Trinity University
Faculty and Contract Staff Handbook

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(6)    Instructional Policies, Responsibilities, and Guidelines













For a summary of recent changes to this chapter, see Chapter 9A: Summary of Recent Revisions to this Handbook.

Contents of this page: 

  1. Class Schedules

  2. Class Periods

  3. Class Rolls

  4. Course Outlines

  5. Faculty Instructional Load

  6. Faculty Absence

  7. Excused Absences from Class 

  8. Class Tours and Field Trips

  9. Trinity University Study Tours

  10. Food, Beverages, and Smoking in the Classroom

  11. Dismissal from a Class and Student Attendance

  12. Policy Regarding Disruption of Class

  13. Examination Security

  14. Final Examinations

  15. Reading Days

  16. Safety in the Classroom

  17. Faculty Presence (Faculty Office Hours; Registration; Convocations)

  18. On-Campus Sales of Instructional Materials to Students

  19. Outside Speakers (Faculty-Sponsored Classroom Lectures; Faculty- or Department-Sponsored Lectures Open to the Public; Lectures Sponsored by Off-Campus Organizations)

  20. Student Evaluation of Courses and Faculty


Each departmental Chair is required to submit to the Registrar a schedule of classes for each semester or session. To provide an opportunity to review and publish the schedules, it is necessary for schedules to be submitted by the deadline published in the administrative calendar. After a class schedule is published, it is desirable to make as few changes as possible. When adjustments are necessary a request should be made in writing by the departmental Chair to the Registrar.


All classes and laboratories should begin promptly at the scheduled hour, and the periods should be closed on time.


Preliminary and interim class rolls should be checked carefully. Any student attending class who is not listed on the class roll should not be permitted to remain in the class. For non-credit students, see Chapter 6C: Evaluation of Students (Grades).

Admission to classes is closed after six weekdays of a regular semester and after five weekdays of a summer session. After those dates, which are specified in the University Academic Calendar, a student may not enter a new course and no further registration will be accepted without approval of the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs: Student Academic Issues.


During the first week of the semester, each instructor is expected to distribute to each student in his/her class and to the Chair a course syllabus or outline giving general objectives of that course (reflecting the most current Courses of Study Bulletin description), the dates of major examinations for the semester, dates on which major papers are due, the instructor’s policy concerning attendance and its relation to the course grade, office hours, and other information pertinent to the organization of the course and to the evaluation of students’ performance. If any of the dates of major papers or examinations are to be changed, advance notice of a week (or more) should be given. By action of the University Curriculum Council, no major papers or examinations may be scheduled for the two class days before reading days. Major papers or examinations are defined as papers or examinations that count for more than 10 percent of the total course grade. Laboratory quizzes and performance examinations are excepted from this stipulation.

(as defined in Chapter 5A: Sponsored Projects)

The teaching load for all regular full-time faculty members is set at 12 hours per semester or 24 hours in a year. For faculty members holding distinguished professorships, the teaching load is the same. Of those 12 hours, the normal, actual teaching load for full-time regular faculty members is 9 hours per semester or 18 hours per year. For distinguished professors, the actual teaching load is 6 hours per semester or 12 hours per year. The release of 3 hours per semester for regular full-time faculty and 6 hours per semester for distinguished professors is considered research-related time. (See also the definition stated in Chapter 5A: Sponsored Projects.)


A faculty member unable to meet a class should notify his/her departmental Chair at the earliest possible time.

(Approved by the Faculty December 9, 1991. Modified by the Faculty on December 12, 2003. Modified by the Faculty on October 19, 2007.)

Students who are absent from class in order to observe a religious holiday, who are absent from class while participating in a University-sponsored dramatic production, or who are absent from the campus because they officially represent the University in such sponsored activities as intercollegiate athletics, debate tournaments, and tours will be excused from classes under the following circumstances:

(Amended by the Faculty December 9, 1991)

An instructor of one class may not schedule field trips that will take students out of other classes. Exceptions to this will be rare and must be approved at least one month in advance of the beginning of the trip by the Vice President for Faculty and Student Affairs. Field trips and class tours scheduled for other than the regular class period, including weekends, cannot be required of students unless the trips are specified at the time of registration.

