Faculty Responsibilities

The responsibilities identified in this section are expected of all faculty.  The performance of these responsibilities serves as a base-level criterion for the granting of tenure, rolling contracts, and for post-tenure review.

Adherence to University Policies
Faculty members are responsible for:

  1. maintaining respect for the relationship of the University with the ELCA and the tradition of Lutheran higher education;
  2. fulfilling conscientiously all contractual obligations and giving the institution reasonable notice when resigning to accept another position;
  3. using conscientiously the funds that the institution entrusts to their care, such as those allocated to budgets of academic departments or special research projects;
  4. making every effort to avoid public statements and actions that are detrimental to the welfare of the University;
  5. avoiding use, without specific permission, of University resources, equipment, or labor for their own personal gain;
  6. knowing and abiding by the policies and procedures published in the current version of this faculty handbook, and the undergraduate and graduate catalogs.

Professional Ethics and Relations

  1. Code of Professional Ethics 

Although no set of rules or professional code can guarantee or take the place of a faculty member’s personal integrity, California Lutheran University believes that the “Statement on Professional Ethics” promulgated by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) in April 1966 defines the obligations assumed by all members of the academic profession. 

The Statement:

  1. Members of faculty, 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 they 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 they may follow subsidiary interests, these interests must never seriously hamper or compromise their freedom of inquiry.
  2. As teachers, the members of faculty encourage the free pursuit of learning in their students.  They hold before them the best scholarly standards of their discipline.  They demonstrate respect for the student as an individual, and adhere to their proper role as intellectual guide and counselor.  They make every effort to foster honest academic conduct and to assure that their evaluation of students reflects students’ true merit.  They respect the confidential nature of the relationship between professor and student.  They avoid any exploitation of students for their private advantage and acknowledge significant assistance from them.  They protect students’ academic freedom.
  3. As colleagues, members of faculty have obligations that derive from common membership in the community of scholars.  They respect and defend the free inquiry of their associates.  In the exchange of criticism and ideas they show due respect for the opinions of others.  They acknowledge their academic debts and strive to be objective in their professional judgment of colleagues.  They accept their share of faculty responsibilities for the governance of their institution.
  4. As members of their institutions, members of faculty seek above all to become effective teachers and scholars.  Although they observe the stated regulations of the institution, provided the regulations do not contravene academic freedom, they maintain their right to criticize and seek revision.  They determine the amount and character of the work they do outside and inside their institution with due regard to their paramount responsibilities within it.  When considering the interruption or termination of their service, they recognize the effect of their decision upon the program of the institution and give due notice of their intentions.
  5. As members of their community, the members of the faculty have the rights and obligations of any citizen.  They 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 or act as private persons, they avoid creating the impression that they speak or act 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.
  1. Conflict of Interest 

A University employee shall disclose to her or his immediate supervisor all facts and circumstances related to any University transactions, activities, contracts, or other dealings in which she or he is involved or may become involved on behalf of the University that might directly or indirectly involve them in a conflict of interest.  Such disclosure shall be made in writing as soon as is reasonable after the conflict or potential conflict of interest shall be deemed to exist.  A conflict or potential conflict of interest exists at any time when an interest held by the employee, or relationship maintained, prohibits or inhibits, or potentially prohibits or inhibits, the employee from exercising independent judgment in the best interests of the University.  A conflict of interest exists, but is not limited to, situations in which an employee is a director, president, general manager, or similar executive officer or owns or controls directly or indirectly a substantial interest in any non-governmental entity participating in a transaction with the University. 

  1. Employment of Family Members 

Members of the same family may hold faculty status at California Lutheran University provided that they meet the qualifications for the positions and that neither has a direct supervisory relationship over the other.  Exceptions to this policy may be made by specific action of the President of the University.  However, in no case may individuals who have familial or intimate personal relationships be involved in evaluating the work performance of the other person or in making hiring, salary, advancement or similar decisions regarding that person. 

  1. Policy on Gifts and Gratuities 

No employee shall solicit or accept for personal use, or for the use of others, any gift, favor, loan, gratuity, reward, promise of employment or any other thing of monetary value that might influence or appear to influence the judgment or conduct of the employee regarding University business or policy.  Employees may accept occasional unsolicited gifts or favors (e.g., business lunches, Christmas baskets) provided the gifts or favors have a cumulative market value of under $200, are customary in the industry, and will not influence or appear to influence the judgment or conduct of the employee.  The restrictions in this paragraph regarding a specific gift or favor, may be waived, in writing, by the appropriate vice president.  Such an exemption must be in writing with a statement of the pertinent reasons for exemption. 

