Georgia State University’s faculty members are integral to its success. Faculty members play a vital and central role in creating the University’s thriving research culture and promoting the success of its diverse students.
The Georgia State University Faculty Handbook provides new and continuing faculty members ready access to two important kinds of information: 1) general information about the policies and procedures that impact faculty, and 2) resources to support faculty. Please note that the Faculty Handbook does not index all policies affecting faculty; there are other important policies and procedures specific to the University’s colleges, schools, departments, and other units that should be consulted as the need arises. This Faculty Handbook is not intended to create a contract between Georgia State University and its Faculty or to set forth terms and conditions of employment, but all faculty are responsible for complying with any and all Georgia State University policies.
The Faculty Handbook shall be reviewed and updated annually. Any urgent changes necessitated outside this annual cycle will be incorporated as soon as practicable. Although efforts are made to update the Handbook in a timely manner, changes in Georgia State University’s policy and the Board of Regents’ policy may become effective before they are indexed in the Faculty Handbook. In the event that there is a conflict between the policies and procedures of Georgia State University and the Board of Regents, the latter shall take precedence.
Please contact the Office of Faculty Affairs with questions about the Faculty Handbook or to report a broken link at AssocProvFA@gsu.edu or 404-413-2688.
As one of the state-supported colleges and universities comprising the University System of Georgia, Georgia State University is governed by the Board of Regents. The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia was created in 1931 as a part of a reorganization of Georgia’s state government. With this act, public higher education in Georgia was unified for the first time under a single governing and management authority. The governor appoints members of the Board to a seven-year term and regents may be reappointed to subsequent terms by a sitting governor. Regents donate their time and expertise to serve the state through their governance of the University System of Georgia – the position is a voluntary one without financial remuneration. The Board of Regents is composed of 19 members, five of whom are appointed from the state-at-large, and one from each of the state’s 14 congressional districts. The Board elects a chancellor who serves as its chief executive officer and the chief administrative officer of the University System.
The Board oversees the public colleges and universities that comprise the University System of Georgia and has oversight of the Georgia Archives and the Georgia Public Library System. The Constitution of the State of Georgia charges the Board of Regents with responsibility for “government, control, and management of the University System of Georgia.” It has final authority over all physical properties of the University System’s colleges and universities, over the offering of courses of study and degree programs, and over employment of faculty and other System personnel. State appropriations for the University System are requested by and are made to the Board of Regents. Allocations of the appropriations are made by the Board.
History of the University
An enterprising, urban R-1 university, Georgia State has transformed continuously during the century since its founding. Georgia State University’s history began in 1913 when it was founded as the Georgia Institute of Technology’s “Evening School of Commerce.” Holding classes in rented space in downtown Atlanta, the School moved its location several times during its earliest years to accommodate increasing enrollment. Wayne S. Kell, a distinguished member of the Georgia Tech staff, directed the School, and Kell Hall is named in his honor. He was succeeded by several directors, including, in 1928, Dr. George M. Sparks, who later served as the first president and whose contributions are honored through Sparks Hall.
When the reorganization of state government created a Board of Regents to govern the University System of Georgia, the Regents made the Georgia Tech Evening School of Commerce an independent college in the new System—the Tech School of Commerce. Independent throughout the Depression and World War II, in 1947 the institution was incorporated by the Board of Regents into the University of Georgia as the “Atlanta Division of the University of Georgia.”
By 1955, the Board of Regents realized that the Atlanta Division was acquiring a unique identity of its own. The Regents separated Georgia State from the University of Georgia; and because its specialty was to be business, it was given the title “the Georgia State College of Business Administration.” By 1961, the institution had expanded its mission, and the Board of Regents accordingly renamed it “Georgia State College.” This expansion, led by President Noah Langdale, Jr., added to the undergraduate business degree the bachelor of arts degree, the bachelor of science degree, and the master of business administration degree. These additions were joined by other master’s degrees and doctoral programs, with the first doctorate being conferred upon a student in 1965. Langdale’s leadership as the second president of the institution is commemorated through Langdale Hall. In 1969, in recognition of the institution’s academic advances and the expanding services it offered to students and the community, the Board of Regents changed the name to Georgia State University.
As advanced degree programs increased, colleges were added, reorganized, and renamed over the next decades, resulting in the current college structure. Overseeing this continued expansion of Georgia State’s academic mission were Langdale’s successors as president: Dr. William M. Suttles (1987-89), Dr. John Michael Palms (1989-1991), Dr. Sherman Day (1991-1992), and Dr. Carl V. Patton (1992-2008).
Georgia State’s current President, Dr. Mark P. Becker, assumed this leadership role in January 2009. Under Becker’s leadership, Georgia State University has become an enterprising public research university in the heart of Atlanta and a national leader in graduating students from diverse backgrounds. With an entrepreneurial mindset, Georgia State delivers both cutting-edge research and exceptional attention to the success of its students. It is a thriving R-1 university that offers modern research facilities, numerous institutes, multidisciplinary centers, and cluster hires in key areas of funded research to provide a challenging and collaborative intellectual environment for its faculty and students. Fostering an urban laboratory, Georgia State develops corporate, government, non-profit, and community partnerships to fuel both research and creative work and provide these experiences for its students. Georgia State supports it students by combining personal attention with innovative approaches to student learning. Growing opportunities for community engagement, signature learning experiences, freshman learning communities, student research, and expanded on-campus student housing combine with cutting-edge advising using the latest techniques in data analytics to make Georgia State a national leader in graduating students from diverse socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, and geographic backgrounds. With the consolidation with Georgia Perimeter College approved by the Board of Regents in January 2016 and operationalized beginning with Fall 2016 classes, Georgia State University now serves over 50,000 students and sustains Perimeter’s commitment to increasing access to higher education.
Today, Georgia State proudly carries the Carnegie Classification’s R1 “highest research activity” designation and ranks as one of the nation’s leading institutions for quality undergraduate teaching and commitment to student success. Its diverse, talented, and committed faculty have been, and will continue to be, essential to Georgia State’s nationally recognized accomplishments.
This section addresses various faculty statuses, basic expectations regarding faculty work, and faculty evaluation processes. More detailed information about expectations for faculty work in the areas of teaching, research, and service is provided in sections Section 300, Section 400, and Section 500, respectively. For information about faculty recruitment, appointment, leaves, and other specific employment policies governing a broad range of faculty work, please see Section 600.
Faculty Status and Ranks
As specified in the University Statutes Article V Section 1, University Faculty membership consists of full-time professors, associate professors, assistant professors, principal senior lecturers, senior lecturers, lecturers, clinical professors, clinical associate professors, clinical assistant professors, clinical instructors, research professors, research associate professors, research assistant professors, professors of practice, academic professionals, and instructors, who do not hold temporary, limited-term, part-time, or visiting appointments. It also includes the President, administrative and academic deans, and Dean of Libraries. Duly certified librarians are members of the University Faculty.
Membership in the Georgia State University faculty is consistent with the Board of Regents policy on Faculty Membership.
Full-time faculty include those faculty members with appointments from 0.75 to 1.0 FTE, regardless of employment status (i.e., regular or limited-term).
The ranks of tenured and tenure-track faculty are Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Professor, and, in Perimeter College only, Instructor. The ranks and positions of promotion-eligible full-time non-tenure track faculty are elaborated in the Georgia State University Promotion Manual for Non-Tenure Track Faculty. Non-promotion-eligible full-time non-tenure track faculty are Professors of Practice, Experts in Residence, and Full-Time Instructors at the Downtown campus. For additional details regarding non-tenure track faculty, please see the Board of Regents Policy Manual 8.3.8.
As specified in the USG Academic & Student Affairs Handbook Section 4.1, USG Institutions can establish professional positions designated as non-tenure track. Institutional presidents have the authority to convert a non-tenure track position to a tenure track position and to convert a tenure track position to a non-tenure track one. However, the transfer of an individual in a tenure track position to a non-tenure track position must be done on a voluntary basis only. In the event of such transfer, the Request for Transfer form should be completed and approved by the appropriate institutional officials.
Part-time faculty include those faculty members with appointments up to and including .74 FTE. This includes partial benefits eligible faculty, part-time instructors, and adjunct faculty.
Partial benefits eligible faculty, which will include part-time faculty, are those faculty who are employed for the academic year for .5 FTE to .74 FTE. They do not earn probationary credit toward tenure and are non-tenure track. They may hold a contract for any portion of the 12-month fiscal year. Temporary faculty and visiting faculty are included when employed at less than .75 FTE.
As specified in the University Statutes Article XII Section 22, persons of learning and ability in special fields may be employed on a part-time basis with academic titles, but they shall not be entitled to faculty rank, tenure, or voting rights in the faculty.
Part-time instructors are employed to teach on a per-course/per-semester basis. They have Board of Regents approval to teach within a designated academic department(s). Part-time instructors are subject to reappointment each year.
In compliance with the Board of Regents’ policy, Georgia State University has adopted the following policy for the term of employment for part-time instructors:
- Part-time instructors are not eligible for promotion or tenure consideration.
- Part-time instructors are employed to teach on a per-course/per-semester basis within a designated academic department. Permission to teach in more than one academic department must be approved by each department chair and dean(s).
- Part-time instructors are non-contractual and are employed on a per-semester and per-course basis. Part-time instructors hold their employment at the discretion of the President, or Chief Academic Officer, and their immediate supervisor without a written contract. Either of the above-named individuals may discontinue the employment of such employees without cause or advance notice.
All recommendations for faculty appointments originate with the department chair and are recommended to the dean of the appropriate college for approval by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and the President.
The teaching load for part-time instructors is limited to two classes per semester. Any exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs through the academic department chair and the appropriate dean.
For system-level policy and procedures pertaining to part-time instructors, please see the University System of Georgia Academic & Student Affairs Handbook.
Adjunct faculty are authorized to teach within a designated academic department and, although they may be employed by the University, are not paid for instructional duties. They hold one of the Board-approved adjunct faculty ranks (i.e., Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Instructor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor). All individuals in this category are not eligible for tenure.
For clarification of the differences between adjunct, joint, and courtesy appointments, see Section 600.
Fundamental Tenets and Expectations of Faculty
As specified in the University Statutes Article XII Section 16, all faculty members are entitled to enjoy and to exercise, without penalty for such exercise, all the rights of an American citizen as well as the rights of academic freedom as they are generally understood in the teaching profession. For more information, see the university free speech policy.
Faculty are expected to comply with the University System of Georgia Ethics Policy. This policy focuses on core values of integrity, excellence, accountability, and respect. This policy includes a code of conduct that specifies that USG employees will:
- Uphold the highest standards of intellectual honesty and integrity in the conduct of teaching, research, service and grants administration.
- Act as good stewards of the resources and information entrusted to our care.
- Perform assigned duties and professional responsibilities in such a manner so as to further the USG mission.
- Treat fellow employees, students and the public with dignity and respect.
- Refrain from discriminating against, harassing or threatening others.
- Comply with all applicable laws, rules, regulations and professional standards.
- Respect the intellectual property rights of others.
- Avoid improper political activities as defined in law and Board of Regents Policy.
- Protect human health and safety and the environment in all USG operations and activities.
- Report wrongdoing to the proper authorities; refrain from retaliating against those who do report violations; and cooperate fully with authorized investigations.
- Disclose and avoid improper conflicts of interest.
- Refrain from accepting any gift or thing of value in those instances prohibited by law or Board of Regents policy.
- Not use our position or authority improperly to advance the interests of a friend or relative.
To assist faculty in carrying out their work in accordance with this code of conduct, several more specific policies are incorporated in this handbook and are hyperlinked through the list above.
Broadly defined, faculty fulfill three primary functions at Georgia State University: teaching, research, and service. These functions may contribute to an individual faculty member’s workload in various ways (see entry on Faculty Workloads immediately below). The expectations in these three primary functions are as follows:
Teaching: Faculty members are expected to provide instruction and student advising as assigned by the department chair. Other activities that fall within the broad category of “teaching” include professional librarianship for faculty appointed as librarians and counseling for faculty appointed as counselors. Classroom instruction responsibilities include holding class for the entire period for which the class is scheduled (including the final examination period) and evaluating students’ work and assigning grades within the policies of the University and Board of Regents to students officially enrolled in the class. Participation in assessment activities is another important component of teaching. For additional information about policies, expectations, and resources pertaining to teaching, please see Section 300.
Research: Faculty members are expected to participate in scholarly, research, and/or creative activities which enhance their professional development and contribute to their disciplines. An assessment of these activities will be included in the annual review of the faculty member. For additional information about policies, expectations, and resources pertaining to research, please see Section 400.
Service: Faculty are to serve, as appropriate, on departmental, college, and University committees. In addition, they make discipline-related contributions to professional organizations or to the community. Faculty members perform University-related public service by conducting continuing education courses, by providing consultation, and conducting applied research. These contributions are assessed each year in the annual review. For additional information about service, please see Section 500.
Additional faculty responsibilities articulated in the University Statutes Article XII Section 7 include the responsibility to attend convocation in regalia.
Fundamental Tenets and Expectations of Faculty
Consistent with the Board of Regents Policy Manual 220.127.116.11 and the University Statutes Article XII Sections 11 and 12, each faculty member at Georgia State University shall be evaluated at least once annually in writing by the immediate supervisor on the basis of scholarly attainment and professional growth as evidenced by (a) teaching activity and effectiveness; (b) research, publication, creative scholarly activity, or artistic performance; and (c) institutional and professional service activities, consistent with the faculty member’s responsibilities.
To ensure a measure of procedural uniformity within the University System, the Chancellor has directed that the following steps be part of all evaluation systems (see USG Academic & Student Affairs Handbook 4.7:
A. the immediate supervisor will discuss with the faculty member in a scheduled conference the content of that faculty member’s annual written evaluation;
B. the faculty member will sign a statement to the effect that he/she has been apprised of the content of the annual written evaluation;
C. the faculty member will be given a specific period of time to respond in writing to the annual written evaluation, with this response to be attached to the evaluation.
