Montana State University
Office of the Provost > Collective Bargaining Agreement > Non Tenure Track Faculty

Article 7 : Academic Freedom and Responsibilities


7.01 Academic Freedom
7.02 Academic Responsibilities
   7.02.01 Course Outline/syllabus
   7.02.02 Course Expectations
   7.02.03 Personal Information About Students
   7.02.04 Office Hours
   7.02.05 Absence From Class
   7.02.06 Grading
   7.02.07 Instruction Complaint Procedures
7.03 Workload
   7.03.01 Workload Appeal


Faculty members are entitled to freedom in the classroom, on campus, and off campus while in the course of fulfilling their obligations as University faculty members. In discussing their subject, they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter that has no relation to their subject. The intent of this statement is not to discourage what is "controversial." Controversy is at the heart of the free academic inquiry which the entire statement is designed to foster. This passage serves to underscore the need for faculty members to avoid persistently intruding material that has no relation to their subject.

Faculty members are citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of an educational institution. When they speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As scholars and educational officers, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence they should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution.


All members of the University community are expected to relate in a professional manner. It is the responsibility of administration and faculty to ensure that members of the University community are free from being subject to abuse, threats, intimidation, bullying, discrimination or unprofessional behavior. The definition of a safe working environment (see Section 6.02) shall include ethical and professional standards as defined (Section 9.02) and non-discrimination (Section 2.12). Similarly, each faculty member is expected to participate in the work of the department and of the institution.


The general content of a course or academic program must be described with reasonable accuracy in catalogs and other documents available to students. Instructors must state in writing (which may include writing available online) the course content and objectives. This material must be made available to the students by the second class meeting.


Faculty are expected to teach classes in accordance with official descriptions and meet classes in accordance with published schedules at on-campus locations, off-campus locations germane to the subject matter, or at other locations. No classes will be taught off-campus or unscheduled locations without prior approval of the department head and dean.

  1. Classroom Behavior
    Instructors may establish reasonable rules for classroom behavior, in addition to those in the Student Conduct Code. Such rules shall be articulated as part of the written course materials provided to the students.
  2. Collaboration Among Students
    Instructors are encouraged to provide collaborative learning opportunities but must state in writing the limits of assistance permitted between and among students in a course assignment.
  3. Instruction Responsibilities
    Instructors may establish rules for attendance and make-up exams and must state these in writing. Instructors must be prompt in meeting their scheduled classes, be available for appointments with students at designated times, be well prepared for classes, and be fair and prompt in grading class assignments and tests. The scheduled final examination period must be used for final examinations in the class or other instruction.

Factors such as race, creed, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, political beliefs or personal relationships must not be considered in matters of academic evaluation, academic assignments, or classroom procedures. If an instructor learns personal information about the student (religious and political views, sexual orientation, etc.) during the progress of the course, he or she must not share such information with the other students, except with permission of the student.

Additionally, all University employees-both faculty and staff-must abide by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) which affords students certain rights with respect to their education records.


Instructors are required to make time available for student conferences through regularly scheduled office hours. Office hours should be convenient for both students and the instructor with the opportunity provided for prearranged appointments. Available office hours will be communicated to students in writing.


In case of illness or emergency, the faculty member shall notify the department and arrangements should be made to have another staff member instruct the class or promptly notify students of cancellation. Classes may not be canceled for the convenience of the instructor. When an instructor knows in advance that he or she will miss a class, arrangements must be made to have the work of the class continue, either by arranging for a substitute instructor, by scheduling an examination for that day, or by providing some alternate work assignment for the students.

7.02.06 GRADING

Grading is the prerogative and responsibility of the instructor. Instructors must specify in writing, as part of the syllabus, the specific grading policies for the class. The assigned final grade must reflect the performance of the student in the course commensurate with the content and objectives of the course. If a student questions his or her grade, the instructor has a responsibility to discuss the matter with the student. If the instructor cannot satisfactorily resolve the matter, the student must be advised of the grading grievance procedures, see Section 16.02.

Graded examinations, papers, and other sources of evaluation are to be available to the student for inspection and discussion. If the instructor chooses to retain these materials rather than return them to students, they must be kept for a period of one year. If graded materials become the property of the student, then uncollected materials must be kept for one semester. Adjunct and part-time instructors should arrange for storage with the department in their absence. The grade records will be retained for at least one year to provide the opportunity for review and resolution of grade disputes.


Students who have complaints about instructors who have failed to meet the instructional responsibilities set forth in Sections 7.02.01-7.02.06 may submit an Instruction Complaint Form to the instructor's Department Head (forms available at departmental office and/or the Dean of Students office).

The complaint must be presented in writing to the Department Head or Director no later than the fifteenth day of University instruction of the following term. The Department Head will address the matters raised in the complaint with the instructor and will advise the student of his or her determination regarding the complaint within ten (10) working days.

If the Department Head fails to act or the student is dissatisfied with the Department Head's action, the student may forward the complaint to the Dean of the College within five (5) working days of receipt of the Department Head's determination. The Dean will submit a written decision to the student within ten (10) working days of the receipt of the appeal. The Dean's decision is the final decision of the University.


Each NTT faculty member in the bargaining unit will hold an FTE assignment, which represents the actual proportion of full-time load as determined by the department head and approved by the Provost. In making workload assignments, department heads may assign workload in the form of equivalent credit for duties beyond or in lieu of normal classroom teaching.
It is understood by the parties that workload expectations must be flexible enough to allow for unanticipated needs and unique challenges that may be presented from time to time.

Faculty members who are appointed on a 12-credit per semester threshold for 1.0 FTE determination as of Fall 2011 shall have the right to remain at that threshold as a 1.0 FTE through June 30, 2013 if they continue to be employed. Faculty members who were on a 15 credit per semester or above for 1.0 FTE determination as of Fall 2011 shall remain at that threshold if they continue to be employed.

An NTT faculty member who is offered and opts to transition from a 12-credit per semester threshold to the 15-credit per semester threshold shall receive a commensurate increase in compensation and may not thereafter revert to a 12-credit threshold for determining 1.0 FTE status.

University administration will exercise its right under the Management Rights clause in the CBA and place all new hires on no less than a 15 credit per semester threshold for 1.0 FTE and/or credit equivalencies as determined by the department head and approved by the Provost.


Workload assignments described in the preceding provision (titled "WORKLOAD") may be appealed to a workload appeals committee composed of two tenured or tenure-track faculty, two academic administrators, and one at-large member serving staggered four-year terms. The AFMSU shall appoint the two faculty members, the Administration shall appoint the administrators, and the foregoing four members shall select unanimously the fifth member. The procedural rules of the committee shall be as follows:

The dean, or department head, and faculty member shall make formal proposals concerning the assignment of workload to the committee. The committee will be charged with resolving the differences. Such a resolution may include selecting one of the formal proposals or a compromise assignment. In making its decision, the committee will attempt to balance the following standards:

  1. Demonstrated need for the assignment, according to departmental, college/school, or University demands, or University-wide productivity guidelines.
  2. Conformity of the assignment with equitable distribution of teaching, research, and service loads within the academic unit.
  3. Conformity of the assignment with provisions of the collective bargaining agreement.

The committee shall submit its recommendation to the Provost for a decision. The Provost's decision shall focus solely on the above listed standards. The Provost's decision can be grieved pursuant to the grievance and arbitration provision of the collective bargaining agreement only if it is in conflict with a four-to-one or five-to-zero vote of the committee in favor of the faculty member.

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