  1. Policy on Consensual Relationships
    1. Definition

      For this policy the terms “faculty” or “faculty member” mean all those who teach at the University.  The term includes administrators and students with teaching responsibilities and other instructional personnel such as professional librarians.
    2. Rationale 

The University’s educational mission is promoted by professionalism in faculty-student relationships.  Thus, the University’s policy regarding consensual relationships is based on the Code of Professional Ethics.  Professionalism is fostered by an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect.  Actions of faculty members and students that harm this atmosphere undermine professionalism and hinder the University’s educational mission.  Trust and respect are diminished when those in positions of authority abuse, or appear to abuse, their power and violate their duty to the University community.

Faculty members exercise power over students, whether in giving them praise or criticism, evaluating them, making recommendations for their further studies or their future employment, or conferring any other benefits on them.  Amorous relationships between faculty members and students are wrong when the faculty member has professional responsibility for the student.  Such situations greatly increase the chances that the faculty member will abuse his or her power and sexually exploit the student.  Voluntary consent by the student in such a relationship is suspect, given the fundamentally asymmetric nature of the relationship.  Moreover, other students and faculty may be affected by such unprofessional behavior because it places the faculty member in a position to favor or advance one student’s interest at the expense of others and implicitly makes obtaining benefits contingent on amorous or sexual favors.   Therefore, the University will view it as unethical if faculty members engage in amorous relations with students enrolled in their classes or subject to their supervision, even when both parties appear to have consented to the relationship.

  1. Consensual Relationships in the Instructional Context

    No faculty member shall have an amorous relationship, consensual or otherwise, with a student who is enrolled in a course being taught by the faculty member or whose academic work (including work as a teaching assistant) is being supervised or evaluated by the faculty member even if both parties appear to have consented to the relationship.
  2. Consensual Relationships Outside the Instructional Context

Amorous relationships between faculty members and students occurring outside the instructional context may lead to difficulties, particularly when the faculty member and student are in the same academic unit or units that are academically allied.  Relationships that the parties view as consensual may appear to others to be exploitative.  Further, in such situations (and others that cannot be anticipated), the faculty member may face serious conflicts of interest and should be careful to distance himself or herself from any decisions that may reward or penalize the student involved.  A faculty member who fails to withdraw from participation in activities or decisions that may reward or penalize the student with whom the faculty member has or has had an amorous relationship will be deemed to have violated his or her ethical obligation to the student, to other students, to colleagues, and to the University.

  1. Responsibilities Regarding Students (Relations with Students)

 Faculty members should regard students as individuals who have certain rights that must be respected.  This responsibility encompasses:

  1. taking an active interest in the well-being of  students, offering mature professional advice;
  2. serving as models for students, setting high standards in academic and scholarly excellence, professional ethics, and personal integrity;
  3. recognizing the moral obligation not to take advantage of an influential classroom position by repeatedly introducing into classes the discussion of subject matter outside the scope of the course.

Academic Fraud and Scientific Misconduct

Academic honesty – the fair and straightforward representation of what one has actually learned, researched, and/or written – is the foundation of a healthy environment for learning.  Professors, administrators, and students  are responsible for upholding high moral and ethical standards of academic honesty in all academic endeavors, and the academic community of the University must support the policy that any form of academic dishonesty is a serious breach of ethics and will be dealt with surely and appropriately.

California Lutheran University defines “scientific misconduct” or “research misconduct” as fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, or other practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the scientific community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research.  It does not include honest error or honest differences in interpretation or judgments on data. 

Faculty members should be guided by the following:

  • In their work, professors must scrupulously acknowledge every intellectual debt for ideas, methods, and expressions.
  • Scholars must make clear the respective contributions on a collaborative project, and professors who have the guidance of students as their responsibility must exercise the greatest care not to appropriate a student’s ideas, research, or presentation to the professor’s benefit.  To do so is to abuse power and trust.
  • In dealing with students, professors must demonstrate by precept and example the necessity of rigorous honesty in the use of sources and of respect for the work of others.
  • Any discovery of suspected plagiarism or research misconduct should be reported and investigated at once.

