You are here

Teaching Information

Information for Biology Teaching Faculty

This document is intended to organize much of the information you will need to teach in the Biology department at UW. While wholesale reading is not required before teaching, past instructors note that it is very useful to skim this document before the quarter starts and then refer back to specific sections regularly when needed.


Table of Contents:

Before the start of the quarter:

  1. Office Help

  2. Dates and Pay Periods

  3. Scheduling
  4. Textbook orders

  5. Online resources: MyUW and Student Lists,

  6. Online resources: Canvas, Panopto, other requests

  7. Keys

  8. Registration and Entry Codes

  9. Applying for Reader/Grader help for your class

  10. A pre-quarter checklist that all instructors should read


During the quarter:

  1. Working with the DRS office and students with disabilities

  2. Computing Help Requests

  3. TA Guidelines for Faculty

  4. Peer Facilitator Guidelines for Faculty

  5. Bio499 Guidelines for Faculty

  6. Information for running in-class polling

  7. Exams
  8. Using Scantron for Automatic scoring of multiple-choice exams

  9. Missed Exams and Makeups

  10. Student misconduct and cheating

  11. Purchasing information (including the PurchasePath system)

  12. Field trips and van rental

  13. Ad Hoc Honors


At the end of the quarter:

  1. Course Evaluations

  2. Final Exams

  3. Grades, grading rules, and submitting final grades


Bigger-picture questions

  1. How UW Biology hires Temporary Teaching Faculty

  2. Teaching during Summer Quarter

  3. Instructor of Record Opportunities for Graduate Students

1.Available Help

Here are the people you are most likely to turn to for help with your course. Please note our department serves 1,800 majors and hundreds of courses per year, so your help in contacting us early is the best way to ensure that you get what you need.

  • In case of emergencies in class: Most emergency situations in class are best handled by UW PD. Calling 9-1-1 is the best start, and then you are likely to be connected to Seattle PD. You should immediately ask to be transferred to UW PD for best and most rapid response while in a classroom.

  • Gretchen Shirley-Bellande is our Program Coordinator. Gretchen handles scheduling, room assignments, evaluations, exam duplicating, field trips, and much more. It helps if you can give Gretchen your exam schedule early in the quarter so she can anticipate your needs and plan ahead. You can find her in Hck 302, by phone at (206) 685-6068, or by email at

  • Jeannette Takashima is our Publications Coordinator. She can help with producing lab manuals and/or handouts, if requested. She has a long resume of graphic design experience and may be able to help with special projects. You can find her in Hck 302, by phone at (206) 221-2278, or by email at

  • Ben Wiggins is our Faculty Coordinator. He is a general resource for administrative and logistical questions about teaching, as well as the planner for future quarters and TA assignments. He is also a reference for questions about best practices and improvement strategies. You can find him most easily by email at His office is in Hck 302, and he can be reached on his cell phone for urgent issues at (541) 602-2304.

  • Ron Killman is our Scientific Instructional Technician. He is an excellent resource for locating and/or moving equipment, trouble-shooting equipment repairs, devising gadgets, scheduling use and maintenance of microscopes, lab set ups, locating sources and ordering supplies, advising on safety procedures/SOPs/disposal of hazardous and animal waste, field gear and other shared equipment, and a variety of projects that keep things working smoothly. He is reachable by email at  or at his office phone: (206) 543-6580.

  • Appointment letters will be handled by Patti Owens, and you can reach her at . Letters are typically sent out a few weeks before the quarter. If you need yours earlier, please write to both Patti and Ben.

  • The advising staff is made up of Janet Germeraad, Jason Patterson, and Sheryl Medrano. They are collectively reachable by email at by their individual email addresses, or by walking in to visit with them in Hck 318. They are extremely knowledgeable about many issues, most notably student progress, registration, entry codes, and feedback about theprogram.

  • Dave Hurley is the head of our Computing and Technology team. He or one of his associates are often available in the Biology Student Area (BSA) computer lounge in Hck 220. If you have computing problems or needs, the best way to get help is to fill out a help ticket.

  • Davis Chong is the central Biology Program Coordinator. He handles keys, coordinates the main Biology administrative office, and is an excellent resource for a wide variety of Biology topics. He is located in LSB 108 (across the bridge from Hitchcock Hall) and is reachable at or by phone at (206) 543-1620.

  • We will soon have a new Lab Technician in the Media Rooms of Hitchcock and LSB. This person will produce medias for laboratory classes efficiently and carefully. This document will be updated as soon as they are hired.

Back to Top

2.Dates and Pay Periods
  • Instructional dates for any quarter are located here:

  • The pay periods for the UW academic year are:

    • Autumn Quarter: Sept. 16 - Dec.15

    • Winter Quarter: Dec. 16 - March 15

    • Spring Quarter: March 16 - June 15

    • Summer Quarter: June 16-Aug. 15

  • For summer: Some classes are divided into first-half and second-half of summer, called A term and B-term respectively. Lectures in summer are 60 minutes rather than 50 minutes as is typical in the rest of the academic year. A 2-hour lab lasts 2 hours and 10 minutes in summer and a 3-hour lab lasts 3 hours and 20 minutes. This is supposed to make up for the quarter lasting 9 weeks instead of 10.

  • Pay periods are from the 1st through the 15th and the 16th through the last day of each month. Paychecks are issued on the 10th and 25th of each month and you are strongly urged to use direct deposit. Note that pay periods are not the exactly the same as instruction periods.

  • Appointment letters will come from Patti Owens (typically 2-3 weeks before the start of the quarter). If you need your appointment letter sooner, please write to both Ben and Patti. Once you are officially appointed, all of your payroll information should be viewable through Workday at .

    • Any and all questions about benefits are best addressed to.

Back to Top

3. Scheduling

Several months before your class, you will receive an email from Gretchen verifyingyour schedule. Please answer back promptly! Last minute schedule changes are extremely difficult, as they must be run by the Undergraduate Program Committee before the changes can occur, and they are often not approved because they will negatively impact student registration. Timely changes can be handled and are usually resolved satisfactorily. Gretchen will handle any approved room scheduling changes or requests for review session rooms, etc. She can verify how your class is currently scheduled at any point in the long, byzantine process.

  1. Check your course schedule on the official UW Time Schedule. If you see unexpected errors, discrepancies or information missing please write to Gretchen.

  2. Office hours:

    • Office hours can be held in the large office hour room in HCK 302. To put your office hours on the visual schedule outside of the room for a particular quarter, please contact Gretchen.

    • Want to reserve other rooms for office hours or review sessions?

      • There are a number of rooms available for you to reserve directly within the department. Please use the department reservation system for these.

      • If you are looking for a room not on that list, then Gretchen is the person to ask. Please do this even if you think a room is empty; there may be special reservations on that space that only Gretchen will be able to see. Central Time Scheduling will respond to Gretchen's request as soon as possible. Please get your request in to Gretchen at least 3 days before you need it answered.

    • Instructors are free to hold office hours in appropriate public spaces (outside, library rooms, etc) as desired without the need for reservation.

·For temporary teaching faculty: If you need a Hitchcock office/desk during the quarter in which you are teaching, please discuss with Ben as early as possible.
Back to Top
4.Textbook orders
·Gretchen will order textbooks for you from the University Bookstore. To order a textbook, she will need the title, author, ISBN, edition, year, publisher, and whether the book is required or optional for your class. This must happen well in advance of classes.
  • Please specify the number of TA desk copies that you would like for your course. These are not free for the department, so please limit this number to those that you must have and we will try to get them.

  • If you do not plan to use a text, please let Gretchen know so that she can alert the Bookstore and they can stop sending your emails about this.

