Teaching at United
Resources for faculty are compiled and updated by the dean’s office. Please contact the dean’s office for assistance should you not find what you need or have any questions.
Course webpage: (links to Academic Calendar and course search)
Beginning in spring term 2014-15, all United courses are required to use Moodle Grade Book. The seminary uses Moodle course management software for grading, to offer course websites, online discussion boards and to enable peer-sharing of student work.
Faculty should contact Katie Brink, distance education specialist (DES), to make an appointment for assistance with Moodle course design, Grade Book, tying program and concentration outcomes to courses and to be registered as a participant in the “Topics” course. Moderated by the DES, “Topics” gives instructional support, tips for Moodling and more. After a course is set up, faculty should be aware that a rudimentary page (no frills or extras) will take approximately ten hours to create.
For visual interest and course recognition, faculty are encouraged to find at least one image that describes or is relevant to their course. Contact Cindi Beth Johnson, director of the center for arts, faith & culture, for assistance with arts-related resources.
The Dean’s office will have access to all Moodle courses in order to trouble shoot if necessary.
Contact email@example.com for technical support with Moodle.
(new template as of 11/5/14)
Faculty are required to use the Syllabus template for all courses taught at United; it is a prerequisite for payroll. As part of the seminary’s assessment process, course syllabi must show degree outcomes correlated with learning outcomes, in turn correlated with course assignments and evaluations. Your grade page will also reflect this correlation. The Syllabus Template includes a section on Learning Outcomes and Grading Rubrics/Criteria for Evaluation.
To use the template: please save a copy on your computer first. Then edit by adding your course content/information. Syllabi content can be edited to fit the needs of the course, but the order of the template should be kept intact. If you have questions, please contact Deb Olsen.
Required components of course syllabi
The standard template for United courses must include the following:
- The degree (M.Div., D.Min., etc) and concentration (Theology and Arts, etc.) learning outcomes the course is intended to meet. These will be found in the catalog, organized by degree and concentration,
- The learning outcomes for the course, correlated to the degree and concentration outcomes. To do this, formulate your course learning goals as statements of educational outcomes (what a student will know or be able to do at the end of the course) that you will assess. See examples of learning goals as outcomes.
- The learning activities or course assignments correlated to the course outcomes.
- Grading rubrics for the learning activities or course assignments.
- Schedule of assigned topics and readings, course texts.
- Statement of the policy on extensions (see Petitions for Extensions for more details)
- Statement of expectations of auditors (see Auditors for more details)
Learning Goals Stated as Outcomes
Here are some examples of course-learning goals formulated as statements of educational outcomes:
- Given a particular topic or question, a student will articulate her or his own theological position on that topic or question using the approach for theological reflection in L. Green, Let’s Do Theology.
- Given a specific topic, a student finds relevant and substantive published resources in a variety of formats, offers annotations of those resources that convey their value for study of the topic, and cites their bibliographic data in a way that enables another to find the resources.
- By the end of this course, students will
- be able to articulate their theology and theory of educational ministries,
- will have developed skills in program planning, age-appropriate curriculum, and teaching.
- will be able to identify and interpret key ideas, positions and issues in feminist, womanist, Asian women’s liberation and mujerista theologies and why they have emerged as significant to the whole study of theology.
- will be able to compare and contrast several models of mujerista, feminist, Asian women’s liberation and womanist theologies recognizing the diversity of contexts, constructive approaches and theological meanings.
Course syllabi collection
All syllabi are archived by the dean’s office and the library for future needs, such as students transferring courses or interviewing for jobs, and for the seminary’s assessment processes. Please email an electronic copy of your syllabus to firstname.lastname@example.org or 651.255.6168, two weeks prior to the start of the term in which the course will be taught. The syllabus will be distributed to the appropriate parties. The library keeps a notebook of syllabi being used in the current term for student and library staff use.
Assignment Loads/”Credit Hour” Definition
The seminary’s Masters Student Handbook alerts students that they should expect to spend 120-150 hours outside of class per term in a 3-credit master’s course, i.e., 10-12 hours per week for a long-term course. In practical terms, this typically translates into 80-100 pages per week of reading and 20-25 pages of writing over the life of the term. For more information about the credit hour definition policy, please see the Masters Student Handbook.
