15.2 Responsibilities to Students

(Board of Regents amendment 1/19/94; Faculty Senate 12/95; amended 5/07; 9/21/22)

As teachers, faculty members have the responsibility for creating in their classroom or laboratory a climate that encourages students' endeavors to learn. The faculty member should exemplify high scholarly standards and respect and foster students' right to choose and pursue their own educational goals.

  1.  The faculty member must make clear the objectives of the course or program, establish requirements, set standards of achievement, and evaluate the student's performance.
  2. The faculty member has the responsibility to meet classes as scheduled and, when circumstances prevent this, to arrange equivalent alternate instruction.
  3. Faculty members have the responsibility to teach courses in a manner that is consistent with the course description and credit published in the catalog and with the announced objectives of the course. They must not intentionally interject into classes material or personal views that have no pedagogical relationship to the subject matter of the course.
  4. In order to facilitate student learning, faculty members should present the appropriate context for course content. While challenge is essential to good teaching, challenge is ordinarily most effective when students are adequately prepared to deal with course materials. On controversial issues within the scope of the course a reasonable range of opinion should be presented. When faculty members present their own views on such issues, they should always be identified as such. Wherever values, judgments, or speculative opinions constitute part of the subject matter, they should be identified as such and should not be offered as fact.
  5. The faculty member owes to the student and the university a fair and impartial evaluation of the student's work. Such evaluation should be consistent with recognized standards and must not be influenced by irrelevancies such as religion, race, sex, or political views, or be based on the student's agreement with the teacher's opinion pertaining to matters of controversy within the discipline.
  6. Every student is entitled to the same intellectual freedom which the faculty member enjoys. The faculty member must respect that freedom. Restraints must not be imposed upon the student's search for or consideration of diverse or contrary opinion. More positively, the faculty member has an obligation to protect the student's freedom to learn, especially when that freedom is threatened by repressive or disruptive action. The classroom must remain a place where free and open discussion of all content and issues relevant to a course can take place. While students remain responsible for learning class material and completion of course requirements, faculty should respect reasonable decisions by students, based on their exercise of their own intellectual freedom, not to attend part or all of a particular class session.
  7. Faculty members have a professional obligation to serve as intellectual guides and advisors to students. They have a responsibility to be available to students for individualized conferences. In advising students, every reasonable effort should be made to see that information given to them is accurate. The progress of students in achieving their academic goals should not be thwarted or retarded unreasonably because a faculty member has neglected the professional obligation to serve as an advisor.
  8. Faculty members teaching on-campus courses are expected to hold regularly scheduled office hours — either in person or a combination of in-person and online video conferencing — and otherwise be reasonably available for appointments with students. Faculty members teaching online courses or those not located on campus may use online video conferencing and other forms of electronic communications in lieu of in-person office hours.
  9. Faculty members should conduct themselves at all times so as to demonstrate respect for the student. They should always respect the confidence deriving from the faculty-student relationship.
  10. The faculty member must avoid exploitation of students for personal advantage. For example, in writings and oral presentations, due acknowledgment of their contributions to the work should be made.
  11. In order that students can make knowledgeable choices about whether to take a particular course, it is the faculty member's responsibility to provide, on the first day of class, a course syllabus, in either electronic or paper format, containing the following information:
    1. the instructor's name, office, office hours, and contact information (a valid uiowa.edu email address and a telephone number, if available). If the instructor is a teaching assistant, the syllabus should also include the course supervisor's name, office, office hours, and contact information;
    2. goals and objectives of the course;
    3. course content and schedule of topics;
    4. list of readings and/or other anticipated course materials;
    5. expectations for attendance, assignments, and examinations;
    6. dates and times of any examinations scheduled outside of class time;
    7. grading procedures including whether plus/minus grading will be used;
    8. statement on the availability of accommodations for students with disabilities;
    9. resources for obtaining additional help, such as tutors or teaching assistants;
    10. any changes in information about the course from that which appears in official university notices, such as the General Catalog or MyUI; and 
    11. a statement describing what forms of electronic communications, if any, will be employed for student contact and the expectations for typical response times. Reference should be made to university policy, which specifies that students are responsible for all official correspondence sent to their standard University of Iowa email address (@uiowa.edu). (Privacy considerations, such as federal law, may apply when using an address other than the standard university email address. The university provides guidance for acceptable etiquette when utilizing electronic communication technologies.)
  12. At the beginning of each course, students should be informed of departmental and collegiate complaint procedures and services of the Office of the University Ombudsperson. When complaints emerge, they should be initiated at the faculty or departmental level first. If a complaint cannot be resolved at the departmental and/or collegiate level, students may file a formal complaint utilizing the procedure specified in III-29.7. Additional information regarding Student Complaints Concerning Actions of Faculty Members may be found on the Dean of Students website at https://dos.uiowa.edu/policies/student-complaints-concerning-faculty-action/.