Faculty Policies and Procedures

Summary of Academic Responsibilities - Faculty Policies


Source: Academic Programs, MSU's catalog of all academic programs and selected academic policies and procedures


The teaching responsibilities of instructional staff members (herein referred to as instructors) are among those many areas of university life which have for generations been a part of the unwritten code of academicians. The provisions of such a code are so reasonable to learned and humane individuals that it may appear redundant or unnecessary to state them. However, the University conceives them to be so important that performance by instructors in meeting the provisions of this code shall be taken into consideration in determining salary increases, tenure, and promotion.

1. Instructors are responsible for ensuring that the content of the courses they teach is consistent with the course descriptions approved by the University Committee on Curriculum and the Academic Council. Instructors are also responsible for stating clearly to students in their classes the instructional objectives of each course at the beginning of each semester. It is expected that the class activities will be directed toward the fulfillment of these objectives and that the bases upon which student performance is evaluated will be consistent with these objectives. The University prohibits students from commercializing their notes of lectures and University-provided class materials, without the written consent of the instructor. Instructors may allow commercialization by including express permission in the course syllabus or other written statement distributed to all students in the class.

2. Instructors are responsible for informing students in their classes of the methods to be used in determining final course grades and of any special requirements of attendance which differ from the attendance policy of the University. Course grades will be determined by the instructor's assessment of each student's individual performance, judged by standards of academic achievement.

3. Examinations and other assignments submitted for grading during the semester should be returned with sufficient promptness to enhance the learning experience. Unclaimed final examination answers will be retained by the instructor for at least one semester so that they may be reviewed by students who desire to do so. Examination questions are an integral part of course materials, and the decision whether to allow their retention by students is the responsibility of the instructor. Term papers and other comparable projects are the property of students who prepare them. They should be returned to students who ask for them and those which are not returned should be retained by the instructor for at least one semester. Instructors who desire to retain a copy for their own files should state their intention to do so in order that students may prepare additional copies for themselves.

4. Instructors are expected to meet their classes regularly and at scheduled times. Instructors will notify their units if they are to be absent and if appropriate arrangements have not been made so that suitable action may be taken by the unit if necessary.

5. Instructors of courses in which assistants are authorized to perform teaching or grading functions shall be responsible for acquainting such individuals with the provisions of this Code and for monitoring their compliance.

6. Instructors are expected to schedule and keep a reasonable number of office hours for student conferences. Office hours should be scheduled at times convenient to both students and instructors with the additional option of prearranged appointments for students when there are schedule conflicts. The minimum number of office hours is to be agreed upon by the teaching unit, and specific times should be a matter of common knowledge.

7. Instructors who are responsible for academic advising are expected to be in their offices at appropriate hours during advising and enrollment periods. Arrangements shall also be made for advising during registration.

Hearing Procedures

1. Students may register complaints regarding an instructor's failure to comply with the provisions of the Code of Teaching Responsibility directly with that instructor.

2. Students may also take complaints directly to teaching units' chief administrators or their designates. If those persons are unable to resolve matters to the student's satisfaction, they are obligated to transmit written complaints to unit committees charged with hearing such complaints. A copy of any complaint transmitted shall be sent to the instructor. A written report of the action or recommendation of such groups will be forwarded to the student and to the instructor, normally within ten working days of the receipt of the complaint.

3. Complaints coming to the University Ombudsperson will be reported, in writing, to chief administrators of the teaching units involved when in the Ombudsperson's opinion a hearing appears necessary. It will be the responsibility of chief administrators or their designates to inform the instructor and to refer such unresolved complaints to the unit committees charged with hearing such complaints. A written report of the action or recommendation of such groups will be forwarded to the University Ombudsperson, to the student, and to the instructor, normally within ten working days of the receipt of the complaint.

4. Students wishing to appeal a teaching unit action or recommendation may do so as outlined in Academic Freedom for Students at Michigan State University, Graduate Student Rights and Responsibilities, or Medical Student Rights and Responsibilities. Such complaints must normally be initiated no later than the middle of the semester following the one wherein alleged violations occurred. Exceptions shall be made in cases where the involved instructor or student is absent from the University during the semester following the one wherein alleged violations occurred.


Michigan State University complies fully with the letter and spirit of the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) which governs access to, and confidentiality of, student records.