D. the immediate supervisor will acknowledge in writing his/her receipt of this response, noting changes, if any, in the annual written evaluation made as a result of either the conference or the faculty member’s written response. This acknowledgment will also become a part of the records.
Annual written evaluations [of faculty holding joint appointments] will be required in both the primary and other unit(s). The other unit(s) will forward a copy of the evaluation(s) to the head of the faculty member’s primary unit and to the faculty member. The evaluation process will conform to the policies and procedures of the University.
Each year, faculty use the Digital Measures–Activity Insight 101 online portal to create their “GSU Annual Report” to be used in the annual departmental evaluation process. Faculty needing assistance with Digital Measures should contact their Chair or Dean’s Office.
Reviews of Faculty Administrators and Department Chairs
Regular evaluations of faculty administrators, up to and including the President, are conducted according to the Georgia State University Statutes. Faculty members have the opportunity to provide constructive input through these evaluation processes.
The schedule and procedures for the evaluation of the President, Provost, Vice Presidents, Associate Provosts, Deans and Associate Deans can be found through the University Senate Faculty Affairs Committee webpage. The evaluation of these administrators is provided for by the University Statutes Article IX.
Department chairs are evaluated in accordance with the University Statutes Article XI, and faculty input is part of their evaluation process. As outlined in University Senate Resolution, “The chairs of departments shall be evaluated formally every three years in accordance with the provisions of the University Statutes. The main purpose will be to evaluate, maintain, and improve the performance of the chairs. The procedures for evaluation will be developed by the dean in consultation with the appropriate elected faculty committees, and approved by the faculty of the college. In addition, the dean shall conduct an annual review of the chairs. Findings of either review may lead to a recommendation for re-affirmation and suggestions for improvement or for a non-reappointment” (University Senate Resolution, October 27, 1988).
As specified in the Board of Regents Policy Manual 18.104.22.168, no endowed chair, professorship, fellowship, or administrative position will be established or announced without prior approval of the Board of Regents, and no initial appointment will be made to a chair, professorship, fellowship, or administrative position without prior approval by the Board. Please consult the Board of Regents Policy Manual for additional details about the procedures for approval, the categories of endowed academic positions, and suggested minimum endowment levels for each type of endowed position, and ways in which endowed fellowships may be used to provide temporary support for up to one academic year for institution faculty or visiting scholars.
Faculty Status after Retirement
As specified in the Board of Regents Policy Manual 8.3.13, a president may, at his/her discretion, confer the title of emeritus/a on any retired faculty member or administrative officer who, at the time of retirement, had ten (10) or more years of honorable and distinguished USG service, provided, however, that the title of President Emeritus/a may be conferred only by the Board of Regents on the recommendation of the Chancellor (BoR Minutes, January 2009).
Membership in the Georgia State University Emeriti Association is automatic with the awarding of emeritus/a status. Additional information about Georgia State University’s procedures for nominating and recommending faculty for emeritus/a status is available at the end of the Promotion and Tenure Manual.
For information about retirement, see section 600.
An individual who has retired from the USG and is receiving benefits from the Teachers Retirement System, the Employees Retirement System, or the Regent’s Retirement Plan, may be eligible for reemployment on a part-time basis by the USG. Re-employment beyond retirement is governed by Board of Regents Policy Manual 22.214.171.124.
For information about retirement, see section 600.
As specified in the University Statutes Article X, Section 2, subject to the Bylaws and Policies of the Board of Regents and to the policies of the University Senate on all matters affecting general university policy, and subject to minimum requirements as may be established for the University, the faculty of each college or school shall have the authority and duty to determine the entrance requirements for its own students; to prescribe and define courses of study for them; to set requirements for degrees, diplomas, and certificates.
Accordingly, departments periodically seek to initiate, alter, or discontinue academic programs. Examples of programs include degrees or majors, minors, distance learning offerings, or core curriculum courses. Faculty can learn more about the processes used to propose, review, and approve curricular changes through the Senate’s Academic Programs Guide and through their individual colleges.
Georgia State’s Course Syllabus Policy stipulates that all teaching faculty shall provide at or before the first meeting of a class, each term, a copy of a course syllabus to each student in their classes. Faculty members should consult the university-level Course Syllabus Policy and any college- and department-level policy that may exist in order to ensure that their syllabi meet policy requirements. Faculty are also encouraged to include in their syllabi information about student support services to raise student awareness of services that can support their academic success.
Textbook and course material selection is the prerogative of the instructor except when departments or colleges have selected textbooks for multiple-section or required courses. It is important that faculty select textbooks and other course materials in compliance with requirements for accessibility of the Americans with Disabilities Act, other applicable acts, and their implementing regulations. See Accessible Course Materials below for relevant resources.
Textbook orders are handled through each department. As specific department practices vary, faculty members should check with department administrative staff to understand the specific department procedures and timelines for ordering textbooks, and to determine if any textbooks or similar course materials are used across course sections through faculty committee, course coordinator, or Program Director.
As part of the University System of Georgia, Georgia State University is governed by the Board of Regents USG Copyright Policy. Faculty should review the Introduction to the Fair Use Checklist when determining whether a given use of a work is a fair use. Faculty should complete and retain a copy of the Fair Use Checklist for each “fair use” of a copyrighted work in order to establish a “reasonable and good faith” attempt at applying fair use should any dispute regarding such use arise.
Accessibility has been articulated as a high priority issue for the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (USG). As web-based instructional materials play an increasing role not only in online and hybrid courses, but also in face-to-face courses, all instructors should make the use and creation of accessible documents and multimedia a priority. Doing so helps ensure that those with disabilities, including but not limited to visual and hearing impairments, can access instructional materials. Faculty members are encouraged to use the range of services provided by the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and the University System of Georgia to create and provide accessible course materials.
Faculty unfamiliar with the laws impacting the delivery of web-based content for institutes of higher education should review the USG’s Accessibility Tutorial to understand the importance of using accessible web-based instructional content in their courses.
The distribution of complimentary textbooks is an important part of the process whereby professors review the full range of instructional materials available for their courses. However, the integrity of this process must be respected. Selling complimentary copies of textbooks adversely affects the entire academic community. Professor-authors are deprived of economic return in royalties, and incentives to write textbooks are diminished. Students generally do not benefit from the sale of complimentary copies, as these books are sold at or only slightly below the new book price. Selling complimentary textbooks inflates the cost of all textbooks, as publishers must compensate for revenue lost from the sale of new books. Selling complimentary copies violates the tradition of respect by professors for the intellectual work of their colleagues and for the textbook publishers. The future of availability of complimentary textbooks may be seriously jeopardized by the reluctance of publishers to risk further financial loss. Faculty members receive complimentary textbooks as a result of their position at the University. These textbooks should not be viewed as a source of faculty income. We recommend the following:
1. Complimentary textbooks are not to be resold for faculty profit. The books may be maintained for faculty reference or contributed to a library for student reference.
2. Solicitors for complimentary copies are forbidden from campus.
3. The campus bookstore may not sell copies which are identifiable as complimentary copies whatever their source may be.
(University Senate Resolution, February 2, 1989)
Student Registration and Attendance
Class Rolls are accessed in PAWS or GoSOLAR. If a student is attending class but is not listed on the class roll, the instructor may submit a request to add the student by submitting a Registration Adjustment Request on PAWS. See details under the section ADD. Once the registration adjustment request is approved by the academic department and processed by the Office of the Registrar, the student will be added to the class roll, and the student’s attendance will automatically update to “Attending” on PAWS. It is important that instructors verify each class roll when requested by the Registrar’s Office. For each student listed, the instructor should provide attendance information (Attending, Stopped Attending/Participating, last attendance date required, or Never Attended/Participated). Instructors should be certain that a student never attended or does not intend to return before choosing Never Attended or Stopping Attending, as the Registrar will drop or withdraw students after they have been assigned that selection.
Georgia State University’s Policy on Class Attendance does not mandate the number or percentage of student absences that are acceptable but suggests a guideline of 15% for determining an excessive level of absence. The specific class attendance policies for each class are at the discretion of the instructor, in accordance with the policies of the department and college. Faculty should consult the Policy on Class Attendance to review additional details regarding various types of absences due to university-sponsored events, legal obligations, religious observances, illness, or death in the immediate family, as well as the required reporting of absence of veterans.
Many Georgia State University faculty, students, and staff observe religious holidays essential to the practice of their faith. Georgia State endeavors to make it possible for all of its faculty, staff, and students to observe their sincerely held religious beliefs and holidays without conflict with academic requirements.
As per the GSU Code of Conduct’s Policy on Class Attendance, students must provide instructors with reasonable notice of the dates of religious holidays on which they plan to be absent. Absence for religious reasons does not relieve students from responsibility for completing their course work and students must be given an equivalent opportunity to make up any missed work according to an agreed-upon schedule. Such accommodations might include rescheduling an exam or giving the student a make-up exam, allowing an individual or group presentation to be made on a different date, letting a student attend a different section for the same class that week, adjusting a due date or assigning the student appropriate make-up work that is no more difficult than the original assignment.
Absence for a religious reason should be counted as an excused absence and should not be counted against any other excused absences permitted by the instructor. Should a complicated situation arise related to religious accommodations (for example, clinical rotations), contact your department chair, dean’s office or the Office of Legal Affairs at 404-413-0500.
Students can add or drop themselves to classes during the first week of the fall and spring semesters (Late Registration period) by using PAWS. After the the first week of classes and up to the deadline announced each term by the Registrar (usually the third week of classes), instructors may add students to their classes using the Registration Adjustment link in PAWS or GoSOLAR. The student ID number is required. Faculty can assist students who are unfamiliar with procedures for registering and dropping by directing them to the Registration Guide.
Current information about withdrawal from courses is available in these catalogs:
Students who wish to audit a course need to contact the Enrollment and Registration Services Center to process an application for audit. Auditing is permissible only after prerequisite requirements are met and by permission of the instructor. Tuition and fees will be assessed at the same rate as for courses being taken for credit. More information about auditing is available through the Registration Guide.
Specific Faculty Responsiblities
Georgia State University is committed to providing educational opportunities for all students and assisting them in making their college experience successful and positive. The Access and Accommodation Center is designated to determine disability-related academic accommodations. A student’s access to approved accommodations is a right under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (2008) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Accommodations provide students with an equal opportunity to an education. An instructor may not deny an approved accommodation, as designated in the Letter of Accommodation that students are required to show faculty when requesting accommodations in a specific course. For more information, please see Access and Accommodation Center, which includes a Responding to a Student’s Disability Reference Guide and helpful list of Faculty Do’s and Don’ts. As specified in the Course Syllabus Policy, all syllabi should include the following statement: “Students who wish to request accommodation for a disability may do so by registering with the Access and Accommodation Center. Students may only be accommodated upon issuance by the Access and Accommodation Center of a signed Accommodation Plan and are responsible for providing a copy of that plan to instructors of all classes in which accommodations are sought.”
Faculty are expected to handle student information in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99), a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. Unless a student is legally dependent, the university is prohibited by FERPA from releasing student account information to a parent or guardian or other unauthorized third party without the student’s consent. Faculty may not divulge grades, enrollment, medical information, etc. to an unauthorized third party (including parents) without a signed waiver from the student. Faculty can access additional information through Student Records/FERPA. Students who wish to authorize an individual to have access to their student records should complete the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Waiver in the Dean of Students office.
Georgia State University and its employees are required to comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”), a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and parental status) in educational programs and activities that receive federal funding. A student seeking an adjustment due to pregnancy or childbirth should discuss the request with their instructor. The instructor must grant the adjustments required by Title IX. For a complete explanation of instructor responsibilities and a list of frequently asked questions, instructors should view the Employee Guidance Document. If a student has questions or needs assistance, direct her to the Director of the Access and Accountability Center at 404-413-1560. Further guidance is also available to students in the Student Guidance Document.
Faculty should retain student work from academic courses, such as examinations, tests, term papers, homework records, and grade books, for one term after course completion when grade results are uncontested. When grade results have been contested, such records should be retained for one term after course completion or until the grade appeal has been resolved, whichever is longer. Before disposing of materials, remove all identifying marks, such as names or Panther IDs. Plan to shred all documents before disposing. Faculty can find more information about records retention at the USG Records Retention Schedules.
The USG provides a handbook of technology use guidelines institutions should follow. Information on USG requirements is updated frequently and be found on their Information Technology Services website.
Additionally, GSU has a range of policies regarding the use of GSU technology resources. A few that might be most helpful for teaching include:
- Email Access and Retention
- Ownership of Digital Educational Resources
- Information System Ethics
- Student Computer Access
For more information on GSU-specific technology policy, visit the policy library and search for information technology.
When it is anticipated due to research or service activities that the instructor of record will not be physically present in the classroom, faculty members should consult with their department administrative staff to understand the department and college procedures and expectations regarding options for providing class instruction.
For other circumstances impacting faculty attendance, such as illness, jury duty, medical leave, and other types of leaves, as well as reporting of time, faculty should consult Section 600.
Faculty office hours are an important way for faculty members to provide individualized feedback, advising, and mentoring to students at all levels. Faculty should establish, maintain, and communicate their office hours as specified in the University Statutes Article XII Section 9, Course Syllabus Policy, and any applicable college and department policies. Office hours must be stated in course syllabi as specified in the Course Syllabus Policy. Faculty should consult with department staff to identify other college and/or department policies or guidelines that may contain other expectations regarding office hours, such as a minimum number of weekly office hours or additional means of communicating these office hours to students.
