Semester Start Up: Spring 2022

Dear UB Faculty and Instructors, 

As we approach the start of the spring 2022 term at UB, I want to bring to your attention important semester-related information and ask for your assistance to ensure critical policies and practices are addressed at the beginning of and during the semester. 

Syllabus, Class Attendance, and Course Information

NEW: COVID-19 Booster Requirement

All students are required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 to register for and attend classes in person. All students who have been vaccinated are required to obtain a booster and submit documentation by Jan. 31. Students who are not eligible to receive a booster by this date must submit documentation within one week of becoming eligible. Read more about COVID-19 immunization requirements.

NEW: Office of the Registrar’s Spring 2022 Critical Dates and Links

Information about important dates, grading deadlines, faculty resources, and helpful links is available in the Office of the Registrar’s Spring 2022 Critical Dates and Links PDF (UBIT name and password required).

NEW: Improper Distribution of Course Materials Policy

Effective fall 2021, a new policy was established under which faculty and instructors may, at their discretion, restrict the distribution of course materials prepared or assigned by them. Faculty and instructors who wish to opt in to this policy should include language in their course syllabus about the limitations on student distribution of course materials. As this policy is new for students, it is advisable to discuss it with your classes. Violators can be reported to the Office of Academic Integrity through a report form and will be required to complete an educational sanction about the value of intellectual property. The full policy and sample syllabus language are available on the Office of Academic Integrity website.

Syllabus

As stated in the Faculty Senate policy:

  • A course syllabus must be finalized and distributed to the class during the first week of classes.
  • During the semester, instructors are expected to conform to their course syllabi, except as unanticipated circumstances require deviation. In such situations, instructors should inform all students and provide an opportunity for discussion with students prior to making a final decision regarding changes in the course syllabus.

Faculty should ensure their syllabi have all the required elements as found in the Undergraduate Course Syllabi Guidelines (UBIT name and password required) and Graduate Course Syllabi Guidelines. Of particular significance is the requirement that every syllabus (regardless of level) must include:

  • enumerated student learning outcomes,
  • each required class activity (assignment) with the corresponding deadline,
  • which activity (assignment) assesses which outcome, and  
  • how the class outcomes link to larger unit program outcomes.

For assistance, please see syllabus resources.

Class Attendance

To promote student responsibility, each class instructor determines and conveys through the course syllabus specific class attendance policies as well as dates and times for classes, exams, and all other required activities.

  • Classes are to meet at the time and location listed in the official university course schedule unless changed with the consent of the entire class.
  • As a course instructor, you play a critical role in allowing students to adhere to UB’s comprehensive Health and Safety Guidelines, which help protect the health and safety of all of us at UB. Please be prepared to accommodate students who are requesting to stay home due to illness or who indicate they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. We recommend clearly communicating opportunities and expectations around alternative assignments or makeup work and maintaining flexibility with respect to student circumstances and normal course attendance policies. 
  • Class absences due to COVID-19 isolation or quarantine are considered excusable per the university’s Class Attendance policies. Please use all means at your disposal to allow students to make up work and engage in class activities while in isolation, depending on the circumstances relevant to your course.

As you plan your syllabi, you may wish to consult an interfaith calendar when scheduling any major class requirements, such as exams.

Course-Related Fees

Before any fees are levied for course activities, they must be fully approved according to UB and SUNY policies using the detailed process on the Administrative Services Gateway’s Develop and Manage State Fees page. For assistance, contact your chair and unit business officer.

Academic Integrity

The university’s academic integrity policy requires that all infractions, regardless of severity, be reported to the Office of Academic Integrity through the brief online Academic Dishonesty Report Form. Instructors can find extensive information about processing academic dishonesty cases and protecting integrity in student work on the Office of Academic Integrity website.

Online Proctoring

Please note: Instructors cannot require students to pay for online proctoring services without offering an alternative accommodation for students who are unable or unwilling to pay. Guidance regarding online proctoring tools is available on the Office of Academic Integrity website.

Final Exams

As you plan for final exams, please note UB’s Faculty Teaching Responsibilities Policy that states, “Final examinations shall be offered as officially scheduled, not during the final week of classes.”

Course Evaluations

Instructors will be notified by mid-April regarding spring semester course evaluations. If you are teaching in the spring and do not receive an email by then, please contact ubce@buffalo.edu. Instructors are permitted to add three customized questions to course evaluations. You may add your questions until course evaluations open (two weeks prior to the end of reading days). Standard course evaluations will be open for two weeks and will end at the close of reading days. You can visit your course evaluations dashboard (UBIT name and password required) as early as March 21 to review your spring courses. The Office of Curriculum, Assessment and Teaching Transformation has collaborated with the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Faculty Affairs to design a process to address explicit bias in course evaluations. If you receive comments with explicitly biased language, you are encouraged to file a report on the EDI website.

