Resources for New Faculty - Miscellaneous Information
Student Course Load
Students at Macalester usually take four courses at a time. These courses may have associated laboratory or studio times. As a rule of thumb, you should plan to take up about 25% of the students' academic time with your course.
Tuesday Becomes Thursday
Because Fall Break and Thanksgiving remove two Thursdays from the Fall schedule, and because some courses or labs meet only once per week on Thursday, the College does a little magic to bring one of the Thursdays back into the schedule at the expense of a Tuesday. Thus, the week of Fall Break, courses that normally meet on Tuesday are cancelled, and courses that normally meet on Thursday are moved to that Tuesday. This doesn't affect too many people -- mainly the sciences where Thursday labs meet that Tuesday, and Tuesday labs don't meet.
It's up to you. If you require it, say so in your syllabus and have a means of determining if students have attended.
What if a student can't take an exam on time, or turns a paper in late?
Again, you should think through your policies in these matters and make sure you state them clearly in your syllabus. Try to be flexible for Macalester-sponsored disruptions to student schedules such as out-of-town sporting events, etc and, of course, for student illness. Macalester students will try to turn in assignments late and will try to postpone exams, so some explicit rules about such things at the outset will save you headaches later.
Are there any rules about grading?
As with most things at Mac, the grading scheme in a class is at the discretion of the instructor. However, Macalester does suffer quite badly from grade inflation, so a scheme that provides some reasonable grade spread is desirable. See sample syllabi for some examples of grading schemes.
In addition to fulfilling major and graduation requirements, pre-professional students must fulfill the entrance requirements for law, medical or other schools. Thus, we have pre-professional advisors on campus who can help these students plan their academic and extracurricular work. Students should visit these faculty as early as possible in their academic careers. For pre-health professions, students should see Lin Aanonsen, Mary Montgomery, or Becky Hoye. For pre-law, students should see Martin Gunderson, Terry Boychuk, or Eric Larson.