Part-Time Faculty Handbook: Duties & Responsibilities
Part Time Faculty are essential members of the MSUB campus community. Many part time faculty enjoy teaching a course or two per academic year while working full time in their professional fields. Please know that we appreciate your expertise and dedication to instructing our students.
Montana State University Billings maintains a unique structure, with City College embedded within the University. All five colleges are dedicated to teaching excellence. Full time City College faculty are members of the Montana Two-Year College Faculty Association and negotiate their Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Montana Board of Regents of Higher Education. Full time faculty at the University are members of the Montana State University Billings Faculty Association and negotiate with the Montana University System. Part-time faculty are not part of either the University campus CBA or MT Two Year College Faculty Association (MTYFA) faculty contract, but their teaching loads may vary depending on where they are teaching. The number of credits part time instructors can teach during the academic year depends, to some extent, on location.For example, part-time faculty may teach up to 11 credits per academic year on the University campus. Part-time faculty on the City College campus may teach up to 17 credits per academic year. If teaching courses on both University and City College campuses, the maximum credit load for part-time faculty is 17 credits per academic year on the City College campus and 11 credits per academic year on the University campus.
Part-time faculty are required to fulfill a number of specific and essential responsibilities related to teaching. These responsibilities include:
- Instructing a course or courses in accordance with the College, Department, and Program requirements.
- Faithfully meeting all assigned classes;
- Conducting office hours to meet with students;
- Presenting the subject matter in accordance with the course syllabus and the college catalog as approved by the faculty and the department;
- Completing other teaching and course related assignments as specifically designated by the Department Chair and/or the Dean, or College.
GENERAL BULLETIN, GRADUATE CATALOG, STUDENT HANDBOOK & DEPARTMENT BYLAWS
Being familiar with MSU Billings and the academic department policies and procedures is essential. The University General Bulletin and Graduate Catalog (published biennially) and the City College General Catalog (published annually) are guides for students, faculty, and the public. These documents provide a listing of regulations, academic programs, degree requirements, course descriptions, faculty and other helpful information.
The course syllabus or course outline is a written document that specifies the objectives of the course and the general method of instruction, as well as course requirements (such as term papers, reports, and scheduled tests), the instructor's office location and phone number, and any estimated additional costs to the student that may occur during the term. A number of departments and colleges (the Art Department, Nursing, the Business Department, courses in REHA and in the College of Education) require that syllabi adhere to a template to satisfy accreditation requirements. When in doubt, consult your department chair.
The course syllabus must be provided to students during the FIRST week of class. A copy must also be submitted to the Department Chair. It is strongly suggested that the department chair review the syllabus before it is made available to students. Critical components of the course syllabus include:
- Instructor Contact Information;
- Office Hours and Location;
- Course Learning Objectives;
- The Academic Honesty Policy, with a link to the policy in the Student Handbook;
- The Disabilities Policy;
- All homework assignments, discussion posts, exams, papers, tests, quizzes, etc., and their calculation in the final grade;
- The instructor’s policy on accepting late work, rearranging exams or other missed assessment activities;
- A tentative schedule of due dates of assignments and exams.
- Campus Resources like the Academic Success Center, TRIO, etc.
- The policy for missed classes and any impact missed classes with have on the students’ grades. Keep in mind that some class absences are excused for “official university business” (student-athletes fall under this category). All faculty should have an attendance policy listed on their syllabus.
The syllabus is a contract between the courses instructor and the students. The more explicit the syllabus, the less likelihood that confusion will exist for students and faculty. Some faculty include grading rubrics or explanations of how grades are calculated. You may want to address whether you permit extra credit. In addition, if the potential for making minor alterations to your syllabus or reading/assignment/exam schedule exists, include a statement at the beginning or at the end of the syllabus that says, “This syllabus is subject to change at the discretion of the instructor.”
A copy of the syllabus/outline must also be filed in the offices of your Department Chair and the appropriate Dean. Part-time faculty must have their syllabuses approved by their Department Chair. As mentioned above, a number of MSUB programs maintain national and state program accreditation, and the Department Chair will provide further information if course syllabuses must include particular information and/or adhere to a standardized format.
