Notes for New Faculty

Office of the University Registrar / 121 Kutz Hall  / registrar@brandeis.edu

Critical contacts

Mark Hewitt, University Registrar, mhewitt@brandeis.edu

Andrew Marx, Senior Associate Registrar, amarx@brandeis.edu

Kristina Law, Assistant Registrar, klaw@brandeis.edu

Haydee Vazquez, Academic Records Specialist, vazquez@brandeis.edu

Classroom scheduling: scheduling@brandeis.edu

 

Summary of office responsibilities:

Academic policy and regulations, academic calendar, course and classroom scheduling, final exam scheduling, registration and enrollment, degree auditing and awarding, privacy policy (FERPA) and data steward for student records, transcripts, enrollment and degree verifications, transfer credit evaluation, grading, University Bulletin and course schedules.

Privacy and FERPA

Faculty have access to a range of protected information about students. You are responsible for understanding our policies as to how to handle student information – both within the university and externally. Please review our posted policies as they relate to FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act - https://www.brandeis.edu/registrar/faculty/ferpa.html ) and how we handle student information requests and maintain student privacy. Whenever you have a question about how to handle a request for information about a student please contact us.

Academic Calendar

The Brandeis academic calendar is quirky, it is important to review the detailed calendars for each semester: Fall 2020, Spring 2021. If you teach a 6-week module course, please review the module dates for 2020-21.  Do not just assume that a holiday is a holiday – e.g., Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11th classes are actually in session. Also we regularly have to turn particular days into other days to balance the schedule – these are referred to as Brandeis Days.  As an example, a Brandeis Monday might occur on a Thursday, which means Monday classes will meet on that Thursday, and classes that would normally be scheduled to meet on the Thursday will not. This year we have the following Brandeis Days:

Thursday, September 10 is a Monday class schedule;

Wednesday, September 30 is a Monday class schedule;

For Fall 2020 be aware that all in-person class activities will end Friday November 20th, and the remaining instructional activities and final exams will be conducted solely online after the Thanksgiving break.

 

Subscribing to the Academic Calendar on Google

You may subscribe to the Brandeis University Academic Calendar, as maintained in Google Calendar by the Registrar's office. 

If you have access to Google Calendar, you can subscribe to the academic calendar by directly adding it to your calendars. You can locate the Academic Calendar within Google Calendar. In the box for "Other Calendars" add the following:  brandeis.edu_pocb06fq5pdm19dbpgujbvsuhk@group.calendar.google.com

An ICS feed for the academic calendar is available at: https://www.google.com/calendar/ical/brandeis.edu_pocb06fq5pdm19dbpgujbvsuhk%40group.calendar.google.com/public

Copy the link above and paste it into your web browser.

Final Exams

Are not obligatory, so we survey instructors at the start of the term to determine which courses require a final exam during Finals Week.  We process the results to determine the date and time for all final exams. (We assign exam slots to reduce the conflicts for students, which otherwise necessitate make-up exams.) If you are scheduled for an exam during Finals Week, then you must allow the full 3 hours for the students to complete the exam – regardless of whether you design the exam to be shorter. Please note that NO obligatory activities may be scheduled for the Study Days that precede Finals Week.  Students may not take a final exam early. We try to post the final exam schedule as early as we possibly can in the term, so that students and instructors can make travel plans, so please respond to our surveys promptly.

Fall 2020 final exams will be conducted online only.

Fall 2020:  Study Day: Dec. 4th /  Exam Week: Dec 7th – 14th

Spring 2021: Study Days: May 4th-5th /  Exam Week: May 6th – 14th

Grading

The majority of classes are graded on a letter-grade basis of A+ to E (our failing grade). For graduate students, please note that any grade below a B- is considered unsatisfactory and will not earn credit. How you map points/percentages to letter grades is at your discretion, but we advise reviewing your grading rubric with experienced faculty within your department so that you fall within the norms of the department.  Your grading rubric should be included on your syllabus and abided by – you cannot change how you are grading your students in midstream. Fairness is a slippery term, but students in same class should have the same opportunities for earning a grade.  There will be times when students are confronted with personal circumstances that may require exceptions on your part in order to maintain some level of fairness across the class. Incomplete grades (and the concomitant extensions) should only be awarded when a small amount of work is outstanding – incompletes are not meant to allow students to submit the majority of their work late! Work for incompletes is due roughly 4 weeks from end of term of the class, with the final grade to replace the incomplete due about two weeks later (see academic calendar for specific dates). Due dates for final grades are listed in the academic calendar – please be aware that distinct and earlier dates apply to students graduating in the Spring term.

