This section of the CAS Faculty & Staff Handbook contains information related to the administration and management of CAS educational programs and curriculum, including planning and staffing issues.
Maintaining the best educational programs possible requires an annual and constant process of long-term and short-term planning of curriculum, course scheduling and teaching assignments. These processes should be begun well in advance because they require the participation of the whole faculty.
For forms and instructions related to curriculum and teaching, visit the Forms & Instructions page.
Annual Academic Planning Exercise
For forms and instructions, visit the forms page here.
The Annual Academic Planning Exercise gives departments, programs, and the College the opportunity to determine which courses should be offered every semester, every year, and on other regular schedules in order to fulfill the obligations to our students implied by the existence of majors, minors, and general education and other requirements. Through the Annual Academic Planning Exercise CAS plans ahead on a rolling three-year basis to ensure that we cover necessary courses as much as possible with our core faculty.
- Academic Planning Exercise Guidelines: Fall 2020 Instructions (downloadable form)
Information about undergraduate education, including the College Program, degree requirements, and other matters, see this page. For information about the Graduate School and graduate education, including degrees, degree requirements, admissions and financial aid, and other student matters, see this page. Another valuable resource is the Center for Teaching & Learning.
Annual Class Scheduling and Teaching Assignment Process and Supplemental Budget Requests
For forms and instructions, visit the forms page here.
BU Hub Resources for Faculty
Boston University has recently been implementing its first, University-wide general education program (a.k.a. the BU Hub). The BU Hub is designed to equip students to engage with complexity, diversity, and change, and with enduring features of human cultures. Its six capacities and their constitutive areas expose students to a broad range of knowledge and disciplines, encourage a sense of social responsibility and commitment to social justice, cultivate a set of widely applicable habits of mind, such as analytical, interpretative, quantitative and communication skills, and develop the ability to apply knowledge in diverse settings. The BU Hub was first introduced to first-year students in Fall of 2018 (and it will first apply to to transfer students in Fall of 2020).
In this section of the CAS Faculty & Staff Handbook, you will find information and resources related to the process of implementing the BU Hub. Specifically, CAS faculty can reference this information as they seek to propose courses in their departments/programs for consideration within the BU Hub.
For forms and instructions, visit the forms page here.
The excellence of educational programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels requires long-term consideration of the mission and purposes of our programs and working to keep them fresh and updated as our fields of knowledge, the world our students will enter, and the composition of our faculty change. Curriculum planning also requires recognition that although academic planning occurs most obviously at the department and program level, all CAS units and faculty participate in serving not just the majors for which they hold primary responsibility, but the broader educational needs of all students who are enrolled or take courses in CAS. CAS, uniquely among the schools and colleges of Boston University, has a primary responsibility to serve all Boston University undergraduates. Moreover, the interdisciplinary programs that add great distinction to the educational opportunities students find at BU depend on the participation of faculty from most departments in the College. Departments must address these needs in their curricular planning.
Bulletin Editing Instructions
Policy and Guidelines for Collaborative and Team Teaching
Policy and Guidelines for Collaborative and Team Teaching (downloadable form)
Policy and Procedures for Assignment of Graders
Policy and Procedures for the Assignment of Graders to CAS Courses
This policy covers the assignment of graders to individual CAS courses when justified in a particular semester by a combination of high course enrollment and grading-intensive coursework that is integral to students’ learning.
In such cases, CAS departments may request that the dean’s office authorize the employment of College-funded graders to help ensure that students receive timely, high-quality feedback and evaluation of their work. This provision of grading support also helps ensure that faculty are neither unduly burdened by the amount of grading required to meet course objectives and credit-hour guidelines nor compelled to lower academic standards, e.g., by assigning fewer or less open-ended papers and projects.
CAS compensates College-funded graders equitably by adhering to a uniform hourly rate and by using a standard enrollment- and coursework-based formula to determine how many total hours of work a particular grading assignment will entail.
Some CAS departments where pedagogical practices include daily “homework” in nearly all courses have departmental grading budgets, which are reviewed and adjusted separately from the process described here for making one-semester, course-specific grader requests.
Eligibility Guidelines for Grader Support:
- To qualify for grader support, a CAS course should normally have a current enrollment of at least 35 students and/or require an estimated 80 or more total hours of grading over the course of the semester and final exam period.
- Graders may be assigned to courses that are already supported by Teaching Fellows only when TFs’ other, non-grading duties entail 20 hours/week/TF.
