Chapter 8: Teaching and Faculty Interactions with Students

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8.D University Policies and Procedures Affecting Students

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As mentioned in section 7.C.1 Introduction to Norms, Policies, and Regulations Guiding Scholarship and Research, the Office of the General Counsel has created a comprehensive compliance program to map U-M’s legislative and regulatory compliance obligations and activities, and to help faculty and staff take the necessary steps to manage those obligations. Teaching is another key area of activity for which there are compliance obligations that faculty members must keep. In particular, see the Training section of the Compliance Resource Center website.

8.D.1 Academic Calendar

The University academic calendar is established by the Office of the Provost and approved by the Regents. It is usually set at least two years in advance. The calendar for the current academic year is printed in most unit handbooks and bulletins and is available on the Web at <>. Future calendars that have been approved by the Regents can be obtained from the Office of the Provost. Faculty are advised to check with their academic unit regarding any variations in the calendar; sometimes the professional schools establish dates for the beginning of classes and exams that are different from those set forth in the University academic calendar.

New faculty should note that each year on the Ann Arbor campus, faculty, students, staff, academic units, departments, and community members develop programs and initiatives to continue and remember the work and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  These events and activities constitute the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Symposium, with a different theme each year.   The UM-Dearborn and UM-Flint campuses each observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day through a Day of Service; both campuses also host other events to celebrate the legacy of Dr. King.  No classes are held on this day, usually the third Monday in January, nor are classes held on University-wide holidays and season days. See section 16.D.1 “Holidays” and section 16.D.2 “Season Days.”

See also section 2.B.6 “Religious Academic Conflicts Policy.”

8.D.2 Academic Integrity and Academic Misconduct

A clear sense of academic honesty and responsibility is fundamental to good scholarship, and behavior consistent with this principle is expected of all members of the University community. Most of the schools and colleges have written policies that delineate the conduct expected of their students and the consequences of failing to meet the expected standards. The policies are referred to by various names, including honor code, honor system, code of conduct, or grievance procedure. Some of the professional schools require students to sign a code of conduct pledge as a condition of matriculation. These policies are usually published in the school or college bulletin or, in some cases, as separate brochures. They are also available from the dean’s office of the respective schools and colleges. Specific standards of academic conduct and processes for handling instances of academic misconduct depend on the student’s unit of registration. Faculty should obtain and read the applicable policy, or in the few instances where there is no written policy, discuss the standards and procedures with the appropriate dean. Students are also expected to read and understand their school or college policy. See the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching website for information about the honor code and academic integrity policies of the academic units at

Misconduct other than issues involving academic integrity may also be referred to the Office of Student Conflict Resolution (OSCR).See section 8.D.6 “Dispute Resolution/Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities.”

8.D.3 Academic Standing

Students in all academic programs are expected to maintain certain minimum standards of academic performance. The specific standards are established by the school, college, or academic unit, as are the policies and procedures for review of students who fail to meet these standards. These policies and procedures are usually published in the school or college bulletin or student handbook, and are available from the dean’s office of the respective school or college. Faculty and students should obtain and read the applicable policies and procedures.

8.D.4 Affiliation Agreements for Participation in Various Off-campus Initiatives

When students participate in off-campus internships and clinical or service learning experiences, the nature of the relationship between the student, the U-M, and the participating agency or organization may be formalized through an affiliation agreement. Generally, affiliation agreements are appropriate when students will be acting in a position of perceived authority, such as when working with patients or students. Affiliation agreements are also appropriate in circumstances where it would be useful to establish goals, expectations, and responsibilities up front. Faculty whose students engage in these kinds of off-campus programs should make sure that an affiliation agreement is in place before student participation begins. All affiliation agreements should be routed through the appropriate dean’s office, which forwards the agreement to the Office of the General Counsel for review. The agreement then goes to the provost’s office for approval and signature. Faculty with questions about how and when to use affiliation agreements may contact either the appropriate dean’s office or the Office of the General Counsel.

