Start of Semester Guide

Start of Semester Guide

Greetings and congratulations on wrapping up another successful semester!

We have prepared the Spring 2024 Start of Semester Guide to provide you with the essential information you will need to plan your semester. Our web-based format includes important dates, university policy reminders and key resources, plus general faculty and student information.

As always, thank you for your hard work. I appreciate all you do for our students and the IU campus. 

Carrie Docherty
Vice Provost for Faculty & Academic Affairs

Spring 2024 Start of Semester Guide

NOTE: Due to activity around the SOLAR ECLIPSE, classes will not be held in-person on MONDAY, APRIL 8, 2024. Please determine well in advance if you wish to move your teaching online, offer alternative work, or cancel for that day. Requests for in-person teaching on that day will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

See the Official Calendar for more details

January 8, 2024 (Monday): Spring Classes Begin

January 15, 2024 (Monday): Martin Luther King Jr. Day: no classes.

February 18, 2024 (Sunday):

  1. Attendance Verification due (please look for e-mail reminders!)
  2. Early Evaluations due through the Student Engagement Roster (accessible through CANVAS)

March 4, 2024 (Monday): Second 8 Week Courses Begin

March 10, 2024 (Sunday): Last day to Withdraw with an Automatic W

March 10-17, 2024: SPRING BREAK

End of Semester (See BL-ACA-H29 for details)

April 8, 2024 (Monday): No in-person classes due to the eclipse (See note above)

April 27, 2024 (Saturday): LAST DAY OF CLASSES

April 29-May 3 (Monday-Friday): EXAM WEEK (See Schedule here)

FINAL GRADES DUE 8 PM on the fourth day after the last class meeting or final exam

(Find more information regarding final grades here)

  • CITL (Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning) features the latest developments in pedagogy at IU through a wide range of classes, individual consultations, and a blog.
  • FACET (Faculty Academy on Excellence in Teaching) offers a variety of workshops and courses for improving your teaching, including opportunities for peer review (supplementing unit-based peer reviews.)  
  • LIBRARY SUPPORT: IU Librarians can help instructors utilize library materials in the classroom for a richer student experience.

  • TEACHING.IU.EDU is a dynamic, engaging, university-wide site with a wealth of IU-specific and general teaching resources. It contains links to IU’s pedagogical centers, including CITL and FACET (below), discussions of current topics, and sections on tools and professional development. Your questions about teaching at IU will likely find answers here.

We recognize that course attendance has presented challenges in recent years. Please prepare your syllabi with instructional policies that balance clear expectations for student participation with reasonable accommodations for physical and mental health. Please use the following resources to assist:

  • The Center for Innovative Teaching & Learning recommends measuring engagement, rather than attendance, to accommodate students who must miss class due to health and safety reasons and minimize the effect of reasonable absences on course grades: “Attendance Policies and Student Engagement”
  • The IUB Division of Student Affairs page on Attendance Issues offers student-facing guidelines including: “If you miss more than 20% of the semester (approximately 3 weeks) for medical or personal reasons, it may be best to consider withdrawing from all courses until you are able to return and focus on your academic goals.”
  • You cannot under any circumstances ask students to provide medical information, and the IU Student Health Center does not provide “notes.” Please prepare course expectations accordingly. The Health Center is willing to work with students who have ongoing or serious illness, injury or disability to provide care and documentation as necessary.
  • Students who seek accommodations due to temporary impairments, which AES defines as including, but not limited to, “broken bones, sprains, concussions, and appendicitis,” should be referred to Accessible Educational Services.
  • Encourage students with significant attendance challenges to contact the Student Advocates Office and the Student Care and Resource Center; the latter can provide attendance memos in the event of hospitalization or the death of an immediate family member.

According to Bloomington Faculty Council policy BL-ACA-H28: “Faculty members teaching courses have the responsibility to provide instruction as scheduled. Variations from the schedule may occur for a variety of reasons, including illness, professional activities, and pedagogical considerations. When such variations occur, it is the responsibility of the faculty member both to provide equivalent academic activity for the students in the course and to notify the chairperson of the department offering the course of the change in schedule.” Apart from short-term changes for reasons described above, instructors should adhere to scheduled course times for online or in-person class meetings and scheduled modality for the course.

New for Spring 2024:

  • Faculty Initiated Early Alert Warning Guidelines (OVPUE). Early Alert Warnings (EAWs) are an effort to sustain student momentum and facilitate early identification of students with academic issues. If a student has attendance issues, poor performance on quizzes and assignments, or a sudden decline in academic performance, please use the Student Engagement Roster to communicate with the student. That message will also go to the student’s Academic Advisor. Please add the following language to your syllabi:

“In this course the instructor wants to make sure you connect with resources that will help you be successful. If you receive a message through the Student Engagement Roster that asks you to consult with your advisor, please know that the message is sent to both you and your academic advisor, who will follow up and view the feedback from this course.”

Student Mental Health Resources. For a quick reference, see IU’s Care Card, and a list of resources, including the newly created TimelyCare service that gives students 24/7 virtual access to mental health care professionals.

