To ensure that your student’s first term is a successful one, it’s helpful to know a little bit about the expectations of the professors, as well as the basic differences between high school and university studies.
The Course Syllabus Professors use the first day of class to explain their expectations for the students by presenting the course syllabus that contains the professor's policies and sequence of instruction. One of the differences between high school and college is the use of the syllabus, which outlines all of the policies that the professor expects students to abide by, such as the number of allowed absences, policies of academic honesty, and all other policies that govern the daily routine of the course. Because each professor's policies can differ, students should consult the syllabus frequently and ask questions as they arise.
The syllabus also contains the course outline, including topics to be covered and a list of assignments. Professors expect students to use the syllabus to prepare assigned materials, including textbook readings. As the term commences, professors will be less likely to announce readings and other homework, expecting students to be self-directed in their class preparation.
Office Hours Office hours are an integral part of the university experience. Professors set a certain amount of time aside each week so that students can conference with them to clarify an assignment or discuss a concern that the student might have. The office hours will always be listed on the syllabus; most faculty members will also make themselves available by appointment. During office hours, any student can stop by the professor's office for a meeting.
Academic Support Peer and professional tutors are available to assist students with study and organizational skills, as well as to help them master key concepts the many subject areas they will be studying.
Both the Downcity and the Harborside Campuses have a Learning Center that is open during regular business hours. Some tutoring is available after regular business hours for students whose schedules do not allow them to meet with a tutor during the regular academic day. All students are welcome and encouraged to make use of this service. The learning centers also provide support to students who qualify for special needs accommodations. For more information, please contact Meryl Berstein, the director of the Center for Academic Support, 401-598-4689.
Academic Integrity Students need to keep in mind that each assignment represents an opportunity for learning. Many of the assignments that students will be asked to complete challenge them to develop the skills that they’ll need to succeed in their chosen professions. Professors and support personnel are available to help students develop these skills.
The consequences of academic dishonesty range from grade penalties to being withdrawn from the course with a permanent notation on the student's record. If professors detect academic misconduct, they will take the actions specified on their course syllabus. If a student repeatedly hands in plagiarized work, he or she may be dismissed for academic dishonesty. Academic honesty is easily achieved by documenting all sources carefully.
The Student Code of Conduct outlines these policies in full.[Adapted from "Achieving Success in the First Term," by Professor Desiree Rondina]