In the case of an off-campus initiative outside of the United States, an international agreement should be in place before activities begin. See section 7.G “International Initiatives.”

8.D.5 Authorized and Unauthorized Persons in the Classroom

Generally, persons not enrolled or otherwise officially authorized to attend a course should not be permitted to attend classes. Authorized individuals include prospective students who are visiting a class pursuant to a school or college admissions program. Members of the faculty have some discretion in permitting guests into a classroom or laboratory; however, appropriate consideration should be given to issues of safety, resources, fairness, disruption, etc., before allowing such visits. Faculty should consult with their department chair or dean’s office when questions about visitors arise. Advice is also available from the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel and from Risk Management Services.

If an unauthorized visitor refuses to leave a classroom or laboratory, assistance should be sought from the department chair, dean’s office, the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel, and/or the Department of Public Safety. See also section 8.D.7 “Disruptive Behavior.”

8.D.6 Dispute Resolution/Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities

Students who have complaints regarding faculty, including complaints about grades, should be encouraged to first discuss their concerns with the faculty member to ensure that the matter is not simply a misinterpretation or other misunderstanding that can be resolved with a conversation.

If this fails, or if the student decides this is not a desirable course of action, the student should be urged to discuss the matter with the department chair or unit head, and, if necessary, the dean or director. Most units have formal procedures for handling complaints brought by a student against a faculty member. Faculty can obtain information about their unit’s procedures from the office of the dean or unit administrator. The Office of the Ombuds (for students) and the dean of students’ office (discussed in section 8.C “Resources for Students”) are two additional resources for students with a complaint against faculty.

Faculty confronted with an instance of academic misconduct on the part of a student should pursue the appropriate unit remedy. See section 8.D.2 “Academic Integrity and Academic Misconduct.” Faculty who have a complaint against a student regarding other behavior that contradicts the essential values of the University community (including physical harm, theft, disrupting classes, and violations of state or federal law that have a serious impact on the University community) are encouraged to consult unit procedure and discuss the matter with their dean.

On the Ann Arbor campus, if the issue cannot be resolved internally, or if the faculty member prefers, he or she may pursue the matter under the procedures outlined by the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities. The Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities is administered by the Office of Student Conflict Resolution (OSCR). Complaints alleging conduct that violates the statement may be brought against a student by any member of the University community, including faculty, staff, or another student. OSCR investigates alleged violations and attempts to resolve these matters, using mediation whenever possible. OSCR provides support to complainants as well as accused students. The Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities is available at the Office of Student Conflict Resolution

UM-Dearborn has a Statement of Student Rights and Code of Student Conduct that can be obtained from the Office of Registration and Records. UM-Flint has a Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities Policy, which can be obtained from the Division of Student Affairs.

8.D.7 Disruptive Behavior

If a faculty member encounters a student who is behaving in a disruptive or dangerous way in a classroom or other University setting, he or she needs first to determine if there is an immediate threat of violence or other dangerous situation or emergency. If so, 911 should be called promptly, usually by someone else so the faculty member can remain in charge of the class. Also see section 8.D.18 Emergency Preparedness for Faculty: Classroom Safety for Instructors. Also, the University’s Campus Safety Handbook contains useful information and suggestions about how to handle an emergency situation and is available at the Clery Center.

If the situation is not an emergency and there’s no immediate threat of violence, the faculty member should respond to the situation as calmly as possible, dismissing the class if necessary, and should then seek assistance from the administrative offices of the department, school, or college. As appropriate, the administrative office or the individual faculty member may choose to contact one or more of the following offices: the dean’s office, the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel, and/or the Department of Public Safety on the Ann Arbor campus, the Campus Safety Department on the UM-Dearborn campus, or the Department of Public Safety on the UM-Flint campus.

