Edited by the
Faculty Senate Handbook Committee
Shannin Schroeder, Chair
Additional Assistance from
Roger Giles, Vice President for Administration and General Counsel
Recommended by the Faculty Senate
and Adopted by the Faculty Assembly
Approved by the Board of Trustees
June 22, 2022
The Faculty Senate may make mechanical, grammatical, format, and consistency corrections to the SAU Faculty Handbook with simple approval by the Senate, rather than presenting those corrections to the General Faculty. Substantive changes to the Faculty Handbook are subject to approval by the Faculty Assembly and by the Board of Trustees, with the exception of amendments to Chapters V (Standing Committees), VI (Academic Policies), and X (Search Policy for Faculty and Administration), which are final with the approval of the University President. Electronic versions of all forms are preferable and will be available via hyperlink within the Handbook. Whenever hyperlinks are unavailable, materials shall appear in an appendix. Forms are not considered part of the Handbook itself and may be updated with the approval of the President.
Southern Arkansas University (SAU) is a two-campus system comprised of a regional state university and a technical college with both state and regional responsibilities. Recognizing the diversity of student backgrounds and educational experiences, each campus accepts its coordinated and unique role.
To accomplish the University’s mission to educate students, the general education curriculum and all program curricula provide learning opportunities that assist students in attaining the following University Learning Goals and Objectives:
Our graduates can communicate effectively. Effective communication embraces oral, visual, and language arts, including the ability to listen, speak, read, and write. It includes the effective use of various resources and technology for personal and professional communication.
Our graduates are prepared to be personally and socially responsible citizens, having the ability to apply knowledge and skills that encourage responsible civic engagement for the advancement of society. This includes an understanding of their own and other cultures and societies and the ability to make informed and ethical decisions.
Our graduates can think critically, solve problems, and make informed decisions. Critical thinking is the ability to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information and ideas from multiple perspectives. It includes the accurate use of terminology, information literacy, the application of scholarly and scientific methods, logical argument, and the capability for analysis and problem solving.
Our graduates can use technology effectively in their fields. Information literacy is the ability to determine the nature of required information, to access it effectively and efficiently, and to evaluate it critically. It includes the responsible, legal, and ethical use of information.
Our graduates have content knowledge in their chosen fields and the necessary skills to be successful. Content knowledge is discipline and degree specific.
As one means of attaining the mission of the University and of providing the student with a basic well-rounded education, all candidates for degrees complete prescribed general education courses. The general education curriculum includes courses that introduce and reinforce learning objectives for the following goals: Effective Communication, Personal and Social Responsibility, and Critical Thinking.
To accomplish the University’s mission to educate students, all candidates for degrees complete the prescribed major and minor requirements of the University’s degree programs. Curricula in all programs reinforce the learning objectives for effective communication, personal and social responsibility, and critical thinking; curricula in all programs also introduce and reinforce learning objectives for the following goals: Information Literacy and Content Knowledge.
The University measures student learning related to all five University Learning Goals and uses this information to continuously improve the curricula. Assessment reports that describe the ways these goals are integrated into classes are available through the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and are reported within the University’s accreditation documents.
Southern Arkansas University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, as well as the
Southern Arkansas University holds memberships in the following national organizations:
Southern Arkansas University was founded more than a century ago as the Third District Agricultural School (TDAS) by Act 100 of the Arkansas legislature on April 1, 1909. SAU celebrates this date as Founder’s Day. The school was a Progressive Era educational reform urged by the Farmers Educational and Cooperative Union. It taught rural young men and women scientific agricultural practices and modern home economics and awarded high school degrees. The Farmers Union’s legacy endured at SAU. The University operates one of the state’s largest collegiate farms, and the school’s colors – Blue and Gold – are those of the union. SAU’s agricultural roots are also evident in its unique symbol – the Mulerider – adopted in 1912 when its football players rode mules to practice and games.
To increase the supply of rural schoolteachers, Arkansas elevated TDAS and the state’s three other residential agricultural schools to junior college status with Special Act 229 in 1923 and Act 45 in 1925. Officially renamed State Agricultural and Mechanical College, Third District, the school was known everywhere as Magnolia A&M College. The North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools accredited Magnolia A&M in 1929. The institution afterward has maintained continuous accreditation.
In the fall of 1949 the Board of Trustees, exercising authority vested in it by the state legislature, decided to change the junior college into a four-year, degree-granting institution. By Act 11 on January 24, 1951, the legislature confirmed this change with a new name, Southern State College (SSC). Enrollment grew from a few hundred students during the junior college years to well over two thousand during SSC’s twenty-five-year history. The Arkansas legislature, with Act 171 on February 14, 1975, created a three-campus SSC system by adding two junior college branches at El Dorado and Camden to the main campus at Magnolia. The El Dorado branch, however, became independent in 1991. Having gained approval in 1973 from North Central Association to offer graduate courses in education, SSC began offering master’s degrees on June 2, 1975.
In April 2019, the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board authorized Southern Arkansas University to offer its first doctoral degree in the area of Rural and Diverse Educational Leadership.
Government of the University is vested in the Board of Trustees, consisting of five members who are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate of Arkansas. Each board member serves a five-year term. Terms of appointment are staggered so that one member is appointed each year. The Board determines the general policies of the University and approves expenditures of its funds.
The Organizational Chart illustrates the structure of the University’s internal administrative organization and its relationship to the Board of Trustees.
An Academic Organization Chart illustrates the structure of the academic programs of Southern Arkansas University, which are administered by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs (Provost). The University is organized into four colleges (the David F. Rankin College of Business, the College of Education, the College of Liberal and Performing Arts, and the College of Science and Engineering) and the School of Graduate Studies. The Library Director, the Registrar, the Director of Continuing Education, and the Director of the Honors College all report directly to the Provost.
SAU has a commitment to continuous quality improvement is the subject of Section VI of this document. The Open Pathway model of accreditation is a quality-based, continuous improvement mode of accreditation promoted by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
The Faculty Assembly and the Faculty Senate are the subjects of Sections III and IV of this document, and their roles in the overall functioning of Southern Arkansas University are described there.
The channels of communication are a two-way process. One way involves communication from administrative officers to faculty. The other involves communication from the faculty to the administration. Thus, channels of communication operate throughout the University by means of individual discussion, written communication, and committee reports. Any faculty members should feel free to discuss any program or problems related to the University with the administrative staff members concerned with the program or problems. However, faculty members are encouraged to indicate this intention to their immediate supervisor.
Communication among the various constituent groups of the University is achieved through a variety of means, including
The administrative and instructional staffs compose the faculty of Southern Arkansas University and operate under a Faculty Constitution. One of the purposes of this organization is to maintain democratic processes. Much of the work of the faculty is done through the Standing Committees of the University or ad hoc committees. See Section V for Standing Committees of the University.
The Provost, in consultation with the President of the University, prepares an agenda for the Assembly meetings and sends a copy of the agenda and the time of the meeting to each faculty member. Items to be considered for the agenda may be submitted by the Faculty Senate, other Standing Committees of the University, or any faculty member. The President of the University is President of the Assembly and presides at its meetings. In the absence of the President, the Provost presides. The Faculty Assembly expects each member of the Assembly to attend meetings.
Efficient operation and democratic process are two ideals for which most American institutions strive, and while the unfaltering quest for either may impair the attainment of the other, history shows that if either is totally absent, the other will not long endure. It is the purpose of the Constitution to provide a framework that will contribute to the optimum realization of both of these ideals at Southern Arkansas University.
Definition of Terms: For the purpose of the Faculty Assembly, the administrative staff shall comprise the Provost, student affairs, administration, finance, facilities, the college deans, and the dean of the school of graduate studies.
The instructional staff shall comprise all full-time staff members whose primary duty is instruction.
The operational staff shall comprise all full-time employees of the University not included above.
The name of the organization shall be the Faculty Assembly of Southern Arkansas University.
Section 1. Members of this organization (hereinafter called the Assembly) shall be members of the administrative staff and instructional staff.
Section 2. The administrative staff shall be responsible to the President of the University for the establishment of channels of communication and proper practices for effective administration.
Section 3. The instructional staff shall be responsible to the Provost for the departmental organization and functions contributing to the effective accomplishment of the academic purposes of the University.
Section 1. The purpose of the organization shall be to provide an Assembly of the entire University faculty.
Section 2. The Assembly, by majority vote, may send any recommendations of the Faculty Senate back to that body for review.
Section 1. The officers of the organization shall be the president, the vice president, the secretary, and the parliamentarian.
