Instructional Reminders for Spring 2021

Thursday, January 23, 2020
  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 assignments on which the final grade is based. It also specifies several required items for syllabi. Please include all Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) for which the course is designated, such as General Education and/or major. Academic Senate policies regarding syllabi can be found on its Revisions to the Policy on Course Syllabi and Temporary Changes to F10-257 Syllabus Policy to Enhance COVID-19 Communication pages.

  2. Instructional Resources: You can find useful information about instructional resources, especially in the COVID-19 pandemic, at the SF State Campus Plan website and the Instructional Continuity website.

  3. Black Lives Matter: Resources for and responses to Black Lives Matter.

  4. Office Hours: Faculty are expected to keep regular office hours. Check with your department or program for more specific expectations. For spring 2021, office hours will be kept virtually. Please post your office hours in a convenient place to assist students seeking to connect with you.

  5. LCA Advising Resource Center (ARC): All majors and minors in the College of Liberal & Creative Arts are encouraged to meet with a major adviser and an adviser from the Advising Resource Center at least once a semester. For spring 2021, this advising will take place virtually. For advising in the major, visit program websites for individual majors. For advising from the ARC, students may drop-in to a Zoom session, make an appointment, chat online 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. Tutoring and Additional Support for Students: The Tutoring and Academic Support Center (TASC) provides multiple resources for students. Consider letting students know about its services in your syllabus and other course materials and by making referrals. 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 form or refer the student to the Action Care (Crisis) Team. For emergency financial crises, student can apply for support through the Hope Crisis Fund.

  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 your class, whether work used in another class may be submitted in your class). 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 academic ethics expectations of your students. 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 near the bottom of the 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. 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. For spring 2021, 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.

  10. 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. If you are not familiar with the practices in your program, discuss them with your chair or director. View information about how to secure your class roster and other information in Campus Solutions.

  11. 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 12th 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. For procedures after the 12th week, see the section on Appeals at the bottom of the Registrar web page on withdrawals.

  12. Grading Options: For classes that allow students to choose a letter grade or credit/no-credit grading option, students must choose their option by May 21, according to the academic calendar, though the date could change (look for additional announcements). It would be helpful if you provide students with some feedback about their performance in class throughout the semester, 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Confidentiality of Records: The Registrar's Office has useful information on protecting student’s privacy. To avoid violations of Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations, do not ever:

    • link the name of a student with that student's SF State 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 SF State 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, or

    • provide anyone with student schedules or assist anyone other than University employees in finding a student on campus.

  15. Electronic Participation and Cameras: The Academic Senate recently revised its online policy to include information about camera requirements in synchronous classes:

    • The use of student video in web conferencing (such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams) can be required by faculty to support engaged learning and ongoing informal formative assessment in an online synchronous environment.
    • When faculty require video sharing, students may request a video sharing exemption from the faculty member for concerns such as: privacy, equitability or accessibility concerns, or during periods of emergency remote instruction. If reasonable accommodations based on disability are needed, the student should meet with the Disability Programs and Resource Center.
    • However, when direct observation is required for course completion such as in performing arts or classes requiring presentations or supervision (e.g., health sciences clinical skills, credential student teaching), faculty may deny a student’s request for exemption.
    • If students are required to share their video, the course schedule must indicate this requirement.
  16. Independent (Special) Studies: To enroll in special studies (699 or 899), a student must have the following cumulative grade point averages: 3.0 for undergraduate students and 3.25 for graduate students. Graduate students may not include more than a total of six units of special studies (699 or 899) as part of their Graduate Approved Program.

    • Students should have demonstrated an ability to work independently. 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 by email to with the following subject line: Last Name, First Name – University ID Number – Type of Form.

Dates and deadlines, spring 2021

January and February

  • Monday, January 25: First day of instruction
  • Monday, February 1 – Friday, March 5: Summer graduation application period; students apply through Student Center and use Degree Progress Report (DPR) to meet requirements.
  • Thursday, February 11: Deadline for instructor to drop via class roster.
  • Friday, February 12: Deadline for student to add and drop.
  • Saturday, February 13: Withdrawal period begins (weeks 4 – 12); student initiated (online).
  • Friday, February 19: Enrollment census

March and April

  • Monday, March 1 – Friday, April 2: Fall 2021 graduation application period; students apply through Student Center and use your DPR to meet requirements.
  • Monday, March 22 – Friday, March 26: Spring recess. No classes; offices open.
  • Wednesday, March 31: Cesar Chavez Day. No classes; offices closed.
  • Monday, April 19: Last day for withdrawal, student initiated (online).

May and June

  • Friday, May 14: Last day of instruction and deadline for students to complete Student Evaluations of Teaching Effectiveness (SETE)
  • Monday, May 17 – Friday, May 21: Final exams
  • Friday, May 21: Deadline for students to request Credit/No Credit grading
  • Friday, May 28, 11:59 p.m.: Grades due
  • Monday, May 31: Memorial Day; campus closed
  • Tuesday, June 1: Grades available on SF State Gateway