Course Policies

Academic Calendar

Class meetings may not be extended beyond the last day of classes, as specified in the Academic Calendar. All instructors must adhere to the dates set in the calendar. Rosters for all courses are available on eBear and New CourseWorks@Barnard. At some times of year, there are discrepancies among the online rosters.

Administering Coursework for Students with Disabilities

In accordance with federal law, it is the College's policy to provide reasonable accommodations to meet the needs of students with documented disabilities. Examples of accommodations which have customarily been requested and permitted may include exam accommodations such as extended time or modified formats, assistive technology, readers, notetakers, and the use of tape recorders. Students who anticipate needing disability-related test or classroom accommodations are required to register with the Office of Disability Services (ODS), then self-identify and meet with their instructors to discuss their needs at the beginning of each semester. All students with disabilities who are registered with ODS are provided a copy of the College's policy in this matter. Faculty members who wish to receive a copy, or who have any questions, should visit the ODS website.


A Barnard student or alumna may audit a Barnard course with permission from the instructor. Instructors are under no obligation to grant permission, although it is a privilege regularly extended to Barnard alumnae. No credit is given for a course taken on an audit basis and no acknowledgment is made on a transcript. Auditors are silent participants in class and may join in discussion only at the discretion of the instructor.

Columbia University’s School of Continuing Education and Special Programs may also refer auditors to lecture courses through its Auditing Programs. No more than three auditors are permitted in courses with enrollments less than 30. No more than five are permitted in classes with enrollments greater than 30. Auditors are not permitted to attend seminars, limited enrollment courses, or courses above the 4000 level. If you have questions about auditors referred to your course by Columbia, or do not wish to admit these auditors to your class, contact the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, Continuing Education and Special Programs, Columbia University at 854-3771.

Books for Courses


Instructors are expected to order the books that students purchase from bookstores near the campus, among them:

Columbia University Bookstore (854-4265) Lerner Hall, Broadway at 115th Street
Book Culture, (865-1588) 536 W. 112th Street

Orders should be submitted at least one month before the beginning of the semester. Desk copies are available, subject to the policies of the individual bookstore.

Textbook Requirement

New federal guidelines require that instructors enter their textbook information by the beginning of program planning. The College, in cooperation with Columbia University, has included a tool on your New CourseWorks@Barnard pages to enable you to post information about required or recommended books. Once you have your UNI log-in to New CourseWorks@ Barnard:

  • Click on the course to which you would like to add textbooks;
  • On the top, next to "edit intro," click on "edit textbooks";
  • Enter the 10-digit or 13-digit ISBN into the box (or answer the prompts if the books for the course do not have ISBNs);
  • Click "Get Book Info";
  • Select whether the course is required or recommended to save the textbook information.

Cancelation of Under-Registered Courses

A course may be canceled if it enrolls fewer than five students. Instructors with fewer than seven students at the first meeting of a scheduled course should promptly inform their Department Chairs, who will notify the Provost.

Class Attendance

Students are expected to attend classes regularly, and if the quality of a student’s work is affected by frequent or prolonged absence, the instructor may deny a student the privilege of making up work or taking the final examination. Maintaining a record of absences and lateness is recommended. Please notify the appropriate Class Dean about a delinquent student in a timely way so that s/he and the student’s adviser have an opportunity to discuss options with her and determine whether there are larger issues affecting her performance. 

Letters of Recommendations

Faculty who know the work of students sufficiently well to write appropriate letters of recommendation are expected to perform this service. Completed letters of recommendation for academic and employment purposes should be sent to the Dean of Studies Office, where a copy will be kept in the student's file. To avoid undermining a student's application, faculty members are asked to complete recommendations by the deadlines specified as long as the student has provided sufficient advance notice. While faculty members are not obligated to write a letter for every student who asks, agreeing to do so incurs the obligation to write and return the letter in a timely fashion.

Additionally, faculty are reminded that the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 (the "Buckley Amendment") requires that students be permitted access to their official educational records, including letters of recommendation and interdepartmental memoranda, unless they waive their right to access. Personal notes of faculty or administrative members are exempt from disclosure, as are medical records and the financial statements of students' parents.

The Act also prohibits the release of personally identifiable information without the written consent of the student. Records of all persons outside the College who examine or receive such information must be available to the student. Parents of College students may not receive information about their children without written consent unless they supply stipulated proof to the College of the legal financial dependency of their children.

Because students may forbid the release of their names to persons outside the College, the Registrar should be consulted before any such action is taken.

Office Hours

All Officers of Instruction are expected to schedule at least two hours per week as regular office hours and to observe them consistently. Office hours are normally specified during program planning periods. Faculty members should also be available to students at other times, by appointment if necessary.

Posting Grades

Please note that you should not post grades with social security numbers. If instructors do post grades, either on paper or online, they should use some other identifier. Both Barnard and Columbia students have computer system I.D. numbers (this is the number included on Barnard rosters and grade sheets), which do not pose the same legal problem. However, it is best not to post grades where students can see other students' grades, even without names. If using Courseworks, for example, the instructor should choose the option, "Students only see their individual grades."

Preservation of Course Records

Instructors should retain final exams for one year. (After that, they may be thrown out, but they should be shredded, not simply put in the trash.) Students have the right to review their final exams, but not to take them away. That is, a student may look at her/his final exam, but only in the presence of the instructor, in the instructor's office. Exams should not be kept in a public or semi-public place, and a student should not be allowed to look at her/his exam unsupervised.

Students in Academic Difficulty

All faculty members at Barnard and Columbia are asked to submit online reports to the appropriate deans’ offices regarding students in academic difficulty.  Instructors should describe deficiencies frankly so that students and their advisers and Class Deans have an understanding of the magnitude of these problems and are thus able to make informed decisions about options. The report form is uploaded every semester and can be found online: for Barnard students, see the Early Academic Report (EAR); for Columbia students, see the Academic Difficulty Report (ADR). As an alternative to the form, phone calls from instructors to the appropriate deans are also appreciated. The Barnard Dean of Studies Office extension is 4-2024.

Teaching Assignments and Class Meeting Times

Officers of Instruction are assigned to courses, laboratory or studio offerings, and meeting times are assigned by the Department Chair or Program Director. Room assignments are made by the Registrar.

Use of Student Laptops in Classrooms

Instructors have the right to allow or to limit the use of electronic devices in their classrooms as they see fit, as long as the practice is in accord with College policy on accommodations for disabled students. It is recommended that instructