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AA/PPS 02.03.02 - Conduct of Classes

Conduct of Classes

AA/PPS No. 02.03.02 (4.02)
Issue No. 1
Effective Date: 10/28/2016
Next Review Date: 11/01/2018 (E2Y)
Sr. Reviewer: Associate Provost

  1. POLICY STATEMENT

    1. This statement contains information related to the conduct of individuals during class periods (for policies regarding the conduct and planning of courses, see AA/PPS No. 02.03.01, Conduct and Planning of Courses). The terms “instructor” and “faculty member” are used interchangeably.
  2. INSTRUCTOR’S ABSENCE FROM CLASS

    1. Faculty members teaching traditional face-to-face courses are expected to meet each of their scheduled classes for the entire class period. Faculty teaching hybrid courses (50- 85 percent online) or fully online courses (85-100 percent online) are expected to engage in structured and direct instruction with students via online and electronic tools in addition to any scheduled face-to-face instruction.

    2. Exceptions should not be made for classes on days immediately before or after holidays and vacations. If an instructor must be absent, he or she should inform the department chair/school director so that a substitute may be assigned or an alternative arrangement may be made.

    3. A complete statement of the University’s policy concerning absence of instructors is included in the Faculty Handbook under the subtopic “Absences” of the section entitled “General University Policies Affecting Faculty Members.”

  3. COURTEOUS BEHAVIOR

    1. Student Courtesy

      1. If a student behaves in a manner that the instructor considers to be discourteous to the instructor or to any member of the class, the instructor may, at his or her discretion, request that the student desist or request that the student leave the classroom.

      2. If the student’s behavior disrupts the class, the instructor should apply the procedures described under the sections entitled “Classroom Civility” in paragraphs 11-19 and “Suspension from Class” in paragraphs 21-25 in this procedure statement. Faculty members who encounter students whose behavior is extremely disruptive or threatening may want to consult with the Threatening Behavior Consultation and Assessment Team described in UPPS No. 07.10.05, Behavior Assessment Team.

    2. Faculty Courtesy

      1. An environment conducive to learning requires courteous behavior from instructors as well as students. The following suggestions are intended as guidelines. In general, instructors should

        1. not intentionally degrade, embarrass, or harass students.

        2. follow rules of behavior that apply to students, such as not

          1. eating in class

          2. smoking

          3. bringing pets to class

          4. using cell phones during class

          5. otherwise disturbing the academic atmosphere

        3. begin or end class at the appointed time

        4. leave classrooms in a timely manner and in a condition suitable for the next class. Desks should be returned to their original configuration at the end of each class period.

      2. Department/school offices should be notified when a classroom needs attention or equipment needs repair.

  4. RECORDING OF CLASSROOM LECTURES AND DISCUSSIONS

    1. Students are prohibited from photographing and recording during classes, and from transmitting classroom lectures and discussions by students unless written permission from the class instructor has been obtained and all students in the class as well as guest speakers have been informed that photographing or audio/video recording may occur. Permission to allow the audio/visual recording is not a transfer of any copyrights to the material recorded. Photographs, videos and audio recordings may not be reproduced or uploaded to publicly accessible web environments, including Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. An exception to this will be any student determined by the Office of Disability Services (ODS) to be entitled to education accommodations, to exercise any rights protected under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, including needed recording or adaptions of classroom lectures or materials for personal research and study.

    2. Public distribution of lecture recordings may constitute copyright infringement in violation of federal or state law, or University policy (See AA/PPS No. 02.03.31, Commercial Use of Class Notes and Materials for a discussion of copyright ownership). Violation of this policy may subject a student to disciplinary action via the University Honor Code detailed in UPPS No. 07.10.01, Honor Code.

  5. CLASSROOM CIVILITY

    1. Disruptive behavior in the classroom is prohibited in Section 2.02 of Texas State’s Code of Student Conduct.

    2. The term “classroom disruption” means behavior a reasonable person would view as substantially or repeatedly interfering with the conduct, instruction, and education of a class.

      Examples include:

      1. repeatedly leaving and entering the classroom without authorization (including coming to class late or leaving early without a valid excuse);

      2. making loud or distracting noises;

      3. persisting in speaking without being recognized;

      4. resorting to physical threats or personal insults;

      5. using cellular phones and/or other electronic devices during the class;

      6. coming to class under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance other than prescription medicine;

      7. eating or drinking in the classroom;

      8. sleeping in class;

      9. reading the newspaper during class;

      10. using a computer in class or other technology on activities not related to the class;

      11. abusing others verbally or physically; and

      12. otherwise making offensive remarks.