Responsibilities Related to Teaching

Faculty members at California Lutheran University are expected to be effective teachers.  The criteria and procedures by which faculty demonstrate teaching effectiveness are described in Section Two, “Faculty Evaluation Process and Standards.”

  1. Teaching Load 

California Lutheran University desires equity in the distribution of teaching and other assignments.  Recognizing that classroom teaching is only one aspect, albeit the most important, of a faculty member’s total workload, general guidelines for teaching loads are an important and useful tool in defining a major portion of faculty work.

  1. Normal Full-time Teaching Load

    The normal teaching load per full-time instructional faculty member is 24 semester credit hours or the equivalent per year.  In computing normal teaching load, special policies apply to independent studies, internships, student teaching, English composition courses, laboratory science courses, music lessons, and studio art courses. 

These formulae are contained in a document, “Faculty Load Policies,” which is kept by the Vice President for Academic Affairs and periodically reviewed by the deans and the Faculty Affairs and Development Committee (FADC).  The “Faculty Load Policies” document will also be kept in the faculty secretaries’ offices and will be available for review. 

  1. Half-time Teaching Load 

Loads for faculty members holding half-time pro-rata appointments are computed with a heavier emphasis on instruction and reduced expectation for scholarship and university-wide service.  The normal teaching load for a half-time instructional faculty member is 16 semester credit hours per year or two courses per semester. 

  1. Deviations from Normal Loads 

Deviations from the normal load will be made upon recommendation of the department chair and the approval of the dean of the school or college and the Vice President for Academic Affairs. 

  1. Overloads 

It is assumed that all faculty members devote full-time work to the University as part of their contractual obligations, and overloads should be taken on sparingly. Normally no more than one overload per term will be approved.  The determination that an additional course constitutes an overload is made by the Vice President for Academic Affairs upon examination of the entire workload and is not based solely on the number of units taught.

  1. Course Assignments and Schedules 

Subject to guidelines issued by the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Registrar, the department chair or program director normally develops a schedule of proposed teaching assignments and offerings in consultation with the members of the department and with the chairs of other departments that have overlapping or conflicting interests either in courses or faculty.  The dean of the school or college must approve schedules, and the dean of the school or college or the Vice President for Academic Affairs may change teaching assignments or schedules after consulting with the department chair and the faculty member involved, if preliminary enrollment figures indicate that a course is not likely to achieve minimum enrollment. 

  1. Class Meetings 

All faculty members are expected to hold classes on schedule in the designated location.  Faculty members may not permanently change the designated time or place of classes without the approval of the Registrar.  If faculty members are unable to meet a class, they must notify the appropriate faculty secretary and ensure that the students are notified as soon as possible.  The department chair and the dean of the school or college must be notified and approve of any anticipated prolonged absence (one week or more away from campus or numerous intermittent absences) and satisfactory arrangements must be made for work to continue during that absence. 

  1. Student Absences 

Instructors will establish their own attendance policies for each course.  Health and Counseling Services will not issue medical excuses for students when a student will be absent from class for an extended period of time due to an illness or accident.  Health and Counseling Services will, however, contact the Academic Affairs Office, which will notify the faculty. 

  1. Course Syllabi 

The course syllabus is a very important document constituting an implicit contract between the faculty member and the students.  Each faculty member must provide the students in each class with a course syllabus within the first week of the course.  The syllabus will normally include:

  • a statement of course objectives and requirements;
  • an outline of course topics, including assignments, exams, and paper due dates;
  • a statement of the particular attendance policy for the course;
  • a statement of the methods by which the student will be graded;
  • reference to the University’s policy and procedure on academic honesty in the student handbook;
  • the instructor’s office location, office hours, and telephone extension number. 

Copies of the course syllabus for each course must be given to the department chair at the beginning of each semester.  The department chair will maintain a complete file of syllabi by course for a period of four years.  This file will be available to the dean of the school or college and to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, to faculty members for comparison, to students for reference, to evaluation teams for review, and to the library staff for assisting faculty and students in relating library holdings and services to the University’s curriculum. 

