Teaching Policies and Guidelines for Fall 2022

The purpose of this web page is to remind faculty instructors of key policies and recommended practices for your course this coming semester. Below please find policies and recommendations for easy access and referral. Please consider incorporating the relevant points into your course’s syllabus. The guidelines provided are common for both undergraduate and graduate students unless otherwise specified. For full details on all academic policies and procedures, please see the e-catalogue.

Please let us know if you have any questions about these matters, or if you have suggestions about other issues that should be addressed in similar communications. Many thanks for all that you do to support the University’s teaching mission at such a high level of excellence.

Michael Falk, Vice Dean for Undergraduate Education, Whiting School of Engineering

Sri Sarma, Vice Dean for Graduate Education, Whiting School of Engineering

Important reminders regarding online classes: Zoom links and in-person requirements (WSE only)

As a reminder, all lecture content for courses in the WSE should be recorded and made available for students through Canvas. Instructors may contact the Center for Learning Design & Technology (Nathan Graham) with technical questions and for support. 

In limited cases departments have been authorized by the WSE Dean’s office to produce fully online classes where the online learning modality offers some clear benefit to students. We remind instructors of these courses:  

  • Please be sure to email the Zoom link to all students enrolled in your class.  
  • You may also want to email the Zoom link to students on the waitlist and to those who have expressed interest in potentially adding your class. 
  • Online classes may have in-person requirements, for example, instructors may require that students take exams in-person. These requirements should be clearly spelled out in the syllabus, and ideally should be highlighted on the first day of class. 
COVID-19 specific guidance

General information about COVID-19 related policies at the university can be found at this site. The university has instituted vaccination requirements for our community. At present, there is no indoor masking requirement or testing requirement for faculty, staff, or students. We remind you that:

Instructors may not

  • Ask about the vaccination status of any other JHU affiliate. 
  • Be notified of which JHU affiliates are unvaccinated. 
  • Create class-specific policies regarding masking and/or vaccination status. 

FAQs about these policies are available here

As public health considerations, legal considerations, state and local mandates evolve, the university is responding to these changes while, at all times, focusing on ensuring that we are in compliance with requirements and are doing all we can to protect the health and safety of our community. At the same time, we also are committed to advancing our mission by providing an education of the highest quality and creating knowledge for the benefit of the world. We will continue to update you with the latest information, including providing answers to any questions you have, and greatly appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate all of this in a careful and thoughtful manner. 
  
Please let us know if you have any questions. We are here to talk through any questions/concerns you may have. 

Student illness and class attendance

Students who report symptoms associated with COVID-19 are expected not to attend class and to isolate themselves for at least five days and until they have been symptom-free for 24 hours. In the interest of minimizing contagion, we urge your cooperation in accommodating students who miss class due to illness. 

  • A “visit verification email” from Student Health is sent directly to the student every time a student visits the health center and may be forwarded to you by that student.  
  • “Sick notes” are not provided to students or faculty and students should abide by the honor system when telling you they need to miss class due to a medical issue.  
    If there are long-term concerns because of a student’s health, Student Outreach & Support (undergraduates) or Graduate Affairs will be in contact with the faculty to communicate needed support. 
  • Please review your policies regarding missed classes and work to ensure that students who heed the advice of health professionals are not penalized academically. 
  • If a student reaches out to you and states they are in quarantine/isolation because of COVID, we ask that you take the notification at face value and not seek further validation through undergraduate Student Outreach & Support/Graduate Affairs or the Office of the Dean of Student Life. 

If you have questions or concerns about a student presenting COVID-related issues, please contact [email protected]   

You can contact:   

Fall Break

There will be a two day Fall break October 21-22. We ask that you consider not assigning your students to work that must be completed during the break period. The last day of classes for standard semester courses will be December 9. 

Prompt submission of grades

Late grades have implications for students’ financial aid, academic standing, visa status, and graduation. Therefore, it is vital that faculty post their grades promptly. The expectation is that grades will be submitted within 48 hours of the administration of the scheduled final exam time/final project due date (if in lieu of a final exam, etc.). Online grade submission will be available beginning on or about the last day of classes. 