    3. Faculty members are responsible for managing the classroom environment. While in the classroom, faculty should focus on relevant issues, set reasonable time limits, assess the quality of ideas and expression, and make sure students are heard in an orderly manner.

    4. Faculty members should exercise authority with a sense of fairness and with appreciation for the reality of human fallibility.

    5. Academic freedom grants students and faculty members latitude to express their views as they inquire and pursue knowledge. The expression of dissenting or unpopular views does not in itself amount to disruptive behavior, and university policies governing disruptive behavior should not be employed to curtail or punish speech protected by academic freedom or law.

    6. Speech becomes disruptive when it becomes abusive or threatening in which case it is appropriate to use university policies on disruptive conduct to address it.

    7. Rudeness, incivility, and disruption are often indistinguishable, and they may intersect. In most instances, it is better to respond to such conduct by advising a student in private that a pattern of this sort of conduct is developing and advise the student to refrain from acts of this sort.

    8. Rudeness can become disruption when it is repeated, especially after a warning has been given.

    9. The following strategies are intended to serve as guidelines for use by faculty to prevent and respond to disruptive behavior in their classrooms. In general, faculty members should:

      1. clarify standards for the conduct of the class by documenting those standards in the course syllabus that should be discussed with students on the first class day. The Sample, Syllabus Statement on Civility in the Classroom document provides a statement on civility that faculty may want to include in the syllabus; and

      2. serve as a role model for the expected conduct from students.

  6. CLASSROOM DISRUPTION

    1. In specific situations of potential or actual classroom disruption, faculty members should:

      1. consider a general word of caution to the class, rather than publicly warning a particular student, if inappropriate behavior is occurring for the first time;

      2. speak to the student after class if a student’s behavior is irritating but not disruptive;

      3. speak to the student during class, if a student’s behavior is disruptive. Be firm but courteous and indicate that further discussion can occur after class. Avoid public arguments and harsh language;

      4. direct a student to leave the classroom for the remainder of the class period if the student persists in disrupting a class. Discuss the matter with the student, the department chair/school director, and the Assistant Dean of Students for Student Justice within 24 hours;

      5. refrain from using force or threats of force, except in immediate self-defense; and

      6. prepare a written account of the incident.

  7. SUSPENSION FROM CLASS

    1. If an instructor seeks to suspend a student from class after the class period in which the disruption occurred, the instructor must obtain the department chair’s/school director’s approval and the college dean’s approval for an interim class suspension. An interim class suspension will be for the day of the initial incident and up to two additional class days.

    2. Within 24 hours day of issuing an interim suspension, the faculty member must present the matter to the Assistant Dean of Students for Student Justice.

    3. The Assistant Dean will handle the matter as expeditiously as possible, using the procedures in the Texas State Code of Student Conduct.

    4. Upon completion of the review, if the faculty member and student have not themselves reached a mutually agreed upon conclusion to the matter, then the Assistant Dean will issue a decision in the matter. If the student does not agree to the decision, the Assistant Dean will refer the matter to the Hearing Committee using the procedures outlined in the Texas State Code of Student Conduct.

    5. The Hearing Committee will render a decision on the matter. Either party may appeal the decision of the Hearing Committee to the Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA). The VPSA’s decision is final.

  8. SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

    1. The University does not tolerate sexual misconduct. The University’s policy concerning sexual misconduct is detailed in the TSUS Sexual Misconduct policy and in the Faculty Handbook in a section entitled “Additional Personnel Policies.”
  9. PUBLICATION REQUIRED

    1. A summary of and a reference to this policy must be published in the Student Handbook and the Faculty Handbook each year that the handbooks are published.
  10. CERTIFYING ATTENDANCE

    1. On the census day of each semester (e.g., 12th class day of each fall and spring semester), the course instructor will complete and submit to the Registrar’s Office the census day roster. This roster serves as the university’s documentation of a student’s attendance in their registered courses. In addition to being used as supporting documentation for the university’s enrollment count, the roster information is also used to verify to the federal government that a Title IV aid recipient began attendance in courses and to document any related proration of the Pell Grant, Iraq Afghanistan Service Grant and TEACH Grant.
  11. REVIEWERS OF THIS PPS

    1. Reviewers of this PPS include the following:

      Position Date
      Associate Provost November 1 E2Y
  12. CERTIFICATION STATEMENT

    This PPS has been reviewed by the following individuals in their official capacities and represents Texas State Academic Affairs policy and procedure from the date of this document until superseded.

    Associate Provost; senior reviewer of this PPS

    Provost