Responsibilities of Course Directors

The Course Director is responsible for the academic structure and content of the course, the production and distribution of an appropriate course syllabus, approving all grades in the course, calling meetings of the course teaching team, and the general administration of the course. The Course Director is also responsible for ensuring that the teaching team is aware of the sessional dates of the academic year.

Lectures and Tutorials

In team taught courses, all faculty are responsible for attending all lectures in the course. If sickness or an emergency makes it impossible for you to attend a class, it is imperative that you advise the course secretary in order that cancellation notice can be given to the students. You must also inform the Course Director even if it concerns a course lecture that someone else is delivering. In tutorials of team taught courses, you must also inform the Course Director and your students as soon as possible as to how the missed assignments will be made up. For other possible absences consult #1.

Course directors with contract faculty on their teaching team are expected to be available for extra assistance in the development of the teaching skills of their colleagues.

A Course Director may not request or suggest, let alone require, that any contract faculty member of her/his team prepare and/or deliver any course lecture unless it falls within the contract faculty member's explicit contractual assignment as full or partial Course Director or Team Lecturer, specifically for that course (CUPE Unit II Contract).

A Course Director to whose course CUPE Unit I (fulltime graduate student T.A.'s) have been assigned, must meet with them at the beginning of each term and work out a signed agreement for the weekly breakdown of their duties in that course which must never, under any circumstances, exceed the legal yearly total of 270 hours. Forms will be sent to these Course Directors before each term begins and must be completed and returned to the Administrative Assistant, by the third Monday of September for the First Term and by mid January for the Second Term.

Contract faculty and T.A.'s may volunteer to deliver a lecture, but they cannot be required to do so by the course director

Room Allocations

Important: Do not attempt to make any room or time changes without consulting the Undergraduate Program Assistant, 203 Vanier College, (416-736-2100, ext. 33234). To do so causes confusion for students and for the Department which has no way of directing students to a location of which it has no knowledge.

It is also looked upon with disfavour by Room Allocations that prefers to work only through the Humanities Undergraduate Program Assistant, 203 Vanier. Because of the great complexity of students' academic and non-academic schedules, such changes, especially of time slots, are usually found unfeasible and deemed unfair.

Course Meetings

Course Directors are expected to hold weekly or bi-monthly meetings with the teaching team to discuss the progress of the course, the nature and expectation of assignments, and any problems that instructors might be having in tutorials. Attendance by all group instructors is required.

Decisions on course policy are normally to be arrived at by consensus, occasionally by vote and, only rarely to be determined solely by the Course Director who is ultimately responsible for the course. The Course Director of team taught courses must hold a final course meeting to fill out the grade sheets for final course grades, and to deal with any other academic problems that may have arisen.

All instructors are required to keep free from all other commitments during the hours assigned for course meetings.

Withdrawal From Courses

Students must withdraw from courses using the online registration system. (See specific dates as announced annually by the Registrar's Office under Term Dates). A student may not withdraw from any course in which she/he has been charged or penalized for academic honesty.

Course and Instructor Evaluations

Course evaluations are required of every course in every year in which the course is offered.

Academic Advising

From the beginning of October to mid-March, questions of changing programs, course equivalencies, assignment of advisors, petitions, etc. are dealt with by the Director of Undergraduate Studies and the Directors of the various Area Studies Programs. Probably the bulk of actual advising is done by individual faculty who are approached by members of their lecture, tutorial, symposium and seminar groups. The Department requires that all our Majors and Minors have at least an annual academic advising session with a faculty member. The period from mid-March until the first day of exams makes the heaviest demands on our advising resources.

During the spring advising season from mid-March to the first day of exams and during the second week in June, the following procedures embody Humanities' policy:

During February the Undergraduate Program Assistant and the Director of Undergraduate Studies circulate to all Humanities faculty (full-time), sheets summarizing the regulations for Humanities Majors/Minors and General Education as well as general advising information. This material will stress the advantage of students' use of the spring advising period rather than waiting to use the more limited resources of the summer session. Humanities Majors or Minors are responsible:

  1. for picking up their lecture schedule from the Registrar's Office;
  2. for acquiring their Humanities Mini Calendar and appropriate Checklist from 203 Vanier;
  3. for making an appointment with an academic advisor through 203 Vanier;
  4. for completing as fully as possible, all appropriate forms before their interview with a faculty member; and
  5. for returning their completed checklist signed by an academic advisor to 203 Vanier.