Section 2. The President of the University shall be the President of the Assembly and preside at the meetings whenever possible. The Provost shall be the Vice President of the assembly and shall preside in the absence of the President. It shall be the duty of these officers to prepare an agenda and notify each member of the forthcoming meeting.
Section 3. The secretary shall be elected by the Assembly from its membership and shall record the proceedings of each meeting and publish the minutes.
Section 4. The parliamentarian shall be elected by the Assembly from its membership and shall advise the presiding officer of parliamentary procedure.
Section 5. The secretary and parliamentarian shall be elected at the last regular meeting and shall assume office at the first meeting in the fall semester.
Section 1. Periodic Assembly meetings will be held and special meetings may be called at the discretion of the President, the Faculty Senate, or on petition of a majority of the members of the faculty.
Section 2. A majority of the membership shall constitute a quorum for any meeting, and each member present shall have one vote. Proxy votes by faculty members absent from Assembly meetings may be cast upon presentation of such proxy to the Provost prior to the meeting.
Section 3. A majority vote of those present shall be sufficient to pass a by-law or recommendation.
Section 4. Meetings shall be conducted according to Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised.
It shall be the duty of the President to report to the Assembly, no later than the second regular meeting after a vote is taken, the disposition of any recommendation made by the Assembly.
This Constitution may be amended by two-thirds vote of those present at any assembly meeting providing the amendment was publicized at the most recent meeting. Amendments may be distributed in a digital format at least two weeks before voting at a Faculty Assembly meeting, or they may be presented at the final Faculty Assembly meeting and voted on digitally one or more weeks after that meeting.
All policies, regulations, and committees in force at the time of adoption of the Constitution which are not incompatible with the Constitution shall continue in force until changed through normal procedures.
All Standing Committees of the University are required to report annually to the Assembly, and will provide that report and all agendas and minutes to the Office of Institutional Effectiveness electronically; the Discipline Committee need not report the details of the committee deliberations. The Academic Affairs Committee will make their minutes available. The yearly reports should be given at the last regular Assembly meeting of the spring semester.
The Faculty Senate is the legislative body of Southern Arkansas University in all academic matters relating to or affecting two or more of the Colleges or the University faculty as a whole. The Faculty Senate may consider matters referred to it by any faculty member or administrative officer; and it may, upon its own initiative, undertake the consideration and the determination of policies or procedures relating to courses, curricula, instruction, and the academic welfare of students and faculty.
Section 1. The Faculty Senate is the legislative body of Southern Arkansas University in all academic matters relating to or affecting two or more of the colleges of the University Faculty as a whole. The Faculty Senate may consider matters referred to it by any faculty member or administrative officer; and it may, upon its own initiative, undertake the consideration and the determination of policies or procedures relating to courses, curricula, instruction, and the academic welfare of students and faculty.
Section 2. All actions taken by the Faculty Senate are subject to review by a meeting of the entire Faculty Assembly.
Section 1. Faculty members eligible to vote for Faculty Senators shall include those full-time employees of the University who hold the rank of instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, professor, or distinguished professor. Those eligible to serve as Faculty Senators must hold one of these ranks and also have tenure or tenure-track appointments. However, any faculty member may bring issues before the Faculty Senate.
Section 1. Within the limitations stated in the remainder of this Article, the Senate shall have the responsibility to review University policies in all areas which directly pertain to the academic function of Southern Arkansas University, including, but not limited to
Section 2. The Senate shall have the authority to make recommendations to the University’s President and the Board of Trustees on all institutional matters of direct faculty concern, including, but not limited to
Section 3. To facilitate the timely review of the policy proposals which pertain to the academic function of the University, each Standing Committee of the University shall forward copies of its minutes to the president of the Senate and to the Office of Institutional Research. The president of the Senate shall bring before the Senate for its review those committee actions which recommend substantial changes or the creation of new policies or procedures that affect institutional matters of direct faculty concern, as identified in Article II, sections 1 and 2.
Section 4. The Senate shall establish such committees as it deems necessary to carry out its functions.
Section 5. The Senate shall consider all matters placed on its agenda by the University and Senate committees, by individual faculty members, by the Provost, or by the President of the University.
Section 6. The elected officers of the Senate shall serve as the Faculty Committee on Committees. Each member on the Committee on Committees shall maintain a list of faculty and endeavor to learn about their interests and abilities as regards service on Standing Committees of the University.
Section 1. The Senate shall consist of elected members and non-voting ex-officio members as follows:
Section 2. No more than three senators shall be from any single department and no more than two chairpersons shall be elected from each college.
Section 3. Elected senators shall serve a term of three years. Vacancies shall be filled by a special election to fill the unexpired term. The election to fill a vacancy shall be by the constituency represented by the vacancy. However, no person shall serve more than two successive full terms.
Section 4. Vacancies for Senate positions shall be filled in three stages. By April 1, the faculty shall elect by secret ballot two senators to fill the vacancies caused by the expiration of the terms of one class of At-Large Senators and shall fill other vacancies as may be required. Subsequent to the election of the At-Large Senators, but no later than April 20, each college shall elect by secret ballot one senator to fill the vacancy caused by the expiration of the term of one class of senators and shall fill other vacancies in the ranks of College Senators as may be required. Subsequent to the election of the College Senators, but no later than April 30, each represented special constituency shall elect by secret ballot a senator as may be required to fill a vacancy.
Section 5. The term of office for newly elected senators shall begin May 1.
Section 6. By written notice to the president of Senate submitted twenty-four hours before a meeting, a member of the Senate may choose another faculty member from the member’s constituency to represent the member at a Senate meeting. Such a representative must be eligible for election to the Senate.
Section 7. In lieu of choosing a replacement representative, a member of the Senate may, by written notice to the Senate president, give a proxy vote to another member of the Senate from that member’s constituency.
Section 8. Proxies and alternate representative shall be announced by the Senate president at the beginning of each meeting when the roll is called.
Section 9. The seat of a member of the Senate who has been repeatedly absent from Senate meetings can be declared vacant by a three-fourths vote of senators attending a meeting. The motion to remove a member of the Senate shall be considered a major item of business.
Section 1. The officers of the Senate shall be as follows: president; vice president, who shall serve as president-elect; secretary-treasurer; and parliamentarian.
Section 2. Eligibility for the election to an office shall be restricted to elected members of the Senate.
Section 3. The term of office for any Senate officer shall be one year or until a successor has been chosen and qualified.
Section 4. The officers of the Senate shall be elected by vote of the elected members of the Senate before May 15 each year.
Section 5. The president of the Senate shall be granted one quarter “release time” so that the functions of the office may be properly carried out. The secretary-treasurer shall notify the Provost of the name of the person selected as Senate vice president (president-elect) so that any necessary schedule changes may be made. Additional “release time” may be granted by the Senate as approved by the Provost.
Section 6. The president of the Senate shall
Section 7. The vice president of the Senate shall
Section 8. The secretary-treasurer of the Senate shall
Section 9. The parliamentarian of the Senate shall ensure that the established guidelines described in Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised are adhered to during all regular and special sessions of the Senate.
Section 1. The Senate shall hold regularly scheduled meetings each month of the academic year. The agenda of each meeting will be determined by the elected officers of the Faculty Senate in consultation with the Provost, the President of the University, or any member of the Board of Trustees.
Section 2. The third Thursday of each month shall be reserved for Senate meetings. The Senate shall establish at the April meeting the time at which the Senate shall convene during the following academic year. Senate members shall be responsible for class arrangements.
Section 3. The following order of business shall be observed in meetings of the Faculty Senate unless two-thirds of the senators present vote to change the procedures: 1) call to order, 2) approval of the minutes, 3) special orders of the day, 4) unfinished business, 5) reports of committees, 6) other new business, 7) adjournment.
Section 4. The Senate may be called into special session by the president of the Senate or upon written petition of a majority of the Senate. A notice stating the purpose of any special session must be distributed to the members of the Senate twenty-four hours prior to the meeting.
Section 5. Any faculty member may attend any regular or special session of the Senate and may participate in its deliberations with the consent of the presiding officer. Only senators shall be eligible to propose motions or to vote.
Section 6. A quorum for any meeting of the Senate shall consist of two-thirds of the voting members.
Section 7. The rules of procedure contained in Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised shall govern the proceedings of the Senate, subject to such special rules as may be adopted by the Senate.
Section 1. The Standing Committees of the Senate shall be as follows:
Section 1 (a). University Committees.
Section 1 (b). Academic Committees
Section 2. Senate Standing Committees will be elected by the voting members of the Senate.
