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Faculty Handbook

School of Public Policy

Welcome to the School of Public Policy Faculty Handbook.

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Introduction to SPP

Senior Leadership

Meet SPP Senior Leadership

Key Contacts In the Undergraduate Program

Jennifer Littlefield, Director of Undergraduate Studies,
Nina Harris, Associate Dean,
Mary Lopez, Manager of Operations and Outreach for Undergraduate Studies

Key Contacts in the Graduate Program

Malissa Calvin, Director of Graduate Studies,
Nina Harris, Associate Dean,


The School of Public Policy exists to: (1) develop innovative leaders in the art of policy and governance; (2) advance the frontiers of applied interdisciplinary knowledge; and (3) promote local, national, and global public good.

  • Full time faculty members meet monthly.
  • All community members are invited to the SPP Assembly meetings for faculty and staff.
  • Some units and centers also hold regular faculty/staff meetings

SPP Plan of Organization

Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging

At SPP, we are committed to fostering diversity & inclusion throughout our community — at events, in our research and in the classroom.

Read more about our School's commitment
Our Commitment to Terrapin Strong Find Diversity Resources View the Faculty & Staff Directory

Faculty Appointment and Support

The Office of Faculty Affairs has a comprehensive website with resources, guidelines and forms.  Additional resources include:

  • Faculty Expectations 
  • New faculty resource 
  • Faculty Resource Guide: An annual publication of the Office of General Counsel. It presents FAQs related to teaching, supporting students, conducting research, and other common scenarios, and provides hotlinks to relevant web-based information and to offices that can provide faculty with assistance on a wide range of topics. 
  • UMD Mentoring Guidelines
  • UMD Division of Research 
  • School of Public Policy Travel Policies and Procedures can be found here by scrolling down the page.
  • SPP News and Events
  • TimesheetsMost faculty whose full time equivalency (FTE) is 50% or higher must complete timesheets. 
  • SPP College Action Plan to Prevent Sexual Assault

UMD Benefits

  • Any questions regarding HR matters can be direct to your units payroll/HR coordinator:
    • School of Public Policy - Lori Ganey, or 301-405-6971
    • Office of Extended Programs - Lori Ganey, or 301-405-6971
    • Center for Global Sustainability - Aphi Daigler, or 301-405-4091
    • Center for international and Security Studies at Maryland - Francesca Perry, or 301-405-7611
    • Center for Governance of Technology & Systems - Lori Ganey, or 301-405-6971
    • Civic Innovation Center - Lori Ganey, or 301-405-6971
    • Do Good Institute - Lori Ganey, or 301-405-6971

UMD Parking Information

  • Any questions can be directed to the SPP Parking Coordinator: Kathleen Monroe
Faculty Grievance
  • Please reach out to the Associate Dean if you have any concerns or questions about classes. The Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs is the faculty contact for all other related grievances.
  • Faculty grievance procedure: Faculty should first attempt to resolve issues with the appropriate person in SPP. If that is not possible, UMD has a Faculty Ombuds Officer who deals with conflicts that arise among faculty members and between faculty members and administrators.
  • Conflicts of Interest Policy
Faculty Well Being

Course Logistics and Support

Process for scheduling: Please work with the Director of Undergraduate Studies and the Director of Graduate Studies for details on scheduling your course.


TESTUDO is the UMD system for the schedule of classes. It shows course offerings, meeting times, delivery method and/or location, instructor(s), crosslist and prerequisite info, textbook list, UMD syllabi repository link, etc. Also listed are seat count, current enrollment, waitlist and hold file counts, though these may not be the total seats allowed for your class.