As a means of complying with this act, the University has developed detailed Guidelines Governing Privacy and Release of Student Records. These Guidelines are reproduced below.


Michigan State University recognizes the importance of maintaining individual student records to preserve authentic evidence of the events and actions which document the student's educational progress; and which facilitate the intelligent and purposeful guidance necessary to the achievement of the educational goals of the student in a university setting.

The release and disclosure of student records maintained by the University are, in large measure, governed by state and federal laws and by University policy. It is the purpose of these guidelines to provide reasonable interpretations of the laws as presently stated and to protect the student's right of privacy. These guidelines, then, have a two-fold purpose.

1. To protect a student's right to the privacy of information which the University has in its possession concerning the student, and

2. To provide reasonable guidelines for release or disclosure of such information as is required by federal and state laws and as necessary for the effective functioning of the campus community.


1. The following personally identifiable student information has been designated as directory information and may be included in publications or disclosed upon request without the prior consent of the student:

2. Pursuant to federal law, a student has the right to refuse to permit the inclusion as directory information of any or all of the personally identifiable information enumerated above. Questions concerning general disclosure should be addressed to the Office of the Registrar, Room 150 Administration Building. Exclusion from printed directories, programs, and public lists should be addressed to the administrative units responsible for publication. Directions for printed MSU Student Directory exclusion may be found in the Student Directory section.


All personally identifiable information not covered by Part B above is confidential and shall only be disclosed by the University as provided herein. That information includes, but is not limited to, the following:


1. Disclosure of Directory Information

a. Inquiries by phone or in person for directory information listed in Part B will be honored as their nature and the time available permit. The Student Directory already supplies most of the basic data and requests will be referred to this whenever feasible.

b. Requests which require extensive work and interfere with regular operations or requests requiring data in specific formats (mailing labels, for example) may be denied or a charge for the service may be levied.

c. Requests in support of commercial promotion or sales campaigns will be denied as constituting inappropriate use of University records.

2. Disclosure of Confidential Information to the Individual Upon proper identification, a currently enrolled or a former student has the right to inspect and review official records, files, and data directly related to the student as a student.

Applicants for admission have the right to a review by and with an admissions officer of records, files, and data submitted for the purposes of admission.

Those denied admission have the right to a review of the accuracy of their records, files, and data submitted for purposes of admission. This right must be exercised within six months of the date of denial of admission. The decision to admit or deny admission is, however, a composite professional decision not subject to review.

Student access to records shall be pursuant to procedures established for the granting of requests under this section. Appropriate requests shall be granted within a reasonable period of time, but in no case later than forty-five (45) days from the date of request.

For the purpose of this section, the term "official records, files, and data" shall include that material on students pertaining to their status as students which is held by any unit or department and which is intended for University use, or (with restrictions as indicated below) to parties outside the University system. As such, official records, files, and data must be distinguished from "non-official" records.

The guiding principle here involves the content and purpose of the records as well as the nature of the relationship between the student and the University or member of its staff. If the records involve or affect the status of the individual as a student in the University, the records are official and the student shall have access to them.

Non-official records are of three kinds:

a. Those maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or para-professional acting in a professional or para-professional capacity, and which are created, maintained, or used only in connection with the provision of treatment to the student, and are not available to anyone other than persons providing such treatment-provided, however, that such records can be personally reviewed by a physician or other appropriate professional of the student's choice. The student has access only through the practitioner. Release or disclosure of these records shall be covered by state statute and codes of professional ethics.

b. Notes or personal records kept by faculty members or by supervisory and administrative personnel. These records assist University personnel or individuals in assisting students.  These records are not available to others.

c. Records which relate to the student as an individual or citizen. If the student as a citizen has contact with a law enforcement agency, any records generated by this contact shall be governed by state law. Since files are maintained by incident, a file may contain several names including students and non-students. In Michigan such records are not accessible to the individual until a complaint has been signed and a warrant issued. Should the Prosecutor not issue a warrant, but refer a report back to the University for disciplinary action, the student shall have access to this record.