Back to Top

5. Online Resources: My UW
  • With a UW appointment, you have access to your class list and many other instructor resources through (you will log in with your UW NetID). Click on the Teaching tab for access to a variety of links, including an electronic class list with student email addresses, ID numbers, pictures, etc.

  • The most important identifier for a student is their student ID#. NetID, last name, Canvas ID or other identifiers may not be sufficient for everything you want to do.

  • You can also Create Mailing List so that you have a single self-updating email list to reach student email addresses throughout the quarter. This takes 24 hours to create, so you will want to do this before the day on which you first need to contact students. Do this by going to the Teaching tab, selecting the course, and then look for Email List: Create Mailing List.

  • If you don’t see your class listed, contact Ben and he will investigate. If you are not yet on the UW payroll, you will not have access to MyUW until your appointment isprocessed. Contact Ben for temporary workarounds.

  • You can add information to the Time Schedule through Instructor Class Descriptions to give students specific information about your class, final exam schedule, how to place materials on library reserve,etc. You can also add information to the itself by writing to Gretchen (this is often the best way to alert potential students to changes or special features of a course).

  • For TAs to access class lists: Instructors must send an email to Gretchen indicating which TAs should be given access to which labs. While this might seem obvious, there have been problems in the past when office staff assumed which assignments should be made. Instructors: Please email Gretchen. If you are a TA and need access, writing a reminder email to both the Instructor and Gretchen is the fastest way to resolvethis.

  • All final grades are submitted electronically through

Back to Top

6. Online Resources: Canvas and Panopto

  1. The Canvas learning management system is central UW’s sole supported learning platform. You can learn more about it here. Canvas is not perfect, but some easy-to-use features include an online gradebook, calendar for students, transfer of materials from one class to another, and easy-to-use online quiz administration. If there is a specific application that you need but which Canvas does not support, then you should contact Dave Hurley to discuss.

  2. Canvas troubleshooting is often best done by contacting Canvas Help directly. Their phone and in-person help centers are typically very useful; if they can’t find an easy solution for you, then they are quick to get you in direct contact with a manager that knows the system extremely well. Ben can also be a resource foradvice and he can access your Biology course Canvas sites remotely.

  3. Canvas websites for each course are automatically created as part of the normal Time Schedule at the start of registration. If you need your course site ready earlier, or if you find that your course has not been created when you think it should have been, please contactBen.

  4. If you have cothe Biology computingexperts.

  5. Larger classrooms on campus often have Panopto Screencasting available for students to watch your class sessions afterward for study or to make up for absences. This has been a vital resource for our increasingly commuter-heavy student population. Please note that to enable Screencasting in viable rooms you will need to start the system and Publish your Canvas course (even if you are not using Canvas for the quarter).

Back to Top

7. Keys

  • Lecture-only courses should not need keys. Buildings are open 7am-7pm all normalweekdays.

  • Keys require a cash deposit, which you’ll receive back several weeks after returning thekeys.

  • To receive keys, you’ll need to:

    • Get a filled out and signed by BenWiggins (he can often send this to you or Davis directly via email, so this may not require a trip to the office).

    • Bring $10 cash for each key you need.

    • Bring your Student ID or Faculty/Staff ID card.

    • Find a time to visit Davis Chong in LSB 108 (you might want to email ahead of time to avoid a wasted trip if the office is closed). The office is typically open 9-12 and 1-4 on weekdays.

Back to Top

8. Registration restrictions, entry codes, waitlists

  • Most of our courses have registration restrictions so that only Biology majors can register during Period 1. Many have prerequisites that students must have on their records to enroll. As the instructor, you can waive these requirements if you desire, but before you do, please contact Ben or our Director of Student Services, Janet Germeraad ( to see why the requirement is there and what the impact of waiving it mightbe.
  • Whenever possible, we encourage instructors to let the students sort out the registration. Creating a wait list or dealing with individual issues is time consuming and often notefficient.
  • Entry codes (also known by students as add codes) can be a useful tool for regulating entry into classes. They also put more of the organizational onus where it should be: the students. Entry codes are not always useful, and they can have negative undesired consequences. Here are a few details that you should know when using entrycodes.
  • Entry codes are useful for deciding which students can take a class. By requiring these codes, student will need to do more than simply register with the pre-requisites. Instead, they will need to come directly to you for access. This can be useful with classes that are in extremely high demand, or for professors that want to limit their class to students that show some extraordinary ‘pre-req’ like extra enthusiasm, a special application, or experience in the field/lab. When used equitably, they can give you the perfect student population. When unnecessary, they can be a laborious and stressful administrative task.
  • You decide whether or not your class uses entry codes. Entry codes can be used throughout registration, only in particular time periods, or not at all. If you’d like to change the way that your class uses entry codes, this can be changed very quickly by writing to Gretchen (our Biology Time Schedule maven).
    • Classes without entry codes: Students with the pre-requisites can registerfreely.

    • Classes with entrycodes:

      • In Period 1: Entry codes are necessary from the start ofregistration.

      • In Period 2: Entry codes are used for a smaller, later part of Period 1 (rarelyused)

      • In Period 3: Entry codes used from Day 1 to Day 7 of thequarter

      • After Day 7 of the quarter: Codes needed for allstudents

  • Entry codes are an override of common limits on registration, so be careful. Students using entry codes no longer need the correct pre-requisites, credit requirements, Biology student requirements, or even matriculated status at the UW. Once you give that entry code, they can get in with almost no limits, even overloading the maximum number of students in a class. It is a good idea to ask and make sure beforehand, as students will understandably fail to mention these limitations in their drive to get into your class. Many students note that they assume you have a way of directly checking their background, thus justifying their convenient silence.

  • Similarly, once you give an entry code that student can add the class at any time. This can make it slightly more difficult to manage the maximum number of students in a class, since each entry code given is a potential extra student (and students understandably change their minds often as they balance other courses). While not completely honest, past faculty have found it practical to give entry codes to students with the implication that the codes are only useful for 24 hours, thus necessitating no excessive waiting on the student’spart.

  • It is technically possible, though extremely rare, for a student to give an entry code to another student. This impropriety can be fixed after the fact by dropping the offending happens.

  • Entry codes are easy to find in Hck 318. Each quarter, the Student Services staff creates a physical notebook containing entry codes for every class and section.

    • If you only need a very few entry codes, the best way to access these is to bring student names (and desired lab/quiz sections) to 318 and ask for the current entry code notebook. Write the name of the student into the space for both the lecture and lab/quiz as appropriate. Giving both codes prevents students from overloading individual sections. The sheet will show you the 5-digit entry code for each to give to thestudent.

    • If you want to use many entry codes, some instructors find it more useful to simply remove all of the sheets from the entry code notebook and take them back to their office or classroom. Feel free to do this, but please:

      • return the entry code sheets after you are done for cross-referencing, and

      • leave a note in the notebook so that Student Services staff know who to contact in rare weird cases.

  • Non-matriculated students are likely to ask to be added to your course. We cannot add any non- matriculated students until Day 1 of the class at the earliest. Some larger classes ask them to wait until the middle or end of the first week in order to guarantee spots for the rest of our students. Please keep in mind that once you sign their forms, they can register into and overload a lab section (which may not be ideal, so it is best to wait until you are fairly sure registration has stabilized). As long as you have done this, you should feel free to add (or not add) these non-matrics. Entry codes, if needed, are available in Hck 318 (see Ben for a quick 5-minute training on how to do this). Other instructors often note that they are often the most rewarding students. Ben or one of the advisors will need to sign their paperwork as the ‘DepartmentalSignature’.