Because of our block scheduling of class time, the number of experienced adults in our student body, and our educational philosophy of mutual learning in dialogue, preferred teaching methods include:
- small groups for discussion, analysis of particular texts, case studies, personal and professional sharing (please note the policy on confidentiality and disclosure in small group settings in the Masters Student Handbook);
- inviting questions and comments along the way, not just at the end of a formal presentation;
- role play and simulations, where appropriate to the subject matter and course objectives; and
- written assignments (research papers, position papers, etc.) emphasizing the ability to interpret and integrate course material.
While some faculty give final written or oral examinations or occasional written quizzes, others rely on papers or other evaluative procedures. It is expected that students will be provided with sufficient means throughout each course to assess their progress and academic standing.
Diversity in Reading Assignments
During recent years, the Academic Council (formerly Faculty Council), in order to promote a theological education more reflective of the gender and racial/ethnic diversity of the church, has adopted a set of benchmarks for diversity in assigned reading lists and learning activities in courses. These are:
- 30% of the required readings in all core courses required for degrees at the master’s level, when measured in aggregate as page counts, will be by persons of color.
- 30% of the required readings in all core courses required for degrees at the master’s level, when measured in aggregate as page counts, will be by women and will include a diversity of women’s perspectives (e.g., feminist, womanist, Native American, mujerista, Asian, lesbian).
- In 80% of the courses offered at the master’s level, diverse women’s perspectives will be explicitly reflected in classroom content (e.g., lectures, presentations, discussion questions, written assignments) in at least 30% of class sessions.
Each block in the weekly class schedule includes 15 minutes of break time. Typically this is scheduled as a break of 15 minutes at approximately the end of the first one-and-one-half hours of the class, although instructors are free to use a different schedule as might be appropriate for particular courses. Courses scheduled on the monthly cluster pattern (three sessions on a Friday and Saturday) are expected to have comparable breaks in the Friday evening and Saturday morning class blocks. Varying teaching methods also can help to break up the time and give students a chance to move around or engage the subject in a different manner.
Auditors are students enrolled for a course from whom regular attendance and other forms of participation are expected, but normally not the completion of written assignments. Their performance is not evaluated. Syllabi of courses open to auditors will contain a clear statement of the expectations with which auditors must comply. An instructor may bar from the course an auditor who seriously fails to comply with such expectations.A student who audits a course receives neither credit nor grade for the course; therefore, the course will not count toward a graduation credit and is not used in computing GPA. Seats for auditors are available subject to two contingencies:
- the instructor has chosen to open the course to auditors
- the number of seats for auditors is based on the size of the class
The seminary has adopted the following inclusive language policy:
Exclusive language is any form of communication which demeans, discounts or ignores the experiences and full humanity of a group of people on the basis of gender, race, ethnic group, class, age, sexual orientation or differing abilities, and hence fosters oppression and injustice. Language shapes relationships between persons and shapes the self-image of persons. United seeks to affirm the human community in all its diversity. In a tradition of seeking justice as an educational community and while embracing the diversity of faith traditions, United strongly encourages all of its members to use language in writing and speech that is inclusive in regard to gender, race, ethnic group, class, age, sexual orientation or differing abilities.
While United does not require adherence to any doctrinal creed or stance, the general ethos at United is one of inclusivity and our policy on inclusive language has reflected this ethos. Recognizing that the use of language is a theological decision, faculty members are asked to use their language choice as a teaching opportunity for students.
Starting in the 2014-15 academic year, grading and evaluation of students will be managed in Moodle. In order to facilitate assessment processes, all grades must be submitted online through Moodle Grade Book and reporting of learning outcome achievement will be handled in Moodle Outcomes. Both can be found in the “Settings” menu in the left-hand sidebar of your class’ site. The Outcomes feature will be equipped with United’s learning outcomes, which you’ve used in your syllabus. They will appear in Outcomes as “Available standard outcomes” that you can select and add to your class. If you find that you have more questions please be in contact with Katie Brink, email@example.com. 651-271-0994. Katie is developing support resources for you concerning use of Grade Book and Outcomes in Moodle.
