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Teaching first-generation students

Find tips, best practices, and resources for teaching WSU’s first-generation students.

Key Policy Reminders 2016-17

Memo to Deans, Directors and Department Chairs

eLearning Services

Resources for enhancing your teaching with eLearning tools.

Academic Integrity

Faculty members should read the University’s policy on academic integrity.  University instructors have the authority to intervene in all situations where students are suspected to be cheating.  All confirmed cases of dishonesty must be reported to the Office of Student Standards and Accountability. Detailed information about plagiarism, including tips on how to spot it, suggestions about how to handle it, and information about punishments is provided by the WSU Libraries.  Questions about the University’s policy on academic integrity should be directed to the Office of Student Conduct at 5-4532.

Academic Media Services (AMS)

AMS can provide help with campus technology and e-learning.

Academic Regulations

Important academic regulations are described on this webpage.  Nevertheless, faculty members should be familiar with all University Academic Regulations.  Many academic issues with students can be avoided or resolved easily if faculty members understand and comply with these regulations.  Faculty members should pay particular attention to the rules governing attendance, absences, examinations, closed week, accommodations of religious observances, accommodations of disabilities during examinations, grading, academic complaint procedures, and administrative changes to final grades.

Office of Assessment of Teaching and Learning

ATL works with colleges and programs on assessment of student learning and continuous improvement of undergraduate academic programs.

Closed Week

Closed week is the last week of instruction during a semester and the week before examinations.  New material may be introduced during closed week, but no examinations or quizzes, (other than laboratory examinations, make-up examinations and make-up quizzes) may be given.

Confidentiality of Student Records (FERPA)

Each department and faculty member is responsible to maintain the confidentiality of student records in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). Questions regarding access to, or release of, student records may be referred to the Registrar’s Office at 335-5346.

Disability Resource Center (DRC)

DRC offers services to students with documented disabilities, both temporary and ongoing.  It can arrange accommodations including alternative testing, sign language interpretation, alternative print media, assistance with note taking, and assistive technology.  DRC can be contacted at 5-3417.


University rules do not require that a final examination be given.  If an examination is required, however, the final examination schedule provides for the orderly administration of two or three-hour final examinations outside the regular class period.  Here are two rules that govern these examinations.

  • A student will not be granted special examinations for the purpose of leaving the institution before    the close of the semester.
  • If a student has three or more examinations scheduled for any one day, any one of his or her instructors may excuse the student from the regularly scheduled examination and give a final examination to that student during the special exams time blocks. In cases of difficulty arriving at a solution, a student shall refer the matter to the chairperson of his or her department or to his or her academic advisers.

Excused Absences

Students must sometimes miss examinations or other academic obligations because of illness, personal crisis, etc. The instructor should provide and document reasonable accommodation as long the absences are not excessive. The instructor may require the student to submit a written explanation of the absence, but written excuses from health care personnel should not be required.  A student who is dissatisfied with the instructor’s accommodation may follow the Academic Complaint Procedure, Rule 104. Washington State University also requires that reasonable accommodations be made in regard to religious holidays as spelled out by Academic Regulation 82.

Grading Errors

An instructor may not change a grade after it has been filed with the Registrar, except in the case of clerical error.  The instructor may correct a clerical grading error by notifying the Registrar. Such a change in grade must be approved by the chairperson of the department in which the course was offered. Grade corrections must be processed within one year of the end of the term for which the original grade was given. In extenuating circumstances, exceptions to the one-year limit may be considered by petition to the Registrar’s Office.

Graduate Students

Working with graduate students is part of the job of every tenure-track or tenured faculty member at Washington State University. View policies and procedures related to recruiting and working with graduate students.


The library instruction unit provides support to key partner programs, including the composition program, the Intensive American Language Center, the freshman seminar program, and the General Education program. The libraries also offer a one-credit course (Gen Ed 300) and are involved with new initiatives in the Office of Undergraduate Education, such as Freshman Focus. The Information Literacy Education project pulls together many of the resources available.   In addition, librarian subject specialists work with their liaison departments to offer course-specific instruction at upper undergraduate and graduate levels. The Libraries also assist with teaching at the regional campuses. At Tri-Cities, all incoming freshmen take a one- or two-credit course that covers learning goals with an emphasis on information literacy. At Vancouver, a special project in the library supports new lower-division students and the general education curriculum. At Spokane’s Riverpoint Campus, WSU and Eastern Washington library faculty present instruction sessions to classes from both universities.


A course syllabus can serve as an important source of information for students. It can outline the goals and expectations of the course and provide information about important subjects such as the specific topics to be covered and the readings for those topics, how and when tests will be conducted, how grades will be assigned, how plagiarism will be handled, and special information for students with disabilities. Further information about syllabi, including a template and examples are available.  See course syllabus statements about dealing with student disabilities. Course syllabi should also include a statement emphasizing the importance of academic integrity and how dishonesty in coursework will be treated. Instructors will find a step by step process, sample course syllabus statements and a sample letter on the Office of Student Conduct web page. In accordance with Academic Regulation 73, instructors are encouraged to establish and explain classroom procedures for excused absences early in the semester, preferably in the syllabus.  Once announced, these procedures should be scrupulously followed unless extraordinary circumstances require an exception.