A faculty member’s primary responsibility is teaching. We expect full-time faculty to have a commitment to excellence in teaching which, among other things, includes establishing clear learning objectives, ongoing support to students throughout the learning process, learning strategies designed to provide maximum student achievement, and standards for assessment of learning outcomes which are fully communicated to students and systematically utilized for course and/or program improvement.
Faculty members typically spend 15-30 hours per week outside the classroom in lesson preparation and evaluation of student performance. Teaching faculty members are expected to maintain a level of expertise in their field or discipline and to update course and program materials accordingly. The college supports this effort through a Tuition Support Program (available to full-time faculty) that pays (upon successful completion) for up to six approved credit hours of course work per year. Limited professional development resources are also available through the division to cover participation in professional organizations, conferences, etc.
Curriculum and course development is a continuing part of each full-time faculty member’s responsibility. In certain cases where the need for revision may be deemed outside the normal “updating” of courses or programs, a course development stipend or reassigned time may be provided. Applications for curriculum development projects are submitted through the appropriate academic dean. All projects must be approved for funding by the Vice President for Workforce and Academic Programs.
Faculty members are expected to teach their assigned courses in accordance with the content and standards established by the department. The college has developed a Core Course of Study for each offering which includes the goals for the course, the student learning outcomes, and a common outline of material to be covered as agreed upon by the department. The core has been designed to ensure the quality and consistency of the educational experience for students - regardless of the instructor, location, or modality. While it is imperative that the course content and outcomes are the same for each section of a course, the assignments and methods of instruction chosen to meet the outcomes are your own. For assessment purposes, multiple-section courses may require that specific assignments and evaluations be included in every section. Core documents are available through the Division Office or from the Director of Academic Assessment.
State law requires 15 hours of class time per credit hour awarded, therefore it is imperative that classes meet the required amount of time scheduled – including a culminating activity during finals week. Faculty members are expected to meet all classes and to hold the class for the full period. You should plan classroom activities and assignments accordingly. Should an emergency situation arise, contact your academic dean immediately. Compensation may be docked for classes missed.
The course syllabus is a document intended to give students a complete understanding of the course – what they are going to learn and what will be expected of them. In addition, students like to know how the course will be conducted. Be sure to include any personalized statements regarding special features of the course, any rules regarding attendance or behavior, and specific information regarding due dates and other requirements. For assessment purposes, multiple-section courses may require that specific assignments and evaluations be included in every course section.
At a minimum, the syllabus should include:
Topics to be covered in the course.
Need help developing a good syllabus? Contact the Teaching and Learning Center staff for assistance (ISC@chesapeake.edu).
Specific assignments or activities through which the outcomes will be accomplished, including due dates.
Note: Chesapeake College does not have a specific attendance policy; students are expected to follow the policy established by the instructor. Recognizing the positive correlation between student attendance and subsequent academic achievement, faculty should emphasize the importance of regular attendance and provide intervention strategies for excessive absenteeism. Opportunities to make up examinations missed as a result of an authorized/bona fide absence should be provided by the instructor. However, the responsibility for making up missed material or assignments lies entirely with the student.
When developing your syllabus consider the following:
Syllabus Power: We all know the traditional role of the syllabus as the document that provides basic facts about course content and requirements. But a really good course syllabus can do much more than that for you and your students. Here are six key purposes:
Motivate students. The syllabus is often the first point of contact your students have with your course. It's a great opportunity to set the right tone for the entire semester, immediately capture student interest, and help them grasp what the course has to offer them. Let's be realistic: most people want to know "What's in this for me?" Use your syllabus to begin answering this question, and address an important motivational factor on day one.
Show your enthusiasm for your subject and - implicitly or not - your teaching philosophy. The syllabus is a communication tool between you and your students. In it you can explain why you have organized the course the way it is, and how you plan to teach it. Here is your chance to do more than just list the learning outcomes - you can explain why they are required and why they are relevant. (Another nod to motivation!)
Guide student learning from day one. In your class, what will student success look like? Your syllabus can list course requirements and assignments, due dates, and grading criteria. This is an opportunity to explain why you have chosen the assessment methods in your course (tests, projects, papers, presentations, etc.). Students do use the syllabus to plan how much effort and time to devote to various assignments. Be clear about which ones are most important.
Persuade students that you care. A strong syllabus will go beyond telling students how to contact the instructor. It will specifically invite them to do so. Beyond that, the tone of the syllabus has a significant impact on students. Studies have shown that a warm and friendly syllabus is recalled better than a formal or cold one. Needless to say, syllabi that focus on punishments for potential student transgressions do nothing to excite student passion for the subject.
Avoid problems by defining roles and expectations, of students and of yourself. In the syllabus, you will define what success looks like and how students can achieve it. This can include expectations of civility, respect, honesty, attendance and participation. You will also define your own commitments to the students. Civility and respect are probably on your list, too, in addition to items like frequent and timely feedback on student work.
Communicate to colleagues. The syllabus is also a tool you will use in communicating about your course with your departmental colleagues or with your dean. It provides a record of your plans should you need to be absent for a period of time. It also provides a record of course requirements, if students have questions about them at a later date. When preparing your portfolio, you will want to include syllabus examples.
All full-time faculty have a Chesapeake College email account. It is important that you check your email regularly and include the address on your course syllabus.
The college’s official means of communicating with adjunct faculty and students is Skipjack mail, a campus-specific form of Google mail. As such, it is a true mail system in that it sends and receives messages from users on other systems and has customizable options for your start page, threading, filtering, folders, and connections to Google docs.
The student address format for Skipjack mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. To check your Skipjack mail, go to the MyCampus portal and follow the directions there to log on to your account. You can also access MyCampus though a link on the Chesapeake College home page. For convenience, faculty can access Skipjack mail for their mobile device without going through the portal, and can forward their Skipjack mail to their Chesapeake email address.
For more information about email, see the Technology section of this Manual.
Faculty can also use the messaging system in Canvas to communicate with students without going outside the Canvas system. However, Canvas does not accept messages from outside the Canvas system. The Canvas inbox is located at the very top of the page in the grey Help area. You can also tell Canvas to notify you about events in your course or messages from students. To do that, go your personal settings and click “notifications” on the left side of the menu. You can decide which notifications you desire to receive, how often, and to which email or text- messaging accounts.
Examinations should measure the complete range of student achievement and performance within the subject area. A well-constructed exam should a) relate directly to the course goals and objectives, b) represent a positive influence on student progress, and c) differentiate among levels of student achievement. If you need assistance in this process, the Teaching and Learning Center can help.