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PROV-008: Teaching Courses for Academic Credit

Date: 08/02/2016 Status: Final
Last Revised: 05/10/2021
Policy Type: Executive Vice President & Provost
Oversight Executive: Executive Vice President and Provost
Applies To:

Academic Division and the Medical Center.

Reason for Policy:

The University is committed to (1) providing courses for academic credit that are of a consistently high quality and (2) complying with the standards defined by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Definition of Terms in Statement:
  • Academic Faculty:All tenure-track and tenured faculty members, as well as non-tenure- track faculty members whose teaching or research responsibilities constitute at least 50% of their position.
  • Administrative or Professional Faculty Members:Salaried, tenure-ineligible faculty positions whose primary responsibilities (at least 50%) are to provide services to faculty, students, and staff in order to support the institution’s primary missions of instruction, research, and public service:
    • Administrative Faculty Members:Perform work directly related to the management of the educational mission and general activities of the institution, department, or subdivision thereof, and are normally within three reporting steps of the president (e.g., the dean of a school).
    • Professional Faculty Members:Perform work requiring advanced learning and experience acquired by prolonged formal instruction and/or specialized work experience and are normally limited to professional positions serving education, research, medical, student affairs, and other such activities.
  • Classified Staff Employees:Those salaried, non-faculty employees hired prior to July 1, 2006, and subject to the Virginia Personnel Act (T. 2.2, Ch. 29, Code of Virginia, §§ 2.2-2900 et. seq.).
  • Course Materials:Educational material(s) prepared or provided by the Instructor for use in the delivery of a course including, but not limited to, lecture notes, syllabi, quizzes and exams, problem sets, assignments, and presentations. References to Course Material(s) in this policy refer to both original and duplicate versions. Widely available resources (e.g., published articles) are exempt from this definition.
  • Exempt Employee:An employee who is not subject to the minimum wage and overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) based on salary and duties performed. Exempt employees receive an annual salary for work performed until the duties of their job are complete, without expectation of pay for extended hours.
    • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA):Federal law establishing overtime pay, minimum wage and child labor requirements affecting full-time and part-time employees. Overtime pay at a rate of not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay is required after 40 hours of work in a workweek for those employees covered by the Act (non-exempt).
  • Faculty Wage Employee:A faculty employee who is hired to complete a short-term and/or part-time academic work assignment, such as teaching one or more courses for one or two academic terms. Faculty wage employees are not eligible for leave or other benefits and are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act.
  • Instructor:The individual listed in the University’s student information system (SIS) as the instructor for a course (or a discussion section or lab affiliated with a course), not to be confused with the rank of Instructor as defined in policy PROV-029: Faculty Appointment Types and Titles.
  • Lecture Notes:Verbatim or summary notes of classroom lectures in/for courses at the University of Virginia.
  • Medical Center Employees:Individuals employed by the University of Virginia Medical Center in any capacity.
  • Non-Exempt Employee:An employee who, based on salary and duties performed, is not exempt from the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and must be compensated at a rate of one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek.
  • Professional Research Staff:Professional staff principally engaged in research and appointed to limited terms of employment at the University. Positions include postdoctoral research associates, research scientists, senior scientists, and principal scientists.
  • Recording(s):An audio/visual documentation of a class session (or parts thereof) or related activity. Recordings can include traditional audio and video recordings, still photography, screenshots, and recordings produced by new communications technologies.
  • Release Time:Time during the regular workday which an employee is released from normal work duties. 
  • University Staff Employees (University Staff):Those salaried, non-faculty employees hired on or after July 1, 2006, and those salaried non-faculty employees and administrative and professional faculty electing to participate in the UVA Human Resources System established by the Board of Visitors under the authority granted by the Restructuring Act and the Management Agreement. (The term “University Staff Employee” includes all three categories of University staff employees - Operational & Administrative, Managerial & Professional, and Executive & Senior Administrative.)
Policy Statement:

The University has established expectations and standards associated with teaching courses for academic credit at the University of Virginia. The majority of these courses are taught by members of the academic faculty. Other types of employees, including research non-tenure-track faculty, administrative or professional non-tenure-track faculty, University staff, classified staff, professional research staff, and Medical Center employees may teach credit-bearing classes in accordance with the provisions of this policy.