Section 3. At the beginning of the academic year, the Committee on Committees will review the membership of all Standing Committees of the University and ensure that at least one member of each committee is a senator. If a committee does not have a senator, then the Senate will elect an ex officio, non-voting member to that Committee.
Section 1. An amendment to this Constitution may be proposed at any regular meeting of the Senate by a majority vote of the senators, provided a copy of the proposed amendment has been presented to each senator in attendance at the immediately preceding meeting.
Section 2. Any amendment proposed by the Senate shall be submitted to a vote of the University faculty. Each faculty member shall be notified at least two weeks in advance of such a vote and at that time be furnished with a copy of the proposed amendment.
Section 3. An amendment to this Constitution shall become effective upon approval by a majority of the members of the University faculty
The four major functions of Standing Committees of the University are
In performance of their duties, the Standing Committees of the University operate through regular channels of procedure. In developing a new policy or changing an old policy, except those designated as administrative, the initial action is started by or referred to the appropriate committee. To facilitate timely information about the policy proposals that pertain to the academic function of the University, each Standing Committee of the University shall have a Faculty Senate Representative who serves as the liaison between the Senate and the committee and is responsible for communicating the committee deliberations and the minutes to the Senate.
When a Standing Committee of the University has a recommendation concerning an academic matter relating to or affecting two or more of the Colleges or the University faculty as a whole, the recommendation may be brought before the Faculty Senate. In addition, the Faculty Senate may consider matters referred to it by any faculty member or administrative officer, and it may upon its own initiative undertake the consideration of and make recommendations about policies and procedures related to the functions of the Senate.
Recommendations from the Faculty Senate are subject to review by the Faculty Assembly. The Assembly, by majority vote, may send any recommendation of the Faculty Senate back to the body for review. The Faculty Assembly’s acceptance of the Faculty Senate’s recommendation (perhaps as amended) constitutes a recommendation to the President of the University, who may accept or reject the recommendation. When the President of the University accepts a recommendation, the President presents the recommendation to the Board of Trustees for its approval, when appropriate. Upon the Board’s approval, the proposed policy or program becomes an established part of the University program. If the President rejects a recommendation, the Faculty Senate may appeal to the Board of Trustees.
The administration of an existing policy is the responsibility of the administrative person involved, but that individual may seek advice and help from the advisory committee.
The Standing Committees of the University are divided into two categories: “University” and “Academic.” Faculty membership in all Standing University and Academic Committees is determined by faculty election within each college under the supervision of the Faculty Senate Committee on Committees. If no senator is elected to any standing committee, the Faculty Senate will elect a senator to serve as a non-voting, ex officio member.
Unless otherwise noted in Committee descriptions, student membership on standing committees is determined by appointment from the Student Government Association. Membership on Standing Committees, other than faculty and student members, is by presidential appointment.
The Senate’s president or the vice president may also appoint ad hoc committees at any time to study special problems.
Tenured, tenure-track, and non-tenure-track faculty members with a teaching load equal to or greater than 50 percent are eligible for election to University and Academic Committees.
The Faculty Senate will provide a list of committee openings to the dean of each college no later than the day of the opening General Faculty meeting for the fall semester. Each college will conduct elections for all committee openings and will forward all election results to the Faculty Senate by the 2nd Friday after the first day of class of the fall semester. Unless otherwise noted, election is for staggered two-year terms with half of the committee membership elected each year.
Elections shall be conducted in an open and inclusive nomination process followed by a college faculty vote within the guidelines provided by Robert’s Rules of Order (Newly Revised). The dean of each college (or designee) shall be in charge of the college elections under the supervision of the Faculty Senate Committee on Committees.
Following is a description of the mission and membership profile of each standing committee.
Representatives cannot serve two consecutive terms on the Council. Each college should develop a schedule which allows for rotation among departments within the college.
Faculty members may serve on both the College Council and the University Council. If an elected University Council representative is not on the respective College Council, the representative will attend all meetings of the College Council.
Two college representatives will represent the college each year.
Representatives shall be elected to serve a two-year term on the University Promotion and Tenure council. These representative’s two-year terms should overlap by one-year.
At the first school meeting for the academic year, each college will elect one representative to serve a two-year term on the University Tenure and Promotion Council to replace the member who has recently completed a two year term.
If the representative who has one year of service remaining is not available to serve, then two elections will be held and one of the two members will serve one-year and the other, a two-year term. Selection of the term lengths shall be determined by random chance under the supervision of the college dean.
The representatives should be senior, tenured faculty members.
A representative cannot serve on the Council if under consideration for promotion.
If an elected member of the council chooses to seek tenure or promotion during his or her term, the College will elect a replacement to finish out the term.
Representatives cannot serve two consecutive terms on the Council. Each college should develop a rotation schedule which allows for fair and equitable representation among departments within the college.
Faculty members may serve on both the College Council and University Council. If an elected University Council representative is not on the respective College Council, one representative will attend all meetings of the College Council.
Section 1. Southern Arkansas University is committed to a philosophy of continuous quality improvement that supports the University’s ongoing accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The Quality Executive Council (QEC) oversees and approves the University’s continuous improvement initiatives, University strategic plan, and accreditation processes. The Quality Leadership Team (QLT) monitors assessment, coordinates quality improvement initiatives, and manages the HLC accreditation processes.
Section 2. Recommendations from the QEC that relate to faculty governance issues are forwarded to the Faculty Senate and are subject to review by a meeting of the entire Faculty Assembly.
Section 3. Recommendations from the QEC that relate to staff governance issues are forwarded to the Staff Senate and are subject to review by a meeting of the entire Staff Assembly.
Section 1. Members of the QEC are appointed by the President of the University. Other members include the Provost and other appointed vice presidents, a member of the Board of Trustees, an academic dean, the QLT, the president of the Faculty Senate, and the president of the Staff Senate.
Section 2. The QEC reviews actions and recommendations, reviews documents submitted to the HLC, and recommends the University strategic plan to the Board of Trustees for final approval.
Section 1. Members of the QLT are appointed by the President of the University. The Office of Institutional Effectiveness coordinates the QLT, which includes the accreditation coordinators and other appointed members.
Section 2. The QLT recommends quality improvement initiatives and coordinates preparation of all accreditation documents and activities.
Section 1. The QEC meets once per month during the academic year.
Section 2. The QLT meets regularly.
The calendar for the school year is made up by the Provost and is published on the SAU website – Academic Calendar.
Teaching assignments for each semester and summer term are recommended by the department chairs and deans of each college and approved by the Provost. Within the limitations set by curriculum needs and the requirements of a practical schedule, each college recommends the courses to be taught and the hours at which they will be offered. Class schedules are prepared utilizing the two-year cycle of courses.
Since factors such as suitability to course requirements, needs of classes, and convenience for an instructor help determine the assignment of classrooms, instructors may not change classrooms without approval from the Office of the Provost.
Meeting of Classes/Faculty Absence
Faculty members are expected to meet their classes at the regularly scheduled time, on time, and for the entire length of time for which each class (or laboratory) is scheduled. In anticipation of absence for such legitimate purposes as attending a meeting of a professional organization, representing the University officially, or participating in the program, the faculty member, after consultation with the department chair, should make provision for classes to be missed. The Office of the Provost will provide a form on which the faculty member will indicate the reason for absence, date of absence(s), and arrangements made for the class(es) to be missed, which will be submitted in advance to the office of the appropriate dean, who forwards the form, if approved, to the Office of the Provost.
When an emergency arises, such as illness, the faculty member should, as soon as possible, inform the department chair, who will contact the college dean. If it is not possible to locate the department chair or dean, the faculty should report to the Provost.
For the convenience of students and others who may wish to contact them, faculty members will post on their office doors and on Blackboard each semester a schedule which shows their classes and identifies at least eight hours (for full-time faculty, prorated for part-time) per week of regularly scheduled office hours. College requirements may exceed eight hours per week.
During posted office hours, faculty members will be in their offices or will leave clear messages where they can be reached and/or when they will return.
The normal full-time teaching load for full-time faculty in tenured or tenure-track positions is twelve (12) semester hours or the equivalent per semester. The normal load for full-time faculty teaching only graduate courses does not exceed nine (9) hours. The load of a faculty member teaching both graduate and undergraduate courses is an appropriate proration of graduate and undergraduate hours. The normal load for full-time faculty hired as instructors into non-tenure-track positions is fifteen (15) semester hours or the equivalent per semester. The value in credit hours given to various activities is determined through deliberation and consultation among the faculty of the department offering the credit, the chair of the department, the college dean, and the Provost. If an instructor is asked to teach an overload, the instructor will be compensated for it.