Back to Top

    9. Reader/Grader help for courses

  • What is a reader/grader? Reader/Graders are hourly workers that can assist you with grading course assignments.  A Reader/Grader typically works closely with the course instructor to discuss assignments and grading tasks, but does not attend class.  A Reader/Grader is not a TA and does not receive health insurance or a tuition waiver.
  • Why ask for Reader/Grader support? Reader/Grader support is intended as extra support for courses that have frequent and/or lengthy writing assignments, frequent written exams and/or do not have any TA support.  
  • What can a Reader/Grader do?
    • Provide feedback on assignment drafts
    • Grade writing assignments
    • Create grading rubrics
    • Grade exams
    • Grade homework assignments
  • What can’t a Reader/Grader do?
    • teach any part of a class
    • facilitate active learning in a classroom
  • How much Reader/Grader time can you request? Typical requests are for 10-15 hours/week, but will vary according to course needs somewhat. Requesting more than 20 hours or less than 5 hours per week would be unusual.
  • Applications for Reader/Grader support should be received before:
    • March 15 for Reader/Graders for Autumn Quarter
    • September 15 for Reader/Graders for Winter Quarter
    • January 15 for Spring Quarter
  • Please fill out this form to request Reader/Grader support for your course.  In the event that insufficient funds are available to fulfill all requests, your responses will be used to prioritize the Reader/Grader assignments.

Back to Top

10. A Pre-class Checklist

Have you:

  • Received from Gretchen and responded to scheduling information for your course?

  • Received from Patti, signed and returned your Appointment Letter?

  • Double-checked course information on the UW Time Schedule and sent any questions to Gretchen?

  • Set up your course website (using Canvas or some other system)?

  • Built and posted your syllabus well in advance of the first day of class?

    • Does it indicate how grades will be calculated such that a student can calculate all the way from individual assignments to 4.0-scale grade?

    • Does it indicate how many points are possible for each assignment?

    • Does it have a schedule for the major in-class assignments like exams?

  • Created a self-updating class email list using MyUW

  • Scheduled office hours for yourself and/or TAs?

  • Tested your equipment and slides in your classroom?

  • If your course has TAs:

    • Received from Gretchen the TA assignments for your class

      • And emailed back to indicate which TAs are with which sections?

    • Contacted TAs to discuss scheduling?

    • Set up a schedule for TA time and effort for the quarter?

  • Applied for Reader/Grader help if needed?

Back to Top

1. Working with the Disability Resources Office to  help students with disabilities

We have a University responsibility to make reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities. We also have a moral responsibility to make these accommodations manageable and as low- stress as possible. However, we have to balance student needs with fairness to the rest of the class and demands on instructor time. Here are some things to think about.

  • The UW Disability Resources for Students program is located in 011 Mary Gates Hall. Their experts can help with any issues. Ben (in Hck 302) works closely with DRS each quarter and can give context as needed.

  • Please make sure that you keep student data confidential: while the student themselves may announce their arrangement publicly, you should keep information about disability issues private within Biology and DRS staff andinstructors.

  • In order to comply with our legal requirements, please note that personal belief or disbelief in the reality of a particular disability is not our prerogative. Allowing these accommodations is both the rule and thelaw.

  • The vast majority of students that work with the DRS system are apprehensive and nervous about their interactions with faculty. Anything that you can do to express that these arrangements are routine, fair, and considered a normal part of a UW classroom is appreciated by your students. From many conversations with these students, they express a consistent hope that they are not an undue burden on you. This is balanced with a persistent fear that their long-term career success is hinged on exams that come with extra hurdles for them as compared with other students. You can understand why this is sostressful.

Making routine disability arrangements for students with the DRS office:
  • For each student working with DRS, a faculty notification comes either as e-mail or as a printout directly from the student. These usually arrive during the first two weeks of a quarter. Emails will come from; and the subject line will have thisformat: [DRS] student name - BIOL XXX.0A – [Course Title] (CRN: zzzzz) - Notification of Academic Support Services QTR 201X

  • The student is instructed to meet with you to discuss/decide what accommodations will be made. You don't necessarily need to meet in person, but this is the point where you and the studentneed

  • The One Week Rule: Students working through DRS are expected to have accommodation arrangements in place 7 days before any arrangements are needed. Making arrangements on the day of an exam is not acceptable practice with DRS. While some of our instructors will bend over backwards to help, it is appropriate to hold to this one-weekconvention.

  • Most special accommodations for exams are handled through the DRS office. You’ll need to set up a ‘Contract’ with DRS, which is simply a way of getting the information to them that they need to receive, proctor, and return theexam.

If you would like to provide accommodations on your own, you can do this.
·Some instructors are willing to go beyond the needed accommodations. New instructors should err on the side of using the streamlined official DRS system until they have a better sense for these arrangements. Again, please use a general timeline for all accommodations that
·For unusual circumstances in which a Biology proctor would be a useful help for you: we can provide proctoring for quizzes and exams in Hck 302C.
oPlease note students who require extra quiet spaces or a ‘private room’ cannot be accommodated easily and are best served through DRS directly.)
oProctoring should be scheduled one week in advance in advance on the room reservation page on the departmental website under ‘Proctor Rooms.’ Please check this schedule to see times available.
oIf needed, 2-3 days of lead-time can work. If tester is 15 minutes or more late for their exam they may forfeit their time slot. If instructor approves they may reschedule for another day.
oThe exam and all special instructions (ex: time, open/closed book, etc.) should be delivered to Gretchen either via email or in person at least one hour before tester is scheduled to arrive.
Emergency arrangements and emerging disabilities:
  • Emergency accommodations may be necessary for students with acute new injuries (like a broken hand requiring a larger exam with more time). Do what you feel is fair to the student and to the class. If you have questions, please ask! Often, either DRS or Ben has seen a similar case and can give possibilities.

  • You may be the instructor for a student that is initially discovering their own documentable disability. The DRS process is fair and rigorous, but it does take time. You are not required to give disability accommodations for non-emergency undocumented disabilities. However, you absolutely can and many instructors do make similar arrangements before DRS documentation has been approved. The DRS office will help with proctoring in these cases, but you will need to initiate thecommunication.


A special note about Final’s week: The DRS office is occasionally closed at the end of Final’s week. This means that very late final exam times (Friday afternoon) may require in-house proctoring. Please contact Gretchen if your students report that this will be a problem for them and you need help.

Back to Top

2. Computing Help Requests

All requests for help with computing are best entered here.

Back to Top

3. Faculty Guidelines about courses with TAs

  1. Ben will assign TAs mid-way through the quarter before you teach. While first priority goes to Biology grad students, grad students from outside the department are hired when not enough Biology students are available. If there is someone you especially would like to have as a TA, please tell Ben before Week 5 of the prior quarter. Not all courses have TAs. If you are unsure about yours, contactBen.

  2. Remember that TAs should work no more than 20 hours/week and that they usually need:

    • explicit discussion of safety concerns, any special safety procedures or questions, location of MSDS sheets,etc. TAs will use this information both to guide safety and to teach safety issues to undergraduates.

    • weekly review of concepts covered in lab or quiz section and references for finding background information, wherenecessary,

    • clear delineation of your expectations and guidance on why particular exercises are done and what students should get from them,

    • directions on how much they should talk vs encouraging students to talk, what material should be covered and how much (or little) they may vary from your plan for each session,

    • your expectations for any time required outside of scheduled classtimes,

    • logistical support (or at least directions on where to find things, or whom toask)

    • specific guidelines and keys for grading, worksheets, exam,etc.