  1. Teaching Qualifications:
    Schools are responsible for verifying that Instructors who teach courses for academic credit meet the minimum degree requirements in their field of instruction, in accordance with the standards defined by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC):

    • For individuals teaching undergraduate courses (courses numbers 4000 or lower): doctorate or master’s degree in the teaching discipline or master’s degree with a concentration in the teaching discipline (a minimum of 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline).
    • For individuals teaching graduate and post-baccalaureate course work (course numbers 5000 or higher): doctorate/terminal degree in the teaching discipline or a related discipline.
    • For graduate teaching assistants: master’s in the teaching discipline or 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline, direct supervision by a faculty member experienced in the teaching discipline, regular in-service training, and planned and periodic evaluations (see PROV-001: Graduate Assistantships for more information).

    Instructors whose primary employment at the University does not normally include teaching must certify their qualifications to teach by providing a copy of the official academic transcript from the institution conferring the degree that qualifies the individual to teach in a particular discipline. This includes administrative or professional non-tenure-track faculty, professional research staff, University or classified staff, and Medical Center employees. When the degree qualifying the Instructor to teach courses for academic credit is from the University, an additional official transcript is not required.

    The minimum degree requirements defined in this section do not limit schools from establishing more stringent minimum requirements or from qualifying Instructors through other means, such as course-related scholarship or exceptional professional experience germane to the course(s).

  2. Teaching Load:
    Deans have the authority to set the teaching load of academic faculty employed in their schools and to determine the extent to which other employees will be allowed to teach courses for academic credit in their schools.

  3. Office Hours:
    All Instructors teaching courses for academic credit (including Instructors teaching discussion sections or labs associated with a course for academic credit) are expected to maintain scheduled office hours that are sufficient to accommodate students who want consultation.

  4. Course Syllabus:
    All Instructors teaching courses for academic credit (including Instructors teaching discussion sections or labs associated with a course for academic credit) must publish a syllabus for each course they teach and disseminate it to students no later than the first day of classes in each term. Instructors are expected to abide by their published syllabus. Changes to the syllabus after the start of the academic terms should be communicated to students in writing (usually via e-mail or distribution of a revised syllabus).

  5. Recording of Classroom Lectures:
    The recording of classroom sessions can allow students to view sessions and read the transcription of the session after the class. The University prohibits the recording of live class sessions, regardless of instructional modality, unless all students and guest speakers who are present have been informed that recording will occur and may be stored in the course LMS. Instructors are encouraged to include a statement in their syllabus indicating the possibility of class recordings. Furthermore, any recording(s) that visually or audibly identify students in the class or contain sufficient context that may result in the identification of a student, may only be reproduced or stored for instructional purposes with students enrolled in the same class during the same term, and may only be stored on University-owned password-protected sites. Additional guidance on the recording of class session and distribution of course materials is provided in policy PROV-005: Dissemination and Recording of Course Materials and Activities. Instructors should consult PROV-005 for a complete understanding of the parameters governing recordings and distribution of course materials for both instructors and students.

  6. Destruction of Approved Recordings:
    Students must destroy recordings at the end of the semester in which they are enrolled in the class unless they receive the Instructor’s written permission to retain them or are entitled to retain them as an accommodation authorized by SDAC.

  7. Academic Accommodation for Religious Observance:
    It is the University's long-standing policy and practice to reasonably accommodate students so that they do not experience an adverse academic consequence when sincerely held religious beliefs or observances conflict with academic requirements.

    Students who wish to request academic accommodation for a religious observance should submit their request in writing directly to the instructor of the course. Students and instructors who have questions or concerns about academic accommodations for religious observance or religious beliefs may contact the University’s Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights (EOCR) at [email protected] or 434-924-3200.

    Accommodations do not relieve students of the responsibility for completion of any part of the coursework missed as the result of a religious observance.