In the infrequent circumstance in which a faculty member’s load for a semester does not equal the normal load (for example, because a scheduled course has been cancelled), the instructor, the instructor’s dean, department chair, and the Provost, through consultation with one another, will determine assignments for the instructor that will bring the instructor’s load for the semester to the contractual level. Such assignments may include assisting teachers with heavy teaching loads, being responsible for non-instructional duties deemed important by the administration, or teaching an irregularly scheduled course such as a short course, a Saturday class, a night class, an outreach course, or a course in a succeeding semester or intersession.
The administration may approve the teaching of small classes under the following conditions: the class is necessary for the timely completion of graduation requirements by the students enrolled (such as a course which is offered only in two-year rotation of courses or requires individualized instruction or use of limited facilities or equipment). The Provost will consult with the dean of the college, who will consult with the chair of the department, who will consult with the faculty member to determine whether the course will be taught and the circumstances under which it will be taught. They will weigh matters such as the nature of the course, the number of students enrolled in the course, the number of students taught by the faculty member, and the number of different preparations the faculty member is responsible for during the semester.
Outreach, Saturday, and Night Courses That Carry Semester Credit Hours
Teaching methods and procedures of outreach, Saturday, and night courses that carry semester credit hours, while employing methods appropriate to the course and the circumstances of the class, will conform to the same academic standards and contact hour requirements used in regular courses. When a student is enrolled in residence and desires to take at the same time an outreach course for credit towards a degree, the student must obtain the approval of the appropriate dean.
Instructors of outreach, Saturday, and night classes will have the same qualifications as regular instructors.
Adequate laboratory and library facilities when required must be available in towns where outreach courses are offered.
Outreach courses should be self-supporting. The amount of payment for teaching a course is to be determined by the administration.
Decisions as to scheduling of outreach, Saturday, and night classes will be worked out between the affected college and the Office of Provost and VPAA based upon such factors as student demand, availability of instructors, budget, and teaching facilities.
Vocational and Technical Short Courses, Non-Credit
Non-credit vocational and technical short courses may be offered on request as a public service to aid in training employees of nearby industries. There are no prerequisites, and the student does not need to meet University entrance requirements to be admitted to these courses. Courses given under this program must be self-supporting. Outside agencies may be used to give training in non-credit courses. All non-credit courses should be coordinated by the Division of Continuing Education.
Online Instructor Qualification Policy
Faculty who have taught online courses for SAU prior to Fall 2018 (including part-time faculty). Effective Fall 2018, faculty with previous online experience at SAU assigned to teach an online course(s) must complete the Applying the Quality Matters Rubric (APPQMR) online course or the Quality Matters Self Review (see the two options below) within one year of being assigned an online course in order to continue teaching online courses.
Obtain APPQMR Certification
Complete the Quality Matters Self Review assisted by a certified APPQMR faculty member.
Faculty who have not taught online courses for SAU prior to Fall 2018 (including part-time faculty) assigned to teach an online course(s) must complete the following in order to teach online courses:
Online Faculty Primer (prior to teaching), and
Obtain APPQMR Certification (ideally before teaching online, but within the first year of teaching an online course)
Faculty not meeting qualifications can facilitate a course designed by APPQMR trained faculty/team.
Each instructor is personally charged with the responsibility of keeping examination papers from falling into students’ possession before examination time.
The grading system used at Southern Arkansas University is described in the University Catalog. In addition to the grades of A, B, C, D, and, F, as described in the Catalog, the following grades may be given under certain circumstances:
The grade of AU may be given only if a student has registered as “Audit” for a course.
The grade of CR may be given only if the student has registered for credit only.
The grade of P may be given only in courses designated as pass/fail.
The grade of I is given only to students whose work is incomplete because of circumstances beyond their control, and it is given at the discretion of the instructor. A student who receives a grade of I must complete the required work for the course in which the grade was received during the next regular semester (i.e., spring or fall semester). The work must be completed and the grade changed by the instructor prior to the week before final examinations of that semester. A grade of I which is not changed by that point automatically becomes an F.
The grade of NC is given only in certain classes which have made provisions for such a grade, and it is given at the discretion of the instructor only to students who have made a sincere and vigorous effort to do the work of the course satisfactorily (including attending regularly) but have not met the requirements of the course.
The grade of W is given by the Registrar to students who have officially dropped a course before the deadline for such action. The grade WF may be assigned by instructors to students who were failing at the time of their withdrawal from the University after the deadline for dropping a course, or to students who come under the provisions of the Attendance Policy of the University, described in the University Catalog. Alternatively, instructors who remove a student for non-attendance may, at their discretion, assign a grade of WN (for “withdrawn for nonattendance”). While the WF grade is calculated in student grade points as an F, the grade WN removes the course from consideration in calculation of grade point.
Consistent with the Academic Integrity Policy, the grade of XF is given in a class when students violate the policy at Level 2 or Level 3 (see policy below).
Grade Reporting for regular Fall and Spring semesters:
Semester grades will be electronically submitted to the Registrar’s Office by the time announced by the Provost and VPAA and Registrar. The Registrar is responsible for distributing students’ grades at the end of the semester.
After semester or summer session grades have been submitted to the Registrar, changes may be made only through one of the following conditions:
The instructor who assigned the original grade chooses (as a result of recalculation, completion of course requirements, or on the basis of appeal from the student) to initiate a Grade Change Request, in which the instructor outlines the reasons for the change. (Forms used in processing a grade change of this sort are available from the Registrar.) The college dean and Provost must approve such a request.
The “Student Grade Appeal Policy” described in the current University Catalog concludes with a decision that a grade is to be changed (in which case the dean of the college initiates the Grade Change Request). The instructor involved will be notified by the dean. The appeal time limit (three weeks after the beginning of the next semester) will be extended indefinitely in any case where clear and compelling evidence is presented that the student has been unjustly awarded a grade. In cases of administrative withdrawal from the University during the semester the student is enrolled, signatures of all current course faculty are required for the student to be administratively withdrawn. If a WF has been previously assigned, the grade will be changed to W if the instructor agrees to such change. If the instructor does not, the student may appeal the WF through the “Student Grade Appeal Policy” defined in the University Catalog.
The administration initiates a withdrawal from the University on behalf of the student. For administrative withdrawal, all grades posted to the student’s record will be changed according to the policy described in the current University Catalog. Administrative withdrawal will be used only in extraordinary circumstances such as medical conditions, nonacademic suspensions, family emergencies, erroneous enrollment (defined as a student’s inadvertently remaining enrolled in a course the student did not intend to be enrolled in), or situations clearly beyond the control of the student. The administrator initiating the withdrawal must personally sign the request for withdrawal. Administrative withdrawal for medical reasons requires that a written statement from the attending physical be placed in the student’s permanent academic record. All instructors involved must be consulted by the most expeditious means before grades are changed by the Registrar. If the instructor is not available, the appropriate dean will be consulted in a like manner. The instructors involved have the option of sending to the Registrar a memorandum of concurrence/non-concurrence that will be placed in the student’s permanent academic file.
Under no other circumstances may a grade be changed by an employee of the University.
The mission of Southern Arkansas University empowers all members of the University community to develop and encourage learning environments that create, expand, acquire, share, evaluate, and communicate knowledge. Academic integrity at SAU is an organizational and individual responsibility. Students, faculty, and staff share responsibility for maintaining the highest standards for academic integrity.
Academic Misconduct Definitions
Any act of dishonesty in academic work constitutes academic misconduct and is subject to disciplinary action. Acts of dishonesty include, but are not limited to, plagiarism, cheating, and fabrication.
Plagiarism is the act of taking and/or using the ideas, work, and/or writings of another person as one’s own. Plagiarism occurs both when the words of another (in print, electronic, or any other medium) are reproduced without acknowledgement and when the ideas or arguments of another are paraphrased in such a way as to lead the reader to believe that they originated with the writer.
To avoid plagiarism, give written credit and acknowledgement to the source of thoughts, ideas, and/or words, whether you have used direct quotation, paraphrasing, or just a reference to a general idea.
If you directly quote works written by someone else, enclose the quotation with quotation marks and provide an appropriate citation (e.g., footnote, endnote, bibliographical reference).
All course work including research performed and all assignments such as a written paper, must be the work of the person seeking academic credit for the course. Under no circumstances can purchased papers, book reports, projects and/or other class assignments, or work otherwise obtained from individuals or companies be submitted as work of the student.