Please note: 

  • We understand that this can be challenging for large courses when their final exam slot falls toward the end of the examination period. If some grades need to be prioritized (for example, for graduating seniors) it is possible to submit some grades through SIS and later, again through SIS, submit grades for other students. 
  • Additional grading information is available at https://studentaffairs.jhu.edu/registrar/faculty-staff/ 
  • For questions, please use the information found under Request Support at https://studentaffairs.jhu.edu/registrar/.
Starfish for reporting student progress/difficulty

Starfish is a tool through which you can raise concerns about students in academic or personal difficulty. It is also now the method by which we collect mid-semester reports for undergraduate students. You can access Starfish through Canvas or SIS (when in “advisor” mode). Please contact your school’s academic advising office if you have questions. 

Transition to Canvas and the Canvas gradebook

The Canvas learning management system is replacing Blackboard as of the fall 2022 semester. Canvas provides many features to help facilitate your course including posting and collecting assignments, sharing content, sharing your syllabus, and communicating announcements to students. If you have not used Canvas, training and help guides are available from the Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation: https://ctei.jhu.edu/canvas 

One simple feature you should consider using is the  Gradebook. This allows you or your teaching assistant to post grades for assignments and exams. Use of the Canvas Gradebook eliminates the need to keep a separate record, however, the gradebook can be exported as an Excel file if you so need to work in a spreadsheet. Using the Gradebook also allows you to efficiently communicate grades and feedback to students. 

It is possible to calculate final course grades in Canvas and upload them to SIS. (Note that this functionality is not available for combined rosters.) However, faculty should not publish final course grades to students through Canvas before students complete their course evaluations. The Gradebook’s “Total” column is hidden from students by default for this reason. 

Administration of final examinations

For more information on final exams, please consult the final exam policy in the e-catalog: 

WSE Undergraduate: https://e-catalogue.jhu.edu/engineering/full-time-residential-programs/undergraduate-policies/academic-policies/registration-policies/#examreadingperiodpoliciestext

KSAS Undergraduate: https://e-catalogue.jhu.edu/arts-sciences/full-time-residential-programs/undergraduate-policies/academic-policies/registration-policies/#examreadingperiodtext

The Fall 2022 final exam schedule will be posted in mid-August at the following link https://studentaffairs.jhu.edu/registrar/ under Students –> Course Schedule. 

The posted final examination schedule allows the 14-week semester to be used, as intended, for instructional purposes alone, and also gives students adequate time to prepare for examinations.  Instructors are not permitted to make ad hoc arrangements for the administration of final examinations.  Consistent with the recommendation made by the Commission on Undergraduate Education that the policies related to final examinations be reiterated each year, and with the concurrence of the Academic Council, we wish to call your attention to the following guidelines and urge your cooperation: 

  1. The times and places of final examinations are officially scheduled by the University Registrar.  All final examinations are to be administered during the official final examination period at the time prescribed for the course in question.  Students should not be polled as to their willingness to change the time of the scheduled examination. Exams scheduled outside the formal schedule inevitably conflict with other examinations or other obligations.  
  1. The reading period was established so that students could have several days free of other obligations in order to prepare for their examinations. Please keep those days clear for that purpose. No final examinations are to be administered during the reading period. 
  1. While faculty have the discretion to schedule quizzes, mid-term examinations, and hourly examinations (including tests that they may regard as comprehensive) during any class period of the regular semester, the practice of scheduling a formal final examination for the last class period violates both the letter and the spirit of the final examination policy.  It compromises the length of the semester for instructional purposes and limits the ability of students to prepare adequately. 
  1. Any take-home final examination can be due no earlier than the time of the regularly scheduled final examination.  Faculty members sometimes substitute other academic exercises for a final examination.  When assigned as a final exercise, with the expectation that the student will prepare for the assignment and complete the assignment after classes have concluded, such substitutes for examinations should be treated as final examinations and be due on the course’s scheduled examination date.  While faculty members retain the discretion to assign appropriate due dates for papers and projects, it is inappropriate to structure a course so that assignments must be completed during the reading period. 
  1. If weather necessitates the cancellation of final examinations, make-up examinations must be administered only within the formal examination schedule. 
  1. Faculty members who have other imperative professional obligations that require some adjustment to the final examination schedule should confer no later than September 9, 2022, with the appropriate Vice Dean for Education, as appropriate. 
  1. Students find it extremely helpful when a course syllabus describes all the requirements for a course, including the date of the final examination and weight to be accorded it, in addition to the course description and goals, reading assignments, grading policies, contact information and office hours, and the ethics insert that we have recently suggested for inclusion. Please include this information in your syllabus. 

