B. Class and Term Responsibilities
Academic Responsibilities and Professional Obligations
II. B. 1. Teaching Load
The standard teaching load is six full-credit courses during the academic year of three terms. Variations from the standard load are permitted, with the prior approval of the Dean of the College, for non-standard teaching assignments such as music lessons, studio or laboratory instruction, or very large or very small classes.
Faculty members supervise independent studies in addition to their regular course load. When asked to supervise an independent study, faculty should consider their other teaching obligations in the same term. To prevent unnecessary duplication of teaching effort by the Faculty, students may not take as independent study courses which are regularly scheduled, i.e., at least in alternate years.
II. B. 2. Conduct of Classes
- Course Requirements. The normal course load for full-time students is three credits per term. The usual expectation is that a one-credit course will require of an average student about 15 hours per week including time in class, laboratory or studio, and in outside preparations. Course requirements should be made clear to the students, e.g., in a course syllabus.
- Teaching Format. The maintenance of high academic standards is a concern of the Faculty as a whole and a professional obligation of each individual teacher. A faculty member may choose the teaching format which is best suited to foster learning of the material of the course. Variation is permitted in the frequency and length of class meetings, depending on the nature of the course and the level of the students. Unusual formats should be discussed in advance with the department chair, and sometimes with the Dean.
- Meeting Classes. The class schedules for each department are arranged by its chair before pre-registration materials are prepared. All faculty members are expected to meet their classes at the hours scheduled and to be available to students at appointed times. Students should be notified well in advance of changes in scheduling. Faculty members should report to the chair of the department or other department colleagues their intention to leave the campus for any period during the academic year. Canceling classes due to participation in professional meetings should be kept to a minimum. In the case of a prolonged absence (e.g., due to illness), the Dean should be informed.
- Prerequisites. Prerequisites are stated in the College Catalog. When none are stated the course is open to all students. (Courses 200 or above are not normally open to first-year students.) The registration procedure at Knox does not always automatically exclude students who have not satisfied the stated prerequisites, but the instructor may do so at the beginning of the course; the instructor should inform the Registrar immediately of any student excluded. Instructors are free to waive a stated prerequisite.
- Class Size Limits. Limits, if any, may be approved as part of the original course proposal to the Curriculum Committee. Limits should be for essential teaching purposes. The preferences of individual instructors will be honored whenever possible, but department chairs, or the Dean, may decide that the best interest of the College requires a different limit.
II. B. 3. Class Attendance by Students
Students are expected to attend classes regularly and to participate fully in class activities. Students who are absent from class, for whatever reason, are still responsible for all assigned work.
Instructors may adopt more specific attendance policies. Such policies should be announced to students at the start of the term, preferably in writing. (See "Attendance" in the College Catalog for further information.)
Any student who fails to attend the first day of class and who has not received an excused absence from the Dean of Students' Office before the first class meeting may be dropped by the professor from that course.
Unexplained absences of more than one week by any student should be reported to the Dean of Students. Faculty will be notified by the Dean of Students of any student who is in the hospital, absent for a serious illness, or has withdrawn from the College.
II. B. 4. Academic Honor System
All academic work at Knox is governed by an honor system. Academic dishonesty of any sort, including all cases of plagiarism, should be reported to a co-chair of the Honor Board. Ignoring violations is incompatible with the integrity of the academic process at Knox and is inconsistent with the operation of the honor system.
Faculty members usually discuss any doubts concerning the integrity of a student's work with the student concerned. If unanswered doubts remain, the faculty member is obliged to report the facts to the Honor Board. In all cases disciplinary action is to be taken only by the Honor Board after investigation and a determination of guilt or innocence.
Faculty members should make explicit their policies regarding such matters as studying together. Unless otherwise stated, students are to assume that cooperation on assignments is not permitted and that all examinations are "closed-book".
Faculty members are not to proctor tests. If they choose to leave the room they should make their whereabouts known to the students. Students must take all tests in the public spaces of the building in which the test is given unless the instructor specifies otherwise. Faculty members may, for good reason, set special conditions for the taking of a particular examination. In such cases the faculty member must announce and explain the conditions when the examination is given and should do so only after consulting with the Associate Dean of the College and a member of the Honor Board.
II. B. 5. Examinations and Papers
Tests are administered during the term at the discretion of the instructor. Students should be kept informed of their progress in the course by tests, assignments, or other means suitable to the course. Interim ("mid-term") grades are requested for students in their first term at Knox.
Final examinations, if held, must be held according to the published examination schedule; changes may not be made without prior approval of the Dean of the College who usually requires that every member of the class freely agree to the change. (As mandated in Faculty Regulations, examinations may not be scheduled in the final week of classes as a substitute for a final examination at the scheduled time.)
The assignment of written work, such as reports, essays, or research papers, is encouraged in all courses. All written assignments, including tests, are to be evaluated and returned promptly.
II. B. 6. Students in Difficulty
Instructors are asked to report promptly to the Associate Dean of the College the names of students who are doing unsatisfactory work or in any way are beginning to cause their instructors concern. Such early warning information received from several instructors may indicate to the Associate Dean a problem more serious than any one instructor realized; prompt reporting may enable the College to assist the student. If the trouble seems related to study skills or specific learning disabilities, the student should be referred to the Center for Teaching and Learning. If the trouble seems related to personal problems, the symptoms should be discussed with the Dean of Students.
II. B. 7. Grading (See also Faculty Regulations C. 8.)
All grades shall be given strictly on the basis of performance in courses and for no other consideration.
The grades used at Knox are defined in Faculty Regulations C 8.1 through C 8.9.
No established grading curve or percentage of each grade is expected in each course. However, "grade inflation" is discouraged. Each year a study of the all-college distribution of grades and the grade distribution of the individual instructor is supplied to each faculty member and to the Dean of the College.
Faculty members may occasionally use student assistants to check routine assignments such as language exercises. However, care must be exercised in the selection and oversight of such assistants and responsibility for grades rests solely with the faculty member.
II. B. 8. Student Records
All student educational records of the College are managed in accordance with the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended. Student grades may not be made public without the student's permission. For example, grades identified by student names, initials, or identification numbers should not be posted. (For further details, see Appendix D.)
Students have the right to inspect their official records. "Official records" do not include a faculty member's personal files but do include all material in the official files in the Registrar's Office or the Office of Student Development.
Questions should be addressed to the Dean of Students.
II. B. 9. Orientation and Registration
An extended orientation for new students is held before fall term and limited orientation before other terms. Registration is held before or at the start of each term. Faculty are expected to be available to assist with these procedures if requested to do so.
II. B. 10. Student Evaluation of Courses
Student evaluations of courses are requested every term for courses taught by non-tenured members of the faculty and two terms out of three for all tenured faculty. Questions of policy should be addressed to the chair of the Faculty Personnel Committee or to the Dean of the College.
II. B. 11. Disabled Students
Consistent with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the College makes every effort to provide appropriate academic accommodations for students who provide sufficient documentation for a specific and substantially limiting physical impairment, psychological impairment, or learning disability. Common accommodations include but are not limited to the provision of note takers, extended periods of time for examinations, relocation of class meetings to accessible facilities, and recommendations for alternative testing formats. The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is responsible for the processing of requests, the review of disability document, and the determination of appropriate accommodations. In cases of disability accommodation other than academic accommodation, the CTL will coordinate the accommodation request with the appropriate College office(s).