Each faculty member will, outside of their regular office hours, sign up for one 'general advising slot' per third of their Humanities appointment (i.e. 1/3 = one slot; 2/3 = 2 slots; 3/3 = 3 slots) specifically for students assigned to them by the Undergraduate Program Assistant. A 'slot' is either a Morning Slot (9:00 AM - 12:00 Noon) or an Afternoon Slot (1:00 PM - 4:00 PM) or its equivalent in split hours.

All slots will be for the same mid-March to first day of exams, or mid-June, periods and will be signed up for, on a first come first served basis, on a Master Chart in 203 Vanier as of March 1. Because of student needs, faculty registering late will not necessarily receive their first choice of advising slots. These advising slots are additional to regular office hours. Each year, those faculty performing similar 'extra' advising with area studies or other programs will submit, in writing to the DUS, their requests for appropriate relief from the above obligation.

From mid-June to the end of September, the DUS will be responsible for advising continuing Majors and Minors, transfer and re-activated students.

Curriculum/Course Approvals

New curriculum proposals for courses to be mounted for FW 2018/2019 must be approved by the Department and forwarded to the Committee on Curriculum, Curricular Policy and Standards (CCPS) in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies by June 1, 2017. All new course proposals must first be submitted to the Department of Humanities Curriculum/Teaching Committee. Faculty must fill out a New Course Proposal Form available from 203 Vanier College. They should contact the bibliographer (Scott Library) for a statement regarding adequate library resources. Once the Curriculum/Teaching Committee approves any new courses, they are presented to the Department of Humanities for review before CCPS gives final approval.

Any minor changes to existing course offerings must be approved by the Curriculum/ Teaching Committee. Forms are available at Rm. 203 Vanier.

Humanities Workload Document

The workload in the Department of Humanities includes (a) teaching; (b) research, scholarly or creative activity; (c) service to the University.

The teaching load for a full-time tenured or tenure-stream faculty member in Humanities is 2.5 full-courses (7.5 teaching hours).  This will be reduced to 2 full-courses through the research release program for faculty members who are actively involved in research.

In the interest of equity, all faculty members are expected to teach regularly at the first-year level and to teach in a minimum of two terms in a given academic year. Therefore, the teaching load consists of  (a) a minimum of 3 teaching hours at the first-year-level; (b) additional teaching hours at the 2000, 3000, 4000, or graduate level to a total of  7.5 hours.

Normally, a faculty member will teach and do all the grading for 70-86 students.

In team-taught courses where two or more course directors share the lectures, each course director will receive credit for a prorated portion of the lecture component of the course.  There will be 1 hour of additional course-management credit for courses of 300 or more students.

Updated October 2016

FAQ for New Course Directors

1. Is there a listserv for course instructors?

There is a listserv for course instructors. It is used by the administrative staff to communicate all relevant information for course instructors including, deadlines, policies and procedures, information regarding exams, course evaluations, etc. When you are assigned as a course director, you should be added to the listserv automatically. If you are not, ask your course secretary about getting added to it. Most of the information found below will be communicated through that listserv throughout the term at the appropriate time.

2. Where else can I find information relevant to course instructors?

- The 'Faculty & Staff' link on the York home page has links to course class lists, timetables & schedules; important (sessional ) dates; policies regarding academic integrity and religious observance, and much more.
- The Departmental Handbook, found under the 'Teaching' link on the Departmental home page outlines in detail the department's policies regarding teaching and grading.

3. What is the role of the course secretary?

Every course has a course secretary. The course secretary is your point of access to the information and services you will need as a course director. When you are assigned your course, ask who your course secretary is, and introduce yourself to her/him as soon as possible. As in all relationships, clear communication, politeness and patience will facilitate that relationship.

The course secretary's duties include:

  • Photocopying
  • Sending large print jobs such as syllabi and tests/exams to printing services
  • Ordering A-V equipment and materials

All of the above must be requested 3-5 business days ahead.

  • Placing library items on reserve
  • Ordering course texts and desk copies

You can also do some of those things yourself:

  • Small photocopying jobs (see #2 below)
  • Ordering A-V materials: order form is found under the 'faculty' link on the library website
  • Placing library items on reserve: form is found on the library home page under the 'faculty' link on the library website
  • Ordering course texts: form is found on the York U. Bookstores home page under the 'faculty services' link

4. When are the deadlines for ordering books?

The official deadlines are for Fall and Fall/Winter courses, May 1; for Winter courses, October 1; and for Spring/Summer courses, March 1.