    • procedures you’d like followed in regards to cheating, regrades, or other policy matters

    • tips on dealing with potentially difficult teaching situations.

    • TAs can help with editing and question development of exams, but the final arbiter of all course exams must be the Instructor of Record. Allowing a TA to fully write and administer an exam is neveracceptable.

  3. While TAs need guidance, they can be excellent colleagues and we encourage instructors to challenge TAs where applicable and to apprentice them into the real work of teaching great courses. The best assumption to make when working with all TAs is that they have not had a previous TA experience that explicitly addresses all of these issues unless they have already TA’d in the Biology Intro Series.

Back to Top

4. PeerFacilitators

Many of our undergraduates are interested in teaching as a skill or as a career. One way to get them involved is as a Peer Facilitator (PF) to help with classes. Undergraduates are instructed to approach faculty with whom they have good relationships to inquire if there is a use for a PF in one of their classes.

PFs can help with classes in any way except that they cannot do any of the following:

  • Independently leading a lab section or quizsection

  • Grading studentwork

  • Independently leading review sessions without another instructorpresent


PFs can sign up for credit under Biol396 and the faculty code of the instructor. If you are the instructor and you do not have a faculty code, contact Ben for a temporary code or to simply sign the PF up under Ben’s code. PFs do not necessarily need to receive credit, and many would rather avoid the tuition costs. In this case, the PF would need to return this form to Ben Wiggins (by email or hardcopy) at some point relatively early in the quarter.

Back to Top

5. Bio499 Guidelines for Faculty

  1. Work must be lab, field, museum, herbarium or experiment-based. Library research should use BIOL 498.

  2. The student must put in 3 hours of work/week (in or out of the lab) for every 1 creditgiven. Some projects may require more time than that to make good progress. Students may voluntarily work longer hours, and this dedication may be reflected in the grade received, but faculty should not require more than 3 hours/week/credit for a satisfactory grade.

  3. The work must be something that provides educational benefit to the student--not justgeneral lab maintenance or learning a particular technique without applying it to a project. There will be some hands-on component so the student is not just observing others do the work. Ideally, the work will progress so that the student becomes more independent and creative as his/her skills mature. Students must understand the hypothesis being tested, the experimental techniques being used, and the data assessment strategies being used. He/she should be actively involved in performing experiments and/or fieldwork and in analysis of the data obtained.

  4. The faculty mentor (or an appropriate member of the lab designated by the facultymentor) will meet with the student on a regular basis. Background readings that help the student understand the scientific basis of the project will be assigned. A paper or oral presentation may or may not be required, at the faculty member’s discretion, but the student must at least communicate his/her findings directly to the faculty mentor, at least once during the quarter.

  5. Grading Guidelines for BIOL 499: Rate the student on a scale of 1 (very bad) to 5 (excellent) for the following questions:

    • Has the student shown independent thought/insight/creativity? (This is often the most important criterion.)

    • Has the student worked diligently at the assigned tasks and tried to follow through with suggestions/assignments?Spent the agreed upon amount of time in thelab?

    • Has the student learned required procedures/techniques with a minimum ofguidance/reminders?

    • Has the student been a good lab ‘citizen’ and cleaned up after him/herself, followed lab procedures?

    • Has the student communicated his/her findings/knowledge gained to the faculty mentor? (This could be in informal discussion, a formal presentation to the lab, a written paper, a poster,etc.)

    • Total Score (add points of 1-5above):

      • 5=0.0

      • 15=3.0

      • 25=4.0

      • If a student takes the class CR/NCR, CR is equivalent to a grade of 2.0 or above.

        Back to Top

6. Information for In-Class Polling

The UW has a license with PollEverywhere to allow students to use audience response devices (aka

‘clickers’) without buying anything. This allows faculty to use a wide range of teaching methods with rapid feedback.

  • Each student needs a WiFi-capable device (smartphone, iPad, tablet, laptop) that they can bring to class every day. If they do not have access to a WiFi-capable device, they can check out a WiFi device through the STF Equipment Loan Program ( located  in three places on campus: Kane Hall, Room 035 Basement, the Husky Union Building (HUB), Room 111D, or Health Sciences Office, Room I-146. There is additional location  information here: Students can request an extension to the usual one-month checkout under certain circumstances. A text-messaging phone can be used for PollEverywhere, however, it’s use has been noted by students as being clunky and not as reliable as using a WiFi-capable device.

  • Apps: On laptops, you can access polls via standard web browsers. For smartphones and tablets, download the Poll Everywhere App for free at iTunes ( or the Google Play Store (

  • Device Certification: If you are responding via text message instead of the web/app, you will need to certify your phone number before using it in class so we can identify your responses and give your credit. To certify your number, log in to your Personal Info page ( Type in your mobile phone number and click the Certify link. Follow the instructions to send your certification text message. If you change your phone service during the quarter, you must certify the new number before using your phone in class.



Information for Students about How To Poll

Logging in: We have created a polling account for each enrolled student. Each student has been Signed Up and Registered for Poll Everywhere. All you have to do is Log In!


In lecture, log in at and:

  • type in your UW email address, which will prompt the

  • University of Washington Single-Sign On to appear.

If using Gmail, Yahoo, Microsoft, or any other email your login will fail.

Click on the link provided for University of Washington Single-Sign On.

The UW Sign In page will appear.

Sign in with your UW NetID and password.


Congratulations! You’ve successfully Logged In to Poll Everywhere.

  • To answer a question, just choose your response. To change your answer while polling is still open, first clear your response (bottom of the screen), then choose a newanswer.

  • Text-messaging phone users only: To change your answer while polling is still open, first send the word CLEAR, then the newanswer.

  • When the instructor asks you to discuss a question with your neighbors and re-answer, you must respond again with your polling device, even if your answer is thesame.

  • In quarters with two lecture sections, students must attend only the section for which they are registered. Students will not get credit for responses if they attend the other section. Attending both sections is cheating; students will be reported to StudentConduct.


Polling scores: Scores will be posted on the class website about once a week. Some malfunctions and user mistakes can be detected only by checking your scores, so it is important to check each time scores are posted. See the separate “Checking your scores” for detailed instructions.


We drop low polling scores to accommodate brief illness, forgotten devices, dead batteries, text answers that arrive late, etc. See the course Policies for the number of scores dropped. For polling scores, interpret the display as follows:


Out of: All questions are graded.  Each question is worth one point (0.5 for participation +

0.5 for correct answer). Thus, the “Out of” value is the score for someone who answered all questions correctly.

Your score: 0, 0.5, 1, …Combines both participation and correctness. So 1 point could mean that you answered one question correctly, or two questions incorrectly. (Blank) No responses were received from your device that day.


Important: If your score is blank for a day when you were in class answering questions, contact <faculty contact email> right away. Include your full name email address, and indicate whether you are responding by Wi-Fi or text. You will not get credit for missed scores, but we can solve the problem going forward.


Other reminders: Polling will be used every day in lecture, so be sure to bring your device and be sure that it is charged and ready to use – we don’t accept answers in any other form. Use only your own account; answering for another student, or asking another student to answer for you, is cheating. Answer individually, not communicating with other students unless asked to do so by the instructor. Being multiple choice, polling questions will be easier to answer than most exam questions. You can improve your ability to answer polling questions by studying the textbook and lecture notes before class. Sit with other serious students; when given an opportunity to discuss a question and re-answer, you will benefit from that discussion.

Back to Top

7. Exams

  • Exams, when given, can vary massively between courses even at the same level and in the same department. The instructional faculty is responsible for the creation, implementation, and grading (by themselves or oversight of others) for all exams.

