The following paragraph was added by the Faculty Senate on May 4, 2004:




The State University of New York operates within a framework of federal and state laws, the enacted Policies of the Board of Trustees, and a number of negotiated collective bargaining agreements.  Nothing that follows should be construed as superseding these laws, Policies, and agreements.  The Board of Trustees has delegated to faculty within the State University of New York the responsibility “for the conduct of the university’s instruction, research and service programs.” [Article VI, ¶3]  The aim of this document is to guide faculty, staff and administrators in fulfilling their shared responsibilities for providing high quality undergraduate education.



Statement of

Goals, Principles and Responsibilities for Undergraduate Education

At Binghamton University

Revised and Adopted by Faculty Senate on January 27, 2004 for insertion in the Handbook for Faculty and Professional Staff




Binghamton University students represent some of the best and brightest in the state.  The mission of Binghamton must be to provide the best possible education for all students.  This mission of Binghamton University entails both significant scholarship and engaged undergraduate teaching.  This mission requires research that advances knowledge through discovery, scholarship, and creative work and using both that knowledge and that process to educate our students. The Faculty has a deep and abiding responsibility for the education of our students.  The Faculty Senate is responsible for upholding the goals, principles, and standards of the University's academic mission.  In times of fiscal constraint and in times of abundance, the University must keep these goals, principles, and standards firmly in mind.  To guide the Institution in the making of future decisions, the Faculty Senate endorses the following Statement.


I.  Goals of a University Education:


Liberal Arts Core – preparation for a life of learning, higher order critical and analytical abilities, to enhance the self-development of students so that they will become informed and effective participants in public affairs and in all of their subsequent educational and professional pursuits, the interpretive ability to apply learned skills to subject matter.


Acquisition of Skills – academic skills necessary for rational discourse, written and oral communication for all. Skills are normally supplemented by particular kinds of competence - mathematic, linguistic and the like - as required by individual fields of study.


Substantive Knowledge – Major study and professional programs to prepare students for future study, professional development, and careers.


II.  Responsibilities for Quality Education at Binghamton University:


A.  Responsibilities of the Faculty for these goals: The faculty as a group bears the primary responsibility and authority for the education of students.  The faculty includes, the President, the Provost, and all faculty members having academic rank1.


The Faculty will:

  1. Determine the curriculum for all academic units.  
  2. Design curricula that both reflect the standards of their discipline and are responsive to the academic needs of their students.
  3. Set and maintain the academic standards required of the students.
  4. Have the ultimate responsibility for the academic evaluation of students.
  5. Establish guidelines within Departments or Schools concerning the quantity and quality of adjunct teaching, while establishing the realms within which adjunct teaching is preferred.
  6. Formally train, and regularly supervise, and evaluate undergraduate peer instructors.  Faculty will appoint only undergraduate peer instructors who have strong academic records and who demonstrate an outstanding command of the subject that they will help other students learn.
  7. Develop educational programs to align the curriculum with societal needs and evolving knowledge.
  8. Engage in scholarship, research and other creative activities to contribute to their fields of study, to deepen their understanding of their field, and to bring the creation of new knowledge to the classroom.
  9. Be responsible for communicating the curriculum to the students.  Good teaching requires Faculty to critically reflect on their pedagogy and utilize peer review, student opinion, and other sources to illuminate and challenge their classroom skills.
  10. Oversee the progress of their students and certify the awarding of academic degrees.
  11. Participate in academic advising.


B.  Responsibilities of Institution for these goals: Institutional responsibilities are realized through the cooperative efforts of the faculty and the administration to accomplish the mission of the university. The University, in carrying out its Mission as a Research University committed to excellence in teaching and in research and creative endeavors, recognizes and values excellence in teaching


   The Institution will:

  1. Recruit and hire academic rank faculty gifted in teaching and committed to student learning.
  2. Supervise and review Departmental or School guidelines concerning adjunct teaching.
  3. Develop criteria for the role, selection, supervision, and evaluation of undergraduate peer instructors.
  4. Provide resources to promote and facilitate undergraduate participation in faculty research.
  5. Ensure that students have access to sufficient classes in order to complete their undergraduate degree requirements in a timely manner (usually four years for entering freshmen).
  6. Evaluate teaching excellence in the promotion and tenure process and promote teaching excellence through incentives and meaningful rewards.
  7. Provide students with the advising that they need to gain their degrees and allocate resources so that faculty have sufficient time to advise and mentor students
  8. Provide resources for faculty development to support teaching in the form of curriculum development grants, workshops on teaching, travel, sabbatical leave, etc.
  9. Support research on, and the assessment of, teaching effectiveness.
  10. Provide competitive graduate teaching assistant stipends to improve recruitment of excellent graduate students.
  11. Support the professional development, supervision and mentoring of undergraduate and graduate teaching assistants to train the next generation of university teachers.
  12. Provide the state of the art facilities that the faculty need to support excellence in teaching and learning (classrooms, laboratories, library and computer resources that contain the appropriate technologies to support classroom teaching).
  13. Provide appropriate compensation and support to adjunct faculty for the performance of their responsibilities in support of the Departmental or School mission.


C.  Responsibilities of the Graduate Teaching Assistants for these goals:  The primary responsibility of all graduate students is to complete their degree in a timely fashion.  As part of their career development they should be called upon to take teaching duties.  As scholars in training they need the support of the faculty and the institution to meet their responsibilities. 


Graduate Teaching Assistants will:

1.       Teach small groups of undergraduates under supervision of faculty. Faculty should provide regular mentoring on teaching skills, general communication skills, and subject matter.

2.       Develop teaching skills and qualifications to take on increased responsibilities. The University should provide opportunities for teaching development, including ESL classes, where appropriate, and should reward excellent teaching by TAs.