Registration/Enrollment

Please consult the academic calendar for specific dates associated with the deadlines below. Students may add and drop freely through the first 10 instructional days of the term, after that classes may not be added without going through a petition process for a late add.  We do not encourage late adds and we generally do not support late adds if a student was not attending from the start of the term. After the end of registration (Sept. 9th for Fall 2020), students need the permission of the instructor to drop a course (instructors provide permission via DROP consent codes for specific sections of their courses that students then use to actually drop the course).  The first important drop deadline occurs at the 30th day of instruction (Oct. 8th  for Fall 2020) which is the last day an undergraduate can drop a course without triggering a W transcript notation. Students expect feedback on their standing in a course in advance of this deadline, so please be prepared.  The final deadline to drop a course is the 50th day of instruction (Nov. 5th for Fall 2020). For Module courses please consult the academic calendar for the last day to drop a course.

Waitlist/Demand List

During a registration period classes that have numeric limits on the number of seats may generate a demand list. Once the class reaches its enrollment limit it closes to further enrollment, and students are directed to place themselves on the demand list. Instructors are responsible for monitoring the demand lists for their courses and may use ADD consent codes to allow students to enroll as appropriate. In some cases, if there is a hard limit due to classroom size limitations we do not allow additional students and do not generate ADD consent codes for such cases. We do alert instructors when this happens to not provide further consent for adds.

Sage

Is the official system of record for class enrollments and degree audits.  Sage (https://sage.brandeis.edu/) is our version of the PeopleSoft Student Records system.  Instructors can view class lists in sage, and are required to enter official final grades for their courses in sage. Advisors have access to their assigned advisee student records and degree audits.  Students perform all their enrollment activities directly in sage – if you do not see a student listed for your class on sage that student is not officially enrolled. Sage is distinct from, and feeds enrollment information to, Latte (our version of Moodle), which is our learning management system.

Guides to how to use sage are available for faculty and staff, either as a pdf document or in short videos contained in the FAQ section of the page.

Classrooms

Classroom usage for 2020-2021 is subject to special constraints. In order to create sufficient physical distancing within classrooms seating capacity has been reduced by 75%, and an overall cap on the total number of people allowed in a room has been set at 29. These are subject to change, and most importantly, for those instructors offering in-person activities (whether the course is fully in-person or hybrid), it will be the responsibility of the instructor to abide by and enforce the capacity limits that have been set for their classroom.

Classrooms are shared University spaces, however the Office of the University Registrar is responsible for the scheduling of classes and classrooms. We do our utmost to schedule classes based on the various and competing needs across the University as a whole. Please be mindful that not all classroom requests and preferences can be honored as classroom inventory is limited on campus. If you have questions or concerns about your classroom space, please email scheduling@brandeis.edu , if you encounter an actual problem with your classroom please report it right away - either to your department administrator or to us – it is important that we are alerted to problems early as other classes may be affected and may have to be moved.

Classroom assignments are released in sage/public schedules a few days before the start of instruction and then automatically flow to Latte. The office emails instructors and students once the information has been released.

The Office of the University Registrar reserves the right to modify classroom assignments based on the needs of the University community. In the case of an emergency, or where there are conflicting requests for the same space, the Office of the University Registrar has the authority to relocate classrooms based on our determination of what is best for the community.

University Bulletin

The University Bulletin is the official document for academic policies and regulations. The Bulletin that is published when a student enters a degree program at the University defines the requirements the student must fulfill to earn that degree. We publish the Bulletin at the start of each Fall term, however we maintain a provisional Bulletin which we update on an on-going basis with changes to courses and requirements. The Bulletin is an important advising tool for you and if you are an advisor you should be familiar with its contents as it relates to your programs.

 

The current Bulletin lists two sets of general requirements for undergraduate students. One set, the older requirements, applies to all undergraduates who entered before July 1st 2019. The other set, the new Brandeis Core requirements, applies to all students starting their undergraduate degree program after July 1st 2019. Advisors need to be aware of the distinctions between these requirements and to also ascertain when a student being advised entered the University, as that information is crucial to determining which requirements must be met. The degree audit in sage for undergraduates automatically applies the correct set of requirements based on the entry date of the student, so advisors should check there when speaking with students.