University of Minnesota  Administrative Policy

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

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 policies (1) Intercollegiate Athletic Events During Study Day and Finals Week, (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 and/or in the Course Guide 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.
  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 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., evaluation criteria and the contribution to the final grade of each graded component.
  6. At the beginning of the course, instructors must inform students of any requirements related to regular course attendance and participation.
  7. 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 or not 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.
  8. Instructors should discuss scholastic dishonesty and what it means in the context of their class (e.g., whether collaboration is permitted and limits on it, requirements about and methods for citing sources, whether direct quotes are allowed and to what extent, 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 must evaluate examinations and other student work with sufficient promptness to enhance the learning experience. Instructors must promptly return examinations or permit students to review their exams to request clarification of grades.
  2. Instructors should specify the process and schedule for returning student work during the semester. Term papers and comparable projects are the property of students who prepare them (see Board of Regents Policy: Copyright (PDF).) Instructors who desire to retain a copy for their own files should state their intention to do so.
  3. 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.
  4. Instructors must turn in grades within three business days after the last day of final examinations.
  5. Instructors must provide mid-term alerts to students in 1-xxx courses who are at risk of failing a class, in accordance with the provision of the policy on Mid-term Alerts.

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 (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.

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

Instructors should take appropriate steps to have removed from class students who disrupt the educational process because of discourteous, threatening, harassing, or other aggressive behavior. "Appropriate steps" may include calling the University Police.

H. Maintain the Classroom Environment

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

Academic Unit Responsibilities

A. 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. 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.




Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do these instructor responsibilities apply to courses in which instruction is provided by more than one individual, for example, a course in which a faculty member and teaching assistants share responsibilities?

    The person in charge of the course (e.g., the lead instructor, course coordinator, faculty member supervising teaching assistants who work with the faculty member within a course) is responsible for ensuring that standards and policies are applied consistently to all students enrolled in the course. The lead instructor is responsible for communicating this information to teaching assistants, responding to questions, and ensuring a common understanding among everyone who is part of the instructional team for the course.

  2. How do I submit a late grade for a student unable to take a final exam due to a COVID-19 related absence?

    Please see information on Final grade entry.


Subject Contact Phone Fax/Email
Primary Contact(s) Jessica Kuecker Grotjohn (undergraduate)
Toni Abts (graduate)
[email protected]
[email protected]
Twin Cities Campus Procedures Rebecca Ropers 612-626-9545 [email protected]
Crookston Campus Procedures Jason Tangquist 218-281-8424 [email protected]
Morris Campus Procedures Peh Ng 320-589-6015 [email protected]
Rochester Campus Procedures Lori Carrell 507-258-8006 [email protected]
Rochester Campus Jeffrey Ratliff-Crain 507-258-8006 [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
  • Toni Abts


Scholastic Dishonesty
Plagiarism; cheating on assignments or examinations; engaging in unauthorized collaboration on academic work; taking, acquiring, or using course materials without faculty permission; 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.


There are no specified responsibilities associated with this policy.


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