  • Dates and point values for all exams should be clearly posted in your syllabus before the first day of the quarter.

  • Gretchen can duplicate exams or handouts for you. Be sure to give her adequate lead time (48 hours) and remember there are many exams that occur on the same days and since we are a small office, there may be times when the office is understaffed. Explicit instructions are required. On rare occasions in the past, instructors have had to copy exams at outside print shops, and the department cannot pay forthis.

  • Many instructors use multiple versions of exams in order to deter cheating. If you have questions about good techniques to use, then Ben can be aresource.

Back to Top

8. Using Scantron for automatic scoring of multiple choice exams

Multiple choice questions (MCQs) can be quickly and efficiently scored using ScorePak services. This is commonly known as Scantron. This tends to be an efficient way to help with grading for any grading task of more than ~2,000-3,000 MCQs (200-300 students x 10 questions or the equivalent). For any less than that, hand-grading is easier when taking administrative time into account. If automatic grading is right for you, then please read on to find out how.

Standard pedagogical note: While the common theme is that MC is a low-level way to test students, recent research shows that it is possible to write conceptually challenging is just tremendously time consuming. A single good question can routinely occupy an entire hour of time when editing is taken into account. We urge instructors to limit the use of MCQs to those tests or portions of tests where lower- level cognitive skills are the intended purpose of the exam.

How to use Scorepak with the UW Office of Educational Assessment:

  • You should read through these procedures well in advance of your exam

  • OEA Satellite Office in 056 Mary Gates Hall is your best contact point. They are reachable at . Please note that the office is closed from 12-1pm on weekdays, and is closed in summer quarter except during finals week.

  • Informing students about Scantron form:

    • Students can be asked to purchase and bring their own forms. These cost less than a dollar each, but require students to take an extra trip to an appropriate bookstore or library. If you are going to do this, you should inform students one week prior to the exam that they will need a standard Purple Scantron form.

    • Alternatively, you can provide forms and hand them out on the day of the exam. Scantron forms can be purchased at the Satellite Office. If given enough lead time and a budget number, they will also send these to you via campus mail. Students appreciate this small rare helping hand, and the cost of these forms compared to the tuition monies received from the classes is negligible.

    • In either case, students need to bring a #2 pencil to use with Scantron forms. Most instructors also bring a small number of their own pencils (available in 302C Hck) of which 4-5 per exam are often helpful for students that have forgotten.

  • The forms that you will need are available at the office, or Most users find the to be sufficient. A few details:

    • You are unlikely to need a Bookkeeping Account.

    • The budget number to use for all Scorepak Issues is: 06-0417

    • Most instructors work with the emailed information spreadsheets, and they let the purple sheets arrive later. Returning by Campus Mail is typically sufficient.

    • If useful, please do use Express Service. The $15 fee is nothing compared to your time.

    • The default reports are typically sufficient. After the fact, you can ask for a different type of file if necessary.

  • The big thing you should definitely do: Read thoroughly! Those instructions, when read well, will save you massive time and effort later. This will also help you to guide students.

  • When you have questions: Ask! Li and company at the Satellite Office are dedicated and very helpful. Ben (in 302C Hck) has also done many of these MCQ processes with ScorePak and can help.

Back to Top

9. Missed Exams and Make-ups

  • Biology students frequently have time conflicts, often for good career-developing reasons thatwe would like to support when possible. At the same time, we have a responsibility for maintaining rigor andequity.

  • Students of a particular instructor should be treated equitably. The worst-case scenario is one in which two equal situations are treated differently by the same instructor in the same class. This opens us to accusations of bias. If situations are equal, treat students equivalently. Note: Current grade of the student is not an acceptable rationale for delineating between two differentscenarios.

  • According to the UW, alternative arrangements of some kind must be given for unavoidable cause. From the University Handbook: Examples of unavoidable cause include: death or serious illness in the immediate family, illness of the student, and, provided previous notification is given, observance of regularly scheduled religious obligations…. In these cases, faculty must give alternative arrangements. Exams missed for these reasons should be documentable, and it is perfectly appropriate to ask students for this documentation before arrangements are given or promised.

  • The vast majority of alternative arrangements go very smoothly. For those that don’t, notify Ben as early as you feel isrelevant.

  • Teaching faculty are the arbiters of their classrooms. Faculty do not necessarily need to treat students the same as other faculty, though ‘standard practice for this course’ is typically a solid basis for deciding on an equitable plan. Have questions? Ask Ben, the Faculty Coordinator, (who has training and years ofexperience).

  • There are many worthwhile excuses that are not covered under unavoidable cause. The Handbook goes on to note that unavoidable cause might possibly include attendance at academic conferences or field trips, or participation in university-sponsored activities such as debating contests or athletic competition. Student professional success requires skills and training from diverse angles beyond Biology grades, and we should endeavor to allow these experiences. A recent exam was rearranged to allow a Biology student to attend the National Rock Climbing Championships, which has no University affiliation whatsoever but is a respected institution worldwide (as was the top-10 finish of the student!). The few bad reasons for alternative arrangements are typically so obviously bad (late to class, bought a plane ticket for vacation before finals week, etc.) that you will be able to easily differentiate them. Registered student organizations (RSOs) do not have unavoidable cause status, but are frequently career- or skill-developing innature.

  • Prior arrangement is a key feature of most acceptable arrangements that are not of a health- or family-related nature. A student that gives prior notice can be treated different from a student that does not, all else beingequal.

  • Examples of possible alternativearrangements:

    • Give a different exam. This is very time-consuming and we would like to avoid this whenever possible.

    • Give the same exam at a different time, or via a proctor, or by sending and receiving the final exam at the same time but over email. Students should sign some sort of honor agreement for these cases (ask the Faculty Coordinator for examples or simply write your own short paragraph with signature). Proctors should be University-appointed (typically for varsity sports) or trusted sources that you know personally. Proctors should never be other students.

    • Give an oral exam. This is often surprisingly efficient, although students rarely pursue this option if they have the choice. Veteran instructors note that the possibility of oral exams noted in the syllabus is a useful deterrent to excessive “I am sick” missedexams.

    • Prorate the exam score. If multiple exams are used, instructors can replace a score if needed. Example: A student scores one standard deviation above the class median on 3 exams, and then misses the last exam for a performance. The instructor could insert a grade that is one standard deviation above the median for exam 4. This is best done when the missed exams is worth 25% or less of the classgrade.

    • Replace the exam with a similarly difficult independent project, paper, or other assignment. Instructors can be creative as long as they are consistent within that class. Focus on possibilities that are efficient to grade and more time-consuming to complete than the exam studying would havebeen.

    • Occasionally it is appropriate to give an “X” placeholder grade and allow the student to finish the grade by taking a similar exam in the next quarter in which the course is taught. Instructors will need to take care to follow up and insert the newgrade.

Back to Top

10.Student misconduct and cheating

Unfortunately, issues of student misconduct arise even at the UW. A few key points:

  • All students are expected to follow the UW Code of Conduct. Instructors are encouraged to write a policy statement in their syllabus about their expectations regarding plagiarism, cheating, and unauthorized collaboration. Please ask Ben if you'd like examples that have been vetted through the Intro Series. The Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct suggests that instructors should remind students before their first assignment about expectations and consequences related to academic misconduct.

  • If you suspect cheating or plagiarism on any assignment or exam, send the evidence to the Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct. The Office has tremendous experience in these matters, and they are fair and often extremely lenient. They also are able to cross-reference multiple classes and types of issues, so they can give students warnings and they can also recognize patterns that we cannot see in any individual class. If in doubt, send the evidence. The committee will not take up the case unless they think it is a holistically good idea to doso.

