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Minimal Instructional And Student Responsibilities

By accepting responsibility for their education, students enhance the development of their academic, social, and career goals. It is expected that students accept responsibility for their academic choices as part of their educational experience at Stony Brook. Services are available to assist students with academic advising, long-range goals, and career exploration. Students are responsible for reviewing, understanding, and abiding by the University’s regulations, procedures, requirements, and deadlines as described in official publications, including, by way of example only, this Undergraduate Bulletin, the University Conduct Code, the Student Handbook, and class schedules.

Responsibilities in the Classroom

Students are expected to attend class regularly unless other arrangements are made; arrive for class on time and leave the classroom only at the end of class; engage in class discussions and activities when appropriate; exhibit classroom behavior that is not disruptive of the learning environment; secure and turn off all electronic communications and entertainment devices during class time unless otherwise directed by the course instructor. Any use of a cell phone or other unauthorized electronic device during an examination may lead to an accusation of academic dishonesty.

Absentee Policy 

Students are expected to report for their examinations and major graded coursework as scheduled. If a student is unable to report for any examination or to complete major graded coursework on time, the student must contact the faculty member immediately. If the student cannot reach the faculty member, then s/he should contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Although faculty will consider each student’s request on its own merits and not attempt to define ahead of time the validity of all possible reasons a student might give for missing an examination or the date to turn in major graded coursework, instructors are expected to accept an excuse of significant illness, tragedy, or other personal emergencies and to make reasonable alternative accommodations for the student. It shall be the student’s responsibility to provide sufficient documentation to support any such request. Accommodations for other reasons will be at the discretion of the faculty.

Course Responsibilities

Students are expected to observe the requirements for the course and consult with the instructor if prerequisites are lacking; obtain and understand the course syllabus; keep up with the coursework and take all scheduled examinations; address any conflicts in syllabus and exam scheduling with the instructor as soon as possible; review all graded material and seek help if necessary; notify the instructor as soon as possible of any disabilities that might interfere with completion of coursework; complete the course evaluation form fairly and thoughtfully.

Academic Progress

Students are expected to take an active part in assessing their academic progress each semester, and to monitor their progress towards completion of graduation requirements. They are expected to review academic policies and procedures described in the current Undergraduate Bulletin and its Supplements; know basic University, college, and departmental graduation requirements in their chosen majors and minors so they may plan completion of these requirements; maintain personal copies of a tentative degree plan, progress reports, general educational material, and transfer credit evaluations until after graduation; see that any academic records from other universities are transferred and received by all the appropriate offices (Admissions and Academic and Transfer Advising Services Office) for evaluation.

Interactions with Faculty, Instructors, and other Students

Students are expected to understand the concept of academic honesty and adhere to its principles; be respectful and polite to all instructors and other students; be familiar with and abide by the University’s sexual harassment policies as well as University policies regarding consensual relationships between instructors and students; consult the Student Conduct Code about other aspects of student conduct in and out of the classroom.

Minimal Instructional Responsibilities

Instructors at Stony Brook have teaching responsibilities that involve a broad range of methods. The following list of responsibilities does not define good teaching; it defines only a minimal set of conditions and practices that faculty members and teaching assistants are expected to observe in performing their teaching functions.

Classroom and Conference Responsibilities

  • Instructors must meet their classes regularly and promptly, at times and places scheduled. Instructors must be present for the complete duration of examinations. 
  • Classes should be canceled only for the most serious reasons, and students should be given advance notice, if at all possible, of instructors’ absences.
  • Instructors must schedule and maintain regular office hours to meet their students’ needs, minimally three hours per week in the instructor’s office or another officially designated space on campus at times convenient to the schedules of as many students as possible. The instructor may choose to augment these hours with electronically based communication.
  • Office hours should be announced in class and posted outside instructors’ offices and in department offices.
  • Instructors should be available for appointments with students who are unable to meet with them during regularly scheduled office hours.
  • Instructors are responsible for careful supervision and classroom preparation of teaching assistants assigned to their courses.
  • The policy on electronic devices, described in the section Minimal Student Responsibilities, shall be announced before each course examination.