Academic advisement concerning program requirements and related courses is one of the responsibilities of the faculty of the colleges. Accordingly, individual departments and colleges deliver in-person and online advisement in ways suitable to each discipline. Additionally, faculty should encourage students to use the services of the university’s Student Advisement and Academic Support Center.
A final examination is defined as an examination to be given during the scheduled time and day after the end of classes for the term. The standard in-class final examination length is two and a half hours. It is expected that a final examination will be given in each course as part of the requirements for the course as stated in the syllabus, unless one of the following conditions apply:
A. departmental/college policy governs final examinations for the course;
B. the academic nature of the course does not warrant a final examination in the opinion of the instructor;
C. an alternative form of examination to be completed after the end of classes for the term is being given (for example, a “take home” final examination to be completed by students off campus after the end of classes for the term).
The schedule of times and days during which such final examinations are to be given is in the online Registration Guide. Those examinations which are designated on the course syllabus as in-class final examinations must be given at the designated time during the final examination schedule unless a change is authorized prior to the examination time by the dean (or designee) of the college in which the instructor is teaching. After the Dean’s Office approves the request, a dean’s office representative will communicate with the Office of the Registrar for a classroom assignment.
The instructor is responsible for taking reasonable steps to ensure the integrity of the examination environment. Different approaches may be required to ensure the integrity of student assessment in different venues, as appropriate for the learning objectives.
A student shall not be required to take more than two examinations within one twenty-four hour period during the published final examination period. More than two examinations within twenty-four hours are hereafter referred to as “clustered examinations.”
A student is considered to have an inappropriate clustering of final examinations when more than two examinations fall within twenty-four hours (e.g., examinations at 8:30 am, 11:30 am, and 6:00 pm on the same day, or examinations at 6:00 pm on one day, and at 8:30 am and 2:30 pm on the following day); the student is not considered to have an inappropriate clustering of examinations if the third examination in sequence begins at the same time on the subsequent day as the first examination (e.g., 6:00 pm on one day, and 2:30 pm and 6:00 pm on the following day.)
Students who have three or more clustered examinations may request of one professor that the examination be re-scheduled according to the following procedure:
If a final examination was re-scheduled and thereby created a “cluster,” the instructor of the re-scheduled examination will provide a special administration for the adversely affected student.
If one or more of the clustered examinations is a “common examination” with an established conflict resolution time, the student will request to resolve the conflict by taking one of the common examinations in the conflict resolution time. If two or three of the examinations are “common examinations” the student may request which “common examination” is to be re-scheduled.
If one of the clustered examinations is not a common examination or the result of re-scheduling, the student will request to re-schedule the examination/s scheduled as the middle examination/s. Except in extraordinary circumstances, the instructor is expected to cooperate.
If the student is unable to arrange for one of the examinations to be re-scheduled, the student is to request assistance from the Office of the Dean of his/her college. The student’s dean (or designee) in consultation with the dean/s (or designee/s) of the courses involved will designate the examination to be re-scheduled.
Once a student has taken an examination, he or she cannot request a re-examination on the basis of this policy.
Details on final exams are available in these catalogs:
According to the Course Syllabus Policy, syllabi shall contain a grading policy that explains how the final grade is to be determined with respect to the weights assigned to various course requirements. When developing this portion of each course syllabus, faculty members should be familiar with the letter grade symbols at Georgia State University and the policy that governs use of plus/minus grading in courses, including multiple sections of one course. This policy also explains the numerical value assigned to academic letter grades when a student’s GPA is calculated.
At the close of each semester, faculty must use PAWS or GoSOLAR to submit final course grades. The Registrar provides detailed instructions for how to submit final grades. Final grades are typically due by 5:00pm 1 or 2 business days after the last day of the final examination period. Faculty should always consult the online Academic Calendar to confirm the exact grade submission deadline for a particular semester or mini-mester. Timely submission of grades is essential for students to graduate, transfer, register for courses with prerequisites, and have their financial aid eligibility for the next semester determined.
The University considers student grades to be private information and prohibits the posting of grades by name or social security number on bulletin boards or classroom or office doors.
For details about using and removing the grade of “I” (incomplete), please see the appropriate catalog. The Enrollment Services office always offers the most up-to-date version of the associate, bachelor, and graduate student catalogs.
After official grading for the term has occurred, grade changes must be submitted by signing on to the secured faculty portal on PAWS/GoSOLAR. The Grade Change Request Information Sheet and the official link can be obtained through PAWS/GoSOLAR. For more information, including a small number of exceptions to this process, please visit the Registrar’s Grading for Faculty guide. For information about student-initiated requests for a change of grade, see the Faculty Handbook entry for Grade Appeals below.
The policy and procedures for student-initiated Grade Appeals are outlined in the Georgia State University Student Code of Conduct and Administrative Policies. Students are encouraged to discuss concerns and disputes over final course grades with the instructor prior to filing a formal grade appeal, in an effort to gain understanding about the basis of his/her grade. Instructors are encouraged to be available to students for such discussion regarding grades so that grade disputes, to the extent possible, are resolved informally. In situations where such informal resolution does not occur or is not successful, the student may appeal the final course grade to the Department Chair. The appeal must be in writing and describe the precise reason for the appeal. Faculty should review the complete policy and procedures governing grade appeals as outlined in the Code of Conduct and seek guidance on implementation from their department, college, or the Dean of Students.
The policy and procedures for student complaints, petitions for waivers or variances of academic policies, and appeals are outlined in the Georgia State University Student Code of Conduct and Administrative Policies.
Evaluation and Assessment
Student learning outcomes are assessed at Georgia State University in every degree and certificate program at the undergraduate, professional, and graduate levels, and across the General Education curriculum. Faculty play a variety of roles in the assessment of student learning outcomes in order to use assessment results in the development and implementation of strategies for continuous improvement in student learning. At the university level, assessment is overseen by the Office of Academic Assessment within the Office of Institutional Effectiveness. The Office of Academic Assessment offers one-on-one consultations and workshops for faculty and staff involved in assessment as they develop assessment plans, collect and analyze assessment data, report the findings of their assessment, and use assessment results for the improvement of student learning. Faculty may also wish to review the Policy on the Annual Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes.
Expectations Related to Student Conduct
In an emergency situation – such as if a student verbally or physically threatens to harm others or makes an active suicide threat – faculty should call 911 or the GSU Police at (404) 413-3333. In non-emergency situations involving disruptive students, faculty should follow the step-by-step process outlined in the Disruptive Student Conduct in the Classroom or Other Learning Environment Policy. Additional information and help can be accessed through the Dean of Students.
As members of the academic community, students are expected to recognize and uphold standards of intellectual and academic integrity. To assist in maintaining this expectation, instructors should be familiar with and follow the Policy on Academic Honesty, which includes relevant university-specific definitions and step-by-step procedures for addressing issues of academic honesty. The Policy on Academic Honesty, as well as the Notice of Academic Dishonesty, can be accessed through the Dean of Students. As specified in the Course Syllabus Policy, all syllabi should refer to the Policy on Academic Honesty.
The following two university policies apply to the supervision and evaluation of graduate assistants as well as guide the mentoring relationship between faculty members and their students. Faculty play a critical role in the evaluation of graduate teaching assistants and laboratory assistants. Performance reviews of graduate teaching assistants and laboratory assistants are conducted in accordance with GSU college or department policies on evaluating GTAs and lab assistants.
Services and Resources for Faculty
With locations on all Georgia State campuses, the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) provides a wide range of programs to help all instructors, from first-time graduate assistants to longtime faculty, use best practices of engaged teaching and learning. CETL’s services span instructional support, iCollege and digital teaching tools, guidance in the creation of online instructional content, certifications for professional development, graduate student instructor services, and specialized learning environments and teaching equipment. CETL delivers these services through online tutorials and FAQs, consultations, in-person workshops, fully online workshops, faculty learning communities, facilitation of student feedback on instruction, and reservation of specialized equipment and recording studios. CETL also administers grants and awards to support Georgia State instructors pursuing innovative approaches to teaching and learning.
iCollege is the learning management system used for academic courses at Georgia State University. Instructors of record are encouraged to use iCollege to share syllabi, instructional materials, grading feedback, and announcements with students. iCollege includes many other robust features and integrated digital tools suitable for face-to-face, hybrid, and online courses. These include integrated plagiarism detection and grading tools, monitoring software for online test-taking, video capture software, and audio- and video-conferencing software. Faculty can learn more about these tools through CETL’s Digital Teaching Tools page. Support includes face-to-face and online iCollege support for instructors and online iCollege support for students. Faculty should review guidelines and resources for creating accessible course materials when using iCollege. Additional information about technology-rich learning spaces and recording services is available through CETL’s Learning Environments page.
Faculty can learn more about the equipment and technology available in a classroom in which they have been assigned to teach by visiting Classroom Equipment & Software. Priority hotlines for faculty experiencing technology problems while in class are: Downtown (404) 413-4321, Alpharetta (404) 413-7777, and Brookhaven (404) 413-7800.
Faculty needing facility support for a classroom (temperature control, lighting, dry erase markers, or furniture) should call (404) 413-0700. Classroom furniture should not be moved from one room to another. The classrooms are set up with maximum seating for specific types of classes and cannot be changed without adversely affecting other classes scheduled in the room.
Classrooms are assigned to a class, not an instructor. If an instructor’s teaching assignment is changed, the instructor is reassigned to another class with a designated room. The classes must be taught in the classroom to which they were assigned. If a classroom is unsatisfactory, a request to change the assignment should be made through the department chair. The Dean’s Office will consider the need for an adjustment very carefully before requesting a change from the Office of the Registrar.
Classrooms can be reserved by faculty, staff, and student organizations affiliated with Georgia State University for special events as well as for academic and course-related purposes. Learn more at Classroom Reservations.
Services Available for Students
Faculty members can greatly assist students by directing them to the specialized services designed to help students succeed. Faculty may encounter students in distress who can benefit from referral to counseling services, or students who have not yet registered with the Access and Accommodation Center. In addition to making such individual referrals, faculty members may incorporate the resources below into their syllabus or online course site to assist students in finding and using the many services available at Georgia State designed to support them.
Student campus life services include Black Student Achievement, Greek Life, leadership development programs, the Multicultural Center, Student Victim Assistance, and many other programs. More information on these programs and services is available through the Division of Student Affairs. Several programs are elaborated in this section of the Faculty Handbook.
The Access and Accommodation Center provides support to any student with a documented disability who chooses to identify themselves to the center. Support services include assistive technology, academic couching, note-taking, and lab assistance services. Students with disabilities should register with Access and Accommodation Center, which provides Letters of Accommodation after students have submitted required documentation. Access and Accommodation Center representatives are also available at each Perimeter College campus.
The Counseling and Testing Center provides a wide range of counseling, psychiatric and holistic health services to support students as they work to reach their educational goals. The Counseling and Testing Center is staffed by a multidisciplinary team of psychologists, psychiatrists, licensed clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors, licensed marriage and family therapists, a nutritionist, and health educators. Services and resources include counseling, a mind-body clinic, a performance enhancement center, psychiatric services, and a substance use risk reduction program. Perimeter College students should refer to Perimeter College Counseling Services.
Faculty with concern about a student in distress should follow the guidelines at Concern for Others.
Counseling and Testing Center staff members also provide assistance to faculty, administrators, and staff in assisting students in distress, enhancing the learning process, and providing guest lecturers for classes. In addition to workshops and presentations, the Counseling and Testing Center staff are often called upon to consult with faculty or other university professionals about the psychological and academic well-being of students.
The Counseling and Testing Center provides a wide range of testing services to the Georgia State University community. Services include, but are not limited to, online testing, independent learning, placement testing, national and university standardized tests, professional development certifications and test scoring and scanning for university faculty. Perimeter College students should refer to Perimeter College Testing Services.
Supplemental Instruction (SI) is a voluntary and free academic assistance program that uses peer-led study groups to help students in traditionally difficult courses – those with low completion rates (D’s, F’s, and W’s). SI sessions are led by Georgia State University students who excelled in the course to which they are assigned. SI leaders attend the lecture and prepare activity-based SI sessions that correspond with the material covered in class. These SI sessions help current students re-enforce course material and acquire valuable study strategies. Students can learn more about SI at Supplemental Instruction Information for Students.
Tutoring services are available for both Atlanta campus and Perimeter campus students. Students at Perimeter College are encouraged to use the in-person and online tutoring services provided through Learning & Tutoring Centers at Perimeter College. Students in need of writing support can visit the Writing Studio on the 24th floor of 25 Park Place on the Atlanta campus. For STEM tutoring, students on the Atlanta campus can visit the STEM Tutoring Center at 587 Natural Science Center. Math tutoring is available to students in the MILE located in Urban Live Building 301. For further tutoring opportunities, students and faculty should chttps://cas.gsu.edu/stem/student-resources/heck with their colleges and departments.
The University Library, which has facilities at the downtown and Perimeter campuses, provides a wide array of services to support student success. In addition to giving students access to hard copy and digital materials, computer labs, printers, and copiers, the University Library allows students to check out laptops and reserve study rooms, visualization rooms, and other rooms with audio-visual equipment. Research support for students includes research guides and citation software.
Alternative Instructional Formats
Online courses and hybrid courses offered at Georgia State University assist in increasing student access to higher education. These modes of course delivery offer both new opportunities and new challenges. Therefore, faculty members teaching such courses should take full advantage of the training and support offered by the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. Ranging from guidance in using sound pedagogical practices to assistance in using many forms of instructional technology and multimedia, CETL’s many services include certificates in online teaching, guidance on creating e-content, video and audio recording studios, a proctored lab for online exams, assistance in creating accessible materials, and support for using specific technologies.