It is not sufficient to provide a citation if the words of another have been reproduced – this also requires quotation marks. It is the responsibility of all University students to understand the methods of proper attribution and to apply those principles in all materials submitted.
Cheating is an act of dishonesty with the intention of obtaining and/or using information in a fraudulent manner. Examples of cheating include
observing and/or copying from another student’s test paper, report, computer file, and/or other assignments;
giving or receiving assistance during an examination period. This includes providing specific answers to subsequent examinees and/or dispensing or receiving information which would allow a student to have an unfair advantage in the examination over students who did not possess such information;
using class notes, outlines, and other unauthorized information during an examination period unless permission is specifically given;
using, buying, selling, stealing, transporting, or soliciting, in part or entirety, the contents of an examination or other assignment not authorized by the professor of the class. This includes the uploading of quizzes, examinations, or any other graded material, with or without answers, to a third-party website; and
exchanging places with another person for the purposes of taking an examination or completing other assignments.
Fabrication is faking or forging a document, signature, or findings of a research project. Other forms of fabrication may include
unauthorized collaboration or submitting the same paper or portions of the same paper to two different courses without the consent of current instructor, or
forging a signature on an official SAU or other document.
Academic Integrity Policy Application to All Students
The University’s academic integrity policy applies to all students enrolled in courses at the University. All forms of academic misconduct at SAU will be regarded as serious and may result in the student being expelled from the University.
Faculty Syllabus Requirements
Faculty will place in every course syllabus the following language:
Southern Arkansas University affirms its commitment to academic integrity and expects all members of the University community to accept shared responsibility for maintaining academic integrity. Students in this course are subject to the provisions of the University’s Academic Integrity Policy, approved by the President and published in the Student Handbook. Penalties for academic misconduct in this course may include a failing grade on an assignment or a failing grade in the course. Continued enrollment in this course affirms a student’s acceptance of this University policy.
An instructor may include in the course syllabus additional information about academic integrity if the instructor wishes to do so.
Academic Misconduct File and Assistance with Notice to Students
All documentation relevant to a student’s academic misconduct will be maintained in the Office of the Provost in a digital form. Academic misconduct files shall only be used in accordance with University FERPA policy.
If the student makes a formal appeal, it will be decided in accordance with the procedures set forth below. If the matter is appealed to the Academic Integrity Council, the Provost (or designee) will forward all forms and other materials associated with the specific violation and a summary of other Academic Integrity violations committed by the student to the Chair of the Academic Integrity Council, to be disseminated to members of the Council.
Students may not drop a class until the allegation of the academic integrity violation has been resolved. If the allegation is confirmed, the instructor retains the ability to assign a grade for the course, consistent with the criteria below, if the student decides to drop the class after completion of the process.
Notification of Charge of Academic Misconduct to Student
All forms used in the process will be located on SAU Academic Integrity web page and will be sent via SAU email. All forms will be copied to the instructor and to the student to keep them informed of the process. A copy will be sent to the appropriate dean of the college in which the alleged misconduct occurred.
When an instructor determines that a student has engaged in academic misconduct, the instructor may take one of two actions: 1) the instructor may complete the web-based academic integrity violation form; or 2) the instructor may choose to meet informally with the student to discuss the alleged academic misconduct and then decide, on the basis of that meeting, whether or not to complete and submit the web-based academic integrity violation form. The form is found on SAU’s Academic Integrity webpage. This form will notify the student, the dean, and the Provost of the allegation through the student’s SAU email account. The notice will include the justification for the allegation. Once the form has been received, the Office of the Provost will inform the dean as to whether the student has been found responsible for any previous violations of the Academic Integrity Policy and at what level.
NOTE: Faculty members should not penalize a student for acts of academic misconduct unless an academic integrity violation form has been completed and the process described in this section has been followed. To do otherwise would deprive students of their due process right to appeal any actions taken against them.
Meeting with the Dean
The student will have three days (excluding weekends and holidays) to make contact with the appropriate academic dean and schedule a meeting. (Should the student fail to make contact with the dean within the prescribed time, the dean’s decision as to violation level and sanction will be final.) Once contacted, the dean should ensure that the meeting takes place within seven (7) calendar days of the student’s receipt of the initial notification email. If the dean is unable to schedule a meeting within seven days, the dean may ask an assistant dean, an associate dean, or the Provost to serve in his or her place. At the meeting, the dean will inform the student of the violation level associated with the alleged academic misconduct and provide the student with a copy of the entire Academic Integrity Policy, pointing out the relevant sanctions. The dean will then inform the student that the student has seven (7) calendar days to submit an appeal. If the student does not submit an appeal within seven calendar days, the dean’s decision as to violation level and sanction will be final. At the end of the meeting, the dean must fill out (within 24 hours) the associated form including the sanction value of the violation. This form should be sent to the student, the instructor, and the Provost.
A student may appeal the charge of academic misconduct and/or the proposed violation level through the procedures set forth below.
Appeals at the College Level
Within seven (7) calendar days of receipt of the appeal, the dean will review all materials submitted by the student and Provost and, if necessary, meet with the student to attempt to resolve the matter. Online students may speak with the dean via electronic telecommunications. After the meeting with the student, the dean will render a decision on the appeal and fill out the online form within 24 hours. The instructor, student, and Office of the Provost will be informed of the dean’s decision.
If the student is not satisfied with the action of the dean, the student can appeal the decision of the dean to the University Academic Integrity Council.
If the instructor is not satisfied with the action of the dean, the faculty member may also appeal the decision to the University Academic Integrity Council.
Appeals to the University Academic Integrity Council
Within seven (7) calendar days of receipt of the notice of the college/dean appeal decision, the student or instructor may appeal to the Academic Integrity Council. The party filing the appeal will use the appropriate form found on SAU’s Academic Integrity Council web page. Upon receiving this form, the Provost will forward all forms and other materials associated with the specific count and a summary of other Academic Integrity violations committed by the student to the Chair of the Academic Integrity Council and that material will be disseminated to all members of the Council.
Within seven (7) calendar days of receipt of the appeal, the Academic Integrity Council will consider the appeal with at least three members of the Council being present. The decision of the Academic Integrity Council will be forwarded (within 24 hours) to the student, the instructor, the dean, the Registrar, and the Provost via the web-based form.
The Provost will review all decisions recommending suspension or expulsion.
Final Notification to Student and Instructor
Once the process is complete, the student, the instructor, the dean, the Chair of the Academic Integrity Council, and the Registrar will receive information from the Provost of the final disposition of the case, including the violation level and sanction points if the student is guilty.
The following violation levels are assigned to specific types of violations of the University’s Academic Integrity Policy; if a violation occurs that is not specifically provided below, then any sanctions will be based on the most similar type of violation that exists in the rubric. A violation will be considered as a single violation up until the point that a student receives notice of that violation; additional infractions occurring after that point will be considered separately for purposes of this rubric. If assignment of a sanction requires the Academic Integrity Council to interpret the sanction rubric, the Academic Integrity Council shall provide a rationale for its determination and application of the particular sanction(s). General guidance on substantial issues of interpretation of the sanction rubric shall be provided by the Provost.
A student receives the assigned number of sanction points for each violation for which the student is found responsible. Sanction points are cumulative over the length of the student’s matriculation at Southern Arkansas University. Graduate students will be considered new matriculates.
The violation levels are as follows:
Level Zero Violation – 0 sanction points
For plagiarism/copying in work done for a course, if the plagiarized/copied material constitutes less than 10% of the assignment (first offense only).
Unauthorized collaboration on homework assignments constituting less than 10% of the assignment in the judgment of the dean (first offense only).
Use of any materials or resources that are not authorized by the instructor in completing any assignment having a value of less than 10% of the assignment in the judgment of the dean (first offense only).
Level One Violation – 1.0 sanction points for each violation
Copying from or viewing another student’s work during an examination.
Using any materials or resources that are not authorized by the instructor for use during an examination or in completing any assignment having a value equal to or greater than 10% of the assignment in the judgment of the dean, or a second offense.
Collaborating during an examination with any other person by giving or receiving information without specific permission of the instructor.
Facilitating or aiding in any act of academic dishonesty.
Collaborating on laboratory work, or other assigned work when instructed to work independently.
Submitting, without specific permission of the instructor, work that has been previously offered by the same student for credit in another course.
Falsification of attendance and/or participation.