In addition to the above, students shall not have access to letters of recommendation or statements of evaluation obtained or prepared before January 1, 1975. A student may be allowed, but not required, to waive his/her right of access to letters of recommendation received after January 1, 1975. A student who wishes to waive right of access to letters of recommendation must so indicate by filing a waiver form to be placed with his/her records or by supplying the letter writer with a signed statement of waiver to be attached to the letter. It will be the student's responsibility to inform the letter writer of this waiver. If a student asks to review his/her records, letters of recommendation received before January 1,1975 shall be extracted from the folder and the student shall be told this is being done to provide the writer an opportunity to acquiesce on access to the letter or withdraw it. If the student objects, it should be pointed out that (1) the University is permitted forty-five (45) days to respond to such requests, and (2) both the University and the student will suffer if the substance of recommendations, which the writer viewed as confidential, becomes the subject of discussion between the writer and student.

If a student is denied access to his/her record, he/she should appeal to the individual responsible for the direction or coordination of the unit maintaining the records. This individual, if he/she does not reverse the denial, must assert it in writing including the rationale for the denial within ten (10) days of the appeal. The student or the administrator may then request from the Committee on Release of Confidential Information an interpretation of the rules and policies involved. If the Committee determines that the record in question is an academic record covered by these guidelines, the student shall then be granted access to the record.

A student, former student, or applicant shall be entitled to an explanation of any information contained in official records, files, and data directly related to the student and shall have the opportunity for a hearing to challenge the content of such records to ensure that they are not inaccurate or misleading, or otherwise in violation of privacy or other rights of the student, and to provide an opportunity for the correction or deletion of any such inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise inappropriate data. The substantive judgments of a faculty member about a student's work, expressed in grades assigned in a course and other evaluations of a student's work, are not within the scope of such hearings. Neither are the actions of admissions or scholarship officers or committees. Actions of duly established University judicial boards are subject to review or appeal only as already prescribed by policy statements.

If a student contests the factual accuracy of his/her record and is unable to obtain a correction, he/she may request a hearing. The request should be addressed in writing to the Chairperson of the Committee on Release of Confidential Information via the Office of the Provost. The Committee will assign a hearing officer to conduct the hearing according to procedures that reflect fundamental fairness. The hearing shall be limited to the factual accuracy of the record. The student is entitled (at his/her own expense) to the presence of an adviser at the hearing. The University shall designate a representative to represent the interests of the University. The hearing officer's report and recommendation will be sent by the Chairperson of the Committee, to the student and to the University official responsible for the records. Within 10 days of transmission of the hearing officer's decision to the parties, either party may enter an appeal in writing to the Provost. In the event of such an appeal, the Provost or his or her designee shall make a final determination without delay. Records of the hearing, the report of the hearing officer, and any determination stemming from an appeal will be retained in the files of the Committee. If, as a result of these processes, it is determined that the record is factually incorrect, the record shall be amended by the responsible official in accord with the final determination. The inaccurate material should either be destroyed (if this does not violate audit responsibilities for record keeping) or so annotated as to indicate the nature and source of error and date of correction. If the student is dissatisfied with the final determination, he/she may then appeal to the appropriate federal agency. Any actions or decisions based upon the erroneous entries shall be reviewed at the decision source.

3. Disclosure of Confidential Information to Third Parties

The student and the University office in which rests the primary obligation for maintenance of his/her records share a common concern, for accuracy and confidentiality of records. In meeting their public responsibilities, University officials will be faced with various circumstances in which a decision must be made about release of information to third parties either within or outside the University. The policies in this section cover these contingencies.

a. Disclosure to individuals and public or private agencies external to the University:

Confidential information may be released or disclosed to individuals or agencies only with the prior written consent of the student, unless the release or disclosure is pursuant to Section 3b. below. See also Section 3d.

Written consent on the part of the student must be provided prior to the release of the requested information and shall (1) identify the individual, agency, or classes of individuals or agencies to whom the information is to be made available; and (2) specify the records to be released.

b. Disclosure of confidential information without prior consent of the student:

Information otherwise confidential and requiring a student's consent may be released without such consent pursuant to the conditions listed below. The practice shall be construed narrowly to protect the student's right to confidentiality.

(1) Disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests (For the purposes of these Guidelines, "school officials" include: University administrators, advisers, managerial and supervisory staff, and faculty; and persons or companies with whom the University has contracted to provide or administer student insurance programs or student account billing and collection services.):

All confidential information shall be disclosed only on a NEED TO KNOW BASIS.  That is, an official requesting information must have a legitimate need to have the requested information for the effective functioning of the position or office. The dean of each college and his or her administrative staff have access to all official records on students in that college. Otherwise, determinations as to whether the need to know requirement has been satisfied shall be made by the head administrator of the unit retaining the information or by the President of the University.

