Faculty Policies & Procedures

V. Faculty Policies & Procedures

Academic Freedom
Course Load
Academic Policies and Procedures:

 Live Work Policy
Student Handbook


The College adheres to Alabama Community College System Policy for Academic Freedom, which states, “The Alabama Community College System supports the concept of academic freedom.  In the development of knowledge, research endeavors, and creative activities, faculty and students must be free to cultivate a spirit of inquiry and scholarly criticism.  Faculty members are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing discipline related subjects.  Faculty and students must be able to examine ideas in an atmosphere of freedom and confidence.  At no time shall the principle of academic freedom prevent the institution from taking proper efforts to assure the best possible instruction for all students in accordance with the mission and objectives of the institution.”  The College further expounds on the System Policy of academic freedom with policies as set forth by the American Association of University Professors in regard to academic freedom. These policies are as follows:

Teachers are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of their other academic duties; but research for pecuniary return should be based upon an understanding with the authorities of the institution.

Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject. Limitations of academic freedom because of religious or other aims of the institution should be clearly stated in writing at the time of the appointment.

College and university teachers are citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of an educational institution. When they speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As scholars and educational officers, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence they should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution.


Coursework at Southern Union is measured in terms of “semester hours.” The semester hour in the academic division represents one hour of lecture or other standard classroom instruction or two hours of experimental laboratory per week for one semester of approximately fifteen weeks. The semester hour in the technical and health sciences divisions represents one hour of theory, two hours of experimental laboratory, three hours of clinical practice/ manipulative laboratory, eight hours of preceptorship or ten hours of internship per week for one semester of approximately fifteen weeks.


All instructors are required to develop and distribute a course syllabus for each course they teach. The course syllabus should be congruent with the general course outline/competency forms which have been developed for each course by the Alabama Community College System Office. The following items should be included (if applicable) on the course syllabus:  (1) course number, title, textbook, instructor, office hours/location, prerequisites, if any; (2) course objectives/competencies/outline of topics; (3) attendance policy; (4) examination policy; (5) make-up policy; (6) grading policy; (7) disciplinary policy; (8) statement of discrimination/harassment; (9) American with Disabilities policy; (10) E-books/laptops in classroom.  The course syllabus must be submitted to the department chair at the beginning of the semester.  Any student who requires special accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act should contact one of the following ADA campus advisors:

  • ​Wadley - Carol Howell
  • Opelika - Mr. Gary Branch
  • Valley - Ms. Robin Brown

Official Class Rolls, Financial Aid Reporting, Mid-Term Alerts, and Final Grade Reporting

Official class rolls, financial aid reporting, mid-term alerts, and final grade reporting are all done on the web from the Southern Union State Community College home page.  The due dates for reporting each term will be emailed to instructors’ Southern Union email addresses.  Explicit directions for all reporting can be found in the Appendices.  It is imperative that all reporting be completed before the designated deadlines.  Failure by a faculty member to file reports by the deadline results in major problems for the entire college.


Withdrawal From a Single Course
A student who wishes to drop or withdraw from a single course may do so via the suscc.edu website.  Until the date specified in the college calendar, the student will receive a grade of "W" for any course dropped.  Withdrawal after the date specified in the calendar is permitted only under extenuating circumstances and requires the approval of the appropriate Instructional Dean.  A grade of "W" is assigned if the student is doing satisfactory work and approval is given.  Otherwise, a grade of "F" is assigned.  Students may also drop a course via the Internet.

Withdrawal From the College
A student may withdraw from the College at any time during the semester by obtaining a "Withdrawal Request Form" from the Admissions and having it processed.  Any withdrawal before the date specified in the calendar will result in a grade of "W" in all courses.  After the withdrawal date specified in the calendar, a grade of "W" (withdrawn not failing) will be assigned only if the student is doing satisfactory work at the time of withdrawal and extenuating circumstances apply.  A grade of "F" will be assigned if the student is not doing passing work at the time of withdrawal or if he/she fails to follow the above procedure.  Students may not completely withdraw from the College via the Internet.

Administrative Withdrawal or Drop From a Course or From College
A student may be dropped administratively from any course for (1) failure to complete college registration properly; (2) failure to fulfill conditions of registration in those cases where a student may have been allowed to register on a conditional basis; (3) failure to fulfill other conditions of admission and/or registration; (4) failure to attend class; (5) failure to comply with student conduct standards; and (6) failure to comply with "standards of practice" as established by the Alabama Board of Nursing, American Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians, or other regulatory or licensing agencies for programs of study in the Health Sciences Division.

