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Volume 62, Issue 3

November 20, 2009

Faculty encouraged to set expectations for classroom decorum

Most students come to class to learn, but others fail to observe common rules of civility. These few disrupt the learning process by using cellular phones, talking out of turn, or in other ways.

Steve Linhart, executive director, Student Support and Judicial Affairs, attended the Nov. 13 Faculty Assembly meeting as a guest speaker to discuss classroom conduct and to offer the services of the Dean of Students Office in dealing with student conduct issues. He provided information regarding the student code of conduct and the student response team that deals with conduct infractions.

While classroom incidents involving actual threats to the safety and well-being of students are rare, they do occur, and campus police may be called to remove troublemakers, Linhart said. However, most classroom problems are the result of individuals losing sight of the communal setting and ignoring rules of civility, he said.

Subsequent discussion had faculty members sharing incidents that included a student conducting business on a cell phone and refusing to step out of the class to do so. Faculty discussed a common attitude of entitlement in society that has made its way to classrooms and generated such scenarios.

Faculty should make expectations clear, the group agreed. If a professor states in his or her syllabus that cell phones are not allowed, or are to be turned off in the classroom, students must comply.

But since not all problems can be anticipated, Linhart said, a student response team exists to deal with the unexpected. The team consists of Linhart, Benek Altayli, director, University Counseling, and Jim Spice, chief of police, Public Safety. The team deals with questions, concerns, and inquiries about students and student behavior, and maintains a coordinated campus response to crisis incidents, threats or potential threats to the well being of UCCS students, Linhart said.

Sometimes non-tenure track instructors do not receive department briefings or are otherwise unaware of the student code of conduct, and may face classroom incidents. The group agreed faculty need to spread the word to their individual departments and help inform instructors and all faculty.

Linhart said he plans to send an e-mail message to faculty prior to each new semester, reminding recipients of their responsibility in establishing ground rules, and reminding them the student response team is available. Information regarding student conduct can be found on the Dean of Students web page at

Communique is the online newsletter for UCCS faculty and staff. It is published weekly during the fall and spring semesters, monthly during the summer semester. Communique is sent to faculty and staff e-mail lists and, by request, to other e-mail addresses. Previous issues are available in the Communique Archives at, and the current issue is always at Suggestions and comments are welcome. Send ideas to or call Tom Hutton, 255-3439.

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