Reporting of Grades
Grades for fall term academic courses shall be submitted to the registrar’s office on appropriate forms or via Moodle no later than January 7 (or the following Monday if the 7th falls on a weekend). Grades for spring term academic courses will be due on the 15th calendar day following commencement. Grades for summer term academic courses shall be submitted 14 days after the final class.
Every faculty member, whether permanent or adjunct, is required to report grades. The grades must itemize student achievement according to learning outcomes for the course and degree. The grades are recorded on Moodle. An explanation of the two grading systems United uses (P/NC and letter grades) can be found in the Masters Student Handbook. Please be sure you are conversant with both systems and note students’ preferences as indicated on your course list.
Textbook List Deadlines
As of July 1, 2010, institutions of higher education in the United States are required by the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) to make course textbook lists publicly available at the time registration for courses is opened. Deadlines for submitting textbook lists:
- Fall-term courses: April 15 prior to the start of the term
- Spring-term courses: October 15 prior to the start of the term
- Summer-term courses: February 15 prior to the start of the term
Email completed Textbook List Request Forms to Deb Olsen by the deadlines noted above. If your textbook is not available on Amazon, please contact Dale Dobias for assistance with your course materials.You may wish to use the Desk Copy Request Form (PDF) for assistance obtaining required textbooks for your course.
Petitions for extension
Please note the following policy regarding extensions. As required, the policy is included on the Syllabus Template.
The work for a course must be completed by the end of the final class session. The performance in a course is evaluated on the basis of the work submitted by that time, unless an exception is made by the instructor. Extensions of time to complete course work beyond the end of the final class session will be approved only under extraordinary circumstances. Instructors will include this policy on the course syllabus as well as the criteria by which s/he will grant such an extraordinary exception.
If an exception is made, the instructor must agree to the extension by the end of the final class session, and the student must complete the Petition for Extension form. The Petition for Extension form (PDF) must be filed with your grade reports so the registrar can record an “I” grade for a student. If the student is unable to negotiate the extension by the end of the final class session due to critical health issues, the student is responsible for seeing that the instructor is notified as soon as possible and then negotiating the extension promptly. If no petition for extension is filed, a final grade will be submitted. The Student Review and Policy Committee shall monitor extensions. An extension may be granted for a period not to exceed six months from the end of the term. If the work is not completed by the date agreed upon, a final grade will be submitted. Any renewal of an extension must be approved by the instructor and filed with the registrar prior to the due date on the original petition. No extension or its renewal will exceed six months from the end of the term in question. If a student has three or more outstanding extensions, a hold will be placed on their registration for future terms until they have completed the outstanding work and grades have been submitted to the registrar’s office. For students in a degree program, if they are unable to register for a term by the second class period of the term, they will be placed on a leave of absence for that term. Please see the Leave of Absence policies in the Masters Student Handbook.
Student evaluations of course and instructor
United administers student evaluations of courses and instructors via Survey Monkey. An email with a link to the online form is sent to each student after the last scheduled class. After the instructor submits the grades to the registrar, they receive an electronic compilation of the data from all evaluations and any written comments. The surveys are completely anonymous, unless a student provides their name in a comment box. The dean reviews the evaluations.
Reserve books in the Spencer Library
The Library sends a reserve book memo to all instructors in advance of each term. Every effort is made to put a copy of all required texts on reserve. When you notify the dean’s assistant of your textbook list, a copy is sent to the library to ensure all the books are in the library by the time classes begin. If you would like supplementary resources on reserve, please include those on the list you send. The library staff will do their best to acquire any books we do not have, either through purchase or Inter-Library Loan. The library does not yet offer electronic reserves, so all materials will be available in hard copy for students to either read in the library or photocopy. The “default” reserve period is four hours. You may ask the library staff to designate heavily used books for two–hour reserve or whatever interval makes sense for your class.
Personal copies of hard-to-find items listed in the syllabus assignments may be put on reserve, at your risk (library resources do sometimes disappear, even in a seminary). Personal copies of resources not listed in the syllabus reading assignments are limited to five per course. We are grateful for gifts, but ask that you do not purchase any materials for the library with the expectation that you will be reimbursed without first talking with the library director.