- In exceptional circumstances, one-time College-funded grading support may be requested and authorized for courses smaller than 35 if, in consultation with the department chair, the dean’s office determines that such support will be needed for a faculty member to meet his or her teaching and service commitments for that semester.
Faculty Responsibilities for Grading:
1) Faculty are ultimately responsible for all aspects and phases of fair, consistent grading and timely, constructive feedback in any course where they are the instructor of record, namely:
i) Establishment of grading standards, scales, and rubrics;
ii) Explanation of grading policies and criteria in course syllabi;
iii) Training and ongoing supervision of Teaching Fellows and other graders;
iv) Verification that grades are accurately computed and recorded;
v) Timely return of graded work, with appropriate feedback; and
vi) On-time submission of final grades and any subsequent grade changes.
2) In addition, in courses to which graders are assigned, instructors of record are normally expected to do between one-third (1/3) and one-half (1/2) of actual grading themselves.
Process for Requesting College-Funded Grading Support and Hiring Graders
- To request grading support for a CAS course, a faculty member should complete a Grader Request Form and obtain a signature of endorsement from the department chair, who submits the signed form by email to the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Academic Programs and Policies at email@example.com.
Chairs should normally be ready to submit requests at the end of the “Add” period (end of the second week of classes in each semester) since graders’ compensation is calculated on the basis of actual enrollment and grading time per student. However, faculty may for good reason want to identify potential graders and train them before final enrollments are known; and decisions to expand class size may be predicated on the availability of grading support. In such cases, chairs can submit a request to the associate dean for provisional approval before the semester begins. The precise amount of graders’ compensation remains contingent on actual enrollments at the end of the “Add” period.
- The associate dean will review requests and inform the chair (by return mail copied to the CAS Business Office) whether grading support has been authorized and in what amount.
- The Business Office transfers approved one-time grading funds to the department.
- The department administrator is then responsible for setting individuals up on the payroll to be paid the approved amount for grading. Current doctoral and master’s students must be set up as weekly salaried employees. The department administrator does this using standard student employment authorization forms and submits them to the GRS Financial Aid Office.
See under “Student Payroll” here for detailed information on Student Employment; and contact the GRS Office of Financial Aid (or the Business Office, if the assigned grader is not a current graduate student) with any follow-up questions.
Limits on Grading Assignments for Fully Funded PhD Students
Graduate School of Arts & Sciences policy limits the amount of additional paid work that may be assigned to doctoral students in any semester when they are appointed to a (Teaching, Graduate Research, or Non-Service) Fellowship. Under that policy, such fully funded students may be employed as graders for additional payment only under the following conditions:
- The grading assignment provides the student with an opportunity for professional growth in teaching and/or in expert knowledge of course topics;
- The assignment does not exceed five (5) hours/week averaged over the semester;
- The total additional payment for the semester does not exceed $1,500; and
- The payment is set up as a weekly salary.
In addition, immigration rules stipulate that international doctoral students cannot be employed for more than 20 hours/week. Fully funded international students are thus precluded from taking on an additional grading assignment if they are employed as a Teaching Fellow or Graduate Research Fellow. Non-service fellowships, by contrast, are not treated as employment; international students holding a non-service fellowship may thus be considered for grading assignments, subject to conditions #1-4 above.
Program Learning Outcome Assessment
CAS Program Learning Outcomes Assessment
The College partners with the Provost’s office for academic assessment to ensure that learning outcomes for every undergraduate and graduate degree program are consistently and systematically assessed. To this end, each department/program identifies one or more Assessment Liaisons from their unit who will take responsibility for communicating with their unit about assessment initiatives and for drafting an annual report for each degree program. A list of all 2020–2021 Assessment Liaisons for CAS and GRS is available to you here.
The College also appoints members to the University’s Graduate and Undergraduate Assessment Working Groups, which meet on a monthly basis. These members can serve as a resource for departments and for the Assessment Liaisons, as they participate in ongoing, university-wide conversations about how to make outcomes assessment both meaningful and sustainable for faculty. To confer with a Working Group member from CAS, please contact Associate Dean Joseph Bizup for undergraduate programs or Associate Dean Malika Jeffries-EL for graduate programs. The following page describes the work of these standing committees: http://www.bu.edu/provost/committees/assessment-working-groups/
As the Assessment Liaisons start their work, they are encouraged to review the University’s expectations for program learning outcomes assessment via this link: https://www.bu.edu/provost/planning/program-learning-outcomes-assessment/program-learning-outcomes-assessment-and-expectations-for-programs/
In addition to the above expectations, we have assembled the following FAQ for our Assessment Liaisons:
- I’m tasked with submitting the Annual Report on Program Learning Outcomes Assessment for my respective department/program. When is it due?
