Climate for Teaching and Learning



The faculty and administrators in the Department of Family Studies are committed to creating a social and intellectual climate that enhances the teaching experiences of the faculty and learning experiences of the students. Students and faculty occupy reciprocal and interdependent positions within the university. Any effort to enhance the climate for teaching and learning must address both student and faculty contributions to the climate.

The faculty within the Department are committed to providing the best educational opportunities that they can for students. It is our intention to be responsive to student needs and to create an atmosphere in our classes that promotes student involvement and academic rigor. At the same time, it is the expectation of the faculty that students will actively participate in their own education – challenge themselves, take responsibility for their education and take advantage of the unique learning opportunities available in Human Development and Family Studies.

In order to create an optimal environment for teaching and learning, we believe that it is important to make the responsibilities and rights of both students and faculty explicit. What follows represents our effort to make explicit what students can expect of the faculty teaching their classes. These expectations constitute what we think of as the rights of the students in Human Development and Family Studies courses. This document, also, makes explicit what the faculty believe they should be able to expect of the students taking their courses. These expectations constitute what we think of as the rights of the faculty. The faculty and students who worked on this statement hope that with a shared understanding of these rights and responsibilities, students and faculty together will be able to co-construct an effective climate for teaching and learning.

Student Rights/Teacher Obligations. This is what students taking HDFS courses are entitled to:

• Faculty will provide a clear, complete syllabus that includes a listing of all course requirements, with due dates, distributed at the first class.
• Faculty will provide clear grading criteria.
• Faculty will provide clear policies regarding how attendance and class participation contribute to the grade.
• Faculty will provide clear policies regarding the missing of scheduled exams.
• Faculty will provide clear policies regarding missed or late assignments and how these will be graded.
• Faculty will start and end class on time.
• Faculty will hold office hours for student consultation and an opportunity to meet outside the classroom to make the course learning experience as positive as possible.
• Faculty will start appointments on time. If a professor needs to miss a scheduled appointment with a student, the professor is responsible for notifying the student of this fact and for scheduling a new appointment.
• Faculty will respond in a timely manner to students’ e-mail and voice-mail messages.
• Faculty will return written work in a timely manner, assuming the work was turned in on time, and will inform students as to when written assignments will be returned.
• Faculty will provide exam grades in a timely manner (within 2 weeks or less).
• Faculty will talk with the students with respect and sensitivity.
• Faculty will follow the University’s policies on sexual harassment and affirmative action.
• Faculty will respect and protect student confidentiality.
• Faculty will provide information to the students on how their complaints and grievances with the course or instructor should be handled. (Students are encouraged to consult the University of Connecticut’s Student Handbook for information regarding general university policies with respect to student grievances.).

Student Obligations/Teacher Rights. This is what faculty should be able to expect of the students taking HDFS courses:

• Students will attend class and keep up with course readings and assignments.
• Students will arrive for class on time and not leave until the end of the class.
• Students who are consistently late for class (for example, if there are circumstances beyond the control of the student that result in the student being unable to arrive at class on time) should let the instructor know why. Students, also, should consult with the instructor as to how to minimize any disruption to the class that might result from their late arrival.
• Students needing to leave a class early should notify the instructor of this prior to the start of class.
• Students will participate in their classes.
• Students will talk to other students in the class and the faculty with respect and sensitivity. This includes using proper terms of address with faculty (usually, “Dr.” or “Professor”, unless otherwise indicated) and with instructors (Ms., Mrs., Mr.).
• Students will arrive for appointments with instructors on time, or call to reschedule or cancel.
• Students will inform instructors of extenuating circumstances keeping them from attending class, especially if two or more classes in a row are missed.
• Students will turn in written work when due unless extraordinary circumstances interfere.
• Students will be familiar with the information in the University of Connecticut’s Student Handbook regarding the University’s policies with respect to cheating and plagiarism.
• Students will be responsible for taking term exams on scheduled dates unless excused by the instructor. Students are required to take final exams on the days and at the times designated by the Registrar unless excused by the Office of Student Affairs.
• Students who miss exams must discuss this situation with the faculty as soon as possible to arrange for a make-up exam.
• Students are expected to discuss problems they are having with the class with the instructor.


Final Note

The faculty of Human Development and Family Studies are committed to the partnership that exists between students and faculty. The climate for teaching and learning can be enhanced only when the cooperative spirit of this partnership is honored in both directions.