Faculty requests for library book purchases
Faculty book borrowing
Adjunct faculty have term-borrowing privileges during the terms when they teach. At all other times they have Extension Borrower privileges, with a 6-week check-out period. Books are checked out through the automated self-check system at the library circulation desk. To use this system, you need a Spencer Library card with a bar code ID, which may be obtained at the library circulation desk. The computer will automatically assign the correct borrowing period. Please be sure to identify yourself as a member of the United adjunct faculty. Other library policies are detailed in the Masters Student Handbook.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requires all teaching faculty to use both the faculty member and the student’s seminary email (firstname.lastname@example.org) when communicating with students. Seminary email accounts are created and managed by
Adam Pfuhl, email@example.com, manager of information services.
Payroll payments are available by live check (the default option) or direct deposit. If you’d like direct deposit, please contact Sue Johnson, href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com, 651.255.6114, to request the authorization form.
- McMillan Center
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday—7:30 AM – 10:00 PM
Wednesday and Friday—7:30 AM-6:30 PM
Saturday and Sunday—CLOSED
Seminary Holidays 2014-2015
Building access changes for holidays, special events, class schedules, etc. Check Monday Morning for updates.The seminary will be closed for the following holidays:
- Monday, September 1—Labor Day
- Noon Wednesday thru Friday, November 26-28—Thanksgiving
- Monday, December 22 thru Friday, January 2—Christmas break
- Monday, January 19—Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday
- Monday thru Friday, March 30 – April 3—Easter break
- Monday, May 25—Memorial Day
- Friday, July 3—Independence Day weekend
Adjunct faculty teaching on the United campus share the use of an adjunct office and lounge located in the classroom wing. Adjunct faculty may borrow a key to the office from the dean’s assistant, Deb Olsen, 651.255.6168, or may leave word to have the adjunct office left unlocked for evening class use. Adjunct faculty often find it convenient to schedule brief periods of office time before or after their class sessions but are not obliged to do so. No office hours should be scheduled after the 9:00 PM adjournment of classes.
Teaching Supplies and Equipment
AV/Media equipment and studio procedures
Please reserve equipment at least a week in advance by signing up on the Studio Door calendar (in the classroom hallway). Those who reserve equipment have priority for its use. In most cases, the equipment is used on a self-serve basis. If you need assistance with setup or training, contact Adam Pfuhl at least one week in advance. The LCD projection system is kept in the library and must be reserved by signing up at the library Circulation Desk.
- To check out equipment for on-campus use, sign out a studio key at the library Circulation Desk.
- Equipment should be returned to its designated place in the studio or library and the key returned to the library as soon as you are finished using it. Equipment should not be left in classrooms or conference rooms overnight.
- Report any problems with equipment by contacting Adam Pfuhl, 651.260.7438.
- Permission to disconnect or alter any mobile cart setup must be obtained from Adam Pfuhl, 651.260.7438.
Guest Lecturers, Classroom Resources
There is a small budget for honorariums for guest lecturers, video rentals, etc. Please request permission for disbursement of these funds from the dean’s assistant before you commit to guest lecturers or classroom resources. If you submit a payment request without such pre-approval, it may be rejected if the budget has already been expended. Once you have a payment pre-approved and when it comes time to request a check for the honorarium, rental, etc., please complete a Check Request Form. Submit the signed Check Request Form to the dean’s office for processing. Check requests for honorariums paid to individuals must include the recipient’s home address and a Social Security Number must be provided to the Business Office.
Enrollment Levels (course headcount)
The high percentage of part-time students in the seminary’s student body results in a pattern of last-minute registration. Enrollment numbers are seldom final until shortly before a class’s first meeting; thus, we do not decide whether a course “makes” until late in the week before a term starts. Please assume your course is regarded as “making” until you hear to the contrary from the office of the dean.
It is the policy of United that its faculty, staff and students shall comply with all applicable laws pertaining to intellectual property and copyright including full exercise of Fair Use provisions in the law (see especially Title 17, Sections 107, 108, and 110). Faculty, staff and students are expected to seek permission from the copyright owner to use any type of material when Fair Use clearly does not apply, or they are not able to make a good faith determination that it does. Faculty, students, staff and others to whom the seminary provides access to copyrighted resources are individually responsible for any willful infringement of copyright. Willful infringement includes failure to consider the law and the seminary’s policy in making a determination that a given use is Fair Use The complete copyright policy is available in Spencer Library.Excerpts of the seminary’s copyright policy and guidelines for appropriate use in seminary contexts.