Annual report(s) are due by Monday, November 16, 2020.
- Does an Annual Report need to conform to a particular template?
Your annual report will entail drafting informed responses to specific prompts in the CampusLabs web portal, our University’s assessment management system. Prompts ask Assessment Liaisons to list a program’s learning outcomes, to detail where the outcomes are published, to detail evidence and who interprets the evidence, and to summarize results among other questions.
- Do I need to submit just one Annual Report for my entire department/program?
A separate Annual Report is due for each graduate and undergraduate degree program (major) in your department/program. At this time, there’s no need to submit documentation for minors.
- OK, so I have submitted my information for the Annual Report. Is that the only documentation that I need to submit?
In addition to the Annual Report, a Program Outcome Plan must be submitted if a Plan hasn’t already been submitted to date. Program Outcome Plans describe how a program’s learning outcomes will be assessed over a span of years, so a new Plan is not necessarily expected each year. If a Program Outcome Plan hasn’t been previously submitted for a degree program then you’ll also need to submit that document at this time. Again, if your department submitted a Plan in the past then you don’t have to do that again this time, though you’re always welcome to submit revised versions if your Plan changes.
- Do I just email the Annual Report to someone when I’m done?
No. Annual Reports and any other documentation need to be submitted via our assessment management system (i.e., CampusLabs). You can access it here: https://bu.campuslabs.com/planning. Once you’re in, just follow the step-by-step instructions available to you here: https://www.bu.edu/tech/services/teaching/assessment/assessment-management-systems/campus-labs-add-an-annual-report/
- I have an academic administrator in my department who can assist with the submission work to get these documents into CampusLabs. How can I get this person access to the system?
Please simply contact Kevin Wiles, Platform Administrator, at <firstname.lastname@example.org> to receive access to CampusLabs. Kevin will need to know the name, email address, and department/program of the person who needs access.
- It would be nice to see previous reports that have been submitted for our program in the past. How can I access those past reports?
Previous years’ reports that have been submitted to CampusLabs are still available to you in CampusLabs. Once in the system, simply click on a previous year’s “Assessment Cycle Ending…”
- Does anyone actually read these reports, or do they just fall into a black hole?
The Assistant Provost for Academic Assessment will read every Annual Report for every degree program across the entire University, and upload feedback to the CampusLabs system upon the completion of that review. Additionally, our associate deans within CAS and GRS review annual reports during each cycle; their advisory feedback will be shared with departments/programs accordingly.
- What is the University looking for with all this assessment documentation anyway?
Generally speaking, the Assistant Provost for Academic Assessment is looking to see if a program has (a) defined learning outcomes, (b) designed assessment methods, (c) collected data, (d) analyzed data, and then—very importantly—(e) used that evidence to guide change. These characteristics are defined in a little more detail for you here:http://www.bu.edu/provost/files/2017/02/Characteristics-of-Assessment-Plans-by-Category.pdf
- OK, that’s helpful information to know. So, how are the Plans evaluated?
You can use this simple rubric to evaluate your Program Outcome Plan: http://www.bu.edu/provost/files/2017/02/Checklist-for-Evaluating-Assessment-Plans.pdf
- I’d really like to speak with someone in more depth about the assessment work that we’re doing for our program. Is anyone available to speak with me?
Yes. Please contact Associate Dean Joseph Bizup for undergraduate programs or Associate Dean Malika Jeffries-EL for graduate programs.
- Thank you. Is there anything else you need me to know?
At this juncture, you have what you need. We do, however, want to stress again that all annual reports are due no later than Monday, November 16, 2020.
As always, Assessment Liaisons are welcome to reach out to our College’s Dean’s Office if they have any questions or concerns about this process. Specifically, they can contact Jessica Aither (email@example.com), Assistant Director for Graduate Affairs, if they questions about the assessment of graduate programs, or Daryl Healea (firstname.lastname@example.org), Assistant Dean for Curriculum & Enrollment Services, if they have questions about the assessment of undergraduate programs.