These procedures are prescribed in the interest of fairness to students and an orderly and manageable final examination schedule.   

Academic integrity

Cheating and other forms of academic dishonesty are corrosive and harmful to our university. We urge you to place a statement about academic integrity on your syllabus. It may be helpful to share examples of academic misconduct specific to your course/discipline for student context. It is also important to make clear the ground rules for your course (may students work together on homework assignments, etc.).  The following syllabus insert was created by a faculty ethics committee some years ago, and we recommend that you adopt it: 

The strength of the university depends on academic and personal integrity. In this course, you must be honest and truthful. Ethical violations include cheating on exams, plagiarism, reuse of assignments, improper use of the Internet and electronic devices, unauthorized collaboration, alteration of graded assignments, forgery and falsification, lying, facilitating academic dishonesty, and unfair competition. 

[In addition, the specific ethics guidelines for this course are: 
(1) (Insert unique rules here, such as your policy regarding collaboration on assignments or use of old exams/graded materials.) 
(2) (etc.)] 

Report any violations you witness to the instructor. You can also contact:   

  • For undergraduates: the associate dean of student conduct (or designee) by calling the Office of the Dean of Student Life at 410-516-8208 or via email at [email protected] 
  • For KSAS Graduate Students: [email protected]  
  • For WSE Graduate Students:  [email protected] 

We also encourage the use of an ethics pledge on examinations: 

I attest that I have completed this exam without unauthorized assistance from any person, materials, or device. [Signed and dated] 

If possible and appropriate, it can be helpful to incorporate a brief class discussion about what academic misconduct looks like in your class, including your expectations on group work, if relevant. 

If you find that a student has committed an ethical violation, please follow the proper procedures even if you and the student have come to an agreed-upon resolution.  

For undergraduate students, the adjudication procedures can be found online here

The adjudication procedures for graduate students are different. The policy can be found on the Homewood Graduate and Postdoc Affairs website.

Disability services

Students with disabilities may need accommodations, but first, they must make themselves known to Student Disability Services at Homewood Campus. This office is also available to consult with faculty about any issues or concerns.  

Please include the following verbiage on your syllabus: 

Johns Hopkins University values diversity and inclusion. We are committed to providing welcoming, equitable, and accessible educational experiences for all students. Students with disabilities (including those with psychological conditions, medical conditions, and temporary disabilities) can request accommodations for this course by providing an Accommodation Letter issued by Student Disability Services (SDS). Please request accommodations for this course as early as possible to provide time for effective communication and arrangements. 

For further information or to start the process of requesting accommodations, please contact Student Disability Services at Homewood Campus, Shaffer Hall #101, call: 410-516-4720 and email: [email protected] or visit the website.  

Anxiety, stress, and mental health

Please note that a new university-wide website has been created to provide information on a wide variety of services available to support student wellness. You can find this website at http://wellness.jhu.edu. Also, please consider including information about the Counseling Center and its services in your syllabi.  One possible statement for your use: 

If you are struggling with anxiety, stress, depression, or other mental health-related concerns, please consider visiting the JHU Counseling Center.  If you are concerned about a friend, please encourage that person to seek out their services. The Counseling Center is located at 3003 North Charles Street in Suite S-200 and can be reached at 410-516-8278.

If you have concerns about a specific student, please contact: 

Inclusivity

The following information on inclusivity in the classroom was developed by the Homewood Council on Inclusive Excellence. Please consider including the sample in your syllabus. 