If a student’s disruptive behavior becomes a repeated or regular problem, the administrative office or the individual faculty member should seek assistance from the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel. If a pattern of behavior occurs over a period of time, faculty may wish to call the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs  to discuss whether the situation warrants convening a Mental Health Advisory Committee review. This is a confidential process that will result in a recommendation to the Vice President for Student Affairs about the most appropriate way to respond. Faculty may also contact Counseling and Psychological Services for assistance in determining how to best help a student who is experiencing serious psychological difficulties. Disruption of a class or other University activity by a student may be a violation of the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities. The faculty member should contact the Office of Student Conflict Resolution for more information.

8.D.8 Doctoral Dissertation Committees

A doctoral dissertation committee is charged with supervising a Ph.D. candidate’s dissertation activities, and the entire committee is a resource upon which the candidate may draw throughout the period of the research and writing. There are specific requirements regarding who may serve on a dissertation committee and procedures for nominating members, each of whom must be approved by the dean of the Rackham Graduate School or his or her designate. For more information, see the Dissertation Handbook, Rackham’s Policies website, and the Checklist for Dissertation Chairs.

8.D.9 Off Campus Learning Opportunities

As part of the teaching and learning mission of the University, there are a variety of opportunities for students to learn in the field. These opportunities range from an afternoon in the “Arb” (section 21.Q.1 “Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum”) to international expeditions. The interactive campus map on the Campus Information Centers website provides information about buildings on campus, including directions, accessibility, rooms in the building, offices/vendors in the building, and other items located there.

See the Logistics, Transportation, and Parking website for information about use of University-owned vehicles. See section 8.D.4 “Affiliation Agreements for Participation in Various Off-campus Initiatives” for information about affiliation agreements when students participate in off-campus internships or clinical or service learning experiences. See section 7.G “International Initiatives” for a discussion of special considerations when students leave the United States, including the necessity of having an international agreement in place and using the travel registry.

The University carries insurance on staff members who may be injured or incur liability for their actions while engaged in University business.  Liability insurance is also carried on University vehicles and their occupants. However, it is important that all field trips be officially authorized by the department as part of the course or program in order to assure coverage by University insurance.

8.D.10 Grades

On the Ann Arbor and UM-Flint campuses, grades are due within 72 hours after the scheduled final examination. On the UM-Dearborn campus, grades are due 48 hours after the final exam. Individual schools, colleges, and other academic units may have specific deadlines and procedures for submission of grades.

It is important not to post grades by name, social security number, or other identifying category or in an alphabetical list that permits identification of students, because to do so violates the student’s right to privacy. See sections 12.D “Student Records” and 12.E “Faculty Handling of Student Records/References.”
There is no University-wide grading scale, although some units have guidelines or requirements about grading procedures. Faculty should check with their academic unit for information about any policies or procedures that may apply to them.

Disputes regarding grades are handled according to the policy and procedure of the school or college. See also section 8.D.2 “Academic Integrity and Academic Misconduct” and section 8.D.6 “Dispute Resolution/Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities.”

8.D.11 Personal Relationships Between Faculty and Students

In their relationships with students, University faculty members are links in a chain of generations of teachers and students stretching from the academies of ancient times into the 21st century. In keeping with this tradition, many U-M faculty members are here because, at some point in their own lives, an inspiring lecturer, researcher, or mentor had a major impact on their lives. Relationships between faculty and students are, therefore, not only inevitable, but beneficial, and the University encourages faculty to strive to make a real difference in the lives of their students.

However, as a matter of sound judgment and professional ethics, faculty members have a responsibility to avoid any apparent or actual conflict between their professional responsibilities and personal relationships with students.

