Policy:                   FACULTY RESPONSIBILITIES

Effective date:        July 1, 2017

Review date:          July 1, 2020


Responsible Party: Office of the Provost


Montana State University recognizes and supports the central role that faculty play in fulfilling the mission of the university. Faculty assume important responsibilities related to teaching, scholarship, and service that are essential to the land-grant university.


In the performance of their responsibilities in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and service the faculty shall:

a. Promote an environment where members of the university community are free from abuse, threats, intimidation, bullying, discrimination, or unprofessional behavior.

b. Contribute to a safe and effective working and learning environment that exemplifies the expectations defined in the Ethical and Professional Standards Policy.

c. Identify their personal views, beliefs, and opinions as such.


Faculty are an integral part of the teaching mission of the university. In fulfillment of the teaching mission, the faculty shall:

a. Play a major and central role in the design, revision, and implementation of the curriculum.

b. Keep abreast of current advances in their disciplines and, as appropriate, regularly update course content.

c. Foster and assess student achievement of defined learning outcomes in the courses they teach.

d. Ably advise students on degree programs within their academic unit as well as future career decisions and refer students to appropriate advising for other educational and degree pathways.

e. Integrate the use of library and/or other information resources as appropriate into the learning process.

f. Create a course syllabus that states in writing the specific course content, objectives, and expected learning outcomes. The course syllabus will be made available to the students by the second class meeting or within a week of the start of the course for on-line courses.

g. Teach assigned classes in accordance with official course descriptions. Present materials consistent with course objectives and learning outcomes.

h. Meet classes at the times and locations in the published schedule. Some courses are formatted to include off-campus events such as internships, field practice, and musical performances whose locations and times may arise during the course and may be referred to in the schedule or syllabus without the specific times and locations. Classes taught off-campus must be in compliance with the Student Travel Policy.

i. Articulate student classroom behavioral expectations in the course syllabus or other written material provided to the students. Faculty may establish reasonable expectations for classroom behavior in addition to those described in the Student Conduct Code.

j. State in the course syllabus the rules for attendance and make-up exams consistent with university policy. (see Examinations Policy).

k. Be prompt in meeting scheduled classes, be available for appointments with students at designated times, and be prepared for classes.

l. Be fair and prompt in grading and returning class assignments and tests.

m. Use the class meeting scheduled by the university for the final examination period for final examinations or other instructional activities. (see Examinations Policy).

n. State in writing the limits of assistance permitted between students on graded assignments when provided with collaborative learning opportunities.

o. Respect students’ rights to be free from discrimination and protect students’ personal information in accordance with the university’s non-discrimination policy. Individual students must not be treated differently based on factors such as race, color, religion, national origin, creed, service in the uniformed services (as defined in state and federal law), veteran’s status, sex, age, political ideas, marital or family status, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, genetic information, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.

Academic assignments, or classroom procedures, may be modified to provide approved accommodations for a student’s disability. Instructors who learn personal information about a student (religious and political views, sexual orientation, etc.) may not share such information with the class or others, except with permission of the student or in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).

p. Maintain educational records in a manner consistent with state law and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), which affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. Records maintained by the university are considered education records and may not be disclosed except as allowed by state law and FERPA.

q. Schedule and maintain regular office hours for students. Office hours should be reasonably convenient for students and the instructor with the opportunity provided for prearranged appointments, and communicated to students in writing.

r. Responsibly manage any absences from class. Faculty shall teach classes at the scheduled times and locations and, in case of illness or emergency, the faculty member shall notify the department and make arrangements, if possible, to have an appropriate substitute instructor teach the class. If no instructor is available to teach the class, the department will promptly notify students of class cancellation.

s. When an instructor must miss class for professional meetings or other appropriate reasons, the faculty member will make arrangements to have the work of the class continue, either by arranging for an appropriate substitute instructor, by scheduling an examination, or preparing alternative work assignments for the students appropriate to the learning outcomes. Classes may not be canceled for the convenience of the instructor.

t. Evaluate student performance.

i. Undergraduate students

Grading is the prerogative and responsibility of the instructor who must specify the grading policies for the class in the syllabus. The assigned final grade must reflect the performance of the student commensurate with the course content and objectives. If a student questions their grade, the instructor has a responsibility to discuss the matter with the student. If the instructor cannot resolve the matter to the student’s satisfaction, the student may initiate academic grievance procedures.

ii. Graduate students

The evaluation of graduate students may involve more than the assignment of grades. Each department that offers graduate programs will establish and provide the students with notice of the manner in which academic progress in the graduate program will be assessed consistent with the policies of the Graduate School. Each department will include a mechanism for graduate students to receive regular feedback on their academic progress.

u. Retain grade records. Grade records will be retained for at least five years. Following the retention period, disposal shall be conducted in a manner that protects students’ rights of confidentiality.


Students are granted the right to inspect their educational records under FERPA. Therefore, graded examinations, papers, and other records of evaluation will be made available to the student for inspection. If the instructor chooses to retain these materials rather than return them to students, they must be kept for a period of one (1) year to provide the opportunity for review and to resolve any grade or other academic decision disputes. If graded materials are returned to the student, then any uncollected materials must be kept for one (1) year. Instructors shall arrange for storage with the department if they are no longer employed by the university.


Faculty engage in discovery and the advancement of knowledge through scholarship. In fulfilling these responsibilities, faculty shall:

a. Develop and engage in scholarship activities in a professional manner.

b. Mentor students in their scholarship activities.

c. Respect and defend free inquiry and the exchange of ideas while respecting the views and rights of others when working with students and colleagues.

d. Acknowledge the contributions of others to their own work.

e. Create, seek, and share knowledge fairly, accurately, and objectively.


Faculty have a responsibility to make contributions through service and outreach activities by committing to serve the university, as well as the state, the nation, and the international community. In fulfilling their service responsibilities, the faculty shall:

a. Engage in service to others on and off-campus by applying their knowledge and expertise.

b. Engage in service to their discipline or profession through professional organizations and activities.

c. Provide honest and objective appraisals in judging the professional performance and evaluation of colleagues in accordance with the primary academic unit, college, and university criteria.

d. Participate in governance at the primary academic unit, college, and/or university levels of the institution.

e. Maintain an active and significant role in the selection of new faculty and members of the administration.

f. Participate in the development of goals and plans of the department/school, college, and university.