There are several elements of your syllabus that you might consider conveying to the students your expectations for the climate of your classroom, and open communications to hear any concerns.  

Adding your pronouns to the syllabus (he/him, she/her, they/their) signals that you are welcoming to people who are non-gender-conforming. For more information, contact LGBTQ Life and/or attend a Safe Zone training.

The following text is suggested to share your expectations of the classroom climate.  

Classroom Climate: I am committed to creating a classroom environment that values the diversity of experiences and perspectives that all students bring.  Everyone here has the right to be treated with dignity and respect.  I believe fostering an inclusive climate is important because research and my experience show that students who interact with peers who are different from themselves learn new things and experience tangible educational outcomes.  Please join me in creating a welcoming and vibrant classroom climate.  Note that you should expect to be challenged intellectually by me, the TAs, and your peers, and at times this may feel uncomfortable.  Indeed, it can be helpful to be pushed sometimes in order to learn and grow.  But at no time in this learning process should someone be singled out or treated unequally on the basis of any seen or unseen part of their identity. 

If you ever have concerns in this course about harassment, discrimination, or any unequal treatment, or if you seek accommodations or resources, I invite you to share directly with me or the TAs.  I promise that we will take your communication seriously and seek mutually acceptable resolutions and accommodations.  Reporting will never impact your course grade.  You may also share concerns with the department chair ([Chair’s Name and Email]), the Director of Undergraduate Studies ([DUS Name and Email]), the WSE Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion (Darlene Saporu), the KSAS Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion (Araceli Frias), or the Office of Institutional Equity ([email protected]).  In handling reports, people will protect your privacy as much as possible, but faculty and staff are required to officially report information for some cases (e.g., sexual harassment). 

If you have TAs, be sure to give instructions to them on how to receive any concerns. For example: 

  1. Listen to the student’s concern. 
  1. Be non-judgmental. 
  1. Note critical details (time, place, witnesses). 
  1. Ask what kind of response the student is seeking. 
  1. Reports of sexual harassment must be conveyed to the Office of Institutional Equity. 
  1. Be mindful of privacy and discretion in handling the student’s concern 

The following section can lower barriers to inclusion arising from family obligations.  It may not be appropriate for all classes, for example lab courses with safety regulations. 

Family accommodation policy: You are welcome to bring a family member to class on occasional days when your responsibilities require it (for example, if emergency childcare is unavailable, or for the health needs of a relative).  In fact, you may see my children in class on days when their school is closed.  Please be sensitive to the classroom environment, and if your family member becomes uncomfortably disruptive, you may leave the classroom and return as needed. 

Religious holidays

Religious holidays are valid reasons to be excused from class. Students who must miss a class or an examination because of a religious holiday must inform the instructor as early in the semester as possible to be excused from class or to make up for any work that is missed. If possible, try to avoid scheduling exams/presentations for major holidays. Below we list some of the major religious holidays and holy days that may overlap dates of instruction or exams of our students, faculty, and staff for the academic year.  Please note that this is not an all-encompassing list for every religious tradition. 

Rosh Hashanah (Jewish) September 25 – 27, 2022 

Yom Kippur (Jewish) October 4 – 5, 2022 

Sukkot (Jewish) October 9 – 16, 2022  

Sh’mini Atzeret (Jewish) October 16 – 18, 2022 

Simchat Torah (Jewish) October 17 – 18, 2022 

Diwali (Hindu) October 23 – 27, 2022 (New Moon Day is celebrated 10/24) 

Bodhi Day (Buddhist) December 8, 2022 

Hanukkah (Jewish) December 18 – 26, 2022 

Christmas (Western Christian) December 25, 2022 

Christmas (Orthodox Christian) January 7, 2023 

Ash Wednesday (Christian) February 22, 2023 

Holi (Hindu) March 7 – 8, 2023 

Ramadan (Muslim) March 22 – April 21, 2023 

Pesach (Passover, Jewish) April 5 – 13, 2023 (the first 2 and last 2 days of the week) 

Good Friday (Christian) April 7, 2023 

Vesak (Buddhist) April 8, 2023 

Easter (Western Christian) April 9, 2023 

Easter (Orthodox Christian) April 16, 2023 

Eid-al-Fitr (Muslim) April 21 – 22, 2023 

Shavuot (Jewish) May 25 – 27, 2023 

Buddha’s Birthday (Buddhist) May 26, 2023 

Eid-al-Adha (Muslim) June 28 – 29, 2023 

Jewish holy days and religious festivals begin at sunset the evening of the first date. 