  • Ben can help guide you through the process. For obvious reasons, these conversations are best done by phone or in person so that we can discuss specifics. The submission is done online at the following link: The entire process often takes less than 20 minutes. Groups of students can be written up on the sameletter.

    • Special note: Please do not include the names of TAs in evidence letters. Include only staff and faculty as named sources.

  • Try not to disturb other students during the exam. The benefits to moving a student who might be cheating during an exam are not worth potentially disrupting the rest of the students. Simply record and report. In large lecture halls, this means using TAs to help monitor the student unobtrusively, but not moving them to a new location or making any requests that indicate that you think there is any cheating going on. We do this to ensure that we aren’t disrupting anyone else’s exam experience, and so that we cannot be accused later of acting improperly without evidence.

  • Expect students to ask, and encourage students to ask when they are not sure. Students are understandably nervous to ask about these kinds of issues because they have heard many horror stories about being thrown out of a university for a single perceived offense. Be open and honest with youradvice.

  • If at any point you feel uncomfortable in any way with a student interaction, the best advice is to get another Biology staff- or faculty-member into the room. Any experienced member of the teaching team understands what you mean when you say “Would you mind sitting in on this conversation, please?”. Avoid situations where you feel uncomfortable and where you and the student are the only people in theroom.

  • Until you hear back from the committee, please report final grades as calculated. We will always assume innocent until declared guilty by the Office. You’ll receive a letter from the Office, and at that point you will know how to assign a score. Typically, when found guilty:

    • Exam scores go to zero

    • Assignment scores go to zero

    • If the zero score would be dropped, it is appropriate to state in the letter that the student will not be allowed to drop thatscore

    • If the score is a major part of the course, you can state in the letter that the student cannot avoid this grade by dropping the class and any subsequent enrollment will keep the same zero score.

    • Group work for which only one student is found guilty can lead to assigned different grades for different students.

    • Groups of assignments (like clicker scores) can be collectively zeroed. This is appropriate if the student is likely to have been cheating repeatedly but was only caught for a single instance.

    • Additional penalties may be appropriate (for example, if the student was cheating on an assignment worth a small amount of points then you might take away points for all other small assignments in that category). Again, mention this in your letter. The Office will comment if your proposed plan is unacceptable.

  • For a document for instructors that outlines more of the relevant procedures and definitions, please go here.

Back to Top

11. Purchasing for courses (including the PurchasePath system)

Please be conscious of costs as the budget for all of our courses is limited. If you expect/need an expensive item, please contact Ben beforehand to discuss whether or not we can afford it.

  • If your class has a lab fee, this is to be used for direct student use. This means that anything bought on this budget number must be directly relevant to student work for the class in question. Ben will supply the budget number and necessarycodes.

  • If your class does not have a lab fee, please clear all expenses withBen.

  • There are supplies in the stockroom in LSB B147A that you are welcome to use, but be sure you sign out items by course number.

  • To buy supplies, please use Purchase Path whenever possible. PP is available at:

    You will need the appropriate budget number and codes from Ben (see below). Information for ordering with PP is below.

  • You can use the Petty Cash form if you have an itemized receipt (this is a receipt that has every item purchased visible in the receipt. Once you have it filled out and the receipt attached bring the form to Ben for his signature as the PI. Once he has signed it it goes to Brianna in LSB 241. It used to be possible to submit a form without a receipt, but this is no longer the case: You must have receipts for all expenses.

  • Please keep purchases from Chem or Biochem Stores to a minimum. Orders placed as above can generally be processed on a rush basis if you so indicate and the paperwork that comes with stores orders makes it difficult to ascribe charges to classes. If you do use Stores, please turn in the receipt you get from them to 302 HCK, with your name and course number onit.

  • We cannot pay for snacks or pizza for TA meetings or grading sessions of faculty classes. If you want to provide such things (and many do), then faculty are expected to pay for them on their own.

  • You will get a course-specific code to use on copiers in HCK, JHN, and LSB from Gretchen before each quarter. Please make sure only course charges go on this code. If you make copies at another campus location make sure to get a receipt and write both your name and your course number/quarter on it. Turn it in to Ben.

  • Instructions for ordering with the PurchasePathsystem

    • PurchasePath is our reliable yet antiquated method for initiated purchases in the Biology department. The system is relatively user friendly. The instructions below should help you to sign up for and then manage an initial purchase, but please feel free to ask at Instructional Support for help with placing your firstorder.

    • Signing up forPurchasePath:

      • Download the signature authority form. Navigate to the Purchasing section of the Forms page. You want the form entitled ‘Delegation of Purchasing Authority’ on this webpage (the form itself says Signature Authorization across thetop).

      • Simply fill out the top row of the chart under Name, UW Email and Signature.

      • Bring or email this form for signing to Ben Wiggins in Hck302C.

      • One signature, a quick trip to Brianna in LSB 241, and a few steps of computer work later you should be all signed up. Needless to say, you should allow the computer folks about a day to complete this.

    • Using PurchasePath

      • Log on to PurchasePath at the following link:

      • It will ask you to pick your account. Click your name. Create your order.

      • Pick an option from the drop down box and click Continue. (Most orders will be standard Orders). Fill in your basic information in the provided boxes, except for the Ship Instructions which should be left blank. ClickContinue.

      • Next, type in the vendor you with to purchase from and click‘Go!’.

        • Sometimes there may be a list to pick from after you click go. Simply pick the desired vendor.

        • If the correct vendor is not there, click Add a new one at the bottom of thepage.

        • For many purchases, Amazon is the easiest vendor to use regardless of the actual company that built the item youwant.

      • Click ‘Add a Line Item’ to input the items you with topurchase.

        • A smaller window will pop up. Enter the item number for the item from the vendor’s website or catalog. And enter a brief description of theitem.

        • Hit the search button first to see if your item is in the history. If it is,click Select. If it is not click Add New Item.

        • If you are not adding a new item skip this step: In the Add a product box you will need to add the unit size (ex: 12 pens, 1 realm, etc.) Then add the pricethe item. Click Add.

      • Next you should see the productinformation.

        • Choose a Product Category

        • Select the appropriate budget for youritem

          • For labs in 100-200 level courses:06-9374

          • For labs in 300-400 level courses:06-9377

          • For non-student-use items:06-0417

        • For the first blank code field, enter the course you are ordering for (ex: 180, 302, 456)

        • For the second blank code field, enter the year the class you are ordering for is taking place (ex: Winter 2016 would be 016, as would Spring, Summer, and Autumn2016)

        • For the third blank code field, you’ll code in that it is for Instruction and the quarter the course is in (ex: INSAUT, INSWIN, INSSPR, or INSSUM)

        • Add any notes you feel should be included then click Save Line Item

      • Repeat until all the products you wish to purchase have beenadded.

      • Lastly, click the Submit Order For Purchase near the bottom of thescreen.

        • If the delivery of this item is time sensitive, make the order Urgent. Our purchasing gurus will use every trick at their disposal to get that item in quickly. (This is why you left Ship Instructions blank earlier, so that you would not constrainthem).

      • Your order will be approved shortly. If there is something wrong with the order, you will receive a bounce-back email asking for clarification (most often different codes) and a short message from the administrator in charge of approving your orders. You can check on the status of your orders or search orders in the tabs at the top of the screen.

  • Travel Expenses: There is a comprehensive travel section on the departmental website. Please read that for more detailed information. You will complete the Travel Authorization form form online so that Ben can approve it.