Attendance Policy

Each course syllabus must address/include the following items a. through e.viii.

  • The number of absences allowed for the class, if any.
  • Handling of late arrivals and early departures, if allowed.
  • Policy for course make-up work, if allowed.
  • Students on financial aid programs are responsible for knowing their particular attendance policies, if any.  Those students must contact the financial aid office to receive written attendance reporting requirements.
  • Students are responsible for the knowledge, skills, and abilities not acquired due to absences and for assignments made or due from the first day the class.
    1. Students are expected to attend each class session, to arrive on time, and to remain for the entire class session.
    2. Faculty will record attendance from the first day of the semester.
    3. Excessive absences, regardless of the reason or circumstance, may interfere with the student’s ability to successfully complete the requirements of the course.
    4. In such cases, the student should withdraw from the class before the last day to drop with a grade of “W”. Withdrawal from class may affect eligibility for federal financial aid. Students should contact the Financial Aid Office for information.
    5. When a student is absent from class, the student is responsible for all material covered in the class and for any assignments made in class.
    6. The instructor is not required to review with the student any material missed as a result of being absent, nor is the instructor required to notify a student if the student is in danger of a lowered grade due to any graded work missed.
    7. The instructor is not required to provide an opportunity for make-up work. The instructor’s policies regarding make-up work shall be clearly defined in the syllabus to be available on the first day of class. 
    8. Attendance requirements in programs that lead to board licensure or certification may differ from this policy.

Each instructor should discuss attendance policies during the first class meeting including, but not limited to:

  • Number of absences allowed – if any
  • Handling of late arrivals and early departures - if allowed.
  • Course make-up work, if allowed.
  • Students on financial aid programs are responsible for knowing their particular attendance policies, if any.  Those students must contact the financial aid office to receive written attendance reporting requirements.
  • Administrative withdrawal if used. 

Administrative Withdrawal Policy

Before the published drop date (last day to withdraw with a “W”), a student may be dropped administratively from any course for failure to attend class(es) when the student has missed more than 20% of the total number of hours that the class meets.  Examples are provided in the appendices.  However no student may be administratively withdrawn after the last day to withdraw with a “W” as published in the college calendar.  The number of absences resulting in administrative withdrawal may differ in programs that lead to board licensure or certification but must be clearly stated in the course syllabus.  The form to be used to request a student be withdrawn from a class appears in the appendices.  Instructors that plan to administratively withdraw students due to excessive absences must include that policy in their syllabus.  If a student that has been administratively withdrawn returns to class, the instructor must advise the student of the administrative withdrawal.  Students that have been administratively withdrawn should not be allowed to attend class unless they are reinstated by the instructor or through the appeal process.

Appeal Process 

  • Students that have been dropped for failure to attend may submit, in writing, an appeal to the course faculty member.
  • Faculty member will evaluate the appeal for extenuating circumstances and will notify the student within five working days as to the outcome of the appeal.
  • If a student is to be allowed to return to class, the faculty member must submit a request to the Student Records Office for the student to be re-enrolled.
  • If a student is not allowed to return to class, the student may file a written appeal to the appropriate department chairperson who will notify the student within five working days as to the outcome of the appeal.
  • If the matter cannot be resolved at the department chairperson level, the student may make a final written appeal to the appropriate instructional dean. The decision of the instructional dean is final and will be communicated to the student within five working days from the date the written appeal is received.

Each instructor must submit to the Financial Aid department, by the designated deadline, the names of students who have never attended a class session.

Instructors must record attendance from the first class meeting of the semester. Faculty should maintain a record of student attendance, grade book, and grades for a period of three years.

  • Instructor’s absences or administrative class dismissals will not be counted as student absences.
  • No club or organization shall interfere or support interference with the regular academic pursuit of any student by causing or encouraging non-attendance at classes or college activities without prior consent of proper college officials or by any action that might cause disruption to a student, instructor, or college activity.
  • An absence may be excused due to extenuating circumstances.
  • Excused absences include, but may not be limited to:
    1. Active military duty.
    2. Jury duty/court appearance. 
    3. Death in the immediate family - This includes: husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, or on an individual with a close personal tie to the student. For purposes of application of this policy, an individual with a close personal tie to the student is limited to the following: a person standing in loco parentis; where unusually strong personal ties exist due to a student having been supported or educated by a person; father-in-law; mother-in-law; son-in-law; daughter-in-law; brother-in-law; sister-in-law; nephew; niece; granddaughter; grandson; grandfather; grandmother; aunt; uncle.
    4. Illness - Students who give birth or experience an illness or injury which requires, but is not limited to, hospitalization, surgery, or more than one week’s absence may be required to provide a physician’s statement.