Classrooms are assigned in the registrar’s office at the beginning of each term. The official list is posted by the registrar’s office and at various sites in the classroom wing (Gunnemann Hall). Any shifts or exchanges of class location should be requested through the registrar a week prior to the beginning of the term to ensure the desired new room is actually available for your class’s use. Small discussion groups may be held in the assigned classroom, classrooms not in use or the Study Rooms in the library. However, these must be formally reserved. If you plan to use such rooms, please contact the registrar about reserving them.
Bigelow Chapel is a multiple-use space and it is especially important that instructors wishing to use the chapel for some portion of their class time reserve that space for the times desired. Faculty who think the Bigelow Chapel might be an appropriate venue for some portion of their course should reserve use of the chapel through the registrar. Please take care to return the room to the state in which you found it (see also below). It is important that all evening classes adjourn promptly at 9:00 PM so maintenance staff have time to clean the building and complete lock-up procedures on time.
Use of the Bigelow Chapel
The Bigelow Chapel, located on United’s grounds, is a sacred space to be used for worship, spiritual formation, educational and fine arts events, and religious services by the United community and the broader community which the seminary serves. The following excerpts from the Bigelow Chapel Use Policy (see the Masters Student Handbook) govern its use for courses:
- All internally sponsored events, including regular Community Worship services, appropriate sessions of educational classes such as worship and preaching, and workshops and Community Programming events, must be placed on the calendar as soon as they are known to prevent conflict with other events being held in the chapel.
- Bigelow Chapel is smoke-free and alcohol-free. Firearms are not permitted in the building.
- No food or beverage is permitted in Bigelow Chapel (sanctuary, narthex or processional).
- All events should conclude within the time frame specified when reserving the space.
Logging on to the adjunct office computer
All computers at United require you to log-on in order to use them. To log-on:
- Press the Ctrl – Alt – Delete keys at the same time (this step is not needed with the computer in Room 230)
- Enter the log-on information and select “OK”
- User Name = Adjunct
- Password = password (all lowercase)
- Domain = UTS
When you are done with the computer, you need to log-off. To log-off:
- Go to Start >> Shutdown
- Select “Close all programs and log-on as a different user”
- Turn off the monitor (we leave the computer turned on so virus scanning and updates can happen overnight)
Saving documents and files
There are two preferred locations for saving documents:
- I: drive – The I: drive is a space on the network reserved for adjunct faculty. From any computer at United, when logged on as “Adjunct,” you can access documents in the I: drive. The I: drive is backed up nightly.
- To a USB or thumb – This works well for taking your documents with you.
- Do not save documents to the C: or G: drives. These drives are not backed up, and if there was a problem with the computer, your documents would likely be lost.
The adjunct office has a printer. Instructions are posted in the office. If faculty require assistance with duplication of teaching materials, please see faculty support for more information.
The adjunct office computer has dedicated high-speed Internet access. United uses Microsoft Internet Explorer for web browsing. To access the Internet, double-click the Internet Explorer icon on the desktop. Questions or problems? Contact Adam Pfuhl at 651.260.7438 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every teaching faculty member has a mailbox in the Commons (located on the second floor of the McMillan Center). Unless the dean’s office receives a request in writing that communications be sent to the adjunct instructor’s home address, all official seminary communications (including the salary check) will be placed in faculty boxes.
Student mailboxes are in the downstairs hallway. Please Note: the mailbox is below the box number. Notes, papers, evaluations and other messages for students are placed here. Each student has a box number; student names and their respective box numbers are posted near the mailboxes.
Campus mail requiring postage is placed in the wire basket next to the scale in the Work Room/McMillan Room 218 (seminary business only, please). Stamped mail may be placed in the post office mail basket also found in the Work Room, located on the floor to the right as soon as you enter the room. Mail is picked up in the morning every business day.
Faculty Support Services
Requests for duplicating or secretarial services are made by emailing faculty support at email@example.com. Please attach your document and note in the message the time/date you need the work back. All efforts will be made to give same-day attention to the work requested; if it is a large project, please allow up to 48 hours for the work to be finished. Hard-copy requests can be placed in the “Faculty Support” mailbox in the Commons. If you have an emergency, please discuss the situation with one of the office staff or the dean’s assistant. If you wish to copy your own materials, ask Adam Pfuhl, 651.260.7438, to give you basic instruction in copier operation. The faculty copier code is 145.