Instructors teaching online and hybrid courses should familiarize themselves with recommended practices and resources for creating accessible course materials and be aware that Atlanta campus does not offer proctoring services, but faculty can request a proctored lab session for their course through the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. Additional resources are available through Perimeter College Online for Georgia State University faculty teaching in Perimeter College. Faculty teaching online and hybrid courses should note that according to the Course Syllabus Policy, syllabi should state specific requirements for attendance including requirements for the frequency and kind of participation by designated channels.
Signature Experience courses are courses in which “students are encouraged to be active in their own education.” In the context of an academic course, students participate in experiences that go beyond traditional classroom experiences, such as simulations, academic internships, field experiences, clinical experience, research, or study abroad. Signature Experience courses are offered in 6 areas at Georgia State: art, city, global, professional, research, and service. Faculty can learn more about experiential learning at Signature Experience.
Georgia State University offers students a wealth of study abroad programs. This includes short-term, faculty-led study abroad programs ranging from 1 to 5 weeks in duration. Faculty who meet Study Abroad Program Director eligibility requirements and are interested in leading a study abroad program should contact the Director of Study Abroad Programs for more information about leading a short-term, faculty-led study abroad program.
Service learning is one of the many types of Signature Experience courses offered at Georgia State. Service-learning provides students with the opportunity to become engaged citizens of their communities and apply academic knowledge to hands-on experiences within the nonprofit and community service sector. Engagement with the community offers students chances to connect with underrepresented or vulnerable populations, and to broaden their understanding of complex societal issues. For more information on service learning opportunities, visit the Office of Civic Engagement.
The Cooperative Education and Internship program at Georgia State University is designed to enhance the educational experience of students by providing them the opportunity to alternate or intersperse periods of meaningful work related to their academic fields or areas of career interest with periods of academic study. Cooperative education is a full-time, paid, rotational, field-based experience that is a critical component of a student’s academic program. More information on cooperative education is available through University Career Services. Internships are one of the many types of Signature Experience courses offered at Georgia State. Internships are often part-time (full-time during the summer), singular opportunities that can be paid or unpaid. Students typically continue to take academic courses while participating in an internship. For help obtaining internship opportunities, visit University Career Services.
Faculty should be prepared to assist students in an emergency. A useful resource is the Quick Emergency Action Guide for Faculty. Faculty should review emergency procedures with students and direct them to the corresponding Emergency Guide for Students in the course syllabus or course site. Additional information about preparing for and responding to emergencies can be found at the Office of Emergency Management. The campus emergency information line is 404-413-EMER (3637).
This section addresses many university-level policies and resources pertaining to research, scholarship, and professional development. The university values all types of faculty scholarship, including scholarship of discovery, integration, teaching and learning, and engagement.
Several units at the university level provide support and guidance to faculty in the areas of research, scholarship, and professional development. Of these units, University Research Services and Administration (URSA) is fully dedicated to providing resources, policies, and procedures to guide and govern research at Georgia State University. Faculty should review the university-level policies, procedures, and resources that are provided by URSA and other university-level units and are introduced in this section. Faculty should also inquire with their departments and colleges to determine if any additional documents (such as college- or department-level policies and procedures) govern their research, scholarship, and professional development activities. Faculty should inquire with their departments and colleges to identify any additional resources that may be available to support their research, scholarship, and professional development at Georgia State.
Resources for Research
Internal funding opportunities for research and scholarship are provided by numerous offices at Georgia State. In addition to exploring opportunities that may be provided by your college or department, review the Internal Grants Program run by University Research Services and Administration (URSA) and the Provost’s Faculty Fellowship Program managed by the Office of Faculty Affairs.
University Research Services and Administration (URSA) provides a robust entry point to Finding Funding for Research. There you will find quick access to federal, state, local, and non-profit funding databases; lists of federal and non-federal funding agencies that have provided the most funding to Georgia State investigators; and a link to sign-up for biweekly funding opportunity announcements organized by general discipline area. In addition, the University Library offers online resources to help you use the PIVOT funding database effectively.
When developing and preparing to submit a proposal to any external funding agency, work with the appropriate representative of the Office of Sponsored Proposals & Awards (OSPA), who will help you with proposal preparation. Note that all sponsored projects must be processed through the Office of Sponsored Programs & Awards. A sponsored project is any activity funded by an external agency to accomplish a defined scope of work or set of objectives. If you have any questions about whether you are proposing a sponsored project, please contact your OSPA representative, available through the link above.
OSPA offices are located on the 3rd Floor at 58 Edgewood Avenue, adjacent to the T Parking Deck, and are open from 8:30 AM to 5:15 PM Monday through Friday. OSPA representatives are available for assistance—walk-in, e-mail, telephone—throughout those business hours.
To help faculty in the proposal development and submission process, University Research Services and Administration (URSA) also provides robust online assistance through step-by-step guides to:
Faculty work with University Research Services and Administration (URSA) representatives and staff in other units to accept, manage, and close-out awards from external funding agencies.
To learn more about how these award phases are handled at Georgia State, commonly used and misunderstood terms, and procedures related to common activities such as hiring personnel, paying personnel, purchasing equipment, modifying an award, and many others, consult the robust online assistance that University Research Services and Administration (URSA) provides through step-by-step guides to:
University Research Services and Administration (URSA) provides many resources in support of research compliance and safety. Faculty members conducting research in the areas below should review the resources available to aid them in the areas of compliance and safety:
University Research Services and Administration (URSA) provides many in-person workshops and training options to support faculty in conducting research. Support includes workshops on writing a better grant proposal, finding external funding opportunities, and budgeting; an overview and links are available through URSA’s Proposal Writing Resources. Compliance and safety training includes Responsible Conduct in Research and working with humans, animals, and hazardous chemicals and materials. Click here for the online starting point for research training.
The University Library, which has facilities at the downtown and Perimeter campuses, provides a wide array of research services to support faculty. These include the Pivot grants database, citation software, data management, scholarly impact tools, and open access research. The library maintains a current list of such research-related services on the University Library Faculty page and the Faculty Research Portal.
Research technology is provided by several units at Georgia State. University Research Services and Administration (URSA) provides numerous technology and computing solutions to support research. These include data capture and surveys, computing resources, secure storage of data, data management plans, web/app development, data analytics, and cloud services. The starting point for exploring URSA’s technology support services is http://ursa.research.gsu.edu/data-capture/.
Through Technology Services, faculty can also download free software that has been licensed to assist students, faculty, and staff with essential academic, research, business and other tasks. Software spans quantitative data, qualitative data, citation software, and Adobe Creative Cloud. An updated list of other technology services that faculty may find helpful in conducting research, scholarly, and creative activity, such as VPN, cloud, and networked file storage, is available at http://technology.gsu.du/get-started-technology/faculty/. Visit Technology Services Training and Learning Resources for access to online and in-person training on these tools.
The University Library also offers technology services in support of faculty research through their Data Services Team and CURVE: Collaborative University Research & Visualization Environment, a technology-rich discovery space supporting the research and digital scholarship of Georgia State University students, faculty, and staff by connecting them with unique visualization hardware and software and the latest online research tools and services. Other technology services include the Pivot grants database, citation software, data management, scholarly impact tools, and open access research. The library maintains a current list of such research-related services on the University Library Faculty page and the Faculty Research Portal.
Faculty access institutional data for use in research and grant proposal writing through the Office of Institutional Effectiveness – specifically, two of its subunits, the Office of Institutional Research and Decision Support Services. Faculty can find much useful institutional data in the Georgia State University Fact Books, provided by the Office of Institutional Research. From Decision Support Services, faculty can access a wide range of data about enrollment, admissions, grades, graduation, retention, curriculum, faculty teaching duties, and student housing through the self-service modules IPORT and Argos. Faculty can make individual data requests for data not found through these self-service modules by contacting DSS@gsu.edu. Faculty interested in conducting surveys for research purposes should see the entry on Research Technology/Computing above.
Travel for faculty members presenting work at scholarly conferences should be arranged using the procedures indicated for Professional Travel in section 600. Faculty members should consult with department staff to understand what resources may exist to support their scholarly travel and identify appropriate ways to provide student instruction during such periods of travel. Faculty considering travel to a country for which the U.S. Department of State has issued a travel warning need to review and follow the procedures specified in the university policy on travel to countries with travel warnings.
Faculty are expected to follow all policies and procedures relevant to their research. The most exhaustive collection of university-level research policies is provided by University Research Services and Administration (URSA). Additionally, widely applicable policies include:
Service activities and expectations vary by department, college, and faculty appointment. Faculty can locate details about service expectations in the Promotion and Tenure Manual, the Non-Tenure Track Faculty Manual, and related college and department manuals.
Faculty Recruitment and Appointment
As outlined in the Faculty Credentials Guideline, each faculty member recommended for employment must file a verification of highest earned degree with the hiring official who forwards it to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Other pre-employment records required of new faculty are incorporated into the Faculty New Hire Packet and Part-Time Instructor New Hire Packet, both available through available through the Human Resources website and the New Faculty Onboarding Checklist.
All recommendations for faculty appointments originate with the department chair and are recommended to the dean of the appropriate college for approval by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and the President. As specified in the University Statutes Article XII Section 2, every appointment shall be made in accordance with the Policies of the Board of Regents and solely on the basis of merit and the special fitness of the individual. In the appointment and promotion of members of the faculty, special consideration shall be given to their teaching ability, research ability, achievement, and general usefulness or promise thereof to the University.
As specified in the USG Human Resources Administrative Practice Manual, faculty who are employed by Georgia State University on more than a short-term basis but are not hired through a competitive search will typically be given a “term” appointment for one academic or fiscal year, and may be reappointed for one (1) additional year, not to exceed a total duration of 2 years.
Courtesy appointments are intended for current Georgia State University faculty to have academic connections in departments other than their own. A courtesy appointment carries no shared money or workload, but is a named appointment only.
As specified in the USG Human Resources Administrative Practice Manual, temporary faculty are employed on a short-term basis through written appointment. They are not employed on an academic year contract. If they are employed for more than one consecutive academic semester for 30 hours or more, except when the Academic semester is combined with Summer semester immediately preceding or following the Academic Semester, they shall be employed as Regular Faculty. Temporary Faculty are non-benefits eligible. At Georgia State University, temporary faculty include part-time instructors.
As outlined in the USG Human Resources Administrative Practice Manual, a dual appointment occurs when a USG employee works at more than one USG institution. At Georgia State University, dual appointments are made using the procedures posted on the Office of Faculty Affairs website.
The academic calendar is developed by the Admissions and Standards Committee of the University Senate and is adopted by the Senate. The University System fiscal year begins July 1 and ends June 30. All institutions in the University System of Georgia shall be on the semester system. The academic year shall consist of two regular semesters, each not to be less than 15 calendar weeks in length (minimum of 75 class days per semester, excluding registration and final examination periods).
Academic Year Contracts
Academic year contracts are based on dates as established in the academic calendar. The form of the contract is stipulated by the Board of Regents Policy Manual 8.3.11. The beginning date for a standard contract, which covers fall and spring semesters, is one week before the beginning of class for fall semester. It ends on the date that grades are due for spring semester. The offer of employment to academic-year-contracted faculty in the term not included in the academic year contract shall be based on programmatic needs. Compensation for the term not included in the academic year contract shall be based on the rate of pay of the previous year’s academic year contract.
Teaching, research, and administrative assignments in summer term are at the discretion of the department chair and the appropriate dean.
Fiscal Year Contracts
Administrative officers of the University, deans of colleges, and certain of their associates and assistants as well as departmental chairmen are appointed for the full fiscal year. Faculty members whose work requires continuous service also may be employed on this basis.
A faculty member has access to his/her official personnel files of the University, college and/or department. Papers relating to the initial appointment of faculty are maintained by the college and by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. The “Faculty Information Data Forms” and “Verification of Highest Degree” are maintained by the College and by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. The “Faculty Information Data Forms” are also maintained by the Office of Human Resources. The Loyalty Oath and Security Questionnaire are maintained by the Office of Human Resources.
Annual Review, Promotion, and Tenure History
Copies of annual review documents and promotion and tenure history are maintained by the department chair and/or by the individual college or other academic unit.
Contract Documents, Fringe Benefits, and Tax
All contract documents are maintained by the Office of Human Resources. Documents related to health, life, and disability insurance (including statements of beneficiaries); retirement; social security; Federal and State tax withholding are maintained in the Office of Human Resources.
Change of Personnel Records
When a faculty member has a change in personal information, such as address, phone number, marital status, department location or educational data, he or she must complete a Personal Data Change Form. Supporting documentation must accompany this form for marital status (marriage or divorce) or name changes. This form must be submitted to the Human Resources HRIS and Records Office in a timely manner for record update. Forms are available in the Office of Human Resources.
Compensation and Benefits
Consistent with faculty full-time equivalent (FTE) and type of appointment, faculty have access to regular employee benefits. These include mandatory and voluntary retirement plans; health, dental, and vision insurance; disability and life insurance; professional liability insurance; work-life benefits; educational benefits; and discounts. An overview of these benefits, with links to current information about mandatory and voluntary benefits packages, is available here.
Benefits eligible faculty are required to attend a benefits orientation when they begin employment at Georgia State University; mandatory and voluntary plan options are reviewed during the orientation. Detailed plan information is available to both new and continuing faculty through the Human Resources Benefits Office.
Full Benefits Eligible: This is defined as 30 or more hours per week (.75 FTE and greater), which applies to regular faculty and regular staff employees. Full benefits include all benefits in accordance with University System of Georgia of Board of Regents policy.
Partial Benefits Eligible: This is defined as 20 to 29 hours per week (.5 FTE to .74 FTE). Partial benefits eligible may apply to regular faculty and regular staff employees. Partial benefits include retirement and pro-rated leaves.