Back to Top

12. Field trips and van rentals

  • Field Trip Gear: Field trip gear (camping gear, binoculars, lanterns, etc.) is mostly stored on the -1 level of Hitchcock. Contact Ron Killman ( to borrow this equipment or to arrange for storage of field gear for your class. Report any problems or malfunctioning equipment to Ron.

  • Vehicle Reservations: Gretchen reserves vehicles for field trips. Please send her information on the dates, destinations, # and type of vehicles you will need for any field trips you plan, as soon as you have that information.Reservations should be made as far ahead aspossible. Note that 12-passenger vans are no longer available, for safety reasons. Canceling or changing reservations must be done at least 72 hours in advance or we will be charged the full daily rate of the initial reservation.

  • UW Vehicle Regulations:

    • Only registered UW students and faculty can travel in or drive UW vehicles. Drivers must have a valid driver’s license and UW ID card with them at all times and must be familiar with, and follow, traffic laws. They must also take the Fleet Services driver training. Temporary employees who don’t have an id card must obtain an authorization letter from the Instructional Support Office, 302 HCK. No smoking in vehicles is allowed.

    • Regular motor pool vehicles cannot be driven off-road. Only Suburbans or Jeeps can be used for off-road activity; please request in advance. University vehicles may not be used for transportation to or from personal on- or off-campus residences or for transportation to purely recreational activities in the field.

    • Before leaving check to make sure that the vehicle has a spare tire, jack, and lug wrench-- these have been known to be missing.

    • Drivers must be courteous to other drivers and pedestrians. If you have even a minor accident, you must immediately pull over, open the glove compartment and follow the accident instructions inside. The driver is personally liable for any traffic or parking tickets incurred. Minor damage/repair to the UW vehicle is covered by the rental rate, but the department will be charged for extraordinary items. Contact Motor Pool if repair is necessary during the trip. The University does not carry comprehensive insurance nor is equipment or personal property insured.

    • Vehicles must be cleaned out before being returned to Motor Pool or a cleaning fee of $25/hour is incurred. We have been charged over $100 per vehicle for ones returned with dirt, sand, leaves or debris in them--this has a huge impact on course budgets so please make sure you clean vehicles as much as possible!

    • All motor pool paperwork must be turned in to Brianna Divine, in LSB 241, when the trip is completed (or given to Gretchen Shirley-Bellande in 302 HCK, to send to Brianna).

  • Ferry Fares: UW field trips are official state-supported educational functions and are thus eligible for special ferry fares. If you are taking a ferry, please send a request for a flat fee with each van/ group. This is $2 for everyone in one group (you still have to pay for vehicle anddriver). In order to get the flat fee, the instructor must have an official letter, on letterhead, specifying the date of the trip, the name of the driver (if a van is involved), the destination (ferry to be taken), and a statement to the effect that this is an official educational activity. If no vehicle is taken on the ferry, specify the total number of walk-ons. A sample is here, and a sample is here. Because of possible substantial savings, instructors are encouraged to use the flat fee whenever possible. For trips to Friday Harbor, FHL has a van they will loan out for class use. If it’s feasible for you to arrange to use that and not take vehicles on the ferry (or even 1 less vehicle!), that will save significantly.

  • Liability:

    • Students do not automatically have accident insurance coverage for injuries or illnesses that occur during field trips and must be informed of any potential risks.

    • We ask that you have students sign an Acknowledgment of Risk, Consent for Treatment, And Code of Conduct Agreement form, also available at the above URL. The instructor fills out the top part before giving it to the student to sign. One form is adequate for multiple field trips within a course. Keep these signed forms with you on the trip (so you have Consent for Treatment if needed); after the trip, give them to Gretchen in 302 Hck, as we are required to keep them on file for two years. On the form, risks that students should acknowledge accepting include the following:

      • Work with, or exposure to, bats and other wild animals increases the risk of contracting rabies.

      • Camping in areas inhabited by rodents increases the risk of contracting hantavirus.

      • Trips in tick infested areas increase the risk of Lyme disease.

      • Challenging terrain or field conditions or demanding physical activity required.

    • For more information on prevention and detection of these diseases, and for a more complete list of risks involving animals and insects in the field, contact the Occupational Health Nurse at Environmental Health and Safety, 206-543-7388. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website () is also a good resource for general information.

    • If you or your TAs need first aid training, contact Environmental Health and Safety at 206- 543-7262 or visit their website at:

    • Before leaving, you should think about potential emergency procedures and how to obtain medical help, should it be needed. Each course must have along a well-stocked first aid kit: Gretchen has first aid kits that you may check out forfieldtrips

    • Worst case scenario: If someone is seriously injured or killed during a field trip, then it is imperative that UW Environmental Health and Safety (206-543-7388), be notified as soon as possible. It is also advisable to notify the Office of Risk Management at (206-543-2033). The University Police (206-543-9331) can help notify the next of kin, if needed. If UW actions (e.g., a motor vehicle accident) cause or may have caused death to a third party, then also notify the Office of Risk Management Liability Claims Program at (206-543-3657) as soon as possible after the incident. Remember not to admit liability, regardless of the circumstances, as this may impair the UW’s ability to effectively defend you and the University against a claim or legal action brought by the injured party.

  • Faculty, Student, and Staff Conduct on Field Trips:

    • All faculty, staff and students on official departmental field trips represent the University of Washington and must conduct themselves accordingly. In all cases, but especially when on field trips in another state or a foreign country, students should be aware of local laws and customs and act in accordance with these laws and customs.

    • Regarding the use of alcohol and other intoxicating substances during department- sponsored field trips:

      • Never drink and drive, or allow anyone under the influence to drive.

      • No open containers of alcohol in university vehicles at any time.

      • Absolutely no alcohol in the field, during instructional time, or consumption by minors.

      • Any off-hour consumption of beer or wine must be strictly limited and well controlled.

      • University vehicles may not be used for trips to pubs, bars, or to purchase alcohol.

      • No illegal substances at any time.

      • At all times, avoid behavior that negatively affects the comfort, well-being or learning environment of fellow field trip participants and/or members of the general public.

    • Even when participants are not engaged in educational activities, it is expected that all University employees and students will conduct themselves in a manner consistent with University policies and the Student Conduct Code throughout the course of the field trip. Faculty have the obligation to provide supervision and the authority to enforce this policy and take corrective action if necessary. A more complete discussion of student conduct, guidelines, and sanctions is provided here:

    • In the event that a student is deemed to have violated any of the recommended behavioral guidelines, the faculty member in charge of the class will issue a warning. If the offense is sufficiently egregious and is deemed to be a violation of the Student Conduct Code of UW, the faculty member in charge has the authority to report the incident to the office of Vice-President of Student Affairs. This office will proceed as stipulated in the Student Conduct Code.

    • If you are going to Friday Harbor Labs: We ask that you minimize the number of vehicles taken on the ferry, that you not allow University vans to be taken into town for non-class-related activities, and that you not allow students to use rowboats to go to town. With instructor’s permission, rowboat use is limited to daylight hours and rowboats must be signed out, life vests worn, and rowers must stay near shore, well out of ferry lanes.

Back to Top

13. Departmental Honors (aka the Ad Hoc program)

  • Honors students are required to complete ‘Ad Hoc’ additional projects to supplement their normal major curriculum. Information is here:

  • It is up to the student and faculty to decide what the project will be. These projects do not have to be extremely elaborate, but simply something that gives the student experience above and beyond the normal classexperience.

  • Instructors should understand that this will be a time commitment on their part for meetings with the student, a small amount of bureaucracy, and some editing. You do not need to take on Ad Hoc projects, although some instructors find it veryworthwhile.