Furthermore, as you develop your course’s due dates and testing schedule, you may want to consult with your department chair or faculty mentor regarding busy periods during the semester, like when students register for the next semester’s classes or take midterm exams. Although part time faculty are not required to advise students or participate in events like Research and Creativity Day, some instructors like to build their assignment and lecture schedules with those activities in mind.
DISABILITY SUPPORT SERVICES
The material provided below is from Trudy Carey, MSUB’s Director for Disability Support Services; this office is located in the College of Education, Room 135 on the University Campus and in the City College Tech Building, Room A008 on the City College Campus. Their phone numbers are:
Trudy Carey: 657-2161
Mandy Madler, Program Assistant 657-2283
Cathy Copeland, Lead Sign Language Interpreter, 657-2156
Greg Gerard, Coordinator at the City College Campus, 247-3029
- Remember to include a DSS syllabus statement on your syllabi. Sample statements can be copy and pasted from this link.
- The Lead Sign Language Interpreter notifies faculty members who have a deaf or hard-of-hearing student in a class so the faculty member is aware that all videos must be captioned. This includes videos that are shown in class and online. The captioning request form is available online here.
- Read&Write is downloadable software that is available here for all faculty and students. Videos on the toolbar teach the viewer how to use the programs.
Many different learning styles and health conditions create barriers for students. Your class design can mitigate some of those barriers. The DSS Faculty Handbook offers suggestions.
Assigning coursework, projects, and papers, establishing due dates for coursework and communicating these to students in the syllabus is the responsibility of part-time faculty. Providing clear and consistent grading, assessment, and attendance policies are critical.
Any research projects involving human subjects and surveys conducted by MSU Billings students, faculty, and staff are subject to the "Protection of Human Subjects in Research" policy. For additional information please refer to “Protection of Human Subjects in Research Policy” on page 16.
A major responsibility of part-time faculty is to evaluate students’ work in the course and to assign grades for academic credit. Adhere to the University's grading policy as detailed in the current General Bulletin or the City College General Catalog.
If you are a new instructor, you must see your Department Chair before the semester begins for faculty Banner software training on how to access your class listings and enter grades. You will enter final grades via the web.
Any questions or concerns about grading can be discussed with the Department Chair.
CLASS LISTS AND GRADE SHEETS
Through Banner faculty web self-service, the Admissions and Records office makes updated class lists available as the registrations are processed through the system. Final grading is accessible via the same faculty web self-service approximately two weeks before the end of the term. Final grade sheets should be signed and turned in to your department by 12 noon the Wednesday after finals week concludes. If you need assistance with grade entry, the department administrative support person can assist. Students can access their grades through the internet through their student login on the web.
CLASS ATTENDANCE AND STUDENT ABSENCES
As indicated above, it is essential to provide your students with a policy regarding how you will handle course absences for unexpected illness, a family emergency, etc.
Please keep student attendance records. Should a student withdraw, fail, or receive an incomplete in your class, a last day of attendance must be identified.
Watch your e-mail for important dates important to students: the last day to add a course, the last day to drop a course with a W, the deadline for submitting a graduation application, etc.
Any questions or concerns about grading can be discussed with the Department Chair.
Except for absence due to official University activities, each part-time faculty member is in full control of class attendance. Only a non-official absence must be approved directly by the part-time faculty. An official University activity is any activity whereby a student officially represents the University through an academic department, a sponsored University program, an officially registered student organization, or an athletic team.
Requests by students for an official absence must be submitted to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (McMullen Hall, Room 201) using the Student Travel Authorization form. This procedure will assure students the opportunity to make up examinations given when official University activities are scheduled.
However, when issued, an official absence is an excuse for classroom attendance only and does not mean that a student is excused from the study assignment for that period. Each student is responsible for making up all work missed.