Adjunct instructors must provide a copy of their student attendance records to their respective department chairpersons at the end of each semester.  Instructors will not be employed to teach in subsequent semesters unless attendance records are submitted as required.

Attendance requirements in programs that lead to board licensure or certification may differ from this policy.

Hybrid and On-line course syllabi are required to contain the same attendance guidelines as other courses.

Make-Up Exam Policy (For Exams Other Than Finals)

Academic, Technical, and Health Sciences Divisions

Full-time faculty will take the responsibility of administering their own make-up exams during their office hours.

OPELIKA CAMPUS ONLY: The Assessment Center administers placement tests, adjunct faculty’s make-up tests, and tests for ADA. The Assessment Center is located in the Business and Technology Center (BTC) room 120. Instructors should contact the Assessment Center with any questions or problems regarding testing. 

  • Proctored test administration is available for Southern Union students requiring makeup tests for classes taught by adjunct instructors or all faculty with students requesting reasonable accommodations through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 
  • Faculty Request for Proctored Test Administration forms must be filled completely and delivered to Ms. Debra Todd (dtodd@suscc.edu) in the Business and Technology Center room 120 by the faculty member at least a week (7 days) prior to the open date of the test. 
  • All students taking tests in the Assessment Center (BTC – Room 120) should always present a current photo ID (SUSCC student ID preferred) on test day. Students should communicate with faculty on times available for their makeup test.  Students also should visit BTC Room 120 to make arrangements for their testing appointments.

Available times and hours are scheduled on a first come basis. 

Standard testing dates:  
Pearson Vue Testing - Every Thursday - 8:00 am until 3:00 pm 
WorkKeys and ACT Residual Testing Friday - 8:00 am until 12:00 pm

Opelika Assessment Center Testing Hours

Monday – Thursday 7:30 am – 6:00 pm (Fall and Spring Semester classes only)
Friday 7:30 am – 12:15 pm (Fall and Spring Semester classes only)

Monday – Thursday 7:30 am – 5:00 pm (Summer Semester classes only)

When classes are not in session, the last test will be given at 3:00 pm.

There are lockers for back packs, purses, etc. and all are expected to sign and adhere to the rules and regulations of the Assessment Center.

All test dates and times are subject to change.

Contact information: 334-745-6437, extensions 5416, 5557, and 5563

 WADLEY AND VALLEY CAMPUSES ONLY*: The following procedures for LRC assistance must be utilized:

  • Make-up exams should be given only under extenuating circumstances as determined by the course instructor.  More than one make-up exam per semester per student an in accordance with the course syllabus.
  • Full-time faculty will take the responsibility of administering their own make-up exams during office hours.
  • Adjunct faculty should make every effort to take the responsibility for administering their own make-up exams.  If it is impossible for an adjunct faculty member to arrange for his/her own make-up exam, the following procedures should be followed if LRC assistance is needed:
  • Instructors will bring the exam to LRC personnel (not work-study students).  Give LRC personnel, in writing, all pertinent information (i.e., use of scantron, calculators, books, scratch paper, length of time, etc.).
  • Adjunct instructors should discuss a specific time with the student to complete the exam.  The instructor should then take appropriate steps to make the appointment with the LRC.
  • The instructor should give the student and the LRC personnel a reasonable time frame (minimum of one week) in which the exam should be completed.
  • Students should be given a different make-up exam from the original exam given in class.
  • Instructors should not allow students to miss another instructor's class in order to take a make-up exam.
  • LRC personnel will report any irregularities, if noted, in the make-up exam process to the faculty member, and it is the adjunct faculty member’s responsibility to handle the situation appropriately.

*NOTE: Due to limited staffing in the LRCs, it should be noted that it is impossible for the LRC staff to fully proctor and monitor make-up exams. Adjunct faculty may utilize the LRCs; however, the LRC staff cannot take full responsibility for ensuring examination security procedures or controlling the testing environment in the Learning Resource Centers.