  1. Evaluation of Student Academic Performance

Students have the right to objective, professional evaluation of their academic work and to fair, equitable treatment in the course of their academic relationships with members of the faculty. 

Students’ work should be evaluated periodically throughout the semester and the results communicated in a timely fashion. Grading of students’ academic work should follow policies identified in the University catalog and by  the Registrar’s Office.

  1. Grading Guidelines
    1. The instructor is the final authority on all grades and, except in extraordinary circumstances, has the responsibility for assigning or changing a course grade.
    2. Except in very specialized courses, a student’s final course grade should not depend on a single paper, performance, or exam.  The final examination or paper should not count for more than half of the final grade.
  2. Final Examination and Pre-Examination Period 

Because of the compressed nature of the final exam period, faculty are encouraged to limit examinations and paper deadlines during the final week of class. 

  1. Grade Changes

A change in a course grade that has already been reported to the Registrar must be made within one semester after the end of the term and must be approved by the dean of the school or college.  A change will be approved only when  an instructor error in grading is discovered.  Work completed or handed in after a grade has been recorded may not be used as the basis for a grade change. 

  1. Grade Challenges 

When a student believes that a grade has been incorrectly assigned, the student should attempt to resolve the matter directly with the instructor.  If the student is not satisfied, then the student should discuss the matter with the department chair, dean, or program director who is the instructor’s immediate supervisor. 

If the conflict cannot be resolved at the departmental level, then the student may appeal in writing to the dean of the school or college.  Upon appeal, the dean of the school or college will normally review:

  1. the student’s written complaint and copies of examinations and other papers the student may submit;
  2. the instructor’s written response to the student’s complaint;
  3. course materials including outlines, the syllabus, and the other materials describing course requirements and grading guidelines;
  4. the instructor’s grade file, including recorded evaluations of the work of all students in the class. 

The dean will then evaluate whether the instructor violated his or her published grading guidelines or whether there is evidence of arbitrary, capricious, or biased behavior on the part of the instructor, which may have affected the process.  If not, the grade remains as it has been recorded.  The student may appeal this decision to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, whose judgment is final. 

If, in the extraordinary event that the dean of the school or college determines that there is a likelihood that an unfair or discriminatory grade may have been assigned, the Vice President for Academic Affairs may direct that a special grade evaluation committee be formed to review the matter.  Such a committee will be composed of three faculty members: one appointed by the dean of the school or college, one appointed by the chair of the FADC, and the third appointed by the Vice President for Student Affairs.  The committee will choose its own chair.  The committee will solicit written statements from all concerned parties, evaluate all available evidence, and advise the Vice President for Academic Affairs as to whether the grade in question represents gross unfairness or illegal discrimination and, if so, what change of grade, if any, is necessary to remedy the situation.  After considering the committee’s report, the Vice President for Academic Affairs will make the final decision.  The action of the Vice President for Academic Affairs is final. 

  1. Retention of Exams and Papers 

Students have the right to see their graded examinations and papers and to have their grades explained in a timely fashion.  If graded examinations and papers are not to be retained by the student, they should be held by the instructor for one year after the conclusion of a class. 

  1. Departing Faculty 

Even after leaving University employment, a faculty member is expected to cooperate fully in responding to questions about grades and to provide information and justification for grades awarded. 

  1. Reporting Grades

Faculty members are expected to submit mid-semester grades for students who are doing unsatisfactory (C- or lower) work to the dean of the school or college or directly to the Learning Resource Center.  Final grades must be given to the Registrar within the time limit specified by the Registrar each semester.

  1. Student Academic Honesty 

Faculty are responsible for upholding the policy on student academic honesty as found in the student handbook and Section Three. IX. of this handbook.  Whenever a member of the faculty or other University official believes that a student has committed a breach of academic honesty, the faculty member or official will confront the student, allowing the student an opportunity to speak on his or her behalf.  If, in the opinion of the faculty member, a breach of academic honesty has occurred, the faculty member or official must file a Report of Academic Dishonesty Form (available in Academic Affairs) with the Vice President for Academic Affairs.  The form will be placed on file.  This procedure should be completed as soon as is reasonably possible. 

First Offense.  If the Vice President for Academic Affairs determines this is a first offense, the disciplinary action will be handled by the professor.  Possible sanctions include an “F” on the assignment or an “F” in the course. 