University administrators, advisers, managerial and supervisory staff, and faculty whose regular responsibilities require the collection, receipt, or utilization of information shall be responsible for its release and disclosure pursuant to the provisions of this policy and specifically the preceding paragraph. To assure accuracy, maintain records on release of information and avoid misunderstandings, release or disclosure shall be made by the office which has primary responsibility for maintaining the information.

Organizations recognized by the University and sponsored by faculty members, which have as their principal purpose the recognition of student accomplishment through proffer of membership or by an award, shall have access, through the faculty sponsor, to such student records as may be required to select students to be thus recognized. (As a requirement for this access, the organization must provide a statement of the criteria and rules, policies or standards applied in the selection process. This statement will make it possible for any student to review the criteria and submit evidence on a proficiency or accomplishment not part of his or her University record; for example, proficiency in a foreign language.) This information is available in the Student Activities Department, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Services.

(2) Disclosure pursuant to judicial order: Confidential information shall be released if properly subpoenaed pursuant to a judicial, legislative, or administrative proceeding. In all such cases the student shall be notified of the order in advance of compliance or evidence of a reasonable attempt to do so should be available.

(3) Disclosure pursuant to requests for financial aid: Appropriate student records may be disclosed without the student's prior consent in connection with the student's application for, or receipt of, financial aid.

(4) Disclosure to federal and state authorities: This policy shall not preclude access to student records by authorized federal and state officials as required by the audit and evaluation of federally supported education programs or in connection with the enforcement of federal legal requirements which relate to such programs. Except when collection of personally identifiable data is specifically authorized by federal law, any data collected with respect to individual students shall not include information (including Social Security numbers) which would permit the personal identification of such students after the data so obtained have been collected.

(5) Disclosure to accrediting and professional associations: Access to student records or information therefore is authorized for officially designated representatives of accrediting and other professional organizations with which the University or segment thereof is affiliated but only to the extent necessary to fulfill the obligation of that affiliation.

(6) Disclosure as necessary to effect collection of financial obligations to the University.

(7) Disclosure to attorneys representing the University of any data on a student deemed necessary for the defense of the University when that student has filed suit against the University.

(8) Disclosure pursuant to the University's obligations to support study and research undertaken to better understand and to improve its own educational programs or those of institutions and agencies with which the University cooperates. Requests for access to information for research must be presented to and authorized by the University Committee on Release of Confidential Information. Such requests, when deemed appropriate, should be fulfilled, if possible, by provision of data from which all identification has been removed. If the research requires release of information by name, the Committee will require assurance that the data supplied will be treated in full confidence and either returned or destroyed as soon as it has served its research purposes.

(9) Disclosure to officials of another school, school system, or institution of post secondary education where the student seeks or intends to enroll.

c. Conditions of disclosure:

Confidential information disclosed to a third party pursuant to this policy shall be subject to the condition that the third party will not permit any other party to have access to the information without prior approval from the primary University source. (See also b.(1), second paragraph.) This permits the University to reevaluate the proposed use and deny or refer it to the student for written consent as required by Section 438 of the General Education Provisions Act. (Title IV of Pub. L90-247 as amended.)

d. Notation of access:

Except with regard to the regular and normal use of student records by University officials on a legitimate need to know basis, all persons, agencies, or organizations desiring regular access to the records of a student pursuant to Section D., 3a, of this policy shall be required to sign a statement to be kept permanently with the file of the student indicating specifically the legitimate educational or other interest in seeking this information. Such a statement and subsequent notations of access should be available solely to the student and to University officials responsible for record maintenance as a means of auditing the operation of the system. Further, a notation shall be made of all information released under Section D., 3a.

4. Circumstances Not Covered by this Statement.  If circumstances arise involving release of confidential information which are not clearly covered by this policy statement, the President, the Provost, the Dean of the college, or the Chairperson of the Committee on Release of Confidential Information should be contacted for advice, clarification, or direction.


