Teaching Strategies

FAQ for New Faculty

This resource is intended to help new BC faculty orient themselves to campus resources, policies, protocols, and logistics that will be especially relevant to teaching, as well as information about the campus culture and community. Information is available in the following areas:

Learning and Teaching 

Where can I find support for my teaching?

The Center for Teaching Excellence is committed to supporting all Boston College teachers as they investigate and implement best teaching practices. There are several different ways you can access support: 

How can I receive technological support for my teaching?

The Center for Teaching Excellence can provide support for teaching technologies such as:

  • Canvas: BC’s learning management system 
  • Panopto: Lecture and personal capture 
  • Poll Everywhere: In- and out-of-class polling software
  • Zoom: Video conferencing tool
  • Perusall: Collaborative annotation tool 

The CTE works with campus partners to provide robust support to instructors. 

What is Canvas and how do I use it?

Canvas is Boston College’s learning management system (LMS). Most basically, faculty can post course syllabi, important documents, and announcements on Canvas. Additionally, Canvas hosts discussion boards, gradebooks, and much more.

What is Boston College’s policy on academic integrity?

Boston College has a university-wide statement on Academic Integrity. Additionally, all faculty are encouraged to consult their schools and departments for more specific policies and procedures. The CTE has a resource on cultivating academic integrity that outlines the conditions that contribute to academic dishonesty as well as instructional moves that can foster academic integrity. 

Does Boston College have university-wide policies on grading and attendance?

Boston College’s grading policies for undergraduate and graduate students are outlined in the academic regulations section of the university catalog, including information about the grading scale, incomplete and deferred grades, and grade changes. 

The university catalog also provides university-wide information about attendance, including guidance in the case of prolonged absences and absences due to religious obligation. 

How do I submit book orders?

Course book orders can be submitted through the bookstore website.

Where can I find information about Boston College’s libraries?

  • Locations & Hours: Boston College has many libraries on campus, the locations and hours of which you can find on the Boston College Libraries website. O’Neill Library is the main library on campus, located on Middle Campus. 
  • Library course reserves are managed through the Course Resources tab within Canvas. Please submit your Course Resources list to the library for processing and we will try to acquire any books, articles, films, etc. that we don’t already have in our collection.
  • Subject Librarians: Additionally, the Subject Librarians are incredibly helpful and assist in finding, creating, and making available resources for both faculty research and course projects. 
  • More information: You can find more information on the Boston College Libraries’ guide for new faculty.

Course Logistics 

How can I request a classroom?

Classroom Requests can be made if you would like to hold class at a different time or location than regularly scheduled. Additionally, the Center for Teaching Excellence has facilities, such as a recording studio, innovation lab, active learning and technology-enabled classrooms, available for reservation.

How do I find information about and communicate with my students?

Most information about your students can be found in Agora Portal. After logging in with your BC username and password, the “Academics and Courses” section of “My Services” includes links to class rosters, email distribution lists, and Canvas. ITS provides guidance on how to send emails to your class. You can also send messages and post announcements in Canvas. 

When and where do my classes meet?

Faculty should reference the Academic Calendar to note when classes are in session and the timing of breaks. Course locations can be found on Agora Portal through the “Course Information and Schedule” link; the BC Campus Map can then help you find these locations on campus.

What can I expect my classroom to be like? 

Classroom setups and available technology differs across campus. You can find more information about your specific classroom—including pictures, floor plans, and available technology—on the Classroom Profiles page. 

What do I need to know about class recordings?

During Fall 2022, classes held in a classroom equipped with lecture capture technology will be automatically recorded.  By default, class recordings will not be available to students unless instructors proactively make them available. If your classes will be recorded and you would like those recordings to be made available to students, see how to quickly make all recordings available automatically or make individual recordings available as needed. If you’d like more granular control over your Panopto videos, you can view our guide to managing your Panopto folder. If you would like to opt out of lecture capture, email canvas@bc.edu. 

To learn more about the university’s expectations around course recordings, see the Classroom Recording Guidance in the Faculty Handbook.

What do I need to know about grading? 

The Office of Student Services provides information about when grades are due and how to submit final grades.

How do I find out if the school is closed for inclement weather?

Beginning at 6:00 AM the day of the closure, information will be posted to the main BC webpage and emailed to BC email accounts. BC also provides a notification service via text message. You can opt into this alert system when setting up your contact information through the Agora Portal by providing a cell phone number. For more information, see Emergency Management’s Communication page

Faculty Rights and Responsibilities 

Where can I read the faculty handbook?

The Provost’s Office produces and posts the Faculty Handbook each year.

What do I need to know about the privacy of student data?

Faculty are expected to adhere to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which covers the data privacy rights of university students.

What do I need to know about students’ right to a safe environment?

All faculty should review Boston College’s Title IX reporting policies and procedures, and familiarize themselves with their responsibilities.

What do I need to know about reporting incidents of bias?

Faculty can review Boston College’s process for reporting hate crimes and bias-motivated offenses.

What do I need to know if I suspect a student is in significant distress or experiencing a mental health crisis? 

Faculty can review the guide for supporting students of concern for information about how best to support students and make a referral. The guide also reviews mandatory reporting responsibilities regarding suicidality and steps to take if you are with a student who is experiencing a psychological emergency. 

Who do I contact to request accommodations for a disability? 

The Office of Institutional Diversity coordinates reasonable accommodations for BC employees, including faculty. 

How can I communicate about my rights and responsibilities to students? 

The CTE’s resource on sample syllabus statements provides an overview of common syllabus statements, including those the university expects instructors to include (e.g. learning accommodations, religious accommodations, etc.) and statement types many instructors include to communicate their values and commitments to students (e.g. commitment to inclusion, technology in the classroom, etc.). 