Due to the serious nature of such an offense and the resulting questions regarding student ethics, doctoral programs may assign sanctions including academic probation, suspension from the university or dismissal from the university after a first offense with the approval of the Department Chair/Program Director, the Dean and the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Sanctions will be determined by reviewing each specific breach of academic honesty, the context of the breach and the nature of the breach.

Second Offense.  If the Vice President for Academic Affairs determines this is a second offense, in addition to the sanctions imposed by the professor, the Vice President for Academic Affairs may choose to impose additional sanctions, such as academic probation or suspension from school. 

Third Offense.  A third report of academic dishonesty will automatically result in the student’s suspension or dismissal from the University. 

Appeals.  An allegation of cheating or an imposed sanction may be appealed to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, who will then constitute a special evaluation committee using the same procedures identified for grade challenges.  The vice president’s decision is final. 

  1. Student Course and Instructor Evaluation 

Students have the opportunity to evaluate each course in which they enroll two or more students.  The purposes of instructor evaluation are:

  1. to provide faculty with useful feedback that can inform their development and affirm their effectiveness as instructors;
  2. to provide information for formal evaluation of faculty teaching effectiveness as part of the faculty review process.

Course Evaluations are conducted online. In the Traditional Undergraduate Program, evaluations are open the two weeks before finals week begins.  In the Graduate and Professionals programs, evaluations are open the final two weeks of the semester or term, which includes finals week. During the summer, evaluations are open for a shorter period of time because of the shorter sessions. Throughout the two weeks, students are emailed multiple reminders to complete the course evaluations.

Faculty evaluation reports consist of tabulated summaries of the multiple-choice questions and students’ narrative comments.  Faculty gain access to these online reports one week after grades are due. In addition, evaluation reports are distributed to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the deans and department chairs/program directors for review. Electronic copies are kept in each faculty member’s course evaluation file in the Academic Affairs Office.

  1. Responsibilities Related to Advising

An important responsibility of faculty is to serve as mentors to students, helping them shape and achieve their academic, personal, and career goals. The criteria and procedures by which faculty demonstrate advising and mentoring effectiveness for purposes of evaluation are described in Section Two.VII., “Faculty Evaluation Process and Standards.”

  1. Office Hours 

For full-time and pro-rata faculty the number of open office hours per week should be equal to at least one-third of the number of semester hours taught. These hours should be distributed throughout the week to accommodate the variety in students’ course schedules.  Faculty are expected to be available in their office or at another designated location during these hours.  During pre-registration periods faculty members’ office hours must often be increased in order to advise students regarding their course of study.  Normally, full-time faculty are on campus and/or available to meet with students four days per week. 

  1. Advising Loads

All faculty are expected to serve as academic advisers.  Advising loads should reflect the needs of the department as well as of the University.

Responsibilities Related to Scholarly, Professional, and Creative Activities

The primary responsibility of California Lutheran University faculty is to provide excellent teaching and advising.  However, faculty are also expected to serve as professional role models to students and to engage in research, scholarship, or creative activities.  These activities benefit the University particularly when they support the faculty member’s teaching and contribute to student learning.  The criteria and procedures by which faculty demonstrate scholarly productivity for purposes of evaluation are described in Section Two.VII., “Faculty Evaluation Process and Standards.” 

University Service

As members of the University community, faculty are expected to build and sustain its vitality.  All faculty are expected to participate actively:

  • in the work of their departments;
  • in official academic gatherings including the Faculty Retreat, Opening Academic Convocation, and Commencement;
  • in the governance of the University through regular attendance at faculty meetings and effective service on University and faculty committees;
  • in the recruitment and registration of new students.

Faculty are expected to provide other forms of service which might include:

  • developing university-wide curricula;
  • participating in or preparing reports for university-wide task forces;
  • preparing proposals for gifts or grants;
  • serving as an adviser for student groups;
  • assisting in the recruitment of new faculty;
  • assisting university advancement efforts.

Community and Professional Service

California Lutheran University faculty are encouraged to be active in the larger community.  Faculty involvement in community organizations can enhance respect for the institution.  These activities should not, however, detract from the faculty member’s other responsibilities.

Since community activities may be political in nature, faculty are expected both to enjoy the freedom from censorship and to abide by the special obligations described in the statement on academic freedom.

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