the chair of the hearing panel.
The Faculty member shall be provided in advance of the hearing with all information considered when imposing the sanction. The chair of the hearing panel shall preside over the hearing to determine the order of procedure during the hearing; assure that all interested parties have the opportunity to participate; assure that all participants have a reasonable opportunity to present and substantiate their arguments; and maintain civility. The proceedings need not follow rules related to court proceedings. The faculty member will have the right to present arguments and evidence on his or her own behalf. Both the faculty member and the University shall have the right to be represented by counsel at the hearing. The dean or his or her designee will bear the burden of establishing that the faculty member engaged in actionable conduct.
All hearings will be recorded and that recording will be made available to the faculty member at the conclusion of the proceedings.
In the event that the actionable conduct includes allegations of discrimination, the University will ensure that the faculty members who serve on the hearing panel receive appropriate training regarding investigation of such allegations
The hearing panel shall prepare a written summary of findings, including a recommendation by majority vote of the panel members regarding whether to impose any sanction. The hearing panel shall endeavor to conduct the hearing and complete its written summary within 45 days of notice from the provost of the need to convene a hearing panel. However, if the hearing panel determines that additional time is necessary to complete its report, it will notify the provost and the faculty member of the anticipated completion date.
The hearing panel shall submit its report to the president for final disposition, and shall also submit a copy of the report to the faculty member. Within fourteen days from receipt of the report, the president shall make a decision. If the decision of the president is different than the recommendation of the hearing panel, the president shall set forth in writing the reasons for rejection of that recommendation. The president shall send a written notice of the final decision to the faculty member.
The final decision of the president is binding and shall not be subject to further review at the University.