Students who have not paid fees or officially arranged for an approved payment plan are dropped from classes at the conclusion of the fee payment period each semester. Instructors will be notified by the Office of Admissions and Records/Registrar of the date students are dropped from enrollment. Class attendance must be reconciled with the official class roster. If students in attendance are not listed on the class roster, they must go to both the Admissions and Records Office (McMullen 1st Floor) and the Business Office (McMullen Basement) or City College Jacket Student Central to re-register for classes and pay fees. After the fee payment period each semester, students have only one week to re-register for classes.
For City College: Please verify Banner Class listings frequently during the semester for accuracy, specifically during the first two weeks of classes; students may add or drop classes readily during this time period. If you have student in class who are not on the class list, please refer the student to their advisor, or Jacket Student Central at 247-3019, or Stephanie Cowen at 247-3005. In addition, please notify Jack Underwood in Jacket Student Central at 247-3017 about students who are not attending classes but are still listed on the class roster.
Student Success Initiatives
MSUB is engaged in several student success initiatives to improve our retention and persistence rates. For example, MSUB has developed an Academic Alert process for instructors who have concerns about their students’ ability to progress in their course. Please see the information here. Your department chair and/or faculty mentor can also provide information.
The Academic Support Center is another resource for students. Further information can be found here. Ms. Rebekah Reger is the Director of the ASC, and her direct phone number is 657-1714. If you have a student who is academically struggling, please feel free to refer them to the ASC. The ASC also provides supplemental instructional support for some courses if resources allow.
The official class schedule must be followed since students have arranged their schedules for the announced time and place of the class. If circumstances require a change, such changes must receive prior approval from the Department Chair.
FINAL EXAMINATION SCHEDULE
MSU Billings has adopted a special final examination schedule for the convenience of students and faculty. Each instructor is expected to follow the published final examination schedule. Comprehensive semester exams are to be given only at the time regularly scheduled for them. Finals week is included in the number of weeks necessary to meet accreditation standards as well as to fulfill federal financial aid guidelines. Therefore, any deviation must be with the concurrence of the Department Chair, the Dean of the College, and with the unanimous consent of the class. The final examination schedule is published on MSU Billings web site.
City College and the University campus maintain different final exam schedules, and occasionally a student experiences a conflict if he or she is taking coursework at both locations. For the most part, these scheduling challenges are worked out between instructors and students, but you can also contact your department chair and faculty mentor should you have further questions.
PART-TIME FACULTY OFFICE HOURS
Part-time faculty should be available to meet with students for at least one hour each week for each course taught. This time allows for advising students on the coursework and for resolving any academic problems that may arise during the course.
Part-time faculty usually schedule these office hours immediately before or after classes, and may also schedule student conferences by appointment. Students should be informed of the instructor’s availability for meetings. Office hours should be listed on the syllabus and posted in the department office.
On the University Campus, Part-time faculty members will be provided office space within the unit. When private office space is not available, the Department Chair will arrange for shared space. At City College, part-time faculty workspaces are available in both City College buildings.
Please check with your department chair to determine a suitable work environment while you are on campus. Computers, a printer, file cabinets, and office supplies are also available.
At the University Campus, if you require other supplies, please contact your department chair and the department’s administrative assistant. At City College, please contact the Dean’s Administrative Assistant at 247-3003 or the Business office at 247-3002. Keys to the computer room printer cabinets at City College are available from the Director of Operations at 247-3008.
RELATIONSHIPS WITH STUDENTS
Without a doubt, the most rewarding aspect of teaching at Montana State University Billings is the opportunity to work with diverse and talented students. Teaching provides an opportunity to guide and mentor students through their education and toward their ultimate career goals.
Student Affairs Handbook
The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs prepares information pertaining to extracurricular student programs and services, in addition to the student codes of conduct. The full Policy and Procedures Handbook can be found here.
Student Grievance Policy
Montana State University Billings has adopted a formal policy to handle complaints/grievances. This policy applies to all faculty, including part-time faculty. The Student Complaint Procedures can be found here.