Muslim holy days are based on a lunar calendar, and the actual dates are determined by direct observation of the moon and announced by the local mosque.  The dates listed may vary by a day or two. 

More information may be found at the Religious and Spiritual Life website. If you have any questions regarding a particular case or would like any guidance, please do not hesitate to contact the Johns Hopkins University Chaplain at 410-516-1880 or [email protected].  Thank you for your sensitivity to this matter.   

Graded work before the drop deadline

The last day a student can drop a class is at the end of the sixth full week of classes. It is helpful to students to have a chance to review some graded work before that date so that they can make an informed judgment as to whether or not to drop a course. Specific information about drop dates is available on the registrar’s website.

Incomplete Grades

There are important revisions to the Incomplete Grade policy in effect for the 2022-2023 academic year. The full policies are available here:  

Undergraduate: https://e-catalogue.jhu.edu/engineering/full-time-residential-programs/undergraduate-policies/academic-policies/grading-policies/

Graduate: https://e-catalogue.jhu.edu/engineering/full-time-residential-programs/graduate-policies/academic-policies/#courseinformationandacademicstext

The following text is an excerpt: 

  1. A request for an Incomplete grade must be initiated by the student no later than the last day of classes via the Incomplete Grade Contract available in SIS 
  1. The required elements on the Incomplete Grade Contract are listed below; all of these topics should be included in the conversation between the student and the instructor. 
    1. The reason for the request for an incomplete grade 
    2. A description of all outstanding work that must be completed
    3. Date the work is due from the student
    4. The reversion grade if the student does not complete any of the outstanding work 
  1. Undergraduate Students: Instructors are required to submit the new grade to the Office of the Homewood Registrar no later than 45 calendar days after the last day of classes. If the Incomplete grade is not resolved within 45 calendar days after the last day of classes, the Incomplete grade is automatically converted to the reversion grade. 
  1. Graduate Students: If the incomplete grade is not resolved within the agreed period in the incomplete grade contract (which cannot exceed the maximum allowed period of the end of the third week of the next immediate semester), the incomplete grade is automatically converted to the reversion grade. 

The significant change here is that there is an Incomplete Grade Contract available to students in SIS to request an incomplete grade. This is how all incomplete grades must be initiated now.  The other significant change is the timeline for completion of an incomplete grade for undergraduate students, now set at 45 calendar days after the last day of classes. Formerly, the default deadline was the end of the third week of the following semester (and this remains the deadline for graduate students for the AY22-23). See the full catalogue entry for considerations for students on academic probation and graduating students. 

Audits (not available to undergraduate students)

When a graduate student enrolls in a course with Audit status, he/she must reach a written understanding with the instructor as to what is required to earn the AU grade notation. If the student does not meet those expectations (e.g., fails to attend class), the instructor must notify the Office of the Registrar in order for the student to be retroactively dropped from the course. Dropped coursework does not appear on the student’s transcript. 

Changing a course registration from Audit (student receives no letter grade) to Credit (student receives letter grade), or from Credit to Audit is permissible during the official deadlines for each semester. Registration changes beyond this deadline are not permissible. 

Changing a final grade (A through F, Pass, I, IP, MR, or X) to AU is not permissible at any time. 

The following ASEN Graduate Courses cannot be taken for Audit: 

  • Graduate Research 
  • Dissertation Research 
  • Master’s Thesis 
  • Master’s Essay 
  • Independent Study 

These courses can only be taken as P/F or for a letter grade, at the instructor’s purview.