Course Definition and Requirements

  • Instructors must adhere to the course descriptions in the Undergraduate Bulletin.
  • Prerequisites that are not stated in the Bulletin or the Supplement or the Class Schedule may not be imposed.
  • Instructors are required to assign grades on the basis of the body of work for which all students are responsible, as described in the syllabus. Grades shall be submitted in accordance to university policy #P207
  • Instructors must conduct any teaching and course evaluation survey that has been approved by their departments, or by the College or University Senates. The results of class evaluations should be used in periodic reviews and revision, when appropriate, of the course.
  • A written syllabus that clearly defines the content, course requirements and the learning objective(s) and outcomes of each course must be distributed at the beginning of the course, made readily available throughout the Add/Drop period, and kept on file in the department office. The syllabus should include: 
    • Explicit Learning objectives to specify student expectations
      • For courses that satisfy the Stony Brook Curriculum and/or the Diversified Education Curriculum, the syllabus learning outcomes must incorporate the specific learning outcomes that have been approved for that course by the faculty.
    • instructor office hours
    • the specific basis for calculating the final grade
    • information about examination dates and times
    • the class policy on make-up exams, which must be consistent with university policy on Student Participation in University Sponsored Events, the policy on Final Exams and the New York State Education Law regarding Equivalent Opportunity and Religious Absences.
    • a detailed course description from the Bulletin. Instructors may expand on the Bulletin description but not reduce or modify the Bulletin description.
    • a tentative schedule of required readings and/or assignments.
    • required course materials and textbooks
    • the Provost’s statements on Student Accessibility Support Center (SASC), Academic Integrity, and Critical Incident Management. See details below.


Required Syllabi Statements

The University Senate has authorized that the following required statements appear in all teaching syllabi on the Stony Brook Campus. This information is located on the Provost’s website.

Assessment of Student Performance

  • Homework assignments, examinations, and term papers should be evaluated and returned promptly. Written comments, explaining the instructor’s criteria for evaluation and giving suggestions for improvement, should be provided.
  • Instructors are responsible for providing students with appropriate and timely notification about their academic performance in a course. An examination or other assessment measure should be administered, graded, and returned to students before the end of the ninth week of classes.
  • Examinations and term papers submitted at the end of the term should be graded and either returned to students or retained for one semester.
  • Any change to the course grading policy during the semester must be announced and made available to all students enrolled in the course. Assigning additional work to individual students who wish to improve their grades, during or after the semester, is prohibited.
  • Instructors must observe the Final Examination Schedule available at Instructors of courses taught on the semester schedule may only give a unit exam in class during the last week of the semester if a final examination is also given during the Final Examination Period.
  • Instructors must observe state laws, federal laws, and University policies regarding accommodations as noted in the Bulletin (e.g., student participation in University-sponsored activities or equivalent opportunity/religious absences). Accommodations such as make-up exams, assignments, or other coursework that fall outside of the purview of these laws and policies are at the discretion of the instructor.


Professional Conduct and Interaction with Students

  • Instructors must report all suspected occurrences of academic dishonesty to the Academic Judiciary Committee (for classes in the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, and School of Journalism) or the Committee on Academic Standing and Appeals (for classes in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences).
  • Instructors should always be aware that in teaching and advising they represent the University. They are bound by the University’s sexual harassment policies. Instructors are also bound by University policies that prohibit any consensual relationships with students that might compromise the objectivity and integrity of the teacher-student relationship. Examples include romantic, sexual, or financial relationships.
  • Instructors should strive to maintain the privacy and confidentiality of students’ examinations, homework, and final grades.
  • In dealing with students, instructors should be polite, helpful, and fair. They should take into account the wide range of cultural factors and physical challenges that can affect learning, and should attempt to help students overcome any disadvantages.