In addition to protecting students’ rights and the rights of colleagues by restricting field trips or other off-campus instructional activities to the specific time of the scheduled course, the question of University insurance also arises when students travel off campus. The University’s Special Event insurance policy will cover these activities only if the insurance carrier is notified in advance of the trip.

Insurance coverage does not apply for class sessions held in faculty members’ homes, and it is against University policy to hold scheduled classes at home. However, this should not inhibit faculty from, where appropriate, inviting students to their homes for social events. When students are invited to faculty homes, it shall be understood that the student’s presence is voluntary, that the student is a guest in the home, and that any insurance claims should be presented to the company providing the faculty member’s own homeowner’s policy and not to the University.

(Approved by the Faculty March 19, 1993)

A.    The tour format and sites utilized must be related directly to the subject matter of the course and should materially enhance the amount of learning.

B.    The offering should be a regular course published in the Trinity University Courses of Study Bulletin.

C.    The course or courses should be taught by Trinity University faculty. In the case of tours operating as Agency or Affiliated programs for the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS), faculty members from other ACS institutions may be invited as needed.

D.    The total academic expectations should approximate normal courses and must involve work in addition to the tour itself, specifically:

  1. Preparatory work prior to the travel portion is expected.

  2. The tour itself should have a formal learning component conducted by the instructor.

  3. An assessment component of the course is expected following the tour.

E.    The participation of persons in Trinity University Study Tour courses without credit must be approved by the Office of Academic Affairs. First preference shall be given to students wishing to take the course for credit.

F.    Instructor compensation for study tour courses is set by the Office of Academic Affairs. All business arrangements will follow University policies and operational guidelines established by the Office of Academic Affairs.

G.    Approval for study tour courses must be secured from the departmental Chair and the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs: Student Academic Issues.

H.    Non-credit study tours or tours not emphasizing study may be sponsored by the Office of Conferences and Special Programs and other University offices such as Alumni Relations. Although Trinity University faculty members may be asked to lead or take part in such tours, all promotional materials should make clear that these are not sponsored by an academic department and are not for academic credit.

I.    Any Trinity University faculty or staff member privately organizing or participating in the leadership of a tour should be careful to see that promotional materials do not give the impression of Trinity University sponsorship. A person’s position and relevant professional responsibilities at Trinity University may be listed, but it should receive no more emphasis than the minimum necessary for purposes of identification.


Faculty and students are not permitted to bring food or beverages into any classroom. Smoking is not permitted in University classrooms, laboratories and the library. Smoking is also prohibited in areas where signs forbid smoking. Faculty members are expected to observe and enforce these regulations. See also the Smoking Policy in the handbook Fiscal Affairs Policies and Procedures.

(Approved by the Faculty March 19, 1993)

The University expects regular class attendance by all students. The instructor in each course is expected to state an attendance policy in the course syllabus. Each student is expected to familiarize himself or herself with this policy at the beginning of each course.

Instructors then have the prerogative of informing the Registrar to drop or withdraw a student from a course for nonattendance within the published deadlines for such actions. After the last date to withdraw, a student dismissed from the class roll for excessive absences will receive an F in the course.

Absence from class does not constitute official withdrawal from the class or from the University. A student must initiate withdrawal from the class or from the University in the manner prescribed for Withdrawal from a course or Withdrawal from the University in the Courses of Study Bulletin.

When a student is excessively absent from class, the instructor should assume responsibility to notify the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs: Student Academic Issues (AVPAA:SAI), who will write the student and invite him/her to discuss the reason for the absences. The student’s faculty advisor and the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students will receive a copy of the letter. The AVPAA:SAI will later inform the instructor, the faculty advisor, and the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students of the outcome of the conversation with the student.

(Approved by the Faculty March 19, 1993; amended by the Faculty March 20, 2009)

Students will not be permitted to behave in such a manner as to disrupt the orderly conduct of classroom activities. When such behavior occurs, it is the responsibility of the instructor to discuss the matter with the student involved, warning the student that continuation of such behavior may result in dismissal from the class. If the behavior continues, the faculty member may drop the student from the class. Notification of such action shall be communicated in writing to the student, the student’s faculty advisor, the departmental Chair, and the Vice President for Faculty and Student Affairs. This notification must include a statement of the reasons for the decision and a summary of the appeal procedures. The student has a period of two school days in which to file a written appeal with the Vice President for Faculty and Student Affairs. A copy of the dismissal notification will remain in a file created for this purpose in the Office of Academic Affairs; the copy will be destroyed when the student is graduated. If the dismissal from class occurs before the published deadline for withdrawal from a class, the student will receive a grade of W in the class; if it occurs after the deadline, the grade will be F.