  • Enrollment data on Testudo lags by a day from the actual number. Seat count may not reflect the true seat count if enrollment is on a seat management system or adjusted for student need. Please reach out to Mary Lopez with questions.
  • Waitlists: All courses have waitlists that are maintained by the registrar’s office. Students on your waitlist can be seen on UMEG if you click view waitlists under the rosters tab. Names are listed by order on your course waitlist. In the event a student currently registered drops your course, the first student on the waitlist will be allowed the opportunity to register. Students who have requested to be waitlisted for a course must check in daily to see if any seats in the course have opened up and, if so, to register. If a seat opens up and the student who is first does not check in, that opportunity to register will go to the next person on the waitlist.
    • SPP staff will reach out to you with regard to seating capacity and waitlists. If a student on the waitlist asks for your assistance please tell them to contact their advisors as we have a process to allow for fair admittance into classes. Faculty should not try and solve waitlist issues for their courses.
UMD Final Exam Schedule
Undergraduate courses

Graduate Teaching Assistants:  For classes over a certain size SPP provides graduate level teaching assistants.  Graduate TAs are assigned to the instructor during the summer for Fall Semester and in late Fall for the Spring Semester.  After you are notified by the Graduate Office which TA is assigned to your course, you should complete a Graduate Assistant Statement of Mutual expectations.  All appointments are subject to the policies of the University of Maryland and the Graduate School outlined at  Policies for Graduate Assistantships

Undergraduate Teaching Assistants (UTA): 

  • UTAs are different from graduate student TAs in their responsibilities and compensation.  UTAs receive course credit for their experience and will receive a grade from you at the end of the semester.  Graduate TAs are receiving an assistantship through the School of Public Policy.  UTAs may not grade subjective work like essays and papers.  They can grade work with clear answers and help with a variety of other tasks such as class planning, ELMS management, attendance, class discussions etc. The UTA Handbook here offers more information on these roles and responsibilities. 
  • The Director of Undergraduate Studies emails students an application form then works with faculty to match interested students with courses and faculty members.
Graduate courses

There is a predetermined list of graduate courses that will receive a Teaching Assistant.  Faculty who are eligible will be notified.  Only Ph.D. students can serve as Teaching Assistants for graduate courses.  They are assigned to the instructor  during the summer for Fall Semester and in late Fall for the Spring Semester.  After you are notified by the Graduate Office which TA is assigned to your course, you should complete a Graduate Assistant Statement of Mutual expectations.  All appointments are subject to the policies of the University of Maryland and the Graduate School outlined at Policies for Graduate Assistantships.  


Photocopiers are available in the School of Public Policy building.

Library Resources
Exam Books

Exam books can be ordered through the Dean’s Office on the 3rd floor of the School of Public Policy building.

SPP Tech Support: Our School of Public Policy technology staff are happy to help! You can reach them at

Find information on setting up your UMD login, ID and password.

Learn how to access UMD Gmail.

Please note that after you have set up your UMD Gmail account, it is required that you use your UMD email address for all UMD communications to faculty, staff and students. If you have any problems with UMD account setup and password, please contact the UMD IT Helpdesk at, or call (301) 405-1500.


The University of Maryland using an enterprise learning management system (ELMS) provided by Canvas as the university course management system. All courses at the university automatically have an ELMS space created for them, but it is up to you as to how you want to use this in your course. ELMS allows for online submissions, dissemination of grades in a way that is FERPA compliant, group work, peer review, online quizzes, group discussion, and even integration of outside tools. To submit course grades and print out course rosters (with pictures), you will need to log into a separate system, UMEG.

  • Getting started with ELMS and brief video tutorials to help you begin.
  • You can find a variety of “how to” articles here. You can also access learning technology design services (consultation, training, and ELMS course development support) that provided to faculty, teaching assistants, and instructional support staff by learning technology designers in the Division of Information Technology’s Academic Technology and Innovation group.They are experts in the instructional technology tools and pedagogical strategies that foster learning and teaching at the University of Maryland, and develop documentation, customized workshops, ELMS course templates, and learning modules.

