Academic Policies and Procedures
The following policies apply to all UTEP faculty. Faculty members should also familiarize themselves with college- and/or department-level policies.
Student privacy and FERPA
The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) allows students at an institution of higher education to control outside access to their education records, including requests for information from their parents, guardians, or others as designated by the student. Without a student’s written consent, The University of Texas at El Paso may not disclose information from a student’s education records to outside third parties. However, students can also provide a standing release allowing UTEP to disclose information to others.
Online student privacy must be maintained at all times by keeping grades secure in the LMS. Grades must not be viewable to other members of the course. No student grades or information may be posted outside of secured systems any time during or after the semester. If external tools (wikis, blogs, etc.) are used, the faculty member must ensure that Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requirements are met.
In most cases, it is acceptable for faculty to ask students to post and comment to wikis and blogs. However, students should not be required to post information that is protected under FERPA (their class schedule, for example). Faculty comments and grades on student work should never be made public. As a solution, faculty should inform students that their work may be public and provide students with information on making their wikis and blogs private if so desired. Faculty cannot require students to reveal private information to the class and should respect students’ requests to not post information for class viewing.
Section 508 of the American Disabilities Act (ADA) requires instructors to provide equal access to course materials for all students. The Center for Instructional Design assists faculty in making sure their courses are ADA compliant. Online students requiring an accommodation should work with the Center for Accommodations and Support Services. Students requesting an accommodation based on a disability must work with the Center for Accommodations and Support Services.
University rules pertaining to intellectual property can be found in Chapter 4 of the Handbook of Operating Procedures. UT System Board of Regents policies regarding intellectual property can be found in Section 90101.
Copyright of course materials
The TEACH Act (Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization) provides guidance for academic institutions relative to copyright regulations. Under the TEACH Act, it may be permissible to make some copyrighted materials available to students if they are:
- Directly related and integral to the course content
- Accessible only by students enrolled in the course
- Retained only for the duration of the class
- Do not exceed the length or amount displayed in a face-to-face class
Students should be made aware of the institution's copyright policies, specifically that course content may subject to copyright laws and protections.
Research involving human subjects
All UTEP researchers including faculty, staff, and students who will be conducting human subject research must complete human subject research ethics training and complete the Institutional Review Board approval process.
Any member of UTEP who engages in discrimination or other conduct that is in violation of University policy is subject to the full range of disciplinary action, up to and including separation from UTEP.
Use of student work
When faculty wish to use student work—whether for research or for pedagogical purposes—they must request the students' permission. To use student work in any research-related project (presentations, publications, posters, etc.), faculty should follow the Institutional Review Board (IRB) process for human subject research including requesting that students complete an IRB approved consent form. When seeking to use student work for publication or pedagogical reasons (e.g., examples of effective projects), the “Student Authorization and Waiver for Release of Education Records for Publication of Student Authored Materials” form should be completed.
Faculty appointments and credentialing
Faculty teaching online courses are selected and appointed by their academic departments. Those who are new to teaching at UTEP must be credentialed to do so. This process requires that the faculty member submit a CV and transcripts to the academic department.
Teaching online preparation
Faculty who will teach an online class for the first time must complete the Teaching Online Academy which is provided by the Center for Instructional Design. The facilitated, asynchronous course is offered three times a year and lasts four weeks. Faculty can click here to register.
Faculty new to teaching with Blackboard should also enroll in the self-paced Blackboard training. To enroll, please email Blackboard Central at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Faculty-authored textbooks and materials must be approved in advance. Approval is initiated at the department level and is also granted by the college dean, provost, and university president. The form can be found on the Provost's Office website.
Faculty appointments are made at the department level. Faculty teaching an online class in-load will not receive additional payment for the course. Faculty teaching on a part-time basis, or as an overload, will receive the rate they would receive for teaching a face-to-face course. Payments must be in alignment with the timeframe of the course. Payments cannot be issued to a faculty member prior to the course start date. Questions about compensation for teaching an online class should be directed to their respective academic department.
All faculty must complete UTEP’s compliance modules. The Office of Institutional Compliance will send an email with additional information. See UTEP’s Standards of Conduct Guide for details.
UTEP students are expected to maintain absolute integrity and a high standard of individual honor in scholastic work undertaken at the University. If a faculty member suspects that a student has not upheld this standard in any way, the students’ work must be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution. The process is available on the OSCCR website.
If a student has a question about a grade, he/she should email course faculty for clarification. However, students may challenge a final grade only on the basis of: malice, bias, arbitrary or capricious grade determination or impermissible discrimination. More information is available on the Dean of Students website.
Students must be registered for a UTEP Connect course the Friday prior to the course start date. Students are not permitted to register for a UTEP Connect course after the first day of class.
It is the student’s responsibility to drop a course that he/she no longer wishes to take. Grades for dropped courses are assigned as follows:
- If a student drops before the official census date of the semester, neither the course nor a grade will appear on the student’s academic record.
- If a student drops after the census date, but before the student-initiated course drop deadline, a grade of W will be assigned.
- With the exception of a complete withdrawal, if the student drops after the student-initiated course drop deadline, instructors will determine a grade of W or F for the course. A grade of W should be considered only under exceptional circumstances and must be approved by the instructors and department chair of the course.
- In the event of a complete withdrawal, grades of W will appear on the student’s academic record.
Withdrawal due to active military service
Students who have to withdraw because they have been called to active military service must submit a request with supporting documentation to the Student Withdraw Committee. Students may either receive a refund for the course, receive an Incomplete for the course, or an appropriate final grade if the instructor deems that a substantial amount of coursework has been completed.
Students in disaster areas
Online students who are located in, or are called to work in, declared disaster areas should contact a UTEP Connect advisor who will provide assistance. Affected students may choose to work with their instructors to complete the work, request an Incomplete with faculty approval, or withdraw from the courses.
A grade of Incomplete should be issued only in exceptional circumstances and requires the instructor to complete a form located inside of the faculty services tab in Goldmine. According to University policy, the student will have up to one year to complete the work. However, in order to encourage students' progress toward their degrees and taking into account the instructor's availability, an earlier date may be agreed upon between the faculty member and the student. When the work is complete, faculty can submit a grade change form with the new grade. If a grade change form is not submitted within a year, the grade will automatically change to an F. A student may not enroll in a course in which she or he has an unresolved grade of I. Click here for instructions on completing the Incomplete Grades form.