Non Benefits Eligible: This is defined as 19 or less hours per week (.49 FTE or less), which applies to regular faculty and staff employees. Non-benefits eligible also includes temporary faculty, staff and student employees who may not work more than 1,300 hours in a 12 month period.
Beginning July 2017, the benefits effective date for newly hired or newly benefits eligible faculty and staff will be based on the hire date. Benefits will be effective on the first of the month following the hire date. However, if the hire date is the first day of the month; then benefits will be effective on the hire date.
Faculty must elect benefits during their first 30 days of employment. Individuals who do not elect benefits during the first 30 days of employment must wait until the next annual open enrollment period, unless the employee experiences a qualifying life event. Typically, open enrollment is held during the month of November, with coverage effective January 1 of the following year.
Employees must select a retirement program within their first 60 days of employment. Failure to designate a retirement option within the first 60 days will result in default assignment to the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia (TRS). Once assigned, such action is irrevocable and without exception.
Continuing faculty should review their benefits elections on an annual basis and be prepared to make any needed adjustments during the annual open enrollment period in November. If there is a qualifying life event, such as birth, death, marriage, or divorce, changes in certain benefits may be made if the employee notifies the Benefits Plan Administrator within 30 days of the event.
Insurance Premium Payment during Summer and Non-Pay Status
Insurance premiums are paid via payroll deductions. Faculty summer insurance premiums are payroll deducted in advance, with the costs spread out over the January through May paychecks. Since summer premiums are pre-paid, no premiums are deducted from summer paychecks. If employment ends at the conclusion of the academic year, coverage ends at the end of the month in which employment terminates, and any withheld summer premiums will be refunded. Faculty who expect to be in a non-pay status for any reason when insurance premiums are due should contact the Benefits Plan Administrator to arrange for payment of insurance premiums. Non-payment of premiums may result in cancellation of benefits coverage.
Faculty on academic-year contracts receive ten monthly paychecks, August through May.
In determining faculty salary increases consideration shall be given to scholarly attainment and professional growth as evidenced by each of the following:
a) teaching activity and effectiveness;
b) research, publication, creative scholarly activity, or artistic performance; and
c) University, professional, and public service activities (University Statutes Article XII, Section 11).
Recommendations for salary increments begin with the department chair in preparation of the annual budget (University Statutes Article XI, Section 3, G) and shall be based upon and preceded by the evaluation of faculty described in Section 200 of this Faculty Handbook.
To learn more about faculty compensation, faculty should also review the Board of Regents compensation policies. These policies govern the criteria for determining entry-level salaries and salary increases, salary for fiscal year administrative employees returning to an academic appointment as a faculty member; summer school salaries; compensation in relation to research, Saturday classes, and off-campus continuing education; and salary supplements from cooperative organizations.
The Board of Regents receives an annual appropriation from the General Assembly for all phases of its operations. This appropriation may be increased or decreased by the Legislature or the Governor during the period of any fiscal year. Expenditures for operation of the University System are therefore necessarily contingent upon legislative appropriations. In the event that the General Assembly or the Governor at any time reduces the amount of funds appropriated to the Board, the compensation of all employees and other operating expenses may as a consequence be correspondingly reduced. It shall, however, be the intent of the Board to maintain current salary commitments in so far as possible to every employee, and the Board will exert its composite influence and best efforts to that end (BR Minutes, 1976-66, p. 184).
As specified in the Board of Regents Policy Manual 126.96.36.199, an employee of the Board of Regents shall not directly or indirectly solicit, receive, accept, or agree to receive a thing of value by inducing the reasonable belief that the giving of the thing will influence his/her performance or failure to perform any official action. The acceptance of a benefit, reward or consideration where the purpose of the gift is to influence an employee in the performance of his/her official functions is a felony under O.C.G.A. § 16-10-2.
A USG employee or any other person on his/her behalf, is prohibited from knowingly accepting, directly or indirectly, a gift from any vendor or lobbyist as those terms are defined in Georgia statutes (O.C.G.A. § 21-5-70(6) and 45-1-6(a)(5)b). If a gift has been accepted, it must be either returned to the donor or transferred to a charitable organization.
A gift may be accepted by the employee on behalf of the institution subject to reporting requirements of the Board of Regents. If the gift is accepted, the person receiving the gift shall not maintain custody of the gift for any period of time beyond that reasonably necessary to arrange for the transfer of custody and ownership of the gift.
For purposes of this policy a gift is defined as lodging, transportation, personal services, a gratuity, subscription, membership, trip, loan, extension of credit, forgiveness of debt, advance or deposit of money, or anything of value.
A gift shall not include:
1. Food or beverage consumed at an occasional meal or event, provided the value is reasonable under the circumstances but in no event exceeds $100 per person.
2. Food, beverages, and registration at group events to which substantial numbers of employees of an institution are invited.
3. Food, beverage, or expenses afforded employees, relatives or others that are associated with normal and customary business or social functions or activities.
4. Actual and reasonable expenses for food, beverages, travel, lodging and registration provided to permit participation in a meeting, demonstration, or training related to official or professional duties if participation has been approved in writing by the Chancellor, the President, or his/her designee.
5. Promotional items generally distributed to the general public.
6. Textbooks, software, and instructional materials to be reviewed by teaching faculty.
7. An award, plaque, certificate, memento, or similar item given in recognition of the recipient’s civic, charitable, political, professional, private or public service or achievement.
8. Legitimate salary, honoraria, benefit, fees, commissions, or expenses associated with the recipient’s non-public business, employment, trade, or profession.
9. Gifts from a person or entity who is neither a lobbyist nor a vendor as those terms are defined in State Statutes, nor a student or patient at an institution.
10. Consulting fees, honoraria, or financial benefits from sponsors or foundations, received in conformance with USG policies, institution policies, and Georgia law.
11. Gifts to or from USG foundations or other separately incorporated, charitable entities.
All University employees are covered by workers’ compensation insurance, under the state of Georgia self-insurance program. Workers’ compensation also provides benefits to an employee’s dependents if the employee dies as the result of a job-related illness or injury. All work-related injuries should be reported within 24 hours following procedures listed on GSU workplace posters. Reporting procedures and forms are available through Workers Compensation.
Illness or injury that occurs while an individual is traveling may not be covered by workers’ compensation if such travel has not been submitted and approved in advance as business-related. Employees should submit travel authorization paperwork any time they are traveling on University-related business. See Professional Travel.
Work/life resources are offered by several offices at Georgia State. Faculty-specific work-life resources, such as tenure-clock stoppage and faculty leaves of absence, are managed by the Office of Faculty Affairs. Human Resources’ wellness programs include yoga, meditation, fitness, and health consultations. In addition, faculty can take advantage of child care resources and fitness classes elsewhere on campus. An overview of these work-life benefits, with current links, is available here.
Georgia State University, with Board of Regents’ permission, allows the registration of faculty members, including Emeriti members, in academic or laboratory courses on a space available basis in AUDIT status without cost to the faculty member. Permission in all cases must be obtained from the course instructor. The following provisions pertain:
A. The faculty involvement in such courses may be at two levels:
- Attendance: the faculty member attends classes in accordance with the class attendance policy;
- Participation: the faculty member attends classes in accordance with the class attendance policy and the faculty member does the work of the course including tests, reports and the final examination.
B. A record of satisfactory involvement, as determined by the course instructor, will be maintained. Such record will be available to the faculty member for the purpose of establishing qualifications for employment or for any legal purpose whatever, previous to or subsequent to retirement. No record will be made of unsatisfactory involvement.
(Source: University Senate, May 7, 1987 Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs)
Leaves and Absences
As specified in the Board of Regents Policy Manual, a faculty member employed on an academic year (9-month to 10-month) basis does not earn vacation/annual leave. An academic year contracted faculty member who teaches during Maymester and/or summer semester will not be eligible to accrue vacation/annual leave for such service.
Faculty members working on a fiscal-year (12-month) basis shall accrue 21 working days of vacation leave per year (1.75 days per month). The scheduling of such time must be coordinated with the department head or other appropriate administrator. Faculty members on fiscal year appointments of less-than-full-time accrue annual leave in proportion to their full-time equivalency. Vacation/annual leave may be accrued up to a maximum of 45 days (360 hours). On December 31st of each calendar year, each employee’s leave record shall be adjusted to reflect no more than 45 days (360 hours) of accrued vacation/annual leave.
Faculty in positions funded by grants, sponsored projects, or other non-state sources must utilize any such accrued time within the funded period for their position. The employee should furnish to the budget unit head a written statement of understanding that vacation/annual leave time must be taken prior to the end of the contract or grant period or it will be forfeited. A statement to that effect is signed at the time of initial employment with the University.
Faculty members converting from a fiscal year appointment to an academic year appointment shall be paid out their accrued vacation leave, subject to the forty-five (45) days (360 hours) maximum payment restriction, at the time of conversion. (Board of Regents Policy Manual 188.8.131.52)
Faculty members on fiscal year appointments shall be paid for unused, accrued vacation/annual leave (not to exceed 45 days) at the time of termination of employment from the University.
Vacation/annual leave should be reported as it is taken in the University’s Absence Management System. Failure to report vacation/annual leave use may result in inaccurate records and could result in overpayment that may be inconsistent with State law.
Faculty employed on an annual (fiscal year) basis should review the Board of Regents Policy Manual 8.2.7 for additional information regarding Leave policies.
Sick Leave with Pay
Both academic-year faculty and fiscal-year faculty shall accrue sick leave at the rate of one day (8 hours) per calendar month worked. Employees working at least one-half time but less than full-time will accumulate sick leave in an equivalent ratio to their percentage of time employed. Temporary employees, including student assistants, graduate assistants, part-time instructors, and regular employees who work less than one-half time do not earn or accrue sick leave.
An academic-year faculty member who teaches or who conducts compensated research during the summer may earn up to 2 additional days (16 hours) of sick leave. The additional benefit is computed as 5.33 hours of sick time accrual for each 10 percent additional compensation (maximum additional compensation is 30 percent, and maximum additional sick leave is 16 hours for summer).
For uneven percentages, a proportional formula applies. For example, an individual who has summer commitments totaling to 23 percent additional compensation would earn 23/30ths of 16 hours, or 12.27 hours, of additional accumulated sick leave.
Note: Only faculty members who are actually being compensated during the summer are eligible to accrue and utilize sick-leave benefits during the summer. Academic faculty who are ill during the summer but who are not in pay status for summer employment may not apply sick leave during that time.
Sick leave may be granted for an absence at the discretion of the institution for any of the following reasons:
- Injury, illness, or temporary medical condition/disability of the employee (including pregnancy-related disability, which is not distinguished from other medical conditions), as well as appointments for medical and dental treatment/consultation;
- Quarantine due to a contagious illness in the employee’s household;
- Illness, injury, or death in the employee’s family requiring the employee’s presence. Family members in this instance include the employee’s spouse, children, brother, sister, parent, grandparent, grandchild, in-laws in the same categories, or an individual who stood in loco parentis for the employee or for whom the employee stood in loco parentis.
Absences for a serious health condition of the individual or an immediate family member may be covered under provisions of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
All leave must be entered into the University’s Absence Management System. Faculty are responsible for contacting their department chair or program director to determine appropriate coverage for any missed classes.
Terminating employees shall not accumulate sick leave or be entitled to receive sick pay after the last working day of their employment (BOR Policy, Section 184.108.40.206). Accumulated unused sick leave may be credited under certain conditions toward retirement benefits from the Georgia Teachers Retirement System (TRS). Please see TRS Unused Sick Leave for more details.
Sick Leave without Pay
As specified in the Board of Regents Policy Manual 220.127.116.11, any employee unable to return to work after exhausting all accumulated sick leave and accrued vacation leave may be granted sick leave without pay for a period not to exceed one (1) year. Furthermore, such approved sick leave shall allow the employee the right to elect to continue his or her group insurance benefits, and the institution will continue its share of the cost for such period. All other benefits are prohibited which otherwise would accrue to the employee.
Information about the Family medical Leave Act, Georgia State’s FMLA Policy, and associated forms to request FMLA are available on the Human Resources Family Medical Leave Act webpage.
For assistance with FMLA, please contact Georgia State University’s Benefits Office.
The Shared Sick Leave Program provides a means for University employees to donate paid sick leave to a shared leave pool to be used by fellow University employees who while on an approved leave of absence experience a serious health condition or whose immediate family member experiences a serious health condition (as defined by FMLA) that requires the employee’s absence from work for a period of time longer than the amount of sick and annual leave available to the employee. For more information about eligibility to receive shared sick leave, voluntary enrollment, key definitions, and associated forms, please visit the Shared Sick Leave Program website. Georgia State’s Shared Sick Leave Program is governed by the USG Policy on Shared Sick Leave.
Faculty with regular appointments of half-time or more who have a death in the family may be allowed to use accrued sick leave. For circumstances involving only local travel, one day of sick leave is granted. For circumstances involving out-of-town travel, up to 3 days of sick leave may be granted. Use of sick leave in excess of three days is granted only in exceptional circumstances, for which documentation is required. Family members in this instance include the employee’s spouse, parents, children, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, in-laws in the same categories, or an individual who stood in loco parentis for the employee or for whom the employee stood in loco parentis.
Faculty who work less than half time may be granted time off without pay for a death in the family as defined above.
Definition and Purpose
Professional leaves are leaves with full or partial pay for faculty members for the purpose of providing opportunities for scholarly and professional growth that will increase the value of the recipients’ contributions to the University. These professional leaves may be granted, upon application, for research, study, field projects, or other similar purposes. During professional leaves, faculty members will be free from on-going institutional service responsibilities such as committee assignments and faculty meetings.
The policies for professional leaves do not apply to faculty requests for a semester free from one or more classroom teaching responsibilities. This released time must have the approval of the department chair and the dean of the academic unit and is done at their discretion within college guidelines. If a faculty member requests a semester free from teaching and other responsibilities, the procedures to be followed for professional leaves apply.