No person is allowed to attend a class unless officially enrolled on a credit or non-credit basis with the appropriate fees paid. Students who attend, participate and strive to complete course requirements without formal enrollment will not receive credit for their work.

There is no all-University regulation requiring class attendance. However, attendance is an essential and intrinsic element of the educational process. In any course in which attendance is

necessary to the achievement of a clearly defined set of course objectives, it may be a valid consideration in determining the student's grade. It is the responsibility of the instructor to define the policy for attendance at the beginning of the course.

CLASS NOTES AND UNIVERSITY SUPPLIED MATERIALS. As a condition of continued course enrollment and allowed class attendance, a student will refrain from commercializing notes of class lectures and University-supplied materials, by direct sale or by contract with a third party or otherwise, without the express written permission of the instructor. Students may be removed from being enrolled in a class only after a hearing in the department or school, as described in the Academic Freedom for Students at Michigan State University, Article 2.4.

DROP FOR NON-ATTENDANCE. Students may be dropped from a course for non-attendance by a Dean's Drop after the fourth class period, or the fifth class day of the semester, whichever occurs first.

FIELD TRIPS. Field trips involving absence from classes must be authorized in advance by the dean of the college in which the course is given. The cost of field trips which are part of organized courses of instruction must be borne by the participating students and are additional to the usual course fees.


Students are expected to complete the courses in which they register. If a change is necessary, it maybe made only with the appropriate approvals as explained below.

ADD AND DROP PERIOD. Students may add courses using the enrollment system through the fifth day of classes. Students may drop courses using the enrollment system through the middle of the semester.

CHANGE OF OPTION FOR CR-NC (CREDIT-NO CREDIT) GRADING. Choice of the CR-NC grading system must be made no later than the fifth day of the semester (or through the first 1/14 of a summer or special session) in the Office of the Registrar.

CHANGE OF OPTION FOR VISITOR. Choice of enrollment in a credit course as a visitor on a non-credit basis must be made no later than the fifth day of the semester (or through the first 1/14 of a summer or special session) in the Office of the Registrar.

TO ADD A COURSE AFTER THE ADD AND DROP PERIOD. Normally, no course may be added after the designated period for adding courses. Any add after this period must be processed beginning with the department offering the course. Final approval rests with the associate dean of the student's college.

TO DROP A COURSE AFTER THE MIDDLE OF THE SEMESTER. A student may drop (withdraw from) a course during this period only to correct errors in enrollment or because of events of catastrophic impact, such as serious personal illness. To initiate a late drop, the student must obtain a Late Drop card and signature of approval from the office of the associate dean of his or her college or the Undergraduate University Division. An indication of the student's grade to date-passing, no basis for grade, or failing- must then be obtained from the instructor of the course. The instructor's signature is for the purpose of establishing the validity of the grade as reported on the Late Drop card, and does not imply approval or disapproval of the drop. The student then returns the Late Drop card to the appropriate associate dean for signature and designation of the W(no-grade), N, or 0.0. The W symbol will be assigned if the instructor has indicated passing or no basis for grade regardless of the grading system under which the student is enrolled. If the instructor has indicated failing, the associate dean will designate N for a student enrolled in a course authorized for P-N grading; otherwise a grade of 0.0 will be assigned. The associate dean should retain a photocopy of the form and give the original to the student to be delivered directly to the Office of the Registrar, Room 150, Administration Building.

Any Undergraduate University Division student-freshman or sophomore-wishing to drop a course after the middle of the semester must petition to obtain a Late Drop card at the appropriate

Undergraduate University Division Student Affairs Office. An adviser will interview the student to determine whether the student's reason for wishing to drop the course is sufficient to issue the Late Drop card. Issuance of the Late Drop card does not guarantee a drop with a W (no-grade) symbol assigned to the course.

ADJUSTMENT OF FEES. If the adding or dropping of courses changes the total number of credits in which the student is enrolled, an adjustment of fees is made according to the policies for assessment of fees and refund of fees shown in the section on Refund Policies.

Eligibility for fee adjustments is based on the date the notification of adding or dropping courses from the department is received in the Office of the Registrar.

DROPPING ALL COURSES. See the statement on Withdrawal from the University.


At Michigan State University, Independent Study is planned study, highly individualized, not addressable through any other course format, proposed in writing by the student on a standard form, accepted for supervision by a faculty member, and approved by the student's academic adviser and the teaching unit at the beginning of the semester.