  • The application for Ad Hoc project approval is due in the Honors electronic system by the 1st Friday of the quarter. This is a hard deadline, so most students will contact instructors well before the quarterstarts.

Back to Top

1. Course evaluations

  • All faculty must be evaluated by students and the evaluation summary sent to the BiologyChair.

    • Note: This policy is currently under review by the Undergraduate Program Committee.

  • Evaluations will be system (including forTAs).

  • An email will come to you early in the quarter of instruction from Gretchen. This email will give information and will identify the default evaluation window. It will also provide the link for evaluation results; keep this on file for your access after grades aresubmitted.

  • Default questions are asked, and you can modify these as you seefit.

  • If you do not respond to this email from Gretchen, then the defaults will be assigned.

Back to Top

2. Final Exams

  • Final exams are scheduled centrally according to your lecture time.  You can see the schedule for final exams here (you may need to adjust the URL for the quarter of interest):

  • Whether or not you give a final is up to you. If you do hold a final exam, then it must be at the scheduled time shown on MyUW.

    • It is possible to reschedule a final exam, but it is difficult. To do it, you’ll need to ask students to confirm that a particular rescheduled time will work for them no later than the first week of the quarter. If any students indicate that this time does not work for them, then the original time must be used. If you try this, be very sure to make clear that students will face no penalty for not being able to make your proposed time. In practice, most instructors find that rescheduling a final exam is much more trouble than it is worth, and that simply reconfiguring grading to use more, earlier assignments is a better choice for them.

  • An instructor shall not schedule a final class examination before the beginning of finals week. Scheduling final exams within the last week of instruction (aka ‘dead week’) is against this guideline and may represent a liability to you, as the instructor, and to the Department. 

    • No exams of any sort should be scheduled during the last week of the quarter (aka ‘dead week’). No assignments of more than 10% of the course grade can be given during dead week.

    • There is no final exam week in summer; finals are given on the last day ofclass.

    • An instructor shall not, except in very unusual circumstances, grant permission to individual students for an early examination.

  • A special note about Final’s week: The DRS office is occasionally closed at the end of Final’s week. This means that very late final exam times (Friday afternoon) may require in-house proctoring. Please contact Gretchen if your students report that this will be a problem for them and you need help.

Back to Top

3. Grades
  • Final grades must be submitted before 5pm on the Tuesday following Finals week (or the Tuesday after the final week of thequarter). All final grades are submitted electronically through

  • The vast majority of grades are between 0.7 and 4.0, measured in tenths of a GPA point. Each course will have slightly different grading norms. Please ask Ben and/or consult with other instructors for the same course if you havequestions.

  • Incomplete grades (marked by an “I”) can be given in special circumstances. From the Handbook: An incomplete (I) may be requested by the student if a student has successfully completed all course requirements up to the last two weeks of the quarter and has furnished proof satisfactory to the instructor that the work cannot be completed because of illness or other circumstances beyond the student’s control. Finishing incompletes can be very time-consuming for faculty, and should be avoided unlessnecessary.

  • Please note that students with significant life issues can seek a Hardship Withdrawal. This is a simple process and does not require an annual drop. This is appropriate for many unfortunate events, and students should be advised to speak with a Biology advisor if they havequestions.

  • Final grades should be submitted through MyUW. Instructions will be emailed to all instructors with ~3 weeks left to go in the quarter. The transition of final grades from Canvas to MyUW is not yet seemless. If you need to make this step, ask Dave or Ben for a tool to make thissimple.

  • Grade changes can be made online at

·Where to go for questions about grading:
·The UW Grading Policies Website
·Other faculty and instructors teaching the same course
·The faculty coordinator for instruction in Biology
  • A special note about attendance from a 2003 memo from Vice Provost Steve Olswang: “Academic grades generally may not be based on non-academic criteria, like attendance. As a basic rule, attendance may not be required in college courses, and grades should be given based only on assessment of a student's performance. However, performance can include class participation, which implies attendance. In certain clinical and laboratory settings, attendance may be a legitimate evaluation criterion, provided learning can be linked to presence in the lab or clinic.  Further, class attendance may not be required for continued class enrollment.” More recently, courses in which grading has been based on participation to make up more than 15% of the final grade have been under special scrutiny.

  • Pop quizzes: Instructors should include all graded work in syllabi, with the understanding that syllabi change and students should be well informed of those changes by email or in class (and preferably both). For instructors who want to use unannounced (‘pop’) quizzes, they should include in their syllabi description of graded work a line such as “Occasional graded assignments and quizzes may occur during scheduled class time.” This covers instructors against future complaints and would allow students who missed these assignments to go through the normal UW-mandated excused absence policy if needed (usually requiring a note from a medical professional or some other kind of paperwork).

Back to Top

  1. How UW Biology hires Temporary Teaching Faculty

  • The need for temporary lecturers and teaching associates is determined annually during construction of the following year’s curriculum plan. If you are interested in teaching at UW Biology, it is a good idea to send to Ben:

  • A CV that includes your teaching experience

  • A list of the courses in the UW Biology Curriculum that you could teach

  • A short (1-2 paragraph) description of the teaching methods you use in your courses

  • The Undergraduate Program Committee (UPC) will review and recommend appointments for temporary instructional faculty (lecturer part-time temporary, lecturer full-time temporary, teaching associate, and visiting lecturer) and recommend action to the Chair. Appointments requiring a faculty vote (lecturer full-time temporary) will be presented at a faculty meeting for a vote at the earliest possible time to ensure timely appointment and payroll entry. The UPC method for review of potential appointees is at the discretion of the UPC chair and the UPC(i.e., the UPC Chair may review potential appointees, a subset of UPC members may review potential appointees, or the UPC as a whole may review potential appointees). The Department’s Manager of Instructional Services identifies and recruits potential appointees. Appointments may also be reviewed by the Executive Committee as deemed appropriate or if the UPC is unable to provide a timely review for any urgent instructional needs.

Back to Top

2. Summer Quarter Teaching

  • Summer instructors are decided in the preceding November. Department faculty have first rights of refusal on summer courses, and then opportunities are opened more widely subject to the approval of the Undergraduate Program Committee. Courses must already be established within the department curriculum. If you are interested, sending a CV, list of courses and a short email to Ben before the start of the preceding November is a good idea.

  • For summer: Some classes are divided into first-half and second-half of summer, called A term and B-term respectively. Lectures in summer are 60 minutes rather than 50 minutes as is typical in the rest of the academic year. A 2-hour lab lasts 2 hours and 10 minutes in summer and a 3-hour lab lasts 3 hours and 20 minutes. This is supposed to make up for the quarter lasting 9 weeks instead of 10.

  • Pay in Summer Quarter is based on credit hours. Full-time pay would require teaching 10 credit hours over the full summer quarter. If you are interested in a particular quarter and salary, please inquire about the salary tables.

  • There is no final exam week in summer; finals are given on the last day ofclass.

Back to Top

3. Instructor of Record opportunities for Graduate Students

  • UW Biology does have a process by which graduate students can be Instructor of Record for a course within the department. For those that are interested, the application form and more information is available here:

  • In short, the graduate student will need to secure approval of their thesis committee, their advisor, and the Instructional Manager (Ben) before November of the year preceding the one in which they want to teach. This very long advance notice is necessary and helps make clear that this opportunity is intended for advanced graduate students with a strong plan in place.

  • Instructors who are current graduate students must be registered for credits during the quarter

  • A maximum of three Graduate IofR programs can occur during an academic year, so these applications may be competitive.

Date last changed Mar 4th, 2019 @ 21:05:29 PST