Romantic and/or sexual relationships between a faculty member and a student have the potential to pose risks to the faculty member, the student, or third parties. In such relationships, voluntary consent by the student is suspect because of the inherently unequal nature of the relationship. A romantic and/or sexual relationship between a faculty member and a student can lead to a complaint of sexual harassment when the student feels that he or she has been exploited. In addition, other faculty members, staff members, or students may have concerns about undue access or advantage, favoritism, restricted opportunities, or unfavorable treatment as a result of the relationship. These concerns are damaging whether the favoritism is real or perceived. They also arise in cases where the relationship between the faculty member and the student remains amicable, as well as in cases that lead to accusations of exploitation. For all these reasons, the University has adopted a Faculty-Student Relationships policy, SPG 601.22, which strongly discourages romantic and/or sexual relationships between faculty members and students.

In spite of these warnings, the University recognizes that sometimes such relationships occur. Therefore, the Faculty-Student Relationship Policy states that if a romantic and/or sexual relationship occurs or has occurred between a faculty member and a student for whom the faculty member has supervisory responsibility, an inherent conflict of interest arises. When a conflict of this nature occurs, the faculty member must disclose the relationship so that a resolution to the conflict can be sought.

For more information, including a set of frequently asked questions, see Policy on Faculty-Student Relationships.

8.D.12 Private Instruction

In accordance with University policies on conflict of interest and outside employment, members of the instructional faculty may not give private instruction for pay in the same course offered by that faculty member in the University and to the same students registered for the course. (See section 9.G “Conflicts of Interest and Conflicts of Commitment.”) Instructional faculty members who wish to give private instruction in any other course must first obtain approval of the chair of the appropriate departments.

8.D.13 Recording in the Classroom/Commercial Notetaking

Generally, faculty may decide whether students are permitted to tape or video record lectures for their own personal use. There may be circumstances, however, when such taping is necessary as a reasonable accommodation of a properly documented student disability. Assistance and advice with respect to such requests may be obtained from the department chair, the dean’s office, the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities and/or the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel.

The University policy on commercial notetaking is found in SPG 601.17. Commercial notetaking services must fully conform to the conditions and criteria set forth in this policy, including the requirement of obtaining prior written permission from the instructor.

Several schools and colleges use podcasting as a means for students to download academic audio content, using Kaltura Capture Desktop Recorder.  The recordings are uploaded to the class notes in Canvas as “My Media”, or used elsewhere as “MiVideo”.



8.D.14 Religious Accommodation

The University of Michigan as an institution does not observe religious holidays. However, it is the University’s policy that every reasonable effort should be made to help faculty and students avoid negative academic consequences when academic requirements conflict with their religious obligations. See section 2.B.6 “Religious Academic Conflicts Policy” for the full text of the official University policy.

8.D.15 Sales to Students

Members of the teaching staff may not have direct dealings with students in the sale of books, instruments, lectures, notes, or similar materials pursuant to University conflict of interest policies (see section 9.G “Conflicts of Interest and Conflicts of Commitment”).

8.D.16 Student Records/Reference Letters

8.D.17 Services for Students with Disabilities

It is the policy of the University to provide reasonable accommodations to students with properly documented disabilities, consistent with Michigan and federal law. The Office of Services for Students with Disabilities has resources for faculty/staff which provide information about disabilities that affect learning in a university setting and discusses the various adjustments that can be made in the environment or teaching style to accommodate students with disabilities.

All disability information that the student gives to the faculty member is to be used specifically for arranging reasonable accommodations for the course of study and only for that purpose.

For additional information, contact the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities. On the UM-Dearborn campus, contact the Disability Resource Office at 313/593-5430. On the UM-Flint campus, contact Accessibility Services in the Student Development Center at 810/762-3456.

8.D.18 Emergency Preparedness for Faculty: Classroom Safety for Instructors

All instructors at the University have an obligation to prepare for possible emergencies—for their own safety and for the safety of their students. To assist faculty in carrying out these responsibilities, the provost’s office has developed an emergency preparedness website Classroom Safety for Instructors page which requires a U-M uniqname and password for access. This site features a 7-minute videotape on basic classroom safety, “Emergency Response: What Faculty Need to Know.” It also includes procedures for a range of emergencies, a class suspension plan for infectious hazards, and a set of resources for faculty and others.