Dean of Curriculum E-mail February 2012

Dear colleagues,


I write to share important calendar information as you finalize course syllabi for the coming semester.


1.  Spring semester Course Schedule. Please note that classes will not be held on Friday February 24 (Winter Carnival) and Friday April 20 (Student Spring Symposium).  The last teaching day of the spring semester is Monday, May 14 which will meet according to the Friday schedule.


2.    Course drop deadline. The deadline for students to drop a course is the end of the fifth week of the semester -  Friday, March 16 .  Please assign and return some graded work in advance of that date.


3.    Final Exam Schedule.    The fall final exam period will extend from Wednesday, May 16  through Tuesday, May 22.  Final examinations may be self-scheduled, offered at a time that is determined by the Registrar’s Office, or take-home.  Final exam times for the spring semester are posted on the Course Scheduling page

Self-scheduled exams may be offered beginning Wednesday, May 16; additional information on self-scheduled exams will come from the Registrar's Office.


4.    Final grades for graduating seniors will be due at noon on Wednesday May 23, and all other grades will be due at noon Tuesday June 5.


5.    Please avoid requiring too many papers and exams during the last week of classes. As you finalize your syllabi, please remember that many deadlines for course assignments come at the end of the semester and students can be overwhelmed. Please be reminded that faculty are not permitted to give a final examination during the last week of classes.  Please use one of the options described above. Spreading assignments evenly throughout the semester will give students earlier feedback, and assigning less work at the very end of the term will also make it easier for each of us to submit our final grades on time.


Evaluation of Student Work


C. Announcement of Work Required for Evaluation

Early in the semester, preferably on the syllabus, instructors should inform their classes of the nature, extent, and due dates of all major work to be required for evaluation during the semester. Instructors must inform students prior to the end of the fifth week of major work that must be completed before the end of classes and during the final examination period.  No additional major papers or projects may be announced after the end of the fifth week of the semester. No new assignments of work for evaluation may be made during the last week of classes.

D. Final Examinations

1. Instructors normally determine the form of the final exam when submitting course information to the course scheduler. For courses that have scheduled final exams, a preliminary exam schedule is published shortly after the add period each semester. A final examination may take one of several different forms:

a. A regularly scheduled written examination. The time and place are established by the course scheduler.

b. A self-scheduled examination. Self-scheduled examinations are taken at a designated examination center according to the following schedule: 9-12 a.m.; 2-5p.m.; and 7-10 p.m., during the examination period. By noon on the Friday before the start of the final examination period, instructors deposit copies of their examinations in the Registrar's Office. Students pick examinations up at the designated examination center within 15 minutes of each starting time and take the exam to a designated examination room. Students must return examination papers to the  examination center by the conclusion of the examination hours or sooner, according to the time allotted for the examination. Exams are date-stamped at that time.

c. A take-home examination. Take-home examinations may be taken at the student's convenience during the final examination period and will be returned to the instructor according to procedures established before the last day of classes.

d. An oral examination. Before the last day of classes an instructor will inform the student of the time and place of such an examination.

e. An open-book examination. This may be either a self-scheduled or a take-home examination (see b and c above).

2. Final examinations may be given only during the final examination period. (See "Final Examination Period" section below)

3. Except for take-home examinations, final examinations may not be less than one or           more than three hours in length.

4. Instructors should follow Article II of the Undergraduate Honor System in the conduct of final examinations.

5. Instructors should return final examination papers to students or keep them in their possession for one full semester.



6.    The policy for review of Independent Study (500 projects) is as follows.  All 500 projects proposed by juniors and seniors require Department or Program approval and do not need to be approved by the Curriculum Committee.  While 500 projects proposed by sophomores (even within the major) are discouraged, the Curriculum Committee will review strongly endorsed proposals. From the Handbook:

The election of a 0500 project provides an opportunity for individual work in one's field of interest. It is a privilege open to those students with advanced preparation and superior records in their fields; exceptions will be considered by submitting a request to the Curriculum Committee. The 0500 projects in a student's major or minor department must be approved by the department. All 0500 projects proposed outside of the major or minor department must be approved by the chair of the department in which the work is to be done. Students who have earned 17 or fewer credits, not including AP credits, are normally not permitted to undertake independent work during the Fall and Spring semesters. Exceptions may be considered upon written request to the Curriculum Committee. Students with 8 or more credits may pursue independent work during winter term. A student is limited to four 0500 projects in any discipline, not including winter term independent projects.


7.    The deadline for Winter Term 2013 course proposals from faculty and visiting instructors is Friday April 6.



Please write or phone with any questions or concerns.


Best regards,


Robert G. Cluss, Ph.D.
Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Dean of Curriculum

Director of the Natural Sciences
Middlebury College
McCardell Bicentennial Hall
Middlebury, Vermont 05753