Submitting as one’s own any theme, report, term paper, essay, computer program, speech, painting, drawing, sculpture, or other written or creative work or project of any nature prepared totally or in large measure by another/plagiarizing, in work completed for a class assignment, when that copying/plagiarizing constitutes less than 10% of the assignment in the judgment of the dean and is a second offense, or when that copying/plagiarizing constitutes 10% or more of the assignment in the judgment of the dean.
Unauthorized collaboration on homework assignments constituting 10% in the judgment of the dean or more of the assignment, or less than 10% of the assignment in the judgment of the dean on a second offense.
Level Two Violation – 2.0 sanction points for each violation
Submitting as one’s own any work prepared totally or in large measure by another.
Uploading of quizzes, examinations or any other graded materials, with or without answers, to a third-party website.
Submitting altered or falsified data (in work completed for a class assignment).
Level Three Violation – 4.0 sanction points for each violation
Altering grades or official records.
Falsifying or signing another person’s name on any academically-related University form or document.
Buying or selling course work (paying another person to complete exams, assignments, etc. or being paid to do this for another).
Sabotaging another student’s work.
Note: For offenses not specifically mentioned in this rubric, faculty members may confer with the Academic Integrity Council Chair and propose a description of the offense and the level of sanction to be recommended in the faculty member’s syllabus. The proposed description and sanctions will be forwarded to the Academic Integrity Council Chair to review the proposed offense and sanction for consistency with existing offenses and sanctions. If a faculty member and Academic Integrity Chair disagree over a particular offense or sanction, the matter may be discussed with the relevant dean and/or the Academic Integrity Council.
Sanctions: The possible university sanctions are as follows:
Sanction points for Level 0 = 0.0 The student will be issued a Letter of Reprimand (first offense only). There will be no grade sanction for a Level Zero offense. Student must attend the Academic Integrity Course.
Sanction points for Level 1= 1.0 For work for a course, the instructor will give the test or an assignment an immediate zero (0) which will then be averaged into the course grade. If that involves missing a stated deadline, the stated late penalty will apply. Student must take the Academic Integrity Course.
Sanction points for Level 2= 2.0 The student will receive a course grade of XF for work done for a course. A 2.0 offense will result in academic integrity suspension for one semester.
Sanction points for Level 3= 4.0 or more The student will be immediately and permanently expelled. An XF will be given for the course(s).
Opportunity and Removal for the “X”
After two semesters of acceptable performance at the University following the imposition of a penalty, with no student conduct or academic dishonesty infractions, the student may request grade forgiveness by the Provost.
To remove the X on the transcript, the student may request that the X be removed by submitting a written petition to the Provost. This written petition must provide evidence that the student now understands ethical standards (e.g., GPA following the infraction; lack of subsequent infractions [academic and conduct]; proactive activities that the student has engaged in to learn about appropriate techniques for citation, etc.). The X will still be counted if future infractions occur.
Degrees, Honors, and Awards
The University reserves the right to withhold or withdraw degrees, honors, or awards due to violations of the Academic Integrity Policy.
Suspension and Expulsion
Suspension involves withdrawal of enrollment privileges for a specified period of time and ordinarily carries with it conditions that must be met for re-enrollment. Suspended students are not permitted to live or board in University facilities or approved student organization housing (i.e., facilities owned by the University and leased to a student organization). Students who are suspended may not receive credit for University work completed by correspondence or in residence at another university without prior permission from the Provost or designee. Records of suspension are maintained indefinitely.
Expulsion is a permanent dismissal from the University. These records are maintained indefinitely. Expulsion from Southern Arkansas University for academic dishonesty will be permanently noted on the student’s transcript.
Note: The Academic Integrity Policy of the University of Arkansas was a source for the update of this policy.
Grade books may be obtained from the faculty member’s department chair or college dean. Upon leaving the University faculty, the faculty member is responsible for leaving all grade records with the college dean.
Academic advising is an important part of a faculty member’s workload. Faculty members may be given specific advising assignments each year, depending on the needs of the department and the college. Southern Arkansas University recognizes that advising is a service responsibility of the faculty.
Freshman students are normally advised through the Academic Advising and Assistance Center during their first year. Academic departments may assist these students if they are declared majors or if students seek departmental assistance. Students who have selected a major in which the curriculum has heavy prerequisites will be urged to seek departmental guidance.
Requisition by Faculty
The management of the campus bookstore will send a textbook order form to the faculty at least two weeks prior to the October 15 and March 15 deadlines for book order submissions to ensure compliance with state statutes. The form determines 1) what textbooks each instructor will require the succeeding semester, 2) the approximate number of each text that will be needed, and 3) whether the books used during the current semester will be used the next time the course is offered. Textbook requisitions must be approved by the department chair, and one copy of all requisitions must be forwarded to the appropriate dean(s). A faculty member may borrow textbooks from the bookstore for a period of not more than 90 days. If not returned in good condition during the above period, the books will be charged to the teacher’s departmental budget.
Students are expected to acquire all textbooks assigned in courses in which they enroll.
Faculty Attendance at Spring Commencement
The deans and chairs are to develop a rotation of required attendance that will ensure sufficient faculty presence at each of the spring ceremonies. Faculty members who elect to attend the graduate ceremony are not expected to attend an undergraduate ceremony. Individual Faculty members who wish to participate in commencement ceremonies more often than expected may choose to do so. The Registrar will be provided a list of participants for the ordering of academic regalia for the faculty.
Policies and information related to the functions and services of the Magale Library may be found in the University Handbook.
The primary purpose of the Intellectual Property Policy is to provide the necessary protections and incentives to encourage both the discovery and development of new knowledge and its transfer for the public benefit; a secondary purpose is to enhance the generation of revenue for the home institutions and the creators.
Although the law provides for several different types of Intellectual Property, SAU faculty concerns center around two: copyrightable and patentable properties. The following definitions are adapted from the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) document “Sample Intellectual Property & Policy Contract Language,” which relies on pertinent federal statutes:
The term “Copyrightable” shall be understood to mean that bundle of rights that protect original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. “Works of authorship” (including computer programs) include, but are not limited to, the following: literary works; musical works, including any accompanying words; dramatic works, including any accompanying music, pantomimes, and choreographic works; pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works (photographs, prints, diagrams, models, and technical drawings); motion pictures and other audiovisual works; sound recordings; and architectural works. “Tangible media” include, but are not limited to, books, periodicals, manuscripts, phonograph records, films, tapes, and disks. “Tangible media” also include material created for ordinary teaching use (including, but not limited to, traditional, distance, and online course delivery methods) and in departmental programs, such as course content/materials, syllabi, assignments, tests, activities, and exercises.
The term “Patentable” shall be understood to mean that bundle of rights that protects inventions or discoveries which constitute any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.
“Directed work” or “work for hire” is defined as a work agreed upon between the University faculty creator(s), the creation of which is based upon a specific request by the University and which requires substantial University resources. To qualify as a “directed work” or a “work for hire,” the following three conditions must be satisfied:
A specific request by the University;
Southern Arkansas University adheres to Higher Learning Commission guidelines on “Determining Quality Faculty” (updated Oct. 1, 2015 following an adoption of a policy revision to Assumed Practice B.2. by HLC’s Board of Trustees). These guidelines state that “qualified faculty members are identified primarily by credentials, but other factors, including but not limited to equivalent experience, may be considered by the institution in determining whether a faculty member is qualified.”
Faculty should possess a master’s degree and have completed at least 18 graduate hours in the discipline or subfield of the undergraduate credit courses for which they are the instructor of record and a terminal degree in the discipline if teaching graduate courses. Departments are responsible for determining, within recognized national standards, the definitions of “discipline” and “subfield” for the purposes of meeting the HLC guidelines on faculty qualifications. The key consideration in each case will be whether or not the faculty member’s graduate-level training demonstrably provides them with the substantive and/or methodological expertise necessary to teach the course in question. All departmental decisions are subject to review and approval by the appropriate dean and the Provost.
Academic colleges may choose to assign faculty to teach courses or to employ faculty to positions based upon their equivalent experience as part or all of their formal credentials. The deans of the colleges must follow HLC guidelines in documenting that these faculty have “tested experience” that may include defined skills relevant to the courses, a record of accomplishment throughout their career and profession, and credentials or certifications that confirm expertise in the field. The exception to applying the “tested experience” in lieu of academic degree requirements are departments or colleges in which the governing agency or accrediting body prohibits the exception. The employment of regular or adjunct faculty with equivalent experience should normally occur only in cases where the faculty member in question possesses a critical technical skill set otherwise unavailable to SAU students; or where the faculty member in question has a documented record of exceptional personal or professional experience that, by virtue of its high level of responsibility and/or accomplishment, provides a depth and scope of knowledge in the field comparable to that of someone holding a terminal degree. A documentation letter of tested experience from the appropriate dean and approved by the Provost must be included in the personnel files of the faculty employed under this criteria. Faculty whose qualifications have been approved by the Provost prior to January 1, 2017, will be considered as meeting all standards described above.
