Teaching Policies

University policies

Department of Mathematics policies

These policies have been modified in light of COVID-19. Please review the revised policies, which will remain in effect until further notice.

Syllabi and course policies

  • Each instructor must make available a written or electronic statement of course policies to students at the start of each course. The same information must be provided to the department in written or electronic form. At a minimum, these policies must cover grading information, contact information, and office hours.
  • Standard syllabi for many courses can be found here (syllabi for undergraduate courses are maintained by the Undergraduate Office).
  • Instructors should take care to cover the material on the standard syllabus, especially in courses which serve as prerequisites.

Examinations and feedback to students

  • At least three hourly midterm exams should be given in each undergraduate class, except by approval of the Associate Chair.
  • All examinations at the undergraduate level should be in-class exams (i.e. not take-home exams), except as approved by the Associate Chair.
  • At least one midterm examination should be returned to the students prior to the late drop date.
  • Final examinations are required in all undergraduate courses, except by approval of the Associate Chair.
  • Deviations from the final examination schedule are not permitted, except as approved by the Provost's office. Requests are submitted through the Associate Chair.
  • Final examinations should be worth substantially more than each midterm exam.
  • Final examinations are expected in all basic graduate level courses, especially comprehensive examination courses.
  • Instructors should provide meaningful feedback to their students in a timely manner throughout each semester.

Old examinations, instructors leaving the University

  • Final examinations and grade records should be retained for one year in case grade disputes or other issues arise.
  • Information which identifies students should be removed before recycling.
  • Instructors who are leaving the university should label exams clearly with name and date and leave them with the Assistant to the Associate Chair.

Absences from teaching duties

  • If a faculty member must miss class, they should arrange for another faculty member to substitute.
  • All such substitutions should be reported to the Associate Chair in advance.
  • There are circumstances in which it is appropriate for a TA to miss class for professional reasons (e.g. conference attendance).
    • The TA must arrange a suitable substitute with their supervisor in advance.
    • The TA must communicate the arrangements to the Associate Chair.
  • TAs are expected to be on campus to begin their duties on the date which is announced prior to the start of each semester.
  • TAs are expected to remain on campus at the end of each semester until all components of their teaching duties are complete.

Accommodations for students

  • Examinations and course deadlines should be scheduled with religious holidays in mind.
  • The University asks instructors to accommodate the travel schedules of athletes.
  • Instructors may accommodate attendance at professional meetings (such as conferences) which add to the intellectual training of a student.
  • Instructors shall hold all students who miss class for religious or University sponsored activities to the same standard. (§ 1-501 (f) of the student code).
  • Students with disabilities should be provided accommodations as prescribed by DRES (Disability Resources & Education Services, https://www.disability.illinois.edu/academic-support/instructor-information). Before denying any such request for accommodations, an instructor should first consult with both DRES and the associate chair.

Policy on grades in undergraduate courses

  • UAC Grade Policy (access restricted to instructors in the mathematics department)


Note concerning undergraduate graders
Undergraduate graders should grade exams only under close supervision of a faculty member, and should not be required to grade exams during the final exam period.

Note concerning TA workload
Teaching Assistantships at the 50% level entail a maximum average workload of 20 hours per week over the course of a semester. It is to be expected that a TA's workload may be higher than the average at certain times in a semester as a result of exam grading and similar activities. Faculty and instructional staff supervisors are reminded that TAs have a primary responsibility to the completion of their degree programs, and thus such supervisors should exercise discretion in requiring temporarily-above-average teaching work of TAs. TAs are reminded that good teaching sometimes requires short-term time commitments substantially greater than the average time commitment, and that proper professional development includes developing the capacity to manage such variations in workload. Faculty and instructional staff should notify their TAs of temporarily-above-average time requirements as far in advance as possible.

A 12.5% grading appointment is to be interpreted as a maximum average of 4 hours per week of active grading work and one hour of preparation. This is to be adjusted proportionally for other levels of appointment (for example, a 50% appointment involves a maximum average 16 hours of active work and four hours of preparation). Faculty and instructional staff teaching supervisors bear substantial responsibility for ensuring that these maximums are not exceeded. Supervisors should be aware that their 25% and 12.5% TAs will likely have other TA and RA duties.

TAs who are having or expect difficulty meeting the expectations of their assignments should approach their teaching supervisors to explain issues and start working out appropriate solutions. A student who feels his/her concerns are not being appropriately addressed may ask the Director of Graduate Studies to help with resolving issues.

Note on TA and grader work hours
For midterm exams, all grading should take place on Monday through Friday. For midterm and final exams held in the evening, TA proctors and graders should not be required to stay past 10 pm.