Student Services and Support

Where can I direct students with questions about university policies and procedures?

The university catalog can help guide students through questions about important policies and procedures and the registrar website includes information about registration. Boston College also has an extensive advising program.

What support is available for students with disabilities and/or those seeking accommodations?

Boston College’s Disability Accommodation Policies can be found in the university catalog. Students seeking support for a learning disability or ADHD should connect with the Connors Family Learning Center (CFLC), while students with hearing, visual, mobility, medical, and psychiatric disabilities should consult the Disability Services Office. Both offices can also consult with faculty about meeting the needs of specific students. 

What tutoring and academic support is available on campus?

Informal tutoring is available to all students through the Connors Family Learning Center (CFLC) and writing help can be found through the Online Writing Lab (OWL) or the Writing Center.

Where can students find additional support on campus? 

  • Campus Ministry provides space for students to make sense of their life and work in conversation with their faith tradition. All campus ministry staff can accompany students through their collegiate journey. The office also provides opportunities for pastoral counseling in individual and group settings. 
  • Learning to Learn supports first generation college students through a number of programs and services.
  • Montserrat provides confidential support for students with the highest level of financial need, helping students find community and have a robust college experience.
  • The Center for Student Wellness runs a variety of programs and support services for students looking to think and act holistically about their health, from healthy relationships to sleep to nutrition. Students can find resources or enroll in wellness coaching. 
  • The Office of International Students and Scholars runs a variety of programs for international students and can also assist with immigration documentation, travel, and understanding the finances of living abroad.
  • Due to the demands of their schedules, varsity athletes are supported through the Student-Athlete Academic Services (SAAS) department. Mid-semester, instructors receive surveys from LRSA where they can express concerns about the academic performance of any student-athletes in their courses. You may also see observers from SAAS in your Canvas courses. If you have any questions about SAAS observers, you can contact Akua Sarr, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs.  
  • The Office of the Dean of Students supports students in distress or those experiencing a mental health crisis. Staff in that office also provide resources to LGBTQ students.  
  • The Thea Bowman AHANA and Intercultural Center provides various programs that focus on supporting AHANA (individuals of African-American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian-American and Native American descent) and multiracial students.
  • University Counseling Services provides a range of free services to students, including individual and group therapy and self-care resources. 
  • The Women’s Center provides programming, resources, and support for students pursuing general and particular questions regarding gender and sexuality, and houses the Sexual Assault Network hotline and CARE Team.

General Campus Information and Resources 

How can I find contact information about members of the Boston College community?

Contact information for Boston College community members can be found on the Campus Directory page, where you can search by name or scan by department. Additionally, you can access a list of Quick Phone Numbers and Email Addresses

Where can I find information about the university’s vacation schedule?

The office holiday schedule is available through Human Resources. The Academic Calendar lists class breaks.

What is the best way to get to and from campus?

Boston College’s Transportation and Parking website has a wealth of resources regarding parking on campus, for both daily use and on special event days. The website also has tips on commuting to campus, and information about the BC Shuttles–which run locally around Brighton and between Main Campus and the Newton Campus–and their schedules.

Where can I eat on campus?

BC Dining Services have locations throughout Upper, Middle, and Lower Campus, as well the Newton and Brighton Campuses. Hours and menus vary by location.

Campus Culture and Community 

Where can I find more statistical information about BC? 

The Office of Institutional Research & Planning provides statistical information about BC. The at-a-glance documents provide a concise overview of the institution, while the fact book provides more detailed information in the context of the university’s mission and chronology. You can also review summaries of recent surveys of students and faculty.  

What should I know about BC’s Jesuit, Catholic heritage? 

Boston College is rooted in a Jesuit, Catholic tradition. Faculty most frequently encounter  that aspect of the university in conversations about student formation, or an educational model that asks students to activate and integrate their intellect, social consciousness, and spiritual life, especially as it relates to the Renewed Core program. Additionally, some faculty find the Ignatian pedagogy framework a helpful way to approach their teaching. 

Faculty interested in learning more about BC’s Jesuit roots might be interested in exploring the programs and services available through Intersections, which also hosts the annual faculty writing retreat

How can I learn more about what’s going on on campus?

BC’s student newspapers provide information about campus happenings during the semester: 

  • The Heights: BC’s primary, independent student newspaper 
  • The Gavel: A progressive student newspaper 
  • The Torch: A Catholic campus newspaper 

If you’re on social media, many campus offices and student organizations have a presence on Twitter and Instagram that you can find with a quick search. Some students have also been using social media to document their experiences on campus, like the Black at Boston College Instagram account.  

Whether or not you’re on social media, undergraduate students often have faster access to information about campus happenings than faculty, staff, or graduate students. Checking in with students about current events on campus in office hours and class sessions can help you get a better sense of the campus climate at any given time. 

Where can I meet other community members who might share some of my identities and experiences? 

Boston College has a number of affinity groups on campus, where faculty and staff can connect with colleagues who have shared identities, experiences, and interests. All BC affinity groups are open to all faculty and staff, though some programs may be reserved for members of a particular community. Current affinity groups include: 

What other activities are important on Boston College’s campus?

As a Jesuit institution, Boston College has a Division of Mission & Ministry that serves all members of the Boston College community. Boston College also prides itself on its strong athletic tradition. Faculty may be interested in attending varsity athletic events or joining campus recreation programs. Finally, Boston College provides a number of cultural offerings. Faculty might want to explore the McMullen Museum of Art or take in a student theater performance. The Arts Calendar is a centralized list of the various performances, lectures, and exhibits on display across campus.