  8. Instructor Absences:
    Instructors who anticipate a lengthy absence from the classroom (e.g., more than one week) must consult with the chair or dean of the school in which the course is being offered prior to the absence regarding reasons for the absence and arrangements for covering their responsibilities. Instructors of courses that are listed in more than one school must consult with the chair or dean of each school that lists the course. When an Instructor is unable to meet a class, arrangements must be made for alternative coverage, or the class must be rescheduled.

  9. Grading Practices:
    Instructors are responsible for fair grading practices. At the beginning of each semester's classes, Instructors must announce the basis for grading that will be in effect for each class. Instructors are responsible for submitting grades in a timely manner. Grades are submitted no later than two (2) business days after the last day of final exams for a term. Instructors in the School of Law and the School of Medicine submit grades according to an alternate schedule. Grade appeal policies are maintained by each school and published in the school’s section of the Undergraduate and Graduate Records. The grade appeal policy in effect for each course is the policy published by the school offering the course.

    For more information about the University’s grading system, see the Undergraduate or Graduate Record.

  10. Final Examinations:
    Final examinations should be administered at the day and time originally posted. The majority of exam times are scheduled by the Office of the University Registrar (UREG) and published in UVA’s student information system (SIS). The schools of Medicine, Law, and Graduate Business maintain school-specific policies regarding final examinations and publish separate exam schedules. Students in those schools should consult their school’s section of the Record for information about those policies and procedures. Once exam times have been published at the start of a term, they may not be changed except in extraordinary circumstances with the approval of the dean or dean’s designee. Some school-specific policies do not allow changes even in extraordinary circumstances.

    In the event that an instructor receives permission from their dean (or dean’s designee) to offer an additional exam date/time for their course, all students in the course must still have the opportunity to take the examination at the originally published day/time. Even with the dean’s approval, the request for an additional day/time may be denied by UREG if adequate space is not available to accommodate the request. Additional exam times may not be offered on reading days except by mutual agreement of the course instructor and student in the event no other alternative dates are available; reading days may be used for alternative exams only on an individual student-by-student basis. Instructors may grant an individual student permission to take an exam at another time when the student requests an academic accommodation for religious observance, military deployment, or disability, or when the student and instructor agree that serious extenuating circumstances beyond the student’s control should be accommodated.

  11. Retention and Disposal of Students’ Graded Work:
    Any graded work that is not returned to students (such as final examinations and papers) or not officially archived at the University (such as student theses or dissertations) must be retained for one year after the end of the course for which the work was submitted, or, in the event of pending or ongoing litigation, claims, audit reviews, or institutional assessment purposes, until those processes are concluded. If retained, it is also the responsibility of the instructor to provide a student access to their graded assessments in full upon request, either by providing the student with a copy of such assessments or by making arrangements for the student to review them under suitable supervision, within a reasonable time (not to exceed 45 days) of the student’s request. Students may not copy, reproduce, display, or distribute a returned graded assessment, either in whole or in part, to other individuals without explicit written consent of the individual who created the material(s) in question. Improper distribution of such materials by students disrupts the University’s learning environment and is therefore a violation of the Standards of Conduct and could subject a student to disciplinary action. After the required retention period, graded work must either be returned to the student or shredded or deleted electronically using a secure data deletion program (more information is available through ITS regarding secure deletion of electronic files. Redacted work may be retained with the student’s written permission.

    Any files documenting student academic performance in a course (such as attendance records or grade books) must be retained for three years after the term for which the grade was received, or, in the event of pending or ongoing litigation, claims, or audit reviews, until those processes are concluded. To protect student confidentiality, after the required retention period, all records of students’ academic performance within a course should be shredded or deleted electronically using a secure data deletion program (more information regarding secure data deletion is available through Information Security).

  12. Mandatory Sessions Outside the Regularly Scheduled Class Meeting Time:
    From time to time, instructors teaching undergraduate courses for academic credit may wish to schedule mandatory sessions outside the regularly scheduled class meeting time. When these instances may be reasonably foreseen before the start of the semester, for example to administer tests, they must be scheduled in SIS and included in the course syllabus. Students should be given as much advance notice as possible for mandatory sessions outside of the regularly scheduled class meeting time that may not be reasonably foreseen and scheduled in advance, such as lectures from visiting experts or guest speakers. Instructors must provide reasonable accommodations to students who are unable to attend additional mandatory sessions that are not scheduled in SIS and listed on the course syllabus, whether in-person or on-line.