However, you may not be assigned your course in time to make those deadlines. Prepare your textbook order as quickly as possible, and ask your course secretary to submit it. S/he and the Bookstore will make every effort to get your texts in on time.

5. How do I order and put together a course kit?

The Copyright Clearance Centre, which is housed in the York U. Bookstore, produces course kits. All of the information you need is found on the York U Bookstores home page under the 'faculty services' link.

They request that all materials be submitted at least 8 weeks prior to the start date of the course. However, if you are appointed to your course after the submission date, they will work with you to ensure that the materials are compiled quickly in order to meet your deadline.

6. Photocopying:

a. What is an ID number? And where do I get one?

Every course is assigned a photocopier ID number. It is necessary to punch this number in on the LED screen on the departmental photocopier to activate it. Also, be sure to logout when you're done, otherwise someone else's photocopies may be charged to your course. Your course secretary should be able to provide you with this number, or tell you who to ask.

b. Are there limits to the number of photocopies I may make for my course?

Yes, there are limits to the number of photocopies you may make for a course. The departmental photocopier is intended for small jobs. To encourage instructors to submit their large printing jobs to the printers through their secretaries, course limits have been set. They are as follows:

Up to 30 students: 500 copies
30-100 students: 800 copies
100-200 students: 1,000 copies
200-300 students: 1,500 copies
400 + students: 2,000 copies

7. Classroom technology:
There is a variety of instructional technology configurations in the classrooms. For general information about classroom technology at York and to ascertain what technology is available in your classroom, go to the Classroom Technology page on the Computing for Faculty & Staff web page.

You can arrange to have a technician come to your classroom to show you how to use any of the devices by emailing itc@yorku.ca or calling 416-736-5065.

How do I log on to the classroom computers?

  • All classrooms with a computer will have a small LED screen somewhere in the front of the classroom. To activate it, touch it, then touch 'login'. Use your Passport York user name and password to login. This will unlock the computer cabinet. Turn the computer on as usual.
  • To turn the projector on, touch 'projector' on the LED screen. After the projector has warmed up, touch 'pc' then 'projector' in order to project the computer screen.
  • If there is a computer monitor in the classroom, you will have to log on to the computer using the computer keyboard. Use your Passport York user name and password to log on and to access your shared drives and files. If there is no computer monitor, use the wireless keyboard in the computer cabinet drawer to log on, using the projected image as your monitor.
  • Remember to log off at the end of class to protect your drives and files.
  • The portable computers on carts that are delivered to unequipped classrooms have not been upgraded to accept your Passport York user name and password. A generic logon must be used. Ask your course secretary for that information. Also, those computers may not yet have been upgraded to Windows 7 and Office 2010.
  • If you have not changed your Passport York password since July 1, 2012 it will not work in the classrooms. Visit mms@yorku.ca to reset your password.

8. How do I set up a classroom webpage?

  • The eServices Office (eSO)  provides course instructors with the information necessary to populate and maintain their Moodle course websites.
  • Moodle  is a "learning management system" which "allows instructors to easily set up effective online learning communities where students can download course resources and interact with learning activities." You must request that Moodle be set up for your course. Such requests should be made at least 8 weeks in advance of the course start date. For more information go to Moodle

9. What are the rules and regulations about class size?
YUFA members may admit to their own classes and tutorials as many students as the lecture room and the tutorial rooms in question can legally accommodate.

For CUPE members (both Unit I and Unit II, i.e., teaching assistants and contract faculty): The normal size for 1000-level Foundations course tutorials is 25; the absolute maximum size 28 (as of the November 1 enrolment count).

  • The normal size for 2000-level Foundation course tutorials is 28; the absolute maximum tutorial size is 31 (as of the November 1 enrolment count).
  • Modes of Reasoning courses the absolute COURSE maximum size is 55 and TUTORIAL size is 28.
  • The normal size for 3000-level courses is 30.
  • The normal size for 4000-level courses is 20.

a. How can I find out how many students I may have in my classroom?
Along with information regarding the technology available in each classroom, the Computing for Faculty & Staff web page, also indicates how many students can be accommodated in the room.

b. Why such concern over classroom size?
The number of occupants allowed in each classroom is determined in accordance with the provincial fire regulations. In case of a fire or accident, if an instructor allows more than the allowed number of occupants in the room, that instructor is legally liable for any injury or death.