View UMEG training materials. The following services are available on UMEG:

  • View Course Rosters (updated daily) including Roster Pictures
  • View Profiles
  • Submit and Review Grades: Mid-Term and Final Grades: ALL FINAL GRADES MUST BE SUBMITTED THROUGH UMEG- not through ELMS.
  • Correct Grades
  • Send class rosters to your email
  • Electronically notify the Registrar's Office of students who are not attending
  • Download student email addresses
  • Send class waitlists to your email
UMD Recording Support

An academic technology recording studio is available to UMD faculty and students to record professional quality audio and video in support of their instruction or coursework. To inquire about supported services, please access the ATI Media Studio Request Form.

UMD Classroom Support

The classroom support office was established to coordinate day-to-day classroom support issues, from technology malfunctions to problems with the physical environment (temperature, flooding, broken or missing furniture, etc.) Users can communicate directly with this central point of contact for assistance. You should use this contact should you need help within a general purpose classroom. Contact information: (301) 405-2500 |

SPP Online Teaching Guide

View tips and modules to learn ELMS and other collaborative online tools. Most of these are relevant to faculty teaching in person as well. View More

SPP Tech Support

Our School of Public Policy technology staff are happy to help! You can reach them at

Course Development

Undergraduate Curriculum Overview

The Public Policy major learning outcomes and required courses can be found in the undergraduate catalog. SPP also has four undergraduate minors.

Graduate Curriculum Overview

The graduate curriculum and programs are outlined in the graduate catalog and on the SPP website. Our school is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA).

View the TLTC Syllabus template and guidance. The Office of Faculty Affairs provides helpful policies and resources for course design and evaluation.

Course Policies

Please closely review the below course policies for your class. These policies cover information such as absences and religious observations, missed classes and make up policies, academic integrity, etc.

  • Undergraduate Course Policies:  Please direct undergraduate students to this link in your syllabus and familiarize yourself with them as you deliver your class. 
  • Graduate Course Policies: Please direct graduate students to this link in your syllabus and familiarize yourself with them as you deliver your class.

View course numbering information

Course Learning Outcomes

The first step in developing your course is to review your learning outcomes.
NOTE: Please check in with the Associate Dean regarding your course learning outcomes.

  • Your learning outcomes should help you contemplate the overall goals of your course.  Consider the questions posed in this simple graphic around backward design.  By visiting the goals you have for your course and the knowledge and skills you hope to develop, you can better determine how to structure your class.  
  • Next consider how your activities and assignments link to your course learning outcomes.  How will you observe these behaviors, skills, attitudes or this knowledge acquisition? What assignments might you have them do?  The spreadsheet here is a good tool to lay this out.  This is a list of sample assessments related to the course objective you strive to achieve. The writing center has a list of sample writing assignments and resources.
  • For those that wish to go in depth and step by step, the TLTC Jumpstart Guide is a great tool for course design, from reviewing learning outcomes to week-by-week activities.
Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Syllabus Statement

We highly encourage faculty to include a diversity, inclusions and belonging statement to their syllabus. Find sample language.

Submitting Your Syllabus

Once your syllabus is complete please do the following:


Find information on course assessment guidelines

  • View this spreadsheet to assist you in tracking your course learning outcomes to assignments. 
  • Please ensure your syllabus outlines a missed assignments and late policy.  See Undergraduate Course Policies or Graduate Course Policies for further guidance.
  • Undergraduate only: Mid-term grades are submitted for undergraduate students enrolled in their first year, enrolled in 100 and 200 level courses, and all student athletes. Mid-term grades are used to inform students of their performance in a course during roughly the first half of the semester; they are used for advising purposes and are not recorded on a student's academic transcript.
  • Information on grading and final exam policies can be found here.
  • Note the University's marking system defines the standards for letter grades. Attendance should not be used in the computation of grades; instructors can, however, grade students on class participation. 
  • Students have the option to grieve a final course grade if they have evidence that the final course grade was assigned on some basis other than performance, or that the grade was assigned according to standards different from those applied to other students in the course, or that the grade was assigned in a manner that was a substantial, unreasonable, or unannounced departure from the instructor's previously articulated standards.
  • Faculty are required to include in the course syllabus the basis for determining final grades, including if plus/minus grading will be used and the relationship
Office of Student Conduct
  •  The Office of Student Conduct works with faculty and staff with regard to academic integrity and student conduct.
    • Please review the UMD academic integrity policy. 
      • NOTE that self-plagiarism is a recently defined violation in the policy and a common challenge encountered by Public Policy faculty.  It may be useful to point out this violation specifically when discussing academic integrity in class. 
      • Faculty should refer any violations of academic integrity through this website. You may also reach out to the School of Public Policy Office of Student Conduct liaison Juan Pablo Martinez Guzman ( with any questions or concerns.
    • The Office of Student Conduct also addresses non-academic misconduct and violations of the student code of conduct.