Independent Study should:

  1. Consist of work not described in the University catalog in any other format;
  2. Be taken under a course number commensurate with the student's class level, major field, and experience;
  3. Relate to a subject for which the student has adequate preparation;
  4. Be directed by a faculty member with whom there is periodic contact and consultation throughout the study;
  5. Not exceed 8 semester hours of credit in a single academic semester;
  6. Not exceed 10 percent of the credits earned in a bachelor's program;
  7. Be applied for on the form provided by the University, or any equivalent Departmental or School or College form;
  8. Be approved on this form before the student enrolls for the course; registration should be completed by the end of the period for adding courses.


During the final week of each academic semester all courses shall meet for one 2-hour period at the date and time listed in the Schedule of Courses. During summer sessions, final examinations are scheduled in the last class sessions. This period should be used for examination, discussion, summarizing the course,obtaining student evaluation of the course instruction, or any other appropriate activity designed to advance the student's education. If an instructor requires a written report or take-home examination in place of a final examination, it shall not be due before the final examination period scheduled for that course. Exceptions to this paragraph may be approved by the department or school chairperson, or in a college without departments, by the dean.

In the event that a final examination is deemed appropriate by the instructor, it may not be scheduled at any time other than the date and hour listed in the Schedule of Courses. Any deviations from the final examination schedule must be approved by the Undergraduate Committee of the Assistant Deans Group.

No student should be required to take more than two examinations during any one day of the final examination period. Students who have more than two examinations scheduled during one calendar day during the final examination period may take their class schedules to the Academic Student Affairs Office in their colleges for assistance in arranging for an alternate time for one of the three examinations.

The final examination schedule shall be systematically rotated so that the 2-hour period for each course will be scheduled at a different time each semester. This will also apply to common final examinations.

Faculty members shall schedule office hours during the final examination period (or in some other way attempt to make themselves accessible to their students) as they do in the other weeks of the semester.

Common final examinations are scheduled in certain courses with several class sections. In case of a conflict in time between such an examination and a regularly scheduled course examination, the latter has priority. The department or school giving the common examination must arrange for a make-up examination.

A student absent from a final examination without a satisfactory explanation will receive a grade of 0.0 on the numerical system; NC on the CR-NC system, or N in the case of a course authorized for grading on the P-N system. Students unable to take a final examination because of illness or other reason over which they have no control should notify the associate deans of their colleges immediately.

For information on examinations other than end of the semester, see the Undergraduate Education and Graduate Education sections of this catalog.



The principal objective of the student instructional rating policy is to secure information which is indispensable to implementation of the University's policy of providing its students with instruction of the highest quality. This information is put to two principal uses: (1) providing instructors and teaching units with an accurate account of student response to their instructional practices, to the end that classroom effectiveness be maintained at the highest level of excellence; and (2) providing teaching units with one kind of information to be considered in deciding on retention, promotion, salary, and tenure, to the end that effectiveness in instruction constitutes an important criterion in evaluating the service to the University of members of the teaching faculty. In order to accomplish these objectives more fully, the following procedures were established.

1. Every teaching unit shall approve one or more common student rating instruments through its own channels of participation, in accordance with unit bylaws and customs of collegial decision making. Regardless of the type of instrument adopted, it must prominently display the following notation:

The Michigan State University CODE OF TEACHING RESPONSIBILITY holds all instructors to certain obligations with respect to, e.g., course content consistent with approved descriptions, timely statement of course objectives and grading criteria, regular class attendance, published office hours, and timely return of examinations and semester papers. This Code is printed in full in the catalog. It includes specifics about complaint procedures available to students who believe that their instructors have violated the Code.

2. Each teaching unit shall make regular and systematic use of student instructional ratings as part of the unit's evaluation of instructional performance. Each teaching unit shall formulate and promulgate a comprehensive policy covering all aspects of student instructional rating procedures, and shall be responsible for implementing that policy within the framework of the provisions contained in this document. Students shall not be required or requested by faculty members to identify themselves on the rating forms.

3. All instructors, regardless of rank, including graduate assistants, shall use unit-approved student instructional rating forms in all classes (every course, every section, every semester). For team-teaching situations, units shall develop procedures consistent with the intent of these provisions.