In emergency cases (for example, when professors assigned to courses are unable to fulfill their duties either just before or during a term), it may be necessary to hire someone who, while knowledgeable and competent in the subject matter, does not fully meet the standards described above. Such a hire will be considered temporary, and should not continue past the relevant semester. When such a hire is necessary, the appropriate academic dean must state in writing both the exigency involved and the qualifications that justify allowing the person in question to serve as instructor of record. The request must be approved by the Provost. The person hired on an emergency basis must have documented college-level training or experience in the field. Such hires should only be made after all efforts to find a fully qualified replacement are exhausted and when, in the judgment of the dean and Provost, significant harm would be done to students by cancelling the course.
Blackboard is the learning management system (LMS) used to support all courses at Southern Arkansas University (SAU). Course shells are created in Blackboard for all in-person, online, and hybrid courses. Blackboard allows faculty to make course content and materials available to students online 24 hours a day 7 days a week. This policy lists the minimum expectations for all courses delivered at SAU.At a minimum, all SAU faculty are required to provide the following learning materials in Blackboard:
faculty contact information,
faculty-student communication policy (see Online Faculty-Student Communication Policy),
current course syllabus, and
active use of the Bb Grade Center so students are aware of progress in the course
This requirement would require, at a minimum, that assignment/test/exam grades be posted for student reference
This policy does not require grade calculations to be performed in the grade center
All content uploaded and generated in Blackboard should be designed with accessibility standards in mind.
Online and hybrid courses must meet the additional requirements as outlined in the Online Course Quality Policy and SAU Quality Assurance Checklist.
The Academic Freedom, Responsibility, and Tenure policies of Southern Arkansas University have been in accordance with the principles enunciated by the AAUP in 1940 and refined and modified since that time.
The concept of freedom should be accompanied by an equally demanding concept of responsibility. University teachers are citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of an educational institution. When teachers speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As people of learning and educational officers, teachers should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence, teachers should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution.
The following is taken from the Statement of Ethics prepared by the AAUP. It provides guidance on ethical standards appropriate for faculty:
Introduction. From its inception, the American Association of University Professors has recognized that membership in the academic profession carries with it special responsibilities. The Association has consistently affirmed these responsibilities in major policy statements, providing guidance to professors in such matters as their utterances as citizens, the exercise of their responsibilities to students and colleagues, and their conduct when resigning from an institution or when undertaking sponsored research. The Statement on Professional Ethics that follows sets forth those general standards that serve as a reminder of the variety of responsibilities assumed by all members of the profession.
In the enforcement of ethical standards, the academic profession differs from those of law and medicine, whose associations act to ensure the integrity of members engaged in private practice. In the academic profession the individual institution of higher learning provides this assurance and so should normally handle questions concerning propriety of conduct within its own framework by reference to a faculty group. The Association supports such local action and stands ready, though the general secretary and the Committee on Professional Ethics, to counsel with members of the academic community concerning questions of professional ethics and to inquire into complaints when local consideration is impossible or inappropriate. If the alleged offense is deemed sufficiently serious to raise the possibility of adverse action, the procedures should be in accordance with the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, the 1958 Statement on Procedural Standards in Faculty Dismissal Proceedings, or the applicable provisions of the Association’s Recommended Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure.
Professors, guided by a deep conviction of the worth and dignity of the advancement of knowledge, recognize the special responsibilities placed upon them. Their primary responsibility to their subject is to seek and to state the truth as they see it. To this end professors devote their energies to developing and improving their scholarly competence. They accept the obligation to exercise critical self-discipline and judgment in using, extending, and transmitting knowledge. They practice intellectual honesty. Although professors may follow subsidiary interests, these interests must never seriously hamper or compromise their freedom of inquiry.
As teachers, professors encourage the free pursuit of learning in their students. They hold before them the best scholarly and ethical standards of their discipline. Professors demonstrate respect for students as individuals and adhere to their proper roles as intellectual guides and counselors. Professors make every reasonable effort to foster honest academic conduct and to ensure that their evaluations of students reflect each student’s true merit. They respect the confidential nature of the relationship between professor and student. They avoid any exploitation, harassment, or discriminatory treatment of students. They acknowledge significant academic or scholarly assistance from them. They protect their academic freedom.
As colleagues, professors have obligations that derive from common membership in the community of scholars. Professors do not discriminate against or harass colleagues. They respect and defend the free inquiry of associates, even when it leads to findings and conclusions that differ from their own. Professors acknowledge academic debt and strive to be objective in their professional judgment of colleagues. Professors accept their share of faculty responsibilities for the governance of their institution.
As members of an academic institution, professors seek above all to be effective teachers and scholars. Although professors observe the stated regulations of the institution, provided the regulations do not contravene academic freedom, they maintain their right to criticize and seek revision. Professors give due regard to their paramount responsibilities within their institution in determining the amount and character of work done outside it. When considering the interruption or termination of their service, professors recognize the effect of their decision upon the program of the institution and give due notice of their institution.
As members of their community, professors have the rights and obligations of other citizens. Professors measure the urgency of these obligations in the light of their responsibilities to their subject, to their students, to their profession, and to their institution. When they speak of act as private persons, they avoid creating the impression of speaking or acting for their college or university. As citizens engaged in a profession that depends upon freedom for its health and integrity, professors have a particular obligation to promote conditions of free inquiry and to further public understanding of academic freedom.
Grievance Procedure. A faculty member, staff member, or student (https://web.saumag.edu/students/complaint-process/), who alleges that another faculty member has violated the Statement of Ethics may lodge a complaint with the chair of the Faculty Staff Appeals and Human Rights Committee. The complainant will set forth in writing what actions or matters are being grieved and the remedy sought, and shall provide supporting documentation for the grievance. The chair of the Faculty Staff Appeals and Human Rights Committee will review the complaint and attempt to mediate the issue raised in the complaint. The sub-committee will be guided by Section 602 of the University Handbook, Faculty or Staff Member with Grievance (nondiscrimination). For ethical complaints under this section the sub-committee would follow the procedure beginning
If the complainant is dissatisfied with the result of the mediation, the chair will convene the Faculty Sub-committee of Faculty Staff Appeals and Human Rights Committee to make findings and recommendations on the complaint. The sub-committee will conduct such review as it deems warranted. It will afford the faculty member making the complaint, and the faculty member or members whose actions are the object of the grievance, opportunity to present and respond. The committee will determine whether the grievance has merit. If the committee so finds, it will recommend appropriate remedies.
The sub-committee will submit its report to the Provost. The Provost will review the report and issue a final decision on the grievance. This will constitute final disposition of the grievance. This is a change from the grievance procedure which goes to the President.
The University follows a two-track plan regarding tenure. Upon initial appointment an employee enters a non-tenure or tenure track, and all contracts to faculty personnel are clearly identified in this regard. No less than 2/3 (66.7 percent) of teaching positions will be on the tenure track. Here, “teaching position” designates faculty at any rank above adjunct but below the level of dean and excludes athletic coaching positions. Furthermore, no changes in tenure or non-tenure shall be applied retroactively.
Certain full-time positions, which consist of less than 100% teaching responsibility, may be filled by an appointment on the non-tenure track plan. Additionally, certain full-time positions with 100% teaching responsibility, but which clearly are of a limited duration, may also be classified as non-tenure track.
A non-tenure track employee may have his/her contract renewed annually and under certain conditions may be considered for transfer to a tenure track position. In such a transfer, years accumulated in a non-tenure track position will not apply toward tenure unless the experience gained is in the field (area) assigned as a tenured appointment. The maximum number of years to transfer is four (4).
Tenure is a means to certain ends, specifically 1) freedom of teaching and research and of extramural activities and 2) a sufficient degree of economic security to make the profession attractive to qualified candidates. Freedom and economic security, hence tenure, are indispensable to the success of an institution in fulfilling its obligations to its students and to society.
Tenure will be based upon merit as a teacher and scholar, rather than upon an arbitrary number of years at the institution. However, an adequate amount of time is necessary for a teacher to demonstrate competence and for the institution to evaluate it. The period for earning tenure will be stated in writing during contract negotiations and a copy will be retained by the University and the new faculty member. The Faculty Appointment, Tenure, and Promotion Guidelines section of this Handbook contains guidelines regarding tenure and promotion.