Professional leaves may be granted to persons employed by the University on a full-time basis as members of the faculty (including eligible counselors and librarians), whose duties include teaching, research, administration, or the performance of professional services. Because many faculty members are interested, preference is given to tenured professors or associate professors who have at least six years of full-time service. Specific questions concerning eligibility for professional leaves should be referred to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Impact on Faculty Responsibilities
The granting of a professional leave depends on the unit’s capacity to maintain necessary teaching schedules and advising responsibilities either by reallocation of work among other faculty members or, in some cases with justification, through temporary replacements. The granting of a professional leave should not create undue hardship for other faculty members and should not unduly limit course offerings. Endorsement by the department chair and dean should be taken to mean that this criterion is being met.
Impact on Promotion Eligibility
A candidate for promotion who had met the minimum number of years in rank would not be precluded from being eligible for promotion while absent from the institution on an approved leave of absence.
While Regents’ Policy requires the following minimum number of years in rank to be eligible for promotion: to Assistant Professor, 3 years as Instructor; to Associate Professor, 4 years as Assistant Professor; and to Professor, 5 years as Associate Professor; there are two conditions under which exceptions have been approved. The first is promotion approval for individuals who have not met the required 3, 4, or 5 years in rank. Requests for promotion in advance of the time requirements have been approved when supported by strong justification from the candidate’s dean and the promotion and tenure committee of the candidate’s college. The second related exception is the granting of a one-year credit toward minimum years in rank, for the period of an approved professional leave. Leave must be for the purpose of promoting scholarly work and encouraging professional development and credit should be requested, and subsequently approved, at the time the leave is submitted to the Board of Regents. [Note: This has been superseded by more recent Board of Regents and Georgia State University Policy.]
Impact on Tenure Eligibility
As with promotion, a candidate who had completed the required probationary period for the award of tenure would be eligible for consideration for tenure while absent from the university on an approved leave of absence.
Tenure may be awarded upon completion of five years of full-time service at the rank of assistant professor or higher. Full-time denotes service on a one-hundred percent workload basis for both semesters of an academic year. A maximum two-year interruption because of a leave of absence or part-time services is permitted. However, no probationary credit for the period of an interruption is allowed.
Probationary credit of up to three years may be allowed for service in a tenure track position at another institution, or for full-time service at the rank of instructor at the same institution. Such credit must be approved by the Board at the time of the initial appointment at the rank of assistant professor or higher.
An applicant must initiate the faculty professional leave request with the chair of the department, who will forward the application to the dean of that faculty member’s academic unit for endorsement. The endorsed application will be forwarded to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs for approval. If the requested leave is more than one semester, final approval must be received from the Board of Regents.
Each applicant should include a prospectus of the projected research or other scholarly activity and a statement of the requested time period of the leave.
A summary report of the activities undertaken during the leave period must be submitted to the dean of the faculty member’s academic unit and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs within three months of completion of the leave.
Applicants who are granted professional leave at full salary should not accept employment elsewhere during the leave period. Exceptions to this policy may be made on a case-by-case basis.
Leave may be approved for one semester at full salary or for two semesters at one-half salary. (University Senate Resolution, February, 28, 1991; Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, May 29, 1991.)
A faculty member who is granted a leave of absence with pay will be required, before beginning the leave, to sign an agreement that indicates:
• For a leave with pay of less than one academic year, s/he will return to the University at the termination of the leave for a period of at least one academic year.
• For a one academic year with pay, s/he will return to the University at the termination of the leave period for a period of at least two academic years.
• If s/he does not return to the University for the full amount of time specified in the agreement, s/he will reimburse the University for the amount of compensation received while on leave, as well as any other expenses paid by the University during the leave. (Source: Approved by the University Senate 20 February 1997)
If a faculty member receives a prestigious fellowship that provides salary support, but not at the level of that faculty member’s base pay, the dean of his or her academic unit may agree to provide partial salary to compensate for the more limited fellowship stipend. Such support will be determined on a case-by-case basis. (University Senate Resolution, February, 28, 1991; Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, May 29, 1991.)
The President of the University may grant leaves without pay to members of the institution’s faculty or administrative staff, which must then be reported to the chancellor.
At the discretion of the President of an institution, personal leave of absence without pay for periods not to exceed one year may be approved. Such approved personal leave shall allow the employee the right to elect to continue group insurance benefits. The employee must pay the full cost for any coverage continued under this provision. The employee must present appropriate official orders to Human Resources if applicable to the reason for leave.
The effect that the granting of the leave will have on the institution or the particular department will be taken into consideration. For example, if an individual’s work cannot be handled by other faculty members and/or if resources are not available for the employment of a substitute, the University is justified in refusing to recommend that the leave be granted or in deferring action upon the request for a leave.
When requesting a leave of absence, the faculty member should notify the department chair and work with the department to complete the request. The chair will send the request to the Dean’s office for endorsement and the Dean’s office will forward the request to Faculty Affairs for final approval from the Provost and President.
Employees retain benefits eligibility during unpaid leave, assuming they continue to pay the full cost of the benefit costs. Employees do not earn paid time off (e.g., sick leave) during unpaid leave status.
If a faculty member is granted leave without pay, insurance may be continued under the same entitlements as if the individual were in active status, so long as the full cost of the insurance premiums is remitted in a timely manner. The third party benefits administration vendor will bill employees for continuing benefits while the employee is on leave of absence. The benefits administrator’s billing will begin on the first of the month following the effective date of the leave of absence.
In the event of leave with less than one-half pay, no service toward retirement is credited. If leave is with one-half pay or more, service credit is granted, and normal retirement deductions are made from paychecks. The University continues to pay the employer contributions.
Court duty leave with pay is granted to benefits-eligible faculty for the purpose of serving on a jury or as a subpoenaed witness. Such leave is granted upon presentation of official documentation from the court. A receipt from the appropriate court stating the number of days served qualifies as documentation for serving on a jury.
Employees may retain juror or witness fees paid by the court. An employee serving as an expert witness must comply with the “Conflict of Interest” policy and other policies guiding outside activities.
Employees of the University are encouraged to exercise their constitutional right to vote in all federal, state, and local elections. Under Georgia law, if the polls aren’t open at least two hours before or after the work shift, the employee is entitled to as much as two hours off work to vote in a local, state, or federal election or primary. The employee must provide the employer reasonable notice that time off is needed, and the employer may choose any two hours during which the polls are open.
Georgia State University at its discretion may mandate leave that shall be designated as vacation, furlough leave, or leave without pay. The University shall make every effort to give prior notice before leave is mandated.
In the event of inclement weather or any emergency that jeopardizes the safety of employees, the President or designee of the University may declare leave with or without pay. The university community will be notified of such closure, cancellation of classes, or delayed opening through multiple media.
The University Statutes Article XII, Sections 23 and 24 and Board of Regents Policy Manual 8.3.9 specify the circumstances under which a tenured or non-tenured faculty member may be dismissed or removed before the end of his/her contract term.
As specified in the Board of Regents Policy Manual 18.104.22.168, all tenured faculty members employed under written contract for the fiscal or academic year shall give at least sixty (60) days written notice of their intention to resign to the president of the institution or to his/her authorized representative.
For system-wide information about eligibility for retirement and retiree eligibility for part-time reemployment by the USG, faculty should review the Board of Regents Policy Manual 8.2.8. Georgia State University Human Resources provides numerous pre-retirement resources for Georgia State University employees. Faculty are also encouraged to view the HR Benefits website to view updated benefits information and seminars pertaining to retirement.
Faculty on twelve month contracts who have accrued leave at the time of termination or retirement will generally receive a lump sum payment for the accrued leave. Faculty will generally not be kept on the payroll until their leave is exhausted (Personnel: 2-22-89). Please see the Vacation Payout section of the Clearance Form in Clearing the University immediately below.
A Clearance Form for Terminating Faculty and Staff is used by terminating faculty to clear the university and must be completed prior to the last day of employment. Terminating faculty must turn library books/fees, purchasing cards, keys, parking cards/decals, etc. in to the appropriate offices and pay any associated financial obligations before clearance is issued. Faculty should contact the individual offices listed on the Clearance Form for further clarification. After all signatures have been obtained, the Clearance Form must be hand carried to the Human Resources Benefits Office on or near the last working day of employment.
Continuing Benefit Plans at Termination
Benefits remain intact until the last day of the month in which the employee terminates. Applicable premiums must be paid. The cost for COBRA for employees and/or dependents is 100% of the total premium, plus a 2% administrative fee. Employees are offered continued coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) for up to 18 months. In special instances, the 18-month period may be extended. The election period and duration of coverage is outlined in the official notice sent by vendor to the former employee’s home address.
COBRA Disabled Status
If a qualified beneficiary is determined to be disabled under Title II or XVI of the Social Security Act at the time employment ends, the qualified beneficiary may elect continuation for up to twenty-nine (29) months.
Dependents who lose eligibility may continue coverage for thirty-six (36) months.
Visit the university’s COBRA webpage to learn more.
Key Employee Policies and Resources
As faculty play various roles as educators, supervisors, and participants in hiring, evaluation, and admissions processes, it is important that they be familiar with relevant laws, policies, procedures, and resources that govern and support their work. To assist faculty in understanding their rights and responsibilities, pertinent policies and resources are highlighted below.
The Policy Manual of the Board of Regents is the authoritative source of information concerning Board of Regents’ (BoR) approved policies governing academic and student matters. Faculty seeking additional information about system-wide policies should review the Board of Regents Policy Manual 8.2 General Policies for All Personnel and the Board of Regents Policy Manual Section 8.3 Additional Policies for Faculty.
The USG Academic & Student Affairs Handbook is the procedural guide for implementing Board of Regents policies related to Academic Affairs. The purpose of the handbook is to offer procedural information for implementing Board policy needed by chief academic officers and chief student officers of the institutions of the University System of Georgia. Faculty seeking additional procedural information pertaining to their employment should consult the USG Academic & Student Affairs Handbook Section 4.0 Academic Personnel.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Subsequent employment legislation defines a larger set of such protected classes. Under federal employment law, it is illegal to discriminate in any aspect of employment including: Hiring and firing; compensation, assignment, or classification of employees; transfer, promotion, layoff, or recall; job advertisements; recruitment; testing; use of company facilities; training and apprenticeship programs; fringe benefits; pay, retirement plans, and disability leave; or other terms and conditions of employment.
As specified in the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Policy, it continues to be the policy of Georgia State University to implement affirmative action and provide equal opportunity for all employees, students, contractors, consultants and applicants for employment or admission without regard to race, color, religion, creed, national origin, sex, age, veteran status or disability.
The University’s affirmative action program and related policies are developed in compliance with Executive Orders 11246 and 11375, as amended; the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Sections 503 & 504) and the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008 (Title II) and their implementing regulations; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967; and the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as it amends 38 U.S.C. 4212.
In conformance with the federal regulations listed above, Georgia State University does not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment with regard to any opportunity for which the employee is qualified.
Persons wishing to file complaints under the provisions of this policy should contact the Opportunity Development/Diversity Education Planning Office.
Every member of the Georgia State University community is expected to uphold this policy as a matter of mutual respect and fundamental fairness in human relations. The policy has the unequivocal support of the Office of the President. All members of the faculty, staff, and student body are expected to ensure that nondiscriminatory practices are followed at Georgia State University.
To better understand their rights and responsibilities under this policy as employees, supervisors, and participants in hiring and evaluation processes, faculty members should review Georgia State University’s definition of affirmative action and Executive Order 11246, which governs Georgia State University as a federal contractor.
As specified in the Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action for Individuals with Disabilities, Disabled Veterans and Veterans of the Vietnam Era Policy, it is the policy of Georgia State University not to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because he or she is an individual with a disability, a disabled veteran or a veteran of the Vietnam era. It is also the policy of Georgia State University to take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified disabled veterans, veterans of the Vietnam era and individuals with disabilities. This policy applies to all employment actions including, but not limited to, advertising, recruitment, hiring, compensation, retention, training, demotion, promotion or transfer, layoff or termination and tenure. Persons wishing to self-identify as an individual with a disability, disabled veteran or veteran of the Vietnam era or file a complaint should contact the Director of Affirmative Action at One Park Place South Suite 527, Atlanta, GA 30303-3083, 404-413-2569.
All personnel actions involving individuals with disabilities, disabled veterans and veterans of the Vietnam era will be governed by the affirmative action programs developed in compliance with 41 CFR Parts 60-741 and 60-250.
In order to ensure compliance, operational responsibility for implementing and monitoring this policy and maintaining and updating the affirmative action plan for individuals with disabilities, disabled veterans and veterans of the Vietnam era lies with the Director of Affirmative Action. This affirmative action plan is available for inspection by any employee or applicant for employment, during normal business hours, in the Georgia State University Affirmative Action Office located at Ten Park Place South, Suite 460.
Every member of the university community is expected to uphold this policy as a matter of mutual respect and fundamental fairness in human relations. This policy has the unequivocal support of the Office of the President and all members of the staff, faculty and student body are expected to ensure that nondiscriminatory practices are followed at Georgia State University.
It is the policy of Georgia State University not to discriminate against any individual because he or she has a disability. This applies to employees and students. It also applies to applicants for admission or employment.
Georgia State University is an equal opportunity employer. Qualified individuals with disabilities are welcome as employees at Georgia State. In order to provide equal access and opportunities to individuals with disabilities, reasonable accommodations may be needed. Employees and their supervisors should review Georgia State’s ADA Employee Accommodation Policy and Procedure to become familiar with the process of obtaining and providing reasonable accommodations, including self-disclosure, request for accommodation, notice given to the employee, discussion of accommodations, the accommodation agreement, accommodation implementation, and appeals.