4. Individual instructors may use other instruments to gather additional information.

5. Results of student instructional ratings shall be used in accordance with the following provisions:

a. Results shall be returned promptly to the instructor for information and assistance in improving course design and instruction.

b. Instructors shall have the opportunity to comment, orally and/or in writing, upon the ratings received. These comments shall be taken into account by persons or groups charged with making or advising on personnel decisions.

c. Results of student instructional ratings shall be systematically consulted, with due regard for strict confidentiality, in conjunction with other means for assessing individual effectiveness, according to the review criteria promulgated within each unit. Other means might include, e.g., classroom visits or consideration of course syllabi, assignments, and examinations.

6. Procedures for implementing the rating process and for utilizing the results shall be promulgated by each teaching unit, subject to the following provisions:

a. Duly promulgated unit procedures shall be filed in the offices of the appropriate Dean and the Provost, where they will be matters of public record.

b. Unit administrators are responsible for implementing in their units SIRS procedures which follow fully the requirements of this document.

c. Teaching units may have the required SIRS instruments administered by a person other than the instructor. If the unit does not administer the instruments, instructors are obligated to do so, and to return all results to unit offices within the time period specified in the unit procedures.

d. At the time instruments are administered, students shall be informed who will have access to the results and how the results will be used.


The following policy operates as a complement to the Student Instructional Rating System (SIRS) policy to provide selected public information for students as an aid to choosing courses. Forms are available in the Scoring Office, 208 Computer Center.

Policy on the Student Public Evaluation System
Students at Michigan State University have an interest in being able to make informed judgments in selecting courses and faculty members as students pursue their academic programs. To this end, the University Committee on Academic Policy (UCAP) has framed a set of questions that should provide the type of information that students seek. In order to facilitate the transmission of this information to the students, the following procedures are established:

  1. In addition to using standard university or unit-based SIRS forms in every class each semester in compliance with the Student Instructional Rating System policy, faculty members at the rank of instructor or above, and specialists who are assigned to teach, shall administer a standard form (Student Opinion of Courses and Teaching) in all of their regular undergraduate classes.
  2. The SOCT forms shall be administered within the last two weeks of classes. Instructors should leave the room until the forms have been completed and collected. The forms should be collected by a neutral party, turned in to a predetermined location, and should not be accessible to the instructor until grades are submitted.
  3. Results will be disseminated in summary form, displayed by instructor and department, once per year through a Web site accessible to students and other members of the University community with the appropriate identification.


The principles of truth and honesty are recognized as fundamental to a community of teachers and scholars. The University expects that both faculty and students will honor these principles and in so doing protect the validity of University grades. This means that all academic work will be done by the student to whom

it is assigned, without unauthorized aid of any kind. (See General Student Regulation 1.00, Scholarship and Grades, for specific regulations.) Instructors, for their part, will exercise care in the planning and supervision of academic work, so that honest effort will be positively encouraged.

If any instance of academic dishonesty is discovered by an instructor, it is his or her responsibility to take appropriate action. Depending on his or her judgment of the particular case, he or she may give a failing grade to the student on the assignment or for the course.

In instances where a failing grade in a course is given only for academic dishonesty, the instructor will notify the student's academic dean in writing of the circumstances.

The student who receives a failing grade based on a charge of academic dishonesty may appeal a judgment made by a department, school, or a college to the University Academic Integrity Review Board. Refer to Academic Freedom for Students at Michigan State University.

When, in the judgment of the academic dean, action other than, or in addition to, a failing grade is warranted, the dean will refer the case to the college-level hearing board which shall have original jurisdiction. In cases of ambiguous jurisdiction, the appropriate judiciary will be randomly selected by the Assistant Provost from one of the three core colleges. Appeals from the judgment maybe made to the University Academic Integrity Review Board. Refer to Academic Freedom for Students at Michigan State University.

In instances of academic dishonesty where the instructor feels that action other than, or in addition to, a failing grade in the course is warranted, the instructor will report the case to his or her departmental or school chairperson and to the student's academic dean. The dean will then refer the case to the College-level hearing board which shall have original jurisdiction. Refer to Academic Freedom for Students at Michigan State University.


Michigan State University employs three systems of grading: a numerical system, a supplemental credit-no credit system, and a limited pass-no grade system.