It is incumbent upon faculty members to provide appropriate security for their examinations. For example, faculty members should not give the same examination to sections of the same class or repeat the same examination semester-to-semester or year-to-year. Student employees should not be asked to type and prepare examinations. Secretaries preparing examinations in departmental offices should be instructed to take all appropriate security precautions. Also, care should be taken in discarding drafts of examinations or copies of old examinations. Finally, examinations to be reproduced in the University Print Shop should be hand-carried by the faculty member or the departmental secretary to the Print Shop. See also Chapter 6D: Academic Integrity Policy.


Schedules for final examinations are announced in advance of the examination period. Final examinations will be held at the published and scheduled time. Exceptions allowing the change of the time of a class examination are rare and will be granted only on the approval of the Chair and the Vice President for Faculty and Student  Affairs. The individual faculty member may determine whether a final examination shall be given. The information concerning the final examination shall be included on the syllabus. Filing the syllabus with the Chair is sufficient notice that there will be no final examination. If no final examination is given, some appropriate instructional activity should be substituted.


The two days immediately preceding the final examination period are designated as Reading Days. Since Reading Days are for the purpose of providing students with study time prior to final examinations, no classes are held, no graded assignments or projects are due, and no examinations are given on those days. Exceptions to this policy must be granted by the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs: Student Academic Issues. During this time, departments, student organizations, and individual faculty members are encouraged to schedule no lectures, projects, parties, or other activities involving students.

No major papers or examinations may be scheduled for the two days of classes before Reading Days. Major papers or examinations are defined as papers or examinations that count for more than 10 percent of the total course grade. Laboratory quizzes and performance examinations are excepted from this stipulation.


Faculty members are responsible for incorporating applicable safety procedures and practices into the curriculum of each course offered. Supervision of students should be provided to insure that procedures are followed. Hazardous conditions or accidents involving personal injury that do not require immediate emergency assistance are to be reported to the departmental Chair.  See also Medical Emergencies in the handbook, Fiscal Affairs Policies and Procedures.


A.    Faculty Office Hours

It is the responsibility of each member of the faculty to be available for consultation with students on a regular and, insofar as possible, predictable basis (for full-time faculty members, a minimum of 10 hours each week is reasonable). Policies regarding consultations with students must be included in the syllabus for each course. Faculty members must provide students with a telephone number or numbers through which they may be contacted when they are not in their offices; normally this would be the departmental office telephone.

B.    Registration

Faculty advisors must be available on campus during advising and registration periods.

C.    Convocations

All members of the faculty have the responsibility of participation in all of the formal University ceremonies, including commencement. Academic regalia, when required, may be purchased or rented through the Bookstore.


Commercial exchanges of money between students and faculty members are not permitted at Trinity University. Therefore, neither individual faculty members nor departments are to sell materials to students. The University Bookstore is the appropriate location for on-campus sales to students.


A.    Faculty-Sponsored Classroom Lectures

Faculty members may schedule off-campus speakers to appear before classes, but the faculty member in charge of the class is completely responsible for the acceptability of such a speaker and his/her relevance to the course. If the faculty member is in doubt, he/she should confer with the departmental Chair, who in turn may confer with the Vice President for Faculty and Student Affairs, before extending an invitation to lecture.

B.    Faculty- or Department-Sponsored Lectures Open to the Public

University-sponsored lectures open to the public should be approved by the departmental Chair, who in turn may confer with the Vice President for Faculty and Student Affairs before extending an invitation to lecture. If the approval is not granted, the faculty member or department shall have the right to appeal that decision to the University Lecturers and Visiting Scholars Committee. Faculty members or departments shall be financially responsible for the facilities and security not normally required.

C.    Lectures Sponsored by Off-Campus Organizations

Off-campus organizations must schedule lecturers through the Office of Public Relations, whether the lecture is open to the public or limited to the membership of that organization. Organizations shall be financially responsible for the facilities and security not normally required.


See:  Student Evaluation of Courses and Faculty

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This page was last modified on 05/30/12

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