Georgia State University recognizes and respects the religious diversity of its employees. The University complies with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from discriminating in any aspect of employment regarding an individual’s sincerely held religious practice or belief. Employers must accommodate employees’ religious needs, unless it would cause an undue hardship to University operations. Failure to do so is an unlawful employment practice.
The obligation to accommodate begins when an employee notifies his/her supervisor and the Office of Opportunity Development and Diversity Education Planning (ODDEP) of the need for an accommodation. Once notified, available alternatives for accommodating the religious practice involved will be considered. If there is more than one alternative available, which would not cause an undue hardship, the alternative, which would least disadvantage the individual’s employment opportunities must be offered. The offered accommodation does not have to be the one the employee prefers, if the above standard (i.e., least disadvantage) is met.
For questions regarding the Religious Accommodation procedure, please contact ODDEP at 1 Park Place South, Suite 527 Atlanta, GA 30303 or at 404-413-2563 / email@example.com.
Sexual Harassment Policy
Sexual harassment is prohibited by Georgia State University, the University System of Georgia and by state and federal law. Sexual harassment is a form of prohibited sex discrimination. Georgia State University is firmly committed to maintaining a work environment free of sexual harassment and does so by providing training for all employees explaining the definition of sexual harassment, how to report sexual harassment and the consequences for sexually harassing a member of the University community. Sexual harassment of any member of the University community is prohibited and will subject the offender to disciplinary action which may include termination.
Definition of Sexual Harassment
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission definition, adopted by Georgia State University, states that unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:
- submission to such conduct is made explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic standing; or
- submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment or academic decisions affecting an individual; or
- such conduct unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work or academic performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or academic environment; or
- such conduct that can be implicitly or explicitly categorized under Sex Discrimination, a prohibited form of Sexual harassment under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. Georgia State University will not tolerate any form of harassing behavior to or from employees, consultants, contractors, or other non-employees.
Any employee who feels that he or she has been the victim of harassment is encouraged to use the University’s internal procedures to resolve complaints. The supervisor is also responsible to report any knowledge of harassment. The complainant may elect to use any of three University procedures. The complainant may consult informally with a counselor (employees contact Faculty and Staff Assistance), with the University Ombudsperson, or the complainant may submit a formal complaint with the /Office of AA/EEO Investigations. Complainants should note that informal resolution through the Ombudspersons Office or Faculty and Staff Assistance does not put the University on notice of sexual harassment. In instances of sexual misconduct under Title IX, the Ombudsperson is not a confidential resource.
A counselor from Faculty and Staff Assistance or the Counseling and Testing Center is used when the complainant desires personal assistance in dealing with a confidential reporting of sexual harassment, and is outside the University’s mechanism for resolving complaints.
Actions of the Ombudsperson focus on communication, education, and possible resolution.
Formal complaint procedures through the Office of AA/EEO Investigations and Hiring focus on investigation and resolution. A complainant may use any of the procedures initially, and may move among them as the situation dictates. Employees may also file harassment complaints with the appropriate state or federal agencies under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972.
Sexual Identity Policy
It is the policy of Georgia State University that an individual’s sexual identity will not be considered when making any personnel decisions. One’s sexual identity is strictly personal, and such information is prohibited from being used in any way by the University or its employees in employment decisions.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 was the first comprehensive federal law to prohibit sex discrimination against students and employees of educational institutions. Title IX states, in part:
No person shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
Title IX prohibits sex discrimination. Sexual harassment is a form of prohibited sex discrimination. Students (male and female) and employees (faculty and staff) are protected from sexual harassment.
The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for enforcing the law. Faculty, staff, and students can file complaints of sex discrimination with the Title IX Coordinator. Retaliation against complainants is prohibited.
The Title IX Coordinator is the Associate Vice President of Human Resources and Opportunity Development and Diversity Education Planning. The Title IX Coordinator can be contacted at:
Human Resources and Opportunity Development and Diversity Education Planning
P.O. Box 3983
Atlanta, GA 30302-3983
Office: (404) 413-3308
Fax: (404) 413-2560
1 Park Place, Suite 308
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
Faculty and Staff Assistance Program
Faculty experiencing crisis or stressful situations are encouraged to use Georgia State University’s Faculty and Staff Assistance program. FASA is a free and confidential service. Issues that are frequently addressed through FASA include:
- Marital problems
- Job stress or dissatisfaction
- Family disharmony
- Substance abuse
- Personality conflict
- Lack of direction in career
- Financial difficulties
Faculty and Staff Assistance (FASA) is an internal Employee Assistance Program (EAP), providing broad brush services including confidential consultations, short-term counseling, assessment and referrals. These services are part of the benefits offered to Georgia State employees and eligible dependents. FASA services include individual management consultation services to those in supervisory roles, support for individual or departmental crisis, training, outplacement and career services, and relapse prevention services.
Emergency assistance is available for crisis situations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through (404) 413-3357. For non-emergency situations, reach FASA at (404) 413-3342 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Office of the Ombudsperson
Faculty experiencing conflict are encouraged to contact the Office of the Ombudsperson at (404) 413-2510. The Ombudsperson is a confidential resource for all persons on campus. The goal of the ombudsperson is to advocate, not for a specific individual, but for equity, fair processes, and compliance with university policy and procedure. Ombuds act as complaint receivers for persons who believe they have been treated unfairly, coaches to help persons independently resolve difficult situation and as facilitators or mediators in an effort to assist persons in conflict to reach fair resolutions. In a neutral and impartial role, the Office of the Ombudsperson assists all members of the University community in problem solving and the resolution of complaints, while coordinating programs and promoting alternatives to adversarial processes. The office aims to ensure civil and equitable treatment for all students, faculty, and staff by providing awareness of university policy and procedure and recommending appropriate institutional action or change. For more information on the Office of the Ombudsperson, faculty can go to ombuds.gsu.edu.
Faculty experiencing conflict should also review the informal and formal conflict resolution procedures outlined in the University Statutes (see Faculty Grievance Policy immediately below).
Discrimination or Harassment Complaint Process
Please see Discrimination or Harassment Complaint Process below.
Each college, school, or other comparable administrative unit of the University, which has assigned faculty members as defined in the University Statutes, shall incorporate in its bylaws, or in official instructions, the procedures outlined in the University Statutes Article XII Section 25 for the establishment of a fair and impartial hearing panel for its faculty and for the handling of faculty complaints related to matters other than removal of a faculty member for cause or non-renewal of faculty contract.
For details of the relevant university-level definitions, informal procedures, optional mediation procedures, and formal procedures, see University Statutes Article XII Section 25.
Georgia State University is committed to creating and maintaining a community in which students, faculty and staff can work together in an atmosphere free of discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation. The University encourages Complainants to avail themselves of counseling services prior to and during the pursuit of informal and formal procedures. On campus providers of these services include but are not limited to the Office of the Ombudsperson, FASA, Office of Disability Service, Dean of Student Services, and University Counseling Center.
The Office of AA/EEO Investigations and Hiring (a division of ODDEP) serves as a resource for potential complainants and provides an investigatory function for discrimination complaints. One of the responsibilities of the department is to uphold the federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination in education and employment. It is illegal to discriminate against a person because of that person’s national origin, race, color, sex, religion, age, veteran status or disability.
Informal Resolution Process
Employees are encouraged to participate in an informal resolution process. The informal resolution process may be utilized by consulting with Faculty and Staff Assistance, Employee Relations, or the University’s Ombudsperson as the situation dictates.
In the event that any of these processes are not successful, the employee may initiate a formal complaint through the Office of AA/EEO Investigations.
Formal Complaint Process
To begin the formal complaint process, the employee must contact the Office of AA/EEO Investigations. The initial intake interview serves the purpose of establishing that the complainant is currently affiliated with Georgia State University and that the complaint involves an illegal basis of discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation in regards to a protected activity. If the alleged facts do not constitute a basis of discrimination prohibited by law, informal resolution options or grievance procedures are still available to the employee.
Employees are encouraged to notify the Office of AA/EEO Investigations and Hiring of claims of discrimination and /or harassment as soon as possible. However, because of the statute of limitations on such claims and witness availability, a discrimination complaint must be filed within 180 days of the occurrence of the alleged violation. In cases where discrimination is continued and ongoing employee should contact AA/EEO Investigations and Hiring as soon as possible.
For detailed information on the Office of AA/EEO Investigations and Hiring formal complaint process go to: http://odaa.gsu.edu/resources/internal-complaint-process-faqs
Opportunity Development & Diversity Education Planning (ODDEP) has overall responsibility for leadership, coordination and an oversight of the University’s affirmative action and diversity education initiatives. ODDEP provides diversity education and compliance training, consulting to managers, supervisors and staff employees, and consulting for the university.
Additionally, ODDEP monitors all matters within the University that pertain to affirmative action, equal opportunity and diversity. ODDEP collects and analyzes affirmative action data, investigates complaints of harassment and discrimination, and participates in resolution, maintains the university’s written affirmative action and diversity plans, develops policy statements and procedures and monitors staff and faculty hires. ODDEP manages implementation of the university’s Diversity Strategic Plan.
The University System of Georgia Ethics Policy is central to faculty members’ upholding of Professional Standards at Georgia State University. In order to ensure that all actively employed University System of Georgia (USG) employees are cognizant of and adhering to their obligations with respect to the USG Ethics Policy, all individuals employed by the USG or one of its institutions in any capacity shall participate in USG Ethics Policy training, and shall certify compliance with the USG Ethics Policy on a periodic basis. Georgia State University’s Initial Ethics Course and Refresher Ethics can be accessed through iCollege from the Human Resources Ethics Training webpage.
The USG Ethics Policy governs only official conduct performed by or on behalf of the USG. Violations of the USG Ethics Policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
The employment of relatives at Georgia State University is governed by the Board of Regents Policy Manual 8.2.3. For the purpose of this policy, relatives are defined as husbands and wives, parents and children, brothers, sisters, and any in-laws of any of the foregoing (BoR Minutes, February 14, 1973, p. 312).
The basic criteria for the appointment and promotion of USG employees shall be appropriate qualifications and performance as set forth in the policies of the Board of Regents. Relationship by a family or marriage shall constitute neither an advantage nor a disadvantage.
No individual shall be employed in a department or unit that will result in the existence of a subordinate-superior relationship between such individual and any relative of such individual through any line of authority. As used herein, “line of authority” shall mean authority extending vertically through one or more organizational levels of supervision or management (BoR Minutes, 1989-90, p. 250).
This standard does not apply to the temporary or part-time employment of children under age 25, nor to any individual employed as of February 14, 1990, at any institution where a relative of such individual then holds a superior position at least one level of supervision removed from such individual in any line of authority. Exceptions may be approved by the Board of Regents upon recommendation of the Chancellor as being clearly in the best interest of the institution and the USG.
Georgia State University’s Policy on Amorous Relationships prohibits the parties who are or have been involved in any amorous relationship from evaluating each other.
As specified in the Board of Regents Policy Manual 8.2.23, “A USG faculty or staff member, including a graduate teaching assistant, is prohibited from having an amorous relationship with any student who the faculty or staff member supervises, teaches, or evaluates in any way. Consistent with Policy 8.2.3, a USG employee is prohibited from having an amorous relationship with any other employee if either employee supervises, evaluates, or in any other way directly affects the terms or conditions of the other’s employment. Any individual who violates this policy is subject to disciplinary action commensurate with the offense, up to and including termination.”
Faculty engagement in outside activities is governed by Georgia State’s Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment Policy, the University Statutes Article XII Section 10, and Board of Regents Policy Manual 8.2.15. Faculty are encouraged to read and familiarize themselves with these policies.
As specified in the Statutes, “No members of the faculty of the University shall engage in any outside work or activity if it interferes with the regular and punctual discharge of their official university duties and responsibilities.”
Georgia State’s Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment Policy further specifies that “Full Time University Employees are required to receive advance approval before engaging in certain external activities, including but not limited to consulting, teaching, speaking, and participating in business or service enterprise, and are restricted from engaging in certain other external activities. While the Board of Regents’ Policy on Outside Activity provides certain limits on external activities, a Full Time University Employee’s Supervisor has the discretion to determine that external activities otherwise permitted under the Board of Regents’ Policy on Outside Activity are inappropriate in scope and duration or constitute excessive time away from University duties. Practical considerations necessitate a limit of not more than one day a week average for the aggregate of all outside activities when the employee is being paid for Full Time duty.”
Faculty are expected to follow the disclosure procedure outlined in the Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment Policy: “Prior to engaging in an external professional, service or commercial activity, including consulting, teaching, speaking, and participating in business or service enterprises, other than pre-approved activities, a Full Time University Employee shall provide written notification of such proposed activity to his or her Supervisor (an “Outside Activity Notification”) in the manner requested by the Supervisor. Supervisors may provide Full Time University Employees under their supervision with a list of pre-approved activities that do not need to be disclosed pursuant to this paragraph.” For additional procedural and policy information, please see the entire Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment Policy.
The use of Georgia State University resources is governed by the Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment Policy. Section VI Conflicts of Interest, subsection on Use of University Resources specifies that “The University’s name, letterhead, facilities, services (including the time and assistance of University staff, faculty or students), electronic resources, and equipment are to be used for the furtherance of University goals and not for the benefit of, or to imply the University’s support of, a non-University activity.
University Employees may not use University facilities, resources, equipment or services in connection with any outside employment or consulting or other non-University activity except in a purely incidental way or as provided below.
In certain situations, subject to the other restrictions of this Policy, other University policies and procedures and state law, a University Employee or a commercial entity in which a University Employee has a Financial Interest may access University facilities or equipment on the same terms as such facilities or equipment are available to persons or organizations outside of the University. Arrangements for reimbursing the University must be made prior to using the University’s facilities or equipment for outside activities. The reimbursement plan will include costs consistent with rates charged to outside groups or persons.”
