Instructional Reminders for Fall 2020

Friday, August 21, 2020

As you prepare for the fall 2020 semester, please consider the following fifteen topics:

  1. Course Syllabi: Academic Senate Policy #F15-257 requires that you provide students with a syllabus at the beginning of the semester that clearly states the course requirements, in particular those assignments on which you base the final grade. It also specifies several required items for syllabi. Please include all Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) for which the course is designated (e.g. GE and/or major). Academic Senate policies regarding syllabi can be found on the Revisions to the Policy on Course Syllabi page and Temporary Changes to #F10-257 Syllabus Policy to Enhance COVID-19 Communication page.
  2. Instructional Resources. You can find useful information about instructional resources, especially in this time of COVID-19, at the SF State News website and the Instructional Continuity website.
  3. Black Lives Matter. Resources and responses to Black Lives Matter have been posted.
  4. Office Hours: Faculty are expected to keep regular office hours. Check with your department or program for more specific expectations. For fall 2020, office hours will be kept virtually. Please post your office hours in a convenient place to assist students seeking to connect with you.
  5. Advising. All majors and minors in LCA are encouraged to see a major adviser and an adviser in the Advising Resource Center (ARC) at least once a semester. For fall 2020, this advising will take place virtually. For advising in the major, see websites for individual majors. For advising from the ARC, students may drop-in to a Zoom session, make an appointment, use the Chat Box, or email ARC advisers can provide information about academic requirements outside of the major and let students know about other resources. Please consider sharing information about the ARC with your students on your syllabus or elsewhere.
  6. Additional Support for Students. Sometimes life presents students with challenges that interfere with their academic work. If you are concerned about a student’s well-being you can complete a report of concern or refer the student to the Action Care (Crisis) Team.
  7. Academic Ethics: Make your expectations about academic ethics clear (e.g., appropriate use of quotations and citations, the types and amount of collaboration that are and are not acceptable in the class you teach, whether work used in another class may be submitted in your class, etc.). What seems self-evident to you might not be clear to students or may/may not be the practices in other classes. Consider providing students with a statement about the academic ethics you expect in the class you teach. View information about the College of Liberal & Creative Arts policy and procedures regarding plagiarism or other forms of cheating. A link to a PDF or Word copy of the form for reporting instances of plagiarism is located in the section titled “Plagiarism Resources” at the bottom of the LCA faculty resources page.
  8. Student Conduct: The Office of Student Conduct posts student conduct policies and procedures for addressing behavioral problems. You might find it helpful to refer students to the Student Code of Conduct.
  9. Confidentiality of Records: Useful information on protecting student’s privacy.

    To avoid violations of FERPA regulations, DO NOT:

    • ever link the name of a student with that student's Student ID or Social Security Number in any public manner
    • leave graded tests in a stack or envelope outside your office for students to pick up by sorting through the papers of all students
    • circulate a printed class list with student name and student ID number or grades as an attendance roster or for any other purpose
    • discuss the progress of any student with anyone (including parents) other than the student without the consent of the student
    • provide anyone with lists of students enrolled in your classes for any commercial purpose
    • provide anyone with student schedules or assist anyone other than university employees in finding a student on campus
  10. Class Sessions and Final Examinations: Do not schedule required attendance beyond the time specified in the official class schedule and final-examination schedule assigned by the University, though expect the finals to be given virtually. To require attendance outside of official designations is not permitted and doing so might interfere with other classes or other commitments students have made. Please abide by the Academic Calendar.
  11. Wait Lists: These lists are used during the registration process to replace students who were enrolled but dropped. Once a class meets, it is within the instructor’s discretion to determine which student(s) to add to the class roster. View information about how to secure your class roster and other information in Campus Solutions.
  12. Dropping or Withdrawing Students: Through the third week of classes, students may drop a class without any notation on their transcript. From the new Senate policy on withdrawals: “Instructors may also initiate withdrawals if students have not participated in course activities during the first three weeks. . . . During the fourth through the twelfth week of instruction, students may initiate withdrawals for serious and compelling reasons, as specified by the student.” It might be helpful to let students know about these timelines and the new withdrawal policy.
  13. Grading Options. For classes that allow students to choose a letter grade or CR/NC grading option, students must choose their option by October 19, 2020 according to current policy and the Academic Calendar. It would be helpful if you provide students with some feedback about their performance in class before that deadline, so they can make an informed choice about the grading option. University policy prohibits changes in the grading option after that deadline except for clerical or administrative errors.
  14. Time Conflicts in Classes. Students are not permitted to take classes that overlap with each other in terms of time. Students need to choose classes that do not conflict with each other. Please be sure any students who are considering overlapping classes know that such enrollment will not be approved.
  15. Independent (Special) Studies: To enroll in special studies (699 or 899), a student must have the following cumulative grade point averages: 3.00 for undergraduate students and 3.25 for graduate students. Graduate students may not include more than a total of 6 units of special studies (699 or 899) as part of their Graduate Approved Program. Students should have demonstrated their ability to work independently and their form should reflect the serious academic work that will be completed through the special studies. The special studies project must have the approval of the Instructor and the Department Chair or Program Director. Transcripts must be attached to approved-forms before they are delivered electronically by email to

Student and Instructionally Related Dates & Deadlines Fall 2020

August & September

Monday, August 24th – First day of instruction

Monday, August 24th through Friday, Sept. 25th – Fall 2020 Graduation Application Period, electronic form process

Tuesday, September 1st through Friday, October 16th – Spring 2021 Graduation Applications Period, eDegree process

Monday, September 7th – CAMPUS CLOSED; Labor Day

Sunday, September 13th – Last day for INSTRUCTOR to DROP via class roster

Monday, Sept. 14th – Last Day for STUDENT to ADD & DROP

Tuesday, Sept. 15th – Withdrawal period begins, weeks 4 – 12 (online entry), see policy for more information

Monday, Sept. 21st – CENSUS

October & November

Monday, Oct 19th – Last day for student to request CR/NC Grading

Wednesday, Nov. 11th – CAMPUS CLOSED; Veterans’ Day

Monday, November 16th – Last day to withdraw (student initiated, online entry), see policy for more information

Monday, Nov. 23rd through Wednesday, Nov. 25th – Fall Break; No classes; Offices open

Thursday, Nov. 26th and Friday, Nov. 27th – Fall Break; CAMPUS CLOSED


Friday, December 11th – Last day of Instruction & Last day for students to complete SETE’s

Monday, December 14th through Friday, December 18th – Final Exams

Thursday, Dec. 24th through Friday, January 1st – Winter Break; CAMPUS CLOSED

Monday, January 4th – Grades Due (11:59pm)