    Mandatory additional sessions must be scheduled within the term (i.e., on or after the first day of classes and preferably before or on the last day of classes); mandatory sessions may not be scheduled on reading days. Mandatory sessions scheduled during the exam period may not take precedence over students’ regularly scheduled exam periods as published on the website of the University Registrar.

    The provisions of this section do not restrict the University from changing the academic calendar during a term in which extraordinary circumstances disrupt the University’s normal operating schedule.

  13. Involvement of Outside Entities or Vendors:
    Instructors who wish to involve outside entities in courses for academic credit (for example, to ask professionals in the field to serve as project mentors for projects involving “real-world” problems, or to require students to subscribe to an on-line service provided by a third-party vendor as part of their course) need to be conscious of a number of possible issues.

    Professionals in the field who work with students on classroom projects (capstone projects, for example), may ask that students sign agreements related to intellectual property or confidentiality before working on particular materials. Such requests must be made in advance of the course and approved by the dean’s office and the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost (EVPP). For more information, Instructors should refer to the student intellectual property policy published in the Undergraduate and Graduate Records.

    Because the use of on-line services may expose students and their personal information to risk in ways that the purchase of textbooks does not, Instructors wishing to require students to purchase on-line services from a third-party vendor as part of a course should seek guidance from their dean’s office and EVPP prior to establishing such a requirement in any course.

  14. Administrative or Professional Faculty Members and Non-Faculty Employees Teaching Courses for Academic Credit:
    While their primary responsibilities are those for which they were hired, other employees, including administrative or professional faculty members, University and classified staff employees, professional research staff, and Medical Center employees, may serve as Instructors with the advance approval of their supervisor and the offer of a faculty teaching appointment from the appropriate school. Non-Exempt Employees may teach only if the teaching activities (including preparation and grading) can be included within the employee’s 40-hour work week, unless the employee’s supervisor approves overtime compensation at a rate of 150% of the employee’s normal rate of pay for any hours worked over 40 hours each week per pay period.

    All details related to the teaching appointment should be agreed upon in advance by the appropriate dean’s office, the employee, and the employee’s supervisor and formalized in an appointment letter issued by the dean of the school and acknowledged in writing by the employee and the supervisor. Supervisors should approve a teaching assignment for their employee only if they believe the teaching responsibilities will not negatively affect the employee’s ability to fulfill the primary responsibilities for which the employee was hired.

    The employee’s faculty appointment for the purposes of teaching a course for academic credit will usually be to the rank of lecturer. For administrative or professional faculty members, teaching appointments must be to the rank already held by the faculty members in their administrative or professional appointment (i.e., an administrative faculty member holding the rank of lecturer may not be appointed as an assistant professor for purposes of the teaching appointment). In exceptional circumstances, a non-faculty employee may be eligible for a professorial rank in the teaching appointment (e.g., assistant professor, associate professor, or professor). Requests for such appointments must be submitted in writing by the school/department and approved in writing by the executive vice president and provost.

    The employee must meet the standards for teaching qualifications as defined above in Section 1.

    The terms of the faculty appointment are dictated by the school or department in which the employee teaches in accordance with University policy. Employees receiving a concurrent, temporary faculty appointment for the purposes of teaching courses for academic credit are not granted the same rights as academic faculty and are governed by the underlying terms and conditions of their primary employment at the University. They may participate in other departmental and school academic activities (such as advising students beyond the parameters of their course or serving on doctoral committees) only if such activities are specified in their appointment letter from the dean and are approved by their primary supervisor. The faculty appointment does not convey voting rights, departmental or otherwise, and the employee’s participation in departmental or school governance may occur only in exceptional circumstances with the dean’s approval.

    The employee’s faculty appointment will usually be for no more than one academic year and may be renewed annually at the discretion of the department chair, dean, and the employee’s supervisor. With each renewal, an appointment letter must be issued by the dean of the school and acknowledged in writing by the employee and the supervisor. Notice of non-renewal is not required. This faculty appointment is a temporary appointment that terminates automatically in the event the employee’s primary employment with the University ends.

