2007 Reaffirmation Teams
3.4.5 - 2007 Reaffirmation Teams
The institution publishes academic policies that adhere to principles of good educational practice. These are disseminated to students, faculty, and other interested parties through publications that accurately represent the programs and services of the institution.
The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) uses multiple outlets to publish and disseminate its academic policies and to inform students, faculty, and others about the programs and services that the university offers. The policies are created in a consultative manner, normally using input from multiple committees, and follow best practices in higher education and business operations. All policies and programs have a responsible university office or committee which reviews and updates the policies and programs in accordance with established external and internal rules and regulations.
UT Dallas publishes its academic programs, policies, services, and procedures relating to students, faculty, and the community in the undergraduate  and graduate catalogs . Each catalog is published in even numbered years with electronic updates in odd-numbered years. While both electronic and hard copy versions of the catalogs are available, the official university catalogs are published on UT Dallas’ website. All catalog copy begins with the individual academic programs and is then vetted by the Council for Undergraduate Education  or the Council for Graduate Education , the Committee on Educational Policy , and the Academic Senate . The University of Texas System (UT System) Office of General Counsel also reviews catalogs for adherence to UT System and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) policies and to legislative changes. The Office of Graduate Studies is responsible for maintaining and updating the graduate catalog, and the Office of Undergraduate Studies is similarly responsible for the undergraduate catalog. Additionally, prospective students are encouraged to view targeted documents from the Prospective Students web page ; links include information about academic programs and other areas of interest to applicants, including financial aid and housing. The Office of Enrollment Services works with the academic and student units to ensure that the information is accurate.
UT Dallas’ Handbook of Operating Procedures (HOP) is available on the Office of the President’s website . However, the president is not responsible for maintaining or updating the HOP-that responsibility lies in the requisite vice president’s office as explained below. The Administrative Policy and Procedures Manual  (Title II of the HOP) is maintained by the Office for Business Affairs. The Policy and Procedures Manual provides faculty and staff with detailed descriptions of administrative and business procedures, local, state, and federal regulations governing university practice, and purchasing procedures; while the majority of the policies contained therein are not strictly academic policies, many do impact academic procedures. The Faculty Handbook  details the specifics of faculty organization, instructional policies, the administration of research programs, library regulations, and numerous other academic procedures and regulations including academic governance. The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost updates and maintains the Faculty Handbook; however, some sections originate in the Office of Sponsored Research, Business Affairs, Internal Audit, Police, and Academic Senate. Upon the advice of the Academic Senate, the Provost’s Office abandoned the hardcopy version of Faculty Handbook and went to an online version in fall 2006 to ensure that all updates in policies were available.
Chapter 21 of Title III of the HOP governs the actions of the Academic Senate (Senate) . The Academic Senate works in conjunction with University  and Senate  committees to originate academic policy at UT Dallas. Each committee has a designated responsible university official to help coordinate communication. After the policies are generated by the committee, the Academic Council reviews proposed policies and places them on the Senate’s agenda. Once the Senate has approved the policies, they are sent for review and consent to the executive vice president and provost and the president, who in turn send the policies to the UT System Office of General Counsel for final vetting before they are published. Annual reports from the committees   are submitted to the Senate and published on the Senate Committees’ web pages. The Senate posts minutes of its meetings on the website as well . The actual policies once they have been approved by the UT System are issued as policy memoranda and are posted on the Office of the Provost’s website . These policies are also published in the HOP. To better communicate with the faculty when revisions have been made or when new policies have been posted, in summer 2007, the Office of Human Resources Management created new, comprehensive e-mail lists that include all faculty. These lists are used by the Governance Secretary to inform the faculty each time a new policy is implemented, modified, or deleted .
In a similar fashion as the Senate, the Staff Council , consisting of representatives from throughout the university, works with the Business Affairs, Student Affairs, and Information Resources to generate, discuss, and disseminate policies that protect and benefit faculty and staff and that serve the university . The speaker of the faculty attends Staff Council meetings and the chair of the Staff Council attends the Senate meetings in order to exchange information and have input in policy making. Additionally, UT Dallas has an active student government . The student government president attends Academic Senate meetings, and the secretary of the faculty attends the student government meetings to communicate pertinent information and policies.
Policies and procedures thought to be of paramount importance are often extracted from larger documents and published in a secondary location. The Office of Judicial Affairs republishes several chapters from Title V of the (HOP)  as they relate to student conduct, discipline and academic grievances. The Office of Human Resources Management extracts segments from the operations handbook regarding privacy issues and medical policies . Pertinent extracts of policies particularly relevant to students such as the student grievance policy, the academic integrity (plagiarism) policy, incomplete and withdrawal policies are directly posted in the syllabi via electronic syllabi templates which all faculty use and which are posted on the Senate’s website .
A number of administrative units also publish information for the academic community related to their mission. The Office of the Bursar’s website  contains information pertaining to financial transactions, the Office of the Registrar’s website  highlights policy and procedures related to course registration and graduation requirements, and Enrollment Services provides details related to admission on its website . The Office of Undergraduate Advising summarizes advising policy and procedures through the Advising Handbook  and the Academic Minor Handbook .
UT Dallas also conveys information to the university community through student publications such as the UTD Mercury 
Publications, including those with and without academic policies, generally begin with a specific department or program but then receive review approval through a chain of command. School of Management publications, for example, receive in-house approval. If, however, the publication includes enrollment figures, the figures must be vetted through the Office of Strategic Planning and Analysis (OSPA). OSPA also produces its own publications which have received graphic and design assistance from the Office of News and Information, which is now a part of the Office of the Vice President for Communications. Enrollment services brochures have consistently been vetted through either the vice president for student affairs or, currently, the executive vice president and provost as well as the Communications Office. The Communications Office also produces a media guide  and a web publishing guide for the university’s use .