3.       Carry out aspects of teaching specific to small groups with high interaction: stimulate discussion, promote learning by inquiry, and teach oral and written communication skills via individual interaction with students.

4.       Become familiar with and use technology appropriate to their teaching role.

5.       Give thoughtful feedback and evaluation of students' work, maintaining standards set by supervising faculty.


Faculty will ensure that:

1.   Teaching loads should allow time for TA's to do a quality job of teaching while also developing further teaching skills and pursuing their own studies.

2.   Teaching assignments should always be within the scope of the TA's current academic and teaching qualifications. TA's should receive more challenging teaching assignments as their own studies progress. It is not always appropriate for graduate students to be teaching in their first year of graduate studies.


III.  Principles for Quality Education at Binghamton University: These principles provide a road map for the faculty to fulfill their responsibilities and for the University to provide the learning environment in which students can meet the goals of a university education.


A.  The academic rank1 faculty has the responsible for and the authority over the design and delivery of the curriculum.

  1. Faculty should teach the majority of general education classes taken by each student
  2. Faculty should teach all courses in the major unless specific circumstances make an adjunct with specialized knowledge preferable.
  3. Faculty should supervise the content and delivery of courses taught by qualified academic rank faculty2 (lecturers, adjunct faculty, and graduate students) and should take an active role in helping these individuals deliver a quality curriculum.
  4. Faculty should afford regular opportunity for students to discuss course material and other curricular issues, and include this in the design and delivery of the curriculum.
  5. Faculty should incorporate current research and creative activity in their discipline in curriculum development and delivery.  Similarly, classroom discussion and student research should contribute to faculty members’ research.
  6. Faculty should be innovative in the delivery of curriculum and retain responsibility and control of the curriculum through out the process of delivery.


B.  Class size and organization will be determined by the needs of the students and be appropriate to the knowledge, level, intellectual abilities, and skills being taught.

1.       Large lecture sections (100+) are appropriate only for lower division, introductory courses.

2.       The student-teacher relationship is fundamental to education and students should be given the opportunity to take small classes (<25) with faculty at all levels of their education to develop this relationship.

3.       Small classes taught by faculty should make up a majority of a student’s upper division required major classes.

4.       Larger classes should include sub-sections that meet in smaller groups to emphasize more individualized instruction.

5.       Students should be exposed to a variety of pedagogies (lecture based, collaborative learning, etc.) both to serve the interests of different learning styles and to teach them how to adapt to different learning situations.

6.        Skills courses that require a high degree of interaction between the instructor and the student, such as composition, oral communication, and foreign language courses, should be no larger than 25 students in size.


C.  The University will actively maintain, support, and develop high quality teaching.

1.       The Faculty will develop means for effectively and objectively evaluating teaching.

2.       Faculty are urged to seek regular student evaluations of their courses and teaching.

3.       The university will institute a clearly articulated reward system for faculty teaching at all levels.

4.       Graduate students will be trained as teachers before entering the classroom and be evaluated and mentored by faculty once they are in the classroom.

5.       All instructors, including Faculty, TAs, and adjuncts (outside of foreign language courses) must be able to effectively communicate in English.  The university must establish standards and provide resources to meet this goal.

6.       Evaluation of students should be rigorous, fair and clearly explained to the student.


D.  The University experience should be structured to meet the needs of the student and to guide the intellectual development of the student building step by step towards the goals of a university education.

1.       Students need to have authoritative and accessible advising at all stages of their education

2.       Students should have the opportunity to enter into a mentor relationship with a faculty member during their education.

3.       Students should develop their substantive interests in depth and thus upper-division course work should make up half of the degree.

4.       Academic skills must be both explicitly taught and integrated in substantive course work.

5.       Major programs should culminate in a capstone course, broadening, deepening and integrating the total experience of the major.

6.       Students should be prepared to live in a cosmopolitan world.  The University, therefore, should encourage international exchange, study abroad, and languages across the curriculum programs.


E.  A research university provides students with a unique opportunity for learning based in research, scholarship, and creative activities.

1.       Faculty are encouraged to include students in their scholarly and creative endeavors and to seek appropriate grant funding for this purpose.

2.       Whenever appropriate, courses at all levels should include research or creative activities.

3.       Internship opportunities should be widely available

4.       Students should be encouraged and guided on how to present the results of their activities to the academy, their profession, or the public as appropriate

5.       Students should be encouraged to take on honors theses and BFA exhibits.


F.  A Liberal Education thrives when a sense of community is cultivated.

1.       The University should encourage and facilitate faculty-student interaction outside the classroom.

2.       Since knowledge is rarely developed in isolation, all Departments and Schools are encouraged to invite speakers from other universities and to encourage interdisciplinary cooperation.  The University should provide facilities for visiting scholars and conferences hosted on campus.

3.       The integration of learning and living environments is valuable to student learning.  The Faculty Masters program, student interest housing, and the Discovery program are examples of initiatives that should be encouraged and expanded.

4.       The University plays an important role in the community, and should encourage volunteerism, community activism, business development, knowledge transfer, and participation in the arts by students, faculty and staff.

5.       We are part of a global community.  Therefore the University should encourage, support, and provide resources for international faculty and student exchanges.



1           Academic rank faculty are defined in the State University of New York Policies of the Board of Trustees (2001) as those with “titles of professor, associate professor, assistant professor, instructor and assistant instructor”, and “members of the professional staff having titles of librarian, associate librarian, senior assistant librarian and assistant librarian”.

2           Qualified academic rank faculty, defined in the State University of New York Policies of the Board of Trustees (2001) include those with “titles of lecturer, or titles of academic rank preceded by the designations 'clinical' or 'visiting' or other similar designations”.