Inside Fletcher: Faculty

Chapter 6 - Service

Faculty Responsibility Guidelines

The principal professional commitment of faculty members of The Fletcher School is to the process of education. This is not incompatible with such other professional activities as scholarly research and publication, consulting, guest lecturing at other institutions, public speaking, Congressional testimonies, or serving in professional and community organizations; indeed, such activities are important insofar as they extend faculty members’ professional competence, enrich their teaching, enhance their role in student placement, or contribute to the advancement of the profession. But it is essential that faculty members not allow outside activities to interfere with their primary responsibility, which is to their students. The following guidelines are intended to aid faculty in the fulfillment of this responsibility.

These guidelines apply to all faculty members whether full-time or part-time, and pertain to the duration of the academic year. They are general in nature, since it is recognized that, in view of differing individual circumstances, it would be neither feasible nor desirable to attempt to establish precise and detailed time, instructional, or other requirements. Nonetheless, the guidelines are expected to have force in determining how faculty members arrange their professional activities.

1. Faculty members have a basic obligation to teach. This means, first of all, that they should always be adequately prepared for class sessions and should present course material in a coherent and articulate manner.

2. Second, it means that all ancillary course materials should be of the highest quality and should be prepared well in advance of need. It is of particular importance that such materials be reviewed regularly and revised where appropriate to maintain timeliness and relevance.

3. Third, faculty members, to the extent possible, should avoid disrupting the educational process by canceling or rescheduling class sessions. It is recognized that some cancellations or rescheduling may be unavoidable, but these should be kept to a minimum.

4. Faculty members should also normally eschew utilizing substitute instructors, whether students or guest lecturers, for presentation of essential course material. It is recognized that student presentations or guest lectures can play an important role in the educational process, but only as complements to, not substitutes for, the faculty’s own instruction. Faculty members are obligated to exercise quality control over student presentations or guest lectures, and should normally be present on such occasions.

5. The obligations to teach also extends to the grading of term papers and examinations. Students have the right to receive more than merely a grade or a sentence or two of commentary. Faculty members should endeavor to provide students with detailed evaluation of all written work, either orally or in the form of written comments. In addition to detailed evaluation of student work, the Faculty of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy has the responsibility to maintain both consistency and the highest standards when grading student performance.

6. Finally, as a general rule, faculty members should be available to students for a reasonable period each week of the academic year. A sufficient number of regular office hours should be scheduled, preferably over two or three days in the case of full-time faculty members, to assure students in each respective course adequate and prompt opportunity to consult on course work, theses, and the like. In addition, other arrangements for consultation should be available to students who cannot be accommodated during regular office hours.