All grades are final and may not be changed by re-examination or by the submission of additional work. See Repeating a Course.

The Numerical System 
The numerical system consists of the following scale. 4.0 - 3.5 - 3.0 - 2.5 - 2.0 - 1.5 - 1.0 - 0.0.

Grading Procedure of the Numerical System:

1. Credit is awarded at the following minimum levels:

1.0 for undergraduate students.
2.0 for graduate students.
However, all grades are counted in the calculation of the grade-point average (GPA).

2. The minimum cumulative grade-point average required for graduation is a 2.00 for undergraduates and 3.00 for graduate students.

3. In particular graduate programs the number of 2.0 grades acceptable for credit may be expressly restricted and/or levels higher than the 2.0 minimum may be established for the fulfillment of degree requirements.

4. Grades given in courses completed under enrollment on the numerical system cannot be converted to credit or no-credit under the credit-no credit system.

The Credit-No Credit System
The credit-no-credit system is intended to allow students to study in areas outside the major field of study without jeopardizing their grade-point averages. In the credit-no credit system the following symbols are used.

CR-Credit-means that credit is granted and represents a level of performance equivalent to or above the grade-point average required for graduation. Thus, undergraduate students must perform at or above the 2.0 level before credit is granted; graduate students must perform at or above the 3.0 level.

NC-No Credit-means that no credit is granted and represents a level of performance below the grade-point average required for graduation, i.e., below 2.0 for undergraduate students, below 3.0 for graduate students.

Grading Procedure of the CR-NC System

  1. Grades on the CR-NC system are not included in computing the semester or cumulative grade-point average.
  2. Enrollment on a CR-NC basis is recorded with the academic adviser and with the Registrar. The instructor's class list does not indicate which students are enrolled on CR-NC basis.
  3. When the course is completed, all students are graded on the numerical system.
  4. The Registrar then converts the numerical grades to credit or no credit in accord with the definitions of CR-NC stated above, but retains the numerical grades in the student's academic records.
  5. When a student changes a major preference or a major, the Registrar converts those letter grades to numerical grades in courses that are necessarily graded on the numerical system in the new major.

Enrollment in the CR-NC System 
Enrollment on a CR-NC basis is open to students, at their option, subject to the following conditions:

1. Course prerequisites and other criteria for enrolling in any course shall be determined by the department or college offering the course and apply equally to both the numerical and the CR-NC systems.

2. The choice of numerical or CR-NC system does not affect admission to the course.

3. All courses in every department and college are available on a CR-NC basis unless these courses are:

a. Used to satisfy the Tier I writing requirement, the Tier II writing requirement, the University mathematics requirement, and Integrative Studies Program requirements, or

b. Designated as Type 1, Type 2, or Type 3 courses under the remedial-developmental-preparatory

course policy.

c. Specifically excluded from CR-NC enrollment by the department, school, or college of the student's major preference or major, or the unit recommending the student for certification.

4. Limitations:

a. No undergraduate student may enroll in more than one course in a single semester on the CR-NC system and may not enroll in more than a total of 20 credits in all semesters.

b. The limitations on the number of credits a graduate student may take in a given semester on the CR-NC basis, and the total number of credits that may be taken in a given degree program on a CR-NC basis, shall be established by the college, department, or school, or the unit recommending the student for certification in which the student is a major.

5. Each department, school, or college, or the unit recommending the student for certification shall designate those courses that its majors or candidates for certification may not take on the CR-NC system.

6. Choice of the CR-NC system must be communicated by the student to the Office of the Registrar prior to the end of the 5th day of classes for the semester and may not be changed after the 5th day of classes.

7. Any course taken more than once must be repeated on the same grading system under which the course was completed the first time, except where standard requirements to the contrary must be satisfied in order to meet graduation requirements.

The Pass-No Grade System

This system is used only in courses specifically approved by the University Committee on Curriculum. Non-credit courses and those involving field experience are the usual types of courses approved for P-N grading. Courses approved for P-N grading are so marked in the Schedule of Courses.

In the pass-no grade system the following symbols are used:

P-Pass-means that credit is granted and that the student achieved a level of performance judged to be satisfactory by the instructor.

N-No Grade-means that no credit is granted and that the student did not achieve a level of performance judged to be satisfactory by the instructor.

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