After the expiration of a probationary period and upon the awarding of tenure, full-time teachers or investigators should have permanent or continuous tenure, and their service should be terminated only for adequate cause, except in the case of voluntary retirement, or under extraordinary circumstances because of financial exigencies.
Annual Review of Performance
New faculty will be evaluated by students in each course during their first three years of employment. Beginning with the fourth year of employment, the faculty member will be evaluated at the same rate as other faculty.
Faculty in their fourth year of employment or beyond will be evaluated at least once in every course taught over a three-year period. These faculty must also be evaluated in a minimum of two courses per year. The cycle of courses to be evaluated during the three-year period will be agreed upon by the individual faculty member and appropriate departmental chair(s).
Faculty members or their immediate supervisors may request and be granted a student evaluation during any semester. The Student Survey Form will be used as the instrument for faculty evaluations.
Faculty members or their immediate supervisors may request and be granted a student evaluation during any semester. The Student Survey Form (see Appendix I) will be used as the instrument for faculty evaluations.
Unless the Office of Human Resources is notified of a course that should not be evaluated, all current courses will be evaluated.
All student evaluations shall be made available to students no later than the third Monday prior to the start of finals week each semester. When evaluations become available an email will be sent out from the Office of Human Resources with detailed instruction.
Students that are no longer enrolled in the course will be excluded from evaluating that course.
Faculty in face to face and hybrid courses shall schedule in advance sufficient regular class time in order for students to complete the course evaluations for their course. Students should be encouraged to bring their mobile devices to that class session. During the scheduled evaluation time for face-to-face classes, the instructor will be absent from the classroom and the evaluation session will be proctored by another SAU faculty or staff member as assigned by the department chair for the course being evaluated. The evaluation proctor should read aloud the information on top of the evaluation form regarding how the evaluation results are used and remind students to complete the evaluations with care and consideration Upon completion of the evaluations in face-to-face courses, the proctor will notify the faculty member that the evaluations are complete
Faculty in online courses will alert students when the evaluations are available and encourage participation in and completion of the evaluation process, and provide reminders throughout the duration of the evaluation’s availability.
Students will have access to the Student Evaluation Form until no later than 11:59 pm on the night before the first day of final exams. After this time, the evaluation portal will no longer be available.
The Office of Human Resources will prepare a summary of evaluations. When the information is processed, HR will send the results out to the individual faculty and the chair of the department. At no time will student workers be involved in the summary process.
Data from the evaluations will be processed at the earliest possible convenience of the ITS and HR departments with information distributed to each faculty member and administrator.
Each faculty member will receive the results of the evaluations of their courses. Each course report will include response counts (strongly agree = 4, agree = 3, disagree = 2, strongly disagree – 1) for each question as well as information about the average of the “instructor questions” and also compiled lists of open responses. The Provost, Dean, and Department Chair will also receive or be granted access to these individual reports.
Each Department Chair shall receive or be granted access to departmental, college, and university summaries – one with all responses and one with instructor questions only – of all evaluated courses in their departments for comparison purposes. These summaries will not be accompanied by the written comments. The Provost and Dean will also receive or be granted access to these summaries.
Individual faculty may request the raw data for the evaluation responses for any of their courses for crosstab analysis. Requests for raw data should be made to ITS/Helpdesk.
This Search Policy document provides a means of accomplishing the following:
Ensuring the maximum amount of involvement by all the members of the SAU community.
Standardizing searches for faculty, chairs, deans, and Provost.
Setting deadlines for action.
Codifying standards for establishing search committees.
Establishing a recommendation procedure based on consensus.
Ensuring that searches are conducted expeditiously, openly, and inclusively.
Ensuring that the SAU Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Policy (EEO-AA) is followed.
Searching for faculty and academic administrators that support the mission of the University.
Establishing a dialogue with the unit and the supervisors to determine the needs of the unit and University and how best to accomplish both goals.
Initiation of Human Resources Requisition: The Human Resources Requisition should be initiated by the appropriate individual (chair, dean, director, vice president, or President) and articulates any specific accreditation issues that must be considered in the filling of the position.
Approval by appropriate individuals (supervisory chain including President). This step includes a budget certification by the chair, dean, Provost, and President that this unit has a need for the position and funds exist in the department budget to fund the position. A budget request must accompany the HR requisition through channels to the President. Student semester credit hour (SSCH) production should be included in this analysis with at least the most current three years of data.
Submission of Human Resources Requisition to Office of Human Resources through the chain of supervisors through the President. A decision on the requisition should be communicated back to the initiating individual within 60 days of the submission.
Advertisement preparation. Office of Human Resources prepares advertisement and submits it to initiating individual for approval (who consults with the unit) and then places it in appropriate publications, websites, and mailing lists as described in the EEO-AA policy.
Creation of search committee. The initiating individual or supervisor makes committee member recommendations to the President, and the President approves or amends the list.
Search policy review. The Office of Human Resources reviews with the search committee the Search Policy for Faculty and Academic Administrators and the EEO-AA policy.
Forwarding of applications. The Office of Human Resources receives and acknowledges applications and forwards them to the search committee.
Review of applications. The search committee reviews the applications and, for all positions, selects no more than three finalists to be initially invited to campus. The search committee makes recommendation to President through the supervisory chain. The President consults with the individuals in the supervisory chain in the hiring decision process.
President takes action on search committee’s recommendation. The action of the President will be communicated to the search committee members and Office of Human Resources.
Searches for faculty positions should be conducted as early in the academic year as possible, preferably in the fall semester, to ensure an adequate pool of applicants will be available for the search committee to consider. Initiating individuals and their supervisors should generally not begin a search for a new tenure track position if the search cannot be completed by May 15. Generally, any advertisement that does not appear in the appropriate publication(s) by March 15 will prevent a search from being completed by May 15.
When an appointment to a position is made as an interim appointment, the search for a person to fill that position on a permanent basis must begin within one year of the date when the interim appointment was made.
The initiating individual for faculty is the chair of the department; the initiating individual for a chair is the dean of the college; the initiating individual for a dean is the Provost, and the President is the initiating individual for the Provost.
For faculty, chair, dean, and Provost positions.
For chair positions, special circumstances exist because chairs also teach a faculty load (with release time for chair responsibilities). Budget considerations may preclude the addition of another faculty member, so the President, in consultation with the faculty in the unit and other relevant administrators, may conclude that the search must be internal to the department.
For dean and Provost positions, meetings will be held by the initiating individual or designee to gather information from the college or all faculty, in the case of the Provost, for recommendations about the search as well as duties, responsibilities and qualifications of the position.
For faculty the initiating individual offers the opportunity for all members of the department to participate in the process of determining specifics of duties, responsibilities, and qualifications of the desired position; identifying any issues relating to accreditation(s) that may affect the qualifications; and developing a list of appropriate venues for advertisement placement. Recommendations for membership on the search committee should be made in consultation with the dean in the case of faculty searches, and should be shared with all members of the unit.
Purpose: The following administrative policy and procedures are established to provide an appropriate framework and method to resolve and track student complaints, as designated by the HLC Policy Number FDCR.A.10.030: “An institution shall make available an account of the student complaints it has received, its processing of those complaints, and how that processing comports with the institution’s policies and procedures on the handling of grievances or complaints.” This policy is specifically designed to maintain the integrity of the academic environment and to ensure that the rights of students in such matters are clearly ensured and protected. This policy does not replace or override policies already set forth in the catalog, such as the grade appeal policy. Southern Arkansas University designates the director/chair of the department that received the complaint as responsible for receiving, investigating, and potentially resolving student complaints. From there, the office of the Dean of Students is responsible for intervening if no action is taken, and maintaining the records of complaints and resolutions. No retaliation of any kind shall be taken against a student who articulates a complaint. Scope: The policy applies to all Southern Arkansas University students regardless of school, college, status, classification, type, or location. Definitions: Student: Defined as any person enrolled at the university in a course offered for credit. Complainant: Defined as a student who lodges a formal complaint against the respondent.
Respondent: Defined as that person or persons named by the student in a written complaint.
Formal Complaint: Defined as any nontrivial, documented complaint, either academic or nonacademic.
Informal Complaint: Defined as an informal method of communicating a concern to the school, not officially documented and without guaranteed follow-up.
Complaint Procedure: Defined as the process by which a formal complaint is resolved.
Business Days: Refers to weekdays during periods in which classes are conducted, excluding examination week.