Course Delivery


Please note the first ten business days of the Fall and Spring Semester is the schedule adjustment period, or drop/add. Your enrollment may shift during this time so please plan your assignments accordingly.


You may find you have students on your waitlist (this can be seen on UMEG under the roster tab). SPP staff will reach out to you with regard to seating capacity and waitlists. If a student on the waitlist asks for your assistance please tell them to contact their advisors as we have a process to allow for fair admittance into classes. Faculty should not try and solve waitlist issues for their courses.

  • The first five students on your waitlist are automatically added to your ELMS page so they can see assignments and course information.

Upon completion of the schedule adjustment process you will receive an email to verify your roster through UMEG.  Through this you can indicate if you have someone on your roster who has never shown up for class.

  • Public Policy encourages the free and robust exchange of ideas and debate. It's critical to consider the classroom climate in order to best facilitate these conversations. We highly encourage faculty to include a diversity, inclusions and belonging statement to their syllabus.  Find sample languageRead UMD’s statement on classroom climate.  
  • The TLTC defines an inclusive classroom climate as one that considers the social and emotional aspects of learning through: approachability, integrating a variety of perspectives, acknowledging identities, and accessibility.  Teaching in a policy school means we have to pay even more attention to creating a climate where all voices are heard and rigorous debate can be had.  
    • We highly recommend reviewing this TLTC presentation on creating “brave” spaces.  This presentation covers the elements of inclusive teaching and tools for ensuring your course provides a variety of perspectives and identities while also allowing students to engage in tough dialogue on tough issues.  View another short resource on promoting a positive classroom climate.
    • Fostering respect and dialog among students is also a critical component of creating your classroom climate.  One tool is to create a “community ground rules” for your class.  If you have team projects, providing a team contract can help students determine their own rules for working together.  We recommend ensuring maximum accountability by also including team evaluation forms as part of the assignment.
  • Finally, consider the aspect of accessibility for students with disabilities.  See the Teaching & Learning Transformation Center’s page on Accessible Teaching for more on this framework. View the best practices provided by Accessible Learning@UMD (an initiative of the Division of Information Technology), see this guide for creating accessible materials, and use this web-based course content accessibility checklist to make a macro assessment of your course.
  • View the Accessibility & Disability Service site with Resources for Instructors if you have a student with ADS support. 
Additional tools

Two research papers on the importance of inclusive teaching:

  • We strongly recommend you conduct a midpoint evaluation in your course to seek feedback from your students. Find the TLTC's suggestions and templates. 
  • UMD uses CourseEvalUM for final evaluations. Please encourage your students to fill out the evaluation. Giving class time is also another factor that will drive student participation.
  • Mid-Term and Final Grades: All final grades must be submitted through UMEG- not through ELMS.
  • Grade submission guidelines can be found here.
    • Faculty can change final grades through UMEG approximately two weeks after final grades are due in Fall and Spring Semesters. After that point, faculty must use the supplemental grade form to make changes in grades. Please send the form to the Director of your program, and see the home page of UMEG for the most current information.
    • Students have the right to dispute grades through the arbitrary and capricious grading policy. Undergraduate policy and process information can be found here and graduate policy and process information here
Incomplete Process
  • Incomplete grades:
    • Incomplete grades may be used in two circumstances. They may be granted to students who are making satisfactory progress but, for circumstances beyond their control, are unable to complete a small portion of the course work. In addition, for graduate courses 799 and 899, incompletes must be assigned until the student has completed the thesis/dissertation. Excluding 799 and 899, the Incomplete Contract must be completed, signed and submitted.
      • The Undergraduate course procedure can be found here. NOTE: An incomplete contract should be submitted to the Director of Undergraduate Studies within six weeks after the grade submission deadline.
      • The Graduate course procedure can be found here. NOTE: An incomplete contract should be submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies within six weeks after the grade submission deadline.
    • If you need to change an incomplete deadline:
      • Go into UMEG, click the Grades tab then the Incomplete Grades tab.
      • Above the list of students is a square that says Edit Incompletes. Click on this button, change the date then press submit.
    • NG should not be used for submitting grades.

Final Exams

All undergraduate classes must have a final examination and/or assessment. The official final exam schedule is not available until mid-semester.

View final exam policies and rules around scheduling

Student Support and Common Challenges

If you are concerned about a student’s well being or feel they need additional support, please contact one of the SPP advisors. Undergraduate advisor contact information is located here and graduate advisor information is here.

Reporting an Incident

As a faculty member you are under obligation and required to report certain student incidences.

  • Sexual misconduct: Faculty, academic advisors, instructors and teaching assistants employed at UMD are required to notify the Title IX Officer when they become aware of any type of sexual misconduct. Sexual misconduct includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, relationship abuse, domestic or dating violence and stalking, including such conduct occurring via email, texting, and other electronic means. The reporting obligation applies no matter where the conduct occurred, and applies to disclosures in written assignments. The Title IX Officer will further explore the issues with the student/colleague.
    • Here is where you report any incidences.
  • Hate/bias incident:
    • The UMD counseling center has information here on what to do if your student has been a victim of a hate incident.
    • Information on reporting discrimination and harrassment incidents and additional resources can be found here.
Disability Services and Accommodations

UMD provides a variety of support services for students with disabilities. You can refer potential students to the Disability Support Service Office (DSS) website. DSS works with students and faculty members to address a variety of issues ranging from test anxiety to physical and psychological disabilities.

  • If you have students who receive accommodations in your class you will receive an email from the ADS office and link to their online portal.
  • Please visit their website for resources and to understand your responsibilities as a faculty member.
Additional Accommodations

You may also be asked to accommodate students based on absences related to religious events, military obligations or as a student athlete. Information on attendance and notification can be found here.

Student Resources

UMD Resources

  • Sign up for UMD Alert texts for weather and safety announcements. Campus emergency closing policies are here.
  • Change to Resources with regard to campus security are:
    • The University of Maryland’s Department of Public Safety is the police agency serving the University community. The University’s police officers are State certified with all of the same powers and authority as any other sworn police officer in Maryland. Over 100 Student Police Aides patrol the campus, provide walking escorts, work as contract security, and provide traffic direction and control at special events.
      • Feel free to contact the Department of Public Safety with any safety or security issue or question you may have. The non-emergency number to use to talk with someone is 301-405-3555.
    • NITE Ride” is a curb-to-curb bus service operated by the Department of Transportation Services so that people do not have to walk across campus alone at night. NITE Ride is available seven nights a week from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. Call (301) 314-NITE (6483) to request a NITE Ride.
    • The University of Maryland Police Department's escort service is for anyone who feels unsafe walking across campus at any time. Student Police Aides (SPAs) provide escorts and patrol the campus on foot and on bicycle. Call 301-405-3555.
    • Blue Light Emergency Phones (or Public Emergency Response Telephones - PERT) provide a direct connection to the University of Maryland Police Department and are located throughout the campus either inside or outside of residence halls, administrative and academic buildings. Use a blue light emergency PERT phone to contact police or call for an escort.
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