Welcome Back Faculty

Memorial Belltower

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

Welcome back to campus for the 2021-22 academic year. The past two years have been challenging, to say the least, but the NC State community’s response has truly shown us how we can work as One Pack. Despite the challenges we currently face, this remains one of the most exciting times of the year as we welcome new and returning students, as well as a large number of new faculty, to NC State. And while it may not look exactly as we remember it, Wolfpack Welcome Week is well underway, and I hope you’ve had some time to get involved in the activities taking place around campus. Our first-year students began arriving last week, and with your hard work and dedication, they will become successful graduates of the class of 2025.

The new academic year is already off to a great start! This fall, NC State enrolled the largest number of incoming first-time, first-year students, with over 5,000 arriving this week, and 17 percent are first-generation students. The cohort is academically well-prepared, with a weighted high school GPA of 4.31 and 75 percent of them were in the top 20 percent of their high school class. 

We held two New Student Convocations on Sunday, August 15, for both first- and second-year students and both were great successes. We were excited to have NC State faculty member Dr. Tahma Morant speak about the importance of students engaging with their faculty. As the bookend to Commencement, Convocation brings together our new students, faculty and staff to kick off the new academic year and the path to graduation for the Class of 2025.  

Events continue throughout Wolfpack Welcome Week, with the most important being the start of your classes. We do encourage you to enjoy some of the activities throughout the week.

As you prepare for the new academic year, we encourage you to consider a few items. One of our primary goals at NC State is ensuring student success. With that in mind, we want to remind you again of what you already know: you, the faculty, have the primary impact on our students and their progress. We urge you to discuss the following topics with your students during the first week of class, especially with our first-year students who may not yet understand what it takes to succeed in a college environment.

Attendance

  • Regular class attendance provides a strong indicator of student academic success. Students who are missing classes are less successful. Remind your students that classroom activities remain equally important to outside assignments and often cover material students can’t get elsewhere.
  • Excused absences – please review the Attendance Regulation – REG 02.20.03
    • Instructors must take attendance in 100 and 200 level courses.
    • The policy covers excused absences, including student representation of the university (e.g., Athletics), military commitments, religious observances, and personal reasons, such as death or illness in the family. This was also discussed in a previous communication.
    • You must provide a fair and equitable arrangement for students to make up work for excused absences. Simply dropping an exam score can put a student at a disadvantage compared to other students in the class.
  • We encourage you to review the Absence Verification website for information on anticipated and unanticipated absences and absences related to COVID.

Classroom Engagement

While moving through the semester, consider discussing with your students:

  • How they can engage in and out of class with you, their classmates, and the material covered. Discuss your expectations with your students.
  • How to prepare for class in order to make their classroom learning more productive.
  • The importance of office hours as a means to engage with you.

Academic Integrity

Integrity — in the pursuit, creation, application, and dissemination of knowledge, is a key value at NC State. Please consider using the Pack Pledge on your syllabi, assignments, exams, and any other academic evaluations. The Pack Pledge states, “I have neither given nor received any unauthorized aid on this test or assignment.”

If a student chooses to violate that pledge or participates in any form of academic misconduct, it is your responsibility to hold the student accountable. If a student engages in this behavior in your class, there is a strong chance it will or has occurred in another. Please talk to your students about the importance of being contributing, ethical members of this community of scholars. For assistance in promoting academic integrity and addressing violations, please contact the Office of Student Conduct.

Academic Support

Your students may need extra academic support outside of class. Resources available to them for academic support that you or others can offer include:

Student Wellness

Please remember that while students strive for success, they may encounter mental and physical health situations that may detract from their ability to thrive in an academic atmosphere. This is a continuing problem on this and other campuses nationally. If you have a struggling student in your class, especially during the beginning of the semester, please consider submitting an Academic Progress Report through the Student Success GPS platform.

If you have a student exhibiting concerning behavior, please take one or more of the following steps:

  • Refer the student to a CARES Case Manager through our NC State CARES Team. We can assist students who may be having difficulties, and you will also find many resources that may be useful to you as you work with your students.
  • If a student is in severe emotional distress, please refer the student to the Counseling Center, and if your concerns warrant, escort the student to the center.

If you become aware of a student experiencing food, housing, or financial insecurity, please encourage them to check out the Pack Essentials website for a listing of basic needs support. If they want to discuss their situation and review available resources, they may do so in a confidential meeting with the Student Ombuds.

Finally, I encourage you to include emergency information in your syllabus. The Department of Emergency Management and Mission Continuity developed examples for review that are located on the Faculty Resource page of Emergency Management and Mission Continuity’s website, with new information posted regularly.  Below is a recommended paragraph for quick reference:

  • Emergency Preparedness: Familiarize yourself with the building(s) that you frequent. Know the layout, including exit locations, stairwells and the Emergency Assembly Point (EAP). Review the “Quick Guide for Emergencies” that is found near the door in many classrooms for specific emergency information and instructions. If the quick guide is not available in your classroom or for additional information, visit wolfalert.ncsu.edu or go.ncsu.edu/EMMC. To receive emergency notifications, make sure your information and cell phone number is up-to-date in MyPack Portal. 
  • To report an emergency: call 911 from a campus landline or 919-515-3000 from a cell phone while on campus.

Thank you for being an integral part of the success of NC State students. We look forward to an engaging and productive 2021-2022 academic year. Please contact our offices or us if you would like to learn more about ways to achieve student success and the Division of Academic and Student Affairs.

I wish you all the best for the academic year!

Doneka R. Scott
Vice Chancellor and Dean
Division of Academic and Student Affairs

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