Please consider including information in your syllabus about mental health services offered by CAPS and other support services that are available to students, or direct them to the Student Care and Resource Center for information on where to find support services.

Find information regarding Mental Health Support for IU Employees, Student Academic Appointees, and their Family Members here

Accessible Educational Services for Students (AES): Please read the Division of Student Affairs’ Accessible Educational Services Faculty Handbook, which describes the documentation and accommodation process for students with disabilities, and provides a sample statement to include in your syllabi. Note that only AES-approved accommodations should be utilized in the classroom. It is the student’s responsibility to meet with AES and, upon receiving an accommodations memo, make appropriate arrangements with the instructor. For information about support services or accommodations available to students with disabilities and for the procedures to be followed by students and instructors, please visit:

Digital Access and Equity. Students do not all have the same access to experience technology-related access problems that interfere with their work in the course. You may also wish to direct students to technology-related resources provided by the university, such as:

Library Research Help: IU Libraries offers one-on-one consultations with students who need assistance with library research. (Link to

Religious Observances. Per policy BL-ACA-H10, instructors must reasonably accommodate students who want to observe their religious holidays at times when academic requirements conflict with those observances. Students must request a religious accommodation no later than 2 weeks prior to the anticipated absence (even if the exact date of the observance is unclear at the time). The policy also encourages instructors to include on the syllabus and announce at the beginning of the semester the policy and procedures for religious observances. Consider this syllabus language:

Students missing class for a religious observance must fill out the accommodation form on the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs webpage at least two weeks before your anticipated absence.

Student Advocates Office. Refer students in academic, emotional, or financial distress to the Student Advocates Office:

  • The University Faculty Council passed a revised Student Code of Conduct in Spring 2023 (STU-00). Please read the policy carefully: it includes updated sections on Student Rights, Academic Misconduct, and Personal Misconduct.

Academic Misconduct: If you believe that a student has engaged in academic misconduct, you may file a report with the Office of Student Conduct.

Bias Incident Reporting: Many students are unaware of options for reporting bias incidents, so please consider adding the following information to your course syllabi:

Bias-based incident reports can be made by students, faculty, and staff. Any act of discrimination or harassment based on race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability can be reported through any of the options: 1) fill out an online report at; 2) call the Dean of Students Office at (812) 855-8187.

Reports can be made anonymously at

Sexual Misconduct and Title IX – Syllabus Language. Faculty are considered Responsible Employees for purposes of Title IX, which means they have an obligation to report incidents of possible sexual misconduct known to them to the appropriate Title IX Officials for their campus. To help students understand your obligation and to inform them of their rights and available resources on campus, we advise that all instructors include the following message within their syllabi:

IU policy prohibits sexual misconduct in any form, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, sexual exploitation, and dating and domestic violence. If you have experienced sexual misconduct, or know someone who has, the University can help. If you are seeking help and would like to speak to someone confidentially, you can make an appointment with the IU Sexual Assault Crisis Services at (812) 855-8900, or contact a Confidential Victim Advocate at (812) 856-2469 or
University policy requires me to share certain information brought to my attention about potential sexual misconduct with the campus Deputy Sexual Misconduct & Title IX Coordinator or the University Sexual Misconduct & Title IX Coordinator. In that event, those individuals will work to ensure that appropriate measures are taken and resources are made available. Protecting student privacy is of utmost concern, and information will only be shared with those that need to know to ensure the University can respond and assist. I encourage you to visit to learn more. 

Disruptive Students. For guidance on addressing difficult student situations in the classroom: see or contact the Office of Student Conduct at (812) 855-5419 for guidance. If you have concerns about the immediate safety of the classroom, call IU Police at 911 or call (812) 855-4111.

Course Evaluations (Midterm and OCQ): Consider offering an informal midterm course evaluation to gauge student learning and gather feedback. At the end of the semester, the Online Course Questionnaire (OCQ) will be administered in all courses. Responses to the OCQ’s 11 core questions are shared with instructors, department chairs, deans, the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education (VPUE), and the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs (VPFAA). Responses to four of those questions will be included in faculty tenure and promotion dossiers.

Find out more about how advance planning can help improve response rates

The BFC’s Policy on OCQs can be found at

Disclosure of Student Records (FERPA): The 1974 Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (“FERPA”) protects the privacy of students’ educational records and generally prohibits the release or disclosure of student records by school officials to any third party without the student’s prior written consent. Prior to communicating with parents, potential employers, other universities, or any other third party about a student’s educational records (including grades, papers, performance, etc.), faculty must have obtained the necessary prior written consent from the student. The Office of the Registrar has compiled FERPA resources for instructors at Reporting student performance to IU officials who have a “need to know” is allowed under FERPA.

Fire Drills: Avoiding Class Disruptions. Fire drills are required by state law. In most academic buildings they happen only once a year; some require them quarterly. If you have a large class with non-routine events such as exams, guest speakers, or special events, we encourage you to notify your Building Manager of those specific dates and times (drills are not scheduled for midterm or final exam weeks). Building managers work with the scheduling team and may be able to avoid these times (as well as other building maintenance functions that might disrupt.) If you do not know who the building manager is, please feel free to send the information directly to IU Emergency Management and Continuity at with the campus, building name, event type, and date/time.