    In the event of an employment disagreement related to the employee’s teaching responsibilities, the grievance process governing their primary employment will apply (see Related Information below).

    All documentation related to an employee’s teaching assignment must be retained in the employee’s UHR personnel record (UHR Document Imaging System) in accordance with the records retention policies and schedules maintained by the University’s Records Management Office. These documents include, at a minimum:

    1. appointment or reappointment letters issued by the dean of the school, signed by the employee and by the individual who supervises the employee in the employee’s primary position; and
    2. official transcript or other approved documentation certifying the employee’s qualifications to teach courses for academic credit at the University.
  15. Compensation:
    Full-time Exempt Employees who teach a course for academic credit in addition to their normal responsibilities should do so on a release-time basis and will not be compensated beyond the employee’s full-time salary.

    Faculty members will be compensated for teaching on an overload basis only in accordance with policy HRM-045: Faculty External Consulting and Internal Overload.

    Non-tenure-track research faculty members and professional research staff who are supported through sponsored research funding must reduce their research activities and grant-funded salary in order to teach a course for academic credit. The portion of their salary related to teaching must be paid from a non-grant source of funds.

    For other employees (including administrative or professional non-tenure-track faculty, University and classified staff, and Medical Center employees), if appropriate, the employee’s supervisor may approve a temporary reduction in normal responsibilities to allow the employee to assume teaching responsibility (for a non-exempt full-time employee, this reduction in normal responsibilities is required to ensure the employee is not required to work overtime as a result of the teaching activity, including course preparation and grading, unless the employee’s supervisor approves overtime compensation at a rate of 150% of the employee’s normal rate of pay for any hours worked over 40 hours each week.). The school hiring the employee to teach may be asked to assume responsibility for an appropriate percentage of the individual’s salary during the term in which the employee is teaching. Such terms should be agreed upon in writing between the school and employee’s supervisor prior to the start of the teaching assignment.

    In rare cases, if such a reduction is not possible and the teaching activities are anticipated to become a recurring part of the individual’s employment at the University, the employee’s supervisor may, with the dean’s support, revise the employee’s job description to include additional teaching responsibilities and request a salary increase to reflect these increased responsibilities. For faculty, see policy HRM-035: University Faculty Salaries and Bonuses. For staff, see policy HRM-024: Compensation Program for University Staff Employees.

    Part-time salaried employees and staff wage employees may not be paid on a wage basis for teaching courses for academic credit. Instead, the employee’s workload and salary must be adjusted appropriately to reflect the additional teaching activity. If the change in workload makes the employee eligible for full-time benefits, the unit responsible for the employee’s primary employment at the University and/or the school must pay the fringe benefits associated with the employee’s increased workload.

    Faculty wage compensation is governed by policy PROV-026: Faculty Wage Employment.

  1. Scheduling Mandatory Sessions for Undergraduate Courses:
    Faculty members who wish to schedule additional mandatory sessions related to their undergraduate courses should contact the administrator responsible for class scheduling in their department to discuss the option that best fits their course needs. Whenever possible, additional sessions should be scheduled in SIS at the beginning of the term in order to reserve classroom space. Classroom space may be reserved in SIS regularly throughout the semester (every week or every other week), several times throughout the semester, or once. Departmental SIS administrators who have questions about scheduling additional special sessions for undergraduate courses should contact UREG at [email protected].
Major Category:
Executive Vice President & Provost Policies
Next Scheduled Review:
Approved By, Date:
Executive Vice President and Provost, 08/02/2016
Revision History:

Updated Section 11 5/10/21; Updated Section 5 8/27 & 8/24/20; Updated Section 9 10/14/19; Updated Section 11 1/9/19; 8/2/18.

Supersedes (previous policy):

PROV-004: Academic Faculty Roles & Responsibilities; PROV-005: Grading Practices; PROV-016: Recording of Classroom Lectures & Distribution of Course Materials by Students; PROV-031: Faculty Qualifications.