Faculty members are required to file a Travel Authorization – Employee Form for trips in connection with University duties whether or not they are to be reimbursed. Travel Authorization forms should be submitted two weeks prior to the departure date.
Travel at state expense is expected to result in professional improvement for faculty members and should be of benefit to the University. In addition to submitting the Travel Authorization – Employee Form at least two weeks in advance, a faculty member traveling at state expense must complete a Travel Expense Statement Form upon his or her return and submit it with all receipts. The faculty member should make and retain copies of receipts before submission.
Faculty considering travel to a country for which the U.S. Department of State has issued a travel warning need to review and follow the procedures specified in the university policy on travel to countries with travel warnings.
Faculty planning to travel using sponsored funds should review the resources and policies available through URSA’s Purchasing and Travel on Sponsored Awards.
Travel advances are possible under current travel regulations. In addition to the requirements listed, all faculty must present a proper Georgia State University photo ID card.
Employees should not use the University name, logo, or insignia to endorse or promote any product, opinion, cause, or political candidate. Personal opinions represented as institutionally endorsed is strictly prohibited. Public Relations and Marketing Communications is available to assist with media requests and training for faculty.
Georgia State University recognizes the advances in technology and the benefits of these advances: one advance being Social Media. While the use of Social Media can be very beneficial to the promotion, marketing, and advancement of Georgia State University, the abuse and/or misuse of this technology can be counterproductive and damaging to the mission, vision, and image of the institution. As a result, it is important to communicate expectations around how Social Media should be used at Georgia State University. The following are guidelines for Social Media usage at Georgia State University. The absence or lack of explicit reference to a specific site does not limit the extent of the application of these guidelines. Where no guidelines exist, employees should consult with their supervisor and/or the office of Employee Relations if they are uncertain or have questions concerning appropriate use. Any employee in violation may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
Social Media activities should not interfere with work commitments or negatively impact productivity. As stated in the IS&T policies, University computers and work time are to be used for University related business. Employees should engage in Social Media activity only if it is directly related to accomplishing work goals.
Unauthorized Use of GSU’s Name, Logo, or Insignia
The Georgia State University logo is a registered trademark protected by Federal law. University logos, services, and other trademarks may only be used on official University websites and pages. Such use shall be in a way that brings value to the University and portrays Georgia State University in a positive light. Use of the University name and marks must also comply with the University Identity Guide. Logos sized appropriately for the web are available for download by request at the University Identity Guidelines link. Any usage not following the visual identity guidelines must be immediately removed.
Employees should not use the University name, logo, or insignia to endorse or promote any product, opinion, cause, or political candidate. Personal opinions represented as institutionally endorsed is strictly prohibited.
Employees should not represent Georgia State University or speak on behalf of their college/unit/department on Social Media, unless written approval is given by their immediate supervisor.
Confidentiality and Personal Information
Employees should not post any material that would infringe on the intellectual property or privacy rights of the University or others. This applies to confidential or proprietary information belonging to the University, including personal information pertaining to students, employees, or alumni. Employees should adhere to all applicable University privacy and confidentiality policies as well as State and Federal laws.
Social Media Referencing
Employees should not reference or cite Georgia State University faculty, staff, students, donors, etc. without their express consent.
Employees should respect copyright laws and reference or cite sources appropriately. Plagiarism applies on-line as well. All posts shall comply with copyright, fair use, and all other applicable State and Federal Laws.
Recommendations for Posting as an Individual
Employees should not represent themselves as an agent of Georgia State University, while communicating on a personal blog, forum, or social networking site. Any personal blogs or comments on Social Media outlet, that could be construed to reflect negatively on Georgia State University should have clear disclaimers that the views expressed by the author are the author’s alone and do not represent the views of Georgia State University. Employees should always post honest and accurate content.
Georgia State University equipment, including computer hardware and software, are valuable assets. They should be used for official Georgia State University business only. Although every effort is made to secure the information of each authorized user, messages and/or files stored on the computer or system network should not be considered to be private and/or secure. Under the Georgia Open Records law, it is possible that information which is stored on a computer system, including electronic mail, would be available for inspection by any member of the public. Further, Georgia State University reserves the right to have access to any information stored on a University owned computer or network. Under no circumstances may software be copied or installed on a Georgia State University computer if such copying or installation would violate any copyright or licensing agreement. All system users are expected to follow the guidelines outlined in the Georgia State University Information Systems Ethics Policy. Any employee in violation of this policy may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination, as well as possible legal action. Sending blanket emails to the University is prohibited. This policy includes, but is not limited to the following types of computers: desktops, laptops, palmtops, notebooks, netbooks, and iPads.
All employees are expected to use university IT resources in a responsible manner, as well as use IT resources for which an employee is authorized. Therefore, it is a violation for an employee to:
- Use resources he/she has not been specifically authorized to use;
- Use someone else’s account and password or share his/her account and password with someone else;
- Access files, data, processes, or systems without authorization;
- Release a virus or worm that damages or harms a system or network;
- Send email that may cause problems and disrupt service for other users;
- Corrupt or misuse information;
- Alter or destroy information without authorization;
- Download, use or distribute copyrighted materials, including pirated software, music, videos, or games;
- Upload, download, distribute, or possess pornography;
- Use computing or network resources for advertising or commercial purposes, except as approved by the University;
- Intercept or monitor any network communications not intended for the employee;
- Use access other than for official duties;
- Use access after transfer or termination, except as stipulated by the University; or
- Use electronic resources for harassment or stalking other individuals.
For more information, see USG IT Handbook, Section 5.1.
User Responsibilities for Personal Devices
Employees who use their personally-owned devices to access Georgia State University data and information must make every attempt to safeguard confidential, sensitive, and protected information. If employees use their personal devices for University-related business, employees are expected to follow the guidelines under User Responsibilities.
Several additional Georgia State Information Systems and Technology Policies pertain to faculty work spanning teaching and student interaction, research, and other professional duties. For faculty convenience, Technology Services provides a concise introduction to such policies through its Information System Policies Chart.
Faculty can take advantage of a wide range of Technology Services, including training, email, software, network, wireless, and telephone services. The Technology Services HelpDesk provides faculty multiple forms of assistance for a variety of technology issues. Email requests for IT help should be sent to email@example.com. Faculty can also browse Technology Services’ Faculty Resources webpage to become more familiar with the range of services and resources applicable to faculty work generally. Please see Section 300 for technology resources specific to teaching and Section 400 for technology resources specific to research, scholarship, and creative activity.
Georgia State University employees may share their own views on political issues. It is important, however, that they do so only in their personal capacities, and that it is done in a way that does not interfere with work, does not involve improper use of state resources and does not create the appearance that the employee is speaking on behalf of the USG or its institutions. In addition, under no circumstances may employees use any state property, resources, or materials in conjunction with any political campaigning.
Additional restrictions on USG employees’ holding political office, managing political campaigns, or entering political campaigns are outlined in the Board of Regents Policy Manual 22.214.171.124.
Questions about political activities should be addressed to Georgia State University’s Office of Government and Community Affairs at (404) 413-2030.
Georgia State University promotes a clean, healthy, productive and safe environment for all students, faculty, staff, and visitors.
Smoking and tobacco use, of any kind, is prohibited on all University owned and/or leased locations/premises; all internal and external areas; all parking garages and parking lots; and in all Georgia State owned and/or leased vehicles. Smoking is also prohibited within 25-feet of all Georgia State building entrances and exits. University Housing will designate limited exterior smoking/tobacco use areas within the grounds of residential facilities.
The University reserves the right to initiate disciplinary procedures against any individual found to be in continuous violation of this policy; however all faculty, staff, and students have a collective responsibility to promote the safety and health of the campus community and therefore share in the responsibility of enforcement. Individuals observed smoking/using tobacco are to be reminded in a professional and courteous manner of this policy.
GSU Employee Development and Wellness Services offers a Tobacco Cessation Program for faculty and staff in need of assistance.
Possession of Dangerous Weapons/Workplace Violence
Georgia State University is committed to creating and maintaining a working, learning, and social environment that is free from danger and violence for all members of the University community.
Possession of Dangerous Weapons
University employees, who are licensed to carry a handgun, are allowed to carry only in a concealed manner on certain property owned or leased by the University. Other weapons and other types of guns are not permitted on property owned or leased by the University. University Police Officers are specifically exempted from this prohibition.
A concealed weapon is defined as “carried in such a fashion that does not actively solicit the attention of others and is not prominently, openly, and intentionally displayed except for the purpose of the defense of self or others.” A licensed holder may carry a handgun that is:
1.) covered by an article of clothing the employee is wearing, 2) contained within a bag of a non-descript nature, or 3) carried in another similar manner that generally keeps it out of the view of others.
Exceptions to Where Concealed Weapons May be Carried
There are a number exceptions that limit the places on campus where handguns may be carried. Licensed gun holders may not carry a handgun into the following locations owned or leased by the University:
- Buildings and property used for athletic sporting events, including stadiums, gymnasiums and similar facilities in which intercollegiate games are staged;
- Student housing facilities including residence halls and similar buildings where students live such as fraternity and sorority houses;
- Spaces – including any room, continuous collection of rooms or outdoor facility – that are used for preschool or childcare;
- Rooms and other spaces during the times when they are being used for classes in which high school students are enrolled, whether through dual enrollment and programs such as Move On When Ready or through college and career academies or other specialized programs such as Early College. Licensed holders, who want to carry handguns to class will need to visit the institution’s registrar or other designated employee, who after verifying their enrollment status will tell them which of their classes, if any, have high school students enrolled. It is the responsibility of licensed holders to seek out this information and make themselves aware of which classrooms fall within the exception;
- Faculty, staff and administrative offices. This exception includes offices and office suites occupied by faculty, staff, and administrators, but does not include more general public common spaces outside of those areas; and
- Rooms during the times when they are being used for disciplinary proceedings of any kind, including those regarding students, faculty or staff. These would include any meetings or hearings that are part of the University’s sexual misconduct, student conduct, dispute resolution, grievance, appeals, or similar processes.
The burden is on licensed holders to know, understand, and follow University policies and the law regarding concealed handguns. Employees should contact the Georgia State University Police if someone is carrying a weapon in an unauthorized area. Violation of these policies can result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination and expulsion from the University. For more information, employees may go to: http://safety.gsu.edu/campus-carry/
Firearms and Dangerous Weapons Defined
Firearms and dangerous weapons include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Pistol, revolver, or any weapons designed or intended to propel a missile of any kind, including air soft, paintball, BB or pellet guns, potato guns, and other such homemade devices;
- Dirk, bowie knife, switchblade, ballistic knife, or any other knife having a blade of two or more inches;
- Straight-edge razor or razor blades;
- Spring stick, metal knucks, blackjacks;
- Bat, club, or other bludgeon-type weapon;
- Nun chahka, nun chuck, nunchaku, shuriken, or fighting chain; and
- Throwing star or oriental dart.
The University is committed to providing a safe workplace free from violence, threats of violence, or disruptive behavior of a violent or threatening nature. The University does not tolerate behavior, whether direct, indirect, or through the use of university facilities, property, or resources that:
- Is violent;
- Threatens violence;
- Harasses or intimidates others;
- Interferes with an individual’s legal rights of movement or expression; or
- Disrupts the workplace, the academic environment, or the University’s ability to provide service to the public and/or its students, faculty, or staff.
Violent or threatening behavior can include, but is not limited to: physical acts, oral or written statements, harassing email messages, harassing telephone calls, bullying, or behaviors such as stalking.
Individuals who engage in violent behavior, including but not limited to physical attacks, intimidation, bullying, threats, or property damage, may be removed from the premises, and be subject to dismissal or other disciplinary action, up to termination, arrest and/or criminal prosecution.
Violence in the workplace includes relationship violence that intrudes into the workplace, endangering a person in the relationship or others in the workplace.
This policy applies to all Georgia State University work locations and campuses including offices, classrooms, worksites, vehicles, parking decks, and field locations.
Workplace is defined as any location, either permanent or temporary, where an employee performs any work-related duty. This includes, but is not limited to, the buildings and the surrounding perimeters, including the parking lots, field locations, alternate work locations, and travel to and from work assignments.
If an employee has been confronted with a violent incident, the employee is to report such incident to the University Police at (404) 413-3333 immediately. Employees should also inform Employee Relations at (404) 413-3356 during business hours and Faculty and Staff Assistance at
(404) 413-3357 for an emergency or (404) 413-3345 during non-business hours.
Each employee has a duty to warn University Police first and then Human Resources and his/her supervisor, if he/she is aware of or believes that workplace violence is imminent that involves employees, former employees, students, or visitors. This duty extends, for example, to threats, acts of violence, aggressive behavior, or threatening or offensive acts or comments. All employee reports made pursuant to this policy will be held in confidence, to the maximum extent possible.
Employees have the responsibility to report criminal charges/determinations.
An employee of Georgia State University who is charged with a crime (other than a minor traffic offense and/or local ordinance violation) shall report having been charged to his/her supervisor within 3 days of becoming aware of such charge. The employee shall report the crime(s) he/she has been charged with and provide documentation of the charges upon request.
Within 3 days of receiving notice from the employee, the supervisor will contact the Office of Legal Affairs and Employee Relations so a determination can be made as to what action, if any, is immediately warranted. Within 3 days of the employee receiving a determination of the criminal charges (e.g. charges dismissed, allowed to plead nolo contendere, found guilty, acquitted), he/she will notify his/her supervisor and provide documentation of the disposition. Within 3 days of receiving notice from the employee, the supervisor will contact the Office of Legal Affairs and Employee Relations so a determination can be made as to what action, if any, is warranted. Failure to report under this policy may result in disciplinary action, including termination of employment.