Textbook Information (Order by March 15 for Summer 2024, and April 15 for Fall 2024): The 2010 Higher Education Opportunity Act requires that every instructor on the Bloomington campus provide the IU Bookstore full information about all textbook and other course materials (retail price, ISBN number – or author/title/publisher if the ISBN is not available), either directly or through an administrator/assistant. This information not only complies with federal law, but also saves our students money by providing them a single, easy-to-use, and comprehensive repository where information about textbook and course materials can be reliably retrieved. Another way for students to save money is through eTexts. For information on both see:

Graduate Course Syllabus Preparations: Per the Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG) resolution, faculty teaching graduate courses must publish their CANVAS course page at least a week before classes begin, with at least two weeks of course expectations. This resolution aims to reduce burdens for graduate students by providing adequate advance course and textbook information.

SAA Grievances: In April 2023, the Bloomington Faculty Council approved new policies addressing SAA Grievances (BL-ACA-D28), the SAA Mediation Committee (BL-ACA-D23), and the SAA Board of Review (BL-ACA-D24). Please familiarize yourself with these policies.

International Student Appointee Work Hour Limits: International Appointees: F-1 and J-1 students acknowledge that under U.S. SEVP policy, they may work no more than 20 hours any week while the university is in session, regardless of whether weekly hours are reported or how payment is structured (J-1 students must receive written authorization from OIS/program sponsor prior to beginning employment). Working more than 20 hours per week is permitted only during Thanksgiving, winter, spring, and summer breaks. Violations of these visa rules have severe consequences for students.

New for Spring 2024:

  • Campus Safety: The PROTECT IU website offers a variety of resources to keep you safe on campus, including:
    • The Rave Guardian app, free for IU students, faculty and staff. It includes access to 911 dispatchers and campus police, IU safety alerts, a “See Something/Say Something” anonymous tip feature, and a Safe Walk Timer.
    • Road Safety: IU saw an increase in vehicle and pedestrian accidents last year. Please be aware of your surroundings at all times. See the PROTECT IU Road Safety page for more tips.

Annual Faculty Productivity Reports: University policy requires that faculty provide annual information on their academic activities for merit review and other purposes. DMAI is one tool for reporting productivity; your unit may choose other forms, but in all cases, 2023 faculty activities must be submitted by January 15, 2024.

Award Nomination Deadlines: To find upcoming deadlines for nominations/applications for VPFAA awards (Outstanding Junior Faculty, Provost Professors, Distinguished Service, Patten Lecturers, Mary Burgan and others) see

Conflict of Interest and Commitment: University policy (UA-17) requires that all academic appointees must disclose, in writing, to their chair or dean, outside professional activities that may interfere with their teaching, research or service. This includes teaching for another university, including online teaching. It also requires that anyone responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of research, regardless of funding, must complete the annual disclosure form, even if you have no outside interests to report: conflicts-of-interest-commitment/index.html. The form can be found at:

Emergencies: To report an emergency, call the IU Police Department at 911, (or 9-911 from any campus phone) or (812) 855-4111 from off campus. For information about campus emergency preparedness:

Faculty Writing Groups. OVPFAA sponsors roughly twenty three-hour Faculty Writing Groups throughout the semester. These groups meet weekly to help build accountability and community and are open to all academics with full-time appointments. The application deadline for Spring 2024 is November 1, 2023. For more information on writing groups, contact Gen Creedon, Director, Scholarly Writing Program, at or (812) 855-5337, or visit:

Family Leaves. Information on IU’s options for paid family and other types of leaves for academic appointees can be found at Contact with questions.

Mental Health Support for IU Employees, Student Academic Appointees, and their Family Members: Just like our students, SAAs and employees and their families may at times need mental health support. IU provides free access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). This confidential resource provides 24/7 access to professional counseling and referrals. Licensed counselors can provide short-term assistance with issues such as grief and loss, substance abuse, marriage and relationship problems, depression, work-related pressures, and stress and anxiety. Services are provided at no cost to all full-time employees, Graduate Appointees, Fellowship Recipients, and their household members.

National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD). NCFDD is an independent center designed to help faculty increase research productivity, maintain work-family balance, and create networks of support. As part of IU’s institutional membership, graduate students, postdocs, and all faculty have access to NCFDD’s weekly “Monday Motivator” email, monthly webinars, and an online forum to focus on strategies for developing productive research and writing habits. To access these resources, sign up as part of the IUB community at

Peer Teaching Observations (Unit-based): Peer Teaching Observations play a crucial part in tenure and promotion dossiers. Consider setting them up now. While all teaching faculty should have regular observations, OVPFAA recommends that faculty and unit heads work together to schedule at least one observation per semester for probationary faculty, and at least one observation per year for Associate Professors, Senior Lecturers, and Associate Clinical Faculty.

Scholars’ Commons. The IU Scholars’ Commons in the Wells Library provides researchers a centralized location where faculty can consult with experts on copyright issues, data management plans, and attend Scholars’ Commons workshops. Visit to learn more. Faculty may also apply for Information Literacy Grants (

VPFAA Event Calendar