Course Grading and Records

Mid-Semester Review for Undergraduate Students

Early assessment of student progress can be pivotal in helping students address academic issues. Spring 2022 mid-semester review for undergraduate students will begin in week 4 and conclude at the end of week 7 (Feb. 21-March 18). This will allow us to provide valuable academic feedback to students earlier in the semester, when students need it most. Faculty will receive email notifications when mid-semester grading rosters are available. When contacted by the Office of the Registrar, please evaluate your students using the tools provided.

Grade Changes Online

Faculty can change grades via the HUB Faculty Center until the day after grades are due. After the grade change deadline, undergraduate, graduate, and pharmacy grade changes must be submitted via the electronic grade change tool (UBIT name and password required). The completed form will be routed automatically to individuals within your department for necessary approvals and will then be sent to the Office of the Registrar for processing. For more information, please visit the Office of the Registrar faculty and staff website (UBIT name and password required).

Grading—FX Grade

UB does not require faculty to take attendance. However, the Faculty Senate approved the FX grade to enable instructors to indicate the reason for a student’s failure in a course. Whereas a grade of F indicates failure based on performance on assigned activities, an FX grade indicates a failure due to lack of attendance (or participation where attendance is not applicable). When entering grades in HUB or on an external roster, please select “FX” for any student whose record indicates that they stopped attending and/or participating in the course altogether, signifying that the student’s grade is a result of that lack of participation. Students who earn a failing grade but who have been engaged for at least 60% of the term (through the ninth week) should be awarded an F grade rather than an FX. This standard meets federal mandates to identify the reasons for a student’s failure when determining financial aid eligibility. Both the F and FX grades are calculated as 0 grade points in a student’s grade-point average (GPA).

Posting of Student Grades

Student exam, paper, and final grades are sensitive data not to be posted publicly using any identifier that can be known or determined by others (e.g., name, birthdate, UBIT name, or any portion of a person number). To distribute grades, use UB Learns with assistance at UB Learns for Faculty

Records Retention

All course materials that contributed to assessment and grading must be retained for one year following the conclusion of the semester. Materials include papers, exams, quizzes, or other graded work, as well as scoring sheets and grade books and rosters. Retention for one year after course completion meets the SUNY/SED mandates regarding student records maintenance.

S/U Grading

The S/U grading deadline for undergraduate students is aligned with the resignation deadline. For spring 2022 regular session classes, the deadline is Friday, April 22, 2022. Grading FAQ are available on the registrar's faculty and staff website (UBIT name and password required). Information on S/U grading for undergraduate students can be found on the Office of the Registrar website. Information for graduate students related to S/U grading can be found on the Graduate School website.

Resources for Students

Accessibility Resources

Students who require assistance to ensure their ability to participate fully in class should be referred to Accessibility Resources for determination of any appropriate accommodations, which students should then share with you to guide your instruction.

Emergency Funds

Student emergency funds at UB seek to award grants to eligible students who are experiencing an unforeseen hardship that could impact their ability to remain enrolled in school. To learn more, visit the Emergency Funds webpage

Navigate App

The Navigate app allows students to manage their academic journey and connect with the full range of resources at UB. Undergraduate students can use Navigate to make advising appointments, request a tutor, find Study Buddies, and connect with resources and support. This app offers many benefits for undergraduate students, and graduate students can download Navigate to utilize applicable functionality.

Student Support Websites

The Academic Resources and Updates for Students webpage has FAQ, academic updates and resources for undergraduate and graduate students. Undergraduate students can find support and information on the Undergraduate Education website and the Student Success Gateway. Graduate students can find current student resources on the Graduate School website

Students of Concern

Faculty sometimes encounter a student whose well-being or circumstances raise concerns. Students in Distress is a resource that can help you identify students who may need assistance. You may either refer such a student to various UB resources or contact Student Conduct and Advocacy, which will then reach out to the student directly. 

Support for Food Insecurity

Through a partnership with the Student Association, UB offers Blue Table, a virtual food pantry service for UB students who do not have access to food. Orders can be placed online. For more information, visit the Food Support webpage

As you ready your courses for spring 2022, I wish you a successful semester and a fruitful learning experience with your students. Please let me know if my offices may assist your efforts.

Warm regards,

Graham Hammill
Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

cc: President
      Provost