10. How do I handle students who request permission to enroll in the course when it is already full?
You should explain that until the 'Last date to enrol without permission of course instructor', which is determined and posted by the Registrar each year, their only option is to keep trying to enrol on-line through the enrolment system. After that date, you MAY give them permission to enrol (slips available from Humanities main office), depending on room size and tutorial size, until the 'last date to enrol with permission of course instructor, which is also determined and posted by the Registrar each year. You are not obligated to over-enroll the course even if the room size is adequate.

You may also have students requesting changes from one tutorial to another within your course. Only the Course Director can authorize these changes and only with the permission of the affected Tutorial Instructors. They must also conform to the policies regarding room size and tutorial size. Such switches must be done officially through Rita so that the Registrar's Office information matches your grades sheets.

Before seeking any increase to class size, you should contact Rita (ext. 33223 or ritaq@yorku.ca) to ensure that both the lecture room and the tutorial rooms in question can legally accommodate the extra students.

11. Grades
a. Is there a gradebook template?
An Excel gradebook template plus a tutorial is available at  www.fsc.yorku.ca/resources/gradebooks.php

b. When to submit?
Grades are normally due 5 working days after the exam/last class.

c. Where to submit?

  • Course Directors input final grades on the web.
  • Grade breakdown sheets (Excel or Word) for your course (including tutorials) must also be submitted to Rita Quagliara (203 Vanier) or ritaq@yorku.ca.
  • On the spreadsheet(s), please indicate date assignments due & date grade available to student.
  • Completed final exams (in alphabetical order) must be handed in to your course secretary.

d. What are the grading guidelines at York?


Letter Grade Percentage Definition Grade Poin
A+ 90-100 Exceptional 9
A 80-89 Excellent 8
B+ 75-79 Very Good 7
B 70-74 Good 6
C+ 65-96 Competent 5
C 60-64 Fairly Competent 4
D+ 55-59 Passing 3
D 50-54 Barely Passing 2
E 40-49 Marginally Failing 1
F 0-39 Failing 0

At the conclusion of a course, course directors are also provided with a grade profile e-form, used to calculate and record the distribution of grades in a course and a cumulative grade point average. The LA&PS grading standards are outlined below:

Faculty-level Grading Standards

Is the overall grade point average above 6.5?
Are there 75% or more grades of B or better?
Are there 50% or more grades of A or better?
Is the overall grade point average below 3.5?
Are there 20% or more failing grades?
"Yes" to any of the above questions indicates that there is an anomaly (i.e. the mean or grade distribution fall outside of the Faculty-level standards). When this occurs, faculty members are required to submit a course-specific rationale.

Courses at the 4000-level, or with 30 or fewer students enrolled, are exempt from the Faculty-level Standards legislation.

Course Evaluations:
a. Which is better paper or online?
Course evaluations are available in 2 formats: paper and on-line. It is up to the course instructor (or where there is a teaching team, the consensus of the team) which format to use. If you decide to use the paper format, you will have to indicate that early in the final term of the course. An announcement is sent out on the course instructor's listserv advising that it is time to do so.
If you intend to pursue an academic teaching career, or want feedback from a relatively large number of students, paper course evaluations are the way to go. Most importantly because handwritten evaluations have more credibility in the eyes of hiring committees. Also the number of responses to on-line evaluations tends to be much lower than evaluations administered in class.

The advantages of on-line evaluations are that they are accessible to all students enrolled in the course, require no work on the part of the instructor, and they are in a digital format.

b. Where do I get the evaluations?
Paper evaluations are distributed 3-4 weeks before the end of term. A notice is sent out on the course instructor's listserv informing course instructors that they are available and where they can pick them up.

c. When and how do I get to see the evaluations?

Course instructors are not given access to course evaluations until all grades are in. This is usually several months after the end of the course. On-line evaluations are available to instructors sooner than paper evaluations because they require less processing. A notice is sent out on the course instructors' listserv when evaluations are available. For paper evaluations, the statistics and the written comments are placed in the instructor's mailbox.

d. Who reads my evaluations?

The comments are for your eyes only. The statistics may be reviewed by the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Should I attend Department meetings?

All permanent faculty members are expected to participate in the life and work of the Department. All contract faculty members are encouraged to participate as fully as possible. Divisional meetings are generally held the first available Monday in each month in the 2:30-4:30 period. Notices of Department meetings are sent to all full time and contract faculty.