Fall 2022 Semester Start Up

Dear UB Faculty and Instructors,  

As we approach the start of the fall 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.

Course Design, Syllabus and Management

Fall 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 Fall 2022 Critical Dates and Links PDF (UBITName and password required).

Planning Your Course Schedule and Requirements

As you plan your syllabi, you may wish to consult an interfaith calendar when scheduling any major class requirements, such as 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.” Additionally, please see the Exam Conflict policy in the undergraduate catalog for information related to conflicts during the term.

Syllabus Requirements

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 (UBITName 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.

Research shows that how a syllabus is framed can impact a student’s outcomes in a course. For assistance, please see syllabus resources and view the Student Experience Project’s First Day Toolkit.

Instructional Resources

For all faculty and instructors on campus, the Office of Curriculum, Assessment & Teaching Transformation (CATT) provides numerous resources to help you in preparing for and delivering your courses. For development opportunities, pedagogy and educational theory and best practices, video resources and more, please visit the CATT website. Additionally UB’s Teach Anywhere website has been completely refreshed to provide comprehensive resources and helps link instructors to the appropriate supports for all aspects of teaching.

Mode of Instruction

Delivery of instruction should adhere to the instruction mode, campus and location listed in HUB. Instructors should not change the modality of instruction without explicit approval of their departmental and decanal unit. Any approved changes in course modality must be reported to the Office of the Registrar and clearly communicated to enrolled students. 

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.

Online Proctoring Fees

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.

Learning Management System Transition

The university will be adopting a new learning management system (LMS), Brightspace by D2L, for the campus community. This will replace the existing LMS, UB Learns powered by Blackboard. The implementation process will take place over three semesters, with full implementation planned for fall 2023. Visit the Learning Management System Transition website for more information. 

Class Attendance and Participation

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’s instructor page

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements

All UB students who live on campus or who come to campus for classes or activities are required to complete their primary COVID-19 vaccination series and are strongly encouraged to get boosters when eligible, in accordance with SUNY guidelines. View the Health and Safety Guidelines for the most up-to-date information.

Class Attendance and Excusable Absences

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.

Every course syllabus must clearly inform students of the mode(s) of instruction for the course. 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.

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. 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.

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.

Course Grading, Evaluation and Records

NEW: F Grade Participation Tracking

UB does not require faculty to take attendance. However, to ensure compliance with financial aid regulations, the University at Buffalo must confirm eligibility requirements for every student. Effective fall 2022, at the time of grade entry, faculty will select from three failure options that indicate if and when the student receiving an F grade participated in the class. Faculty will now see the following options on their grade roster in the HUB Faculty Center: F1-Failure, participated after the 60% point of the session, F2-Failure, started participating but stopped before the 60% point of the session, and F3-Failure, no participation. This standard meets federal mandates to identify the reasons for a student’s failure when determining financial aid eligibility. All F1, F2 and F3 grades are calculated as 0 grade points in a student’s grade-point average (GPA). Additional information and FAQ are available on the Office of the Registrar webpage (UBITName and password required).

Incomplete (I) Grades

Faculty are encouraged to review guidelines for assigning undergraduate students incomplete grades. Undergraduate students must request incomplete grades and must have a passing average in coursework that has been completed.

S/U Grading

S/U grading functions differently for undergraduate and graduate students. 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. Grading FAQ are available on the registrar's faculty and staff website (UBITName and password required).

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 (UBITName 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. Faculty Senate policy states that grades other than I or blank can be changed only to correct an error in the calculation or entry of the grade or as a result of re-evaluation of an end-of-session assignment or exam. Grade changes based on additional or revised work completed after the semester end cannot be approved. For more information, please visit the Office of the Registrar faculty and staff website (UBITName and password required).

Mid-Semester Review for Undergraduate Students

Early assessment of student progress can be pivotal in helping students address academic issues. Fall 2022 mid-semester review for undergraduate students will begin in week 4 and conclude at the end of week 7 (Sept. 19-Oct. 14). 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.

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, UBITName, or any portion of a person number). To distribute grades, use UB Learns with assistance at UB Learns for Faculty.

Course Evaluations

Instructors will receive a list of their classes scheduled for evaluation by mid-November. If you are teaching in the fall 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 before finals week begins). You can visit your course evaluations dashboard (UBITName and password required) as early as mid-September to review your fall 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.

Records Retention

All course materials that contributed to assessment and grading should 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.

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

Support for Mental Health

UB has a variety of services to help students’ mental health and wellness, including Counseling Services and Health Promotion. See the Student Guide’s Mental/Emotional Well-Being page for other sources of help at UB. 

As you ready your courses for fall 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