Snow Emergency/Blizzard – School Closing
- Students, faculty and staff will receive an automated phone call by 6:45 AM. The closing will be posted on WCCO and KSTP websites. If possible, information will be posted on United’s website and social media sites.
- If the decision is made during the day, the dean will advise the faculty, who will advise the students and the vice president for administration will advise supervisors, who will advise their personnel.
Food Service Regulations
Regulations by the county food health inspector prohibit potlucks on campus when the Context Café is open or has been open during the day. Potlucks are allowed when the Context Café is closed (generally Wednesdays and Saturdays) and must be approved by the director of food service. Potlucks must be held in a space OTHER than a classroom. No dishes or silverware can be used from the Context Café for a potluck. Hours of operation for the café are posted in the seminary’s e-newsletter, Monday Morning.
Seminary Participation of Adjunct Faculty
Adjunct faculty are always welcome at seminary events and encouraged to participate as time allows. Adjunct faculty are specifically invited to join the faculty procession at Fall and Spring Convocations and Commencement. Please feel free to discuss with the dean of the seminary other possible involvements you might find of interest and/or material benefit; e.g., leading a community worship service, attending faculty discussion groups, etc.
Policies on boundaries and sexual harassment
United has established a policy defining appropriate norms for faculty-student relationships and a policy for responding to allegations of sexual harassment or other forms of sexual misconduct. These are found in the section of the Masters Student Handbook entitled “Seminary-wide Policies and Procedures.” Please take the time to make yourself familiar with these policies.
Drug-free workplace and related policies
United has policies defining the seminary as a drug-free workplace and governing the use of alcoholic beverages. These policies are found in the section of the Masters Student Handbook devoted to “Seminary-wide Policies, Procedures and Information.”
Possession of firearms, explosives or other dangerous and unauthorized materials is prohibited in seminary buildings, including Huenemann Hall (student housing), or at any officially sponsored seminary program or group off campus. This prohibition applies even if the employee or student has a legal permit to carry firearms or other materials. Violation of this prohibition normally results in expulsion of a student or termination of an employee
Executive Assistant to the Dean
Vice President for Academic Affairs/Dean
Sharon M. Tan
Paul E. Capetz
Assistant Dean of Students and Staff
Dates to Remember
- Monday, September 8—Orientation Day
Orientation and advising for new students. More information is sent to students in late summer via email.
- Tuesday, September 9—Community Day
- Tuesday, September 9—Back-to-school BBQ for all faculty/staff
- September 11—Fall Term Begins
Welcome to the 2014-2015 academic year at United Theological Seminary
- September 16—Opening Communion
We open the seminary’s year as a worshiping community by celebrating the Eucharist during the regular Community Worship time. Adjunct faculty are invited to attend.
- September 24—Fall Convocation, 5:00 PM/Bigelow Chapel
Fall Convocation ceremonially marks the beginning of the new academic year. We will also celebrate the installation of new faculty: Matthew Johnson, Thorsten Moritz, Kyle Roberts and Samuel Subramanian. Faculty will process.
- Fall Break—October 27-31
- Thanksgiving Break—November 27-29
- Fall Term ends—December 12
- Christmas Break (seminary closed)—December 24-January 1
- January 12—Spring Term Begins
- January 19—Martin Luther King Jr. Day (seminary closed)
- TBA—Opening Communion
We open spring term as a worshiping community by celebrating the Eucharist during the regular Community Worship time.
- March 2 and 3—Annual Susan Draper White Lectures in Women’s Studies
- May 14 and 15—United Days – formerly Spring Convocation
- February 23-27—Spring Break
- March 30-April 3—Easter Break
- April 17—Spring Term Ends
- Friday, April 17—Spring Banquet
- Saturday, April 18, 5:00 PM—Commencement Eucharist in Bigelow Chapel
- Sunday, April 19, 3:00 PM—Commencement Ceremony at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis
- May 18—Summer Term Begins
- May 25—Memorial Day (seminary closed)
- June 29-July 3—Summer Break
- August 14—Summer Term Ends