University of Minnesota  Administrative Policy

Teaching and Learning: Instructor and Unit Responsibilities (Crookston, Morris, Rochester, Twin Cities)

Policy Statement

Instructors have a responsibility to establish and maintain a civil, productive, inclusive, and stimulating learning environment. Both instructors and students have a fundamental obligation to respect the instructional setting as a place for civil, courteous discourse. Instructors have a responsibility to accommodate students with documented disabilities and are encouraged to invite students to talk or communicate with them about such circumstances.

Instructors have a responsibility to accommodate legitimate student absences and student exam conflicts in accordance with the Administrative Policies (1) Intercollegiate Athletic Events During Study Day and Finals Week: Twin Cities, Morris, (2) Makeup Work for Legitimate Absences, and (3) Scheduling Examinations, Final Examinations, and Study Days.

Instructor Responsibilities

A. Provide Course Information

Instructors are responsible for providing accurate and timely information about their courses to prospective students, current students, and relevant members of the University community.

  1. Instructors must provide academic units and students with accurate course descriptions in a timely fashion. Instructors should use official information tools to provide information about courses to students.
  2. The course descriptions available in University catalogs must be generally consistent with the content of the actual course taught, though the content may vary somewhat with the individual instructor and across sections.
  3. At the beginning of each course, instructors must communicate the course objectives. Class activities should be directed toward the fulfillment of these objectives and student performance should be evaluated in relationship to these objectives. Instructors must provide a syllabus to students consistent with the Administrative Policy: Syllabus Requirements within the first week of classes. Instructors must also provide contact information and office hours. Instructors are encouraged to include their personal pronouns.
  4. If an instructor changes the course requirements or materials, students should be given timely notice consistent with the magnitude of the change (e.g., a few days of notice for an additional article to read or a few weeks of notice if a paper is added). No major change (e.g., adding a research paper or major examination) should be imposed after the second week of the fall and spring semesters or the first week of the summer semester.
  5. In accordance with Administrative Policy: Grading and Transcripts, instructors must inform students in their classes of the methods to be used in determining course grades, (i.e. criteria for assessments such as exams and major assignments, quizzes and activities) and the weight of each of these contributing to the final grade. Additionally, in accordance with Administrative Policy: Grade Accountability, instructors of record are accountable for all grades given to students.                    
  6. Instructors must notify students of the expected timeframe to receive feedback or grades on assigned coursework and exams.
  7. At the beginning of the course, instructors must inform students of any requirements related to regular course attendance and participation. Students should refer to the Administrative Policy: Makeup Work for Legitimate Absences prior to requesting arrangements for makeup work or exams.
  8. At the beginning of the course, instructors must inform students of any special attendance requirements. This includes, insofar as possible, specific dates, times, and places of additional outside-of-class work such as field trips, study sessions, or extra class meetings, and whether attendance at these additional activities will be reflected in the grade. If an instructor schedules mandatory activities that occur outside the regularly scheduled class time, information about these activities must be included on the syllabus and, when possible, in the class schedule. Special attendance requirements or optional extra credit requirements should not require an additional cost for students.
  9. Instructors should discuss scholastic dishonesty and what it means in the context of their class (e.g., define collaboration and when it is permitted, requirements about and methods for citing sources, receiving or giving aid on tests, and using electronic aids or communications during exams when prohibited).

B. Provide Students with Access to and Feedback on Their Work

  1. Instructors should specify the process and schedule for returning student work during the semester. Instructors who desire to retain a copy for their own files should state their intention to do so. Term papers and comparable projects are the property of students who prepare them (see Board of Regents Policy: Copyright (pdf).)
  2. Instructors should ensure that students have access to course Canvas sites and course materials (i.e., a syllabus, resources, assignments and assessments). Instructors may advise students experiencing IT problems accessing Canvas sites to consult the technology help desk on their campus.
  3. Instructors must evaluate examinations and other student work with sufficient promptness to enhance the learning experience. As part of this process, instructors must permit students to review their exam responses in accordance with Administrative Policy: Grade Accountability.
  4. Instructors are strongly encouraged to provide sufficient graded feedback early in the term, and before the deadline for withdrawing from classes, to enable students to assess their progress in the course.
  5. Instructors are required to provide in-progress notifications for all 1-XXX courses to students who, on the basis of performance to date in the course, appear to be in danger of receiving a grade of D, F, or N. Such notification will be provided to students within a timeframe to allow them to improve their academic performance or to withdraw by the withdrawal deadline. In-progress notifications will not be recorded on transcripts. Instructors are encouraged to provide in-progress notifications for all courses and all students.
    1. Crookston campus only: Instructors are required to provide in-progress notifications for every student in all 1-XXX & 2-XXX courses for A, B, C, D, F, S, N grades, utilizing the PeopleSoft system in MyU. Such notification will be provided no later than the seventh week of class, and earlier if possible, to allow students to improve their classroom performance or to withdraw by the eighth week. Mid-term grades will not be recorded on transcripts.
  6. Instructors are responsible for ensuring the accessibility of their course site and digital materials in alignment with the University’s Administrative Policy: Accessibility of Information Technology.
  7. Instructors must turn in final grades within three business days after the last day of final examinations.

C. Secure Handling of Examinations

Instructors must maintain the security of student examinations both before and after exams are given. For those using a University office, such as the Office of Measurement Services (OMS), for scoring answer sheets, instructors or their designate (e.g., departmental office employee or teaching assistant) must submit examination answer sheets in the manner prescribed by that office.

D. Observe Scheduled Class Times

  1. Instructors are expected to meet their classes at the scheduled times, to be prepared for all class sessions, and to start and end classes at the scheduled times.
  2. When instructors know in advance that they will be unable to attend particular class sessions, they are responsible for working with their academic unit to make appropriate alternate arrangements.
  3. Should instructors choose to meet with the class in an alternative modality (e.g. via Zoom) due to personal availability, weather conditions, or other considerations, they must make every effort to communicate this change to their students in a timely manner.

E. Observe Office Hours or Appointment Times

Instructors must schedule and keep a reasonable number of office hours or appointment times for student conferences. The minimum number of office hours or appointment times may be defined by the academic unit.

F. Report Scholastic Dishonesty

Instructors are obligated to report suspected scholastic dishonesty to their departments and to the appropriate office on campus (on the Twin Cities campus, the Office for Community Standards; at Morris, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs; at Rochester, the Office of Student Affairs; and at Crookston, the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs and Student Life).

G. Maintain an Appropriate Learning Environment

It is the responsibility of the instructor to maintain an appropriate learning environment that is free from discourteous, threatening, harassing, or other aggressive behavior. Instructors should address disruptive student behavior as soon as possible, which may include removing the disruptive student from class or dismissing class for the day. Egregious disruptive behavior and/or a pattern of disruptive behavior should be reported to the academic department and the appropriate office on campus:

  • Crookston: Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs and Student Life
  • Morris: Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
  • Rochester: Office of Student Affairs
  • Twin Cities: Office for Community Standards

H. Maintain the Classroom Environment

Instructors are expected to leave the classroom and its equipment in good order (e.g., boards clean, chairs arranged, electronic equipment shut off).

I. Faculty Responsibility in Undergraduate Advising on the Curriculum

The faculty in each unit are responsible for contributing to an effective advising process. The faculty of every unit will collectively determine the mechanisms by which faculty members will be involved in advising students and will periodically review the effectiveness of that process. In some units faculty may choose to be directly involved in advising or may share that responsibility with appropriately trained academic professionals, graduate students, or peers. The faculty of each unit must assist in and cooperate with the advising process as appropriate and are responsible for providing timely information about the curriculum and student performance to advisers. The faculty should encourage students to take advantage of opportunities provided by the advising process to broaden, intensify, and integrate their educational experience.

Academic Unit Responsibilities

Maintain an Appropriate Schedule

  1. Courses must be offered on a schedule, and frequently enough, to permit students to graduate in a timely fashion. All undergraduate departments must have a four-year graduation plan in place and must have course offerings that support it.
  2. Classes must be offered at standard times in accordance with Administrative Policy: Class Scheduling. Failure to observe standard class periods leads to inefficient use of classrooms and is disrespectful of students and faculty: students are forced to be late to other classes, and faculty access to classrooms they need is reduced.
  3. Academic units are responsible for retaining course records in accordance with Administrative Policy: Maintaining Records of Student Work.


This policy is not applicable to the Duluth campus.

Reason for Policy

This policy clarifies and outlines responsibilities, to provide clear expectations for the instructor and the instructor's department and college. Faculty and students need a common understanding of their responsibilities for the learning process. This policy implements criteria and requirements for accreditation established by the Higher Learning Commission.


Primary Contact(s)Jessica Kuecker Grotjohn (undergraduate)   
Toni Abts (graduate)
[email protected]   
[email protected]
Twin Cities Campus ProceduresBeth Lewis612-626-9545[email protected]
Crookston Campus ProceduresJason Tangquist218-281-8424[email protected]
Morris Campus ProceduresPeh Ng320-589-6015[email protected]
Rochester Campus ProceduresPaul Hanstedt507-258-8006[email protected]
Responsible Individuals
Responsible Officer Policy Owner Primary Contact
  • Executive Vice President and Provost
  • Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education
  • Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Education
  • Jessica Kuecker Grotjohn
    Assistant Director for Undergraduate Education
  • Toni Abts


Scholastic Dishonesty

Plagiarism; cheating on assignments or examinations, including the unauthorized use of online learning support and testing platforms; engaging in unauthorized collaboration on academic work, including the posting of student-generated coursework on online learning support and testing platforms not approved for the specific course in question; taking, acquiring, or using course materials without faculty permission, including the posting of faculty-provided course materials on online learning support and testing platforms; submitting false or incomplete records of academic achievement; acting alone or in cooperation with another to falsify records or to obtain dishonestly grades, honors, awards, or professional endorsement; altering, forging, misrepresenting, or misusing a University academic record; or fabricating or falsifying data, research procedures, or data analysis.


Instructor of Record

  • Follow the responsibilities outlined in the policy.

Units: Departments/Programs

  • Ensure that the instructor of record is following University policies regarding instruction.
  • Address concerns from instructors or students regarding compliance with this policy.



November 2023 - Comprehensive review, minor revision

  • Added clarification that instructors should provide the course syllabus within the first week of classes.
  • In response to the Equity Lens Policy Review committee feedback, suggested inclusion of personal pronouns on syllabus.
  • In response to student advocacy, added a provision that instructors must communicate expected timeframe to complete assessments of student work.
  • Incorporated language from two separate policies that will be retired (Faculty Responsibility in Undergraduate Advising and Providing In-progress Notifications on Academic Performance).
  • Updated the FAQs.


September 2014 - Added clarifications related to Higher Learning Commission accreditation requirements.


December 2013 - Comprehensive Review, Minor Revision. Includes language from the retired policy on classroom environment.


December 2009 - Policy now applies to Crookston.


April 2009 - Clarified policy and put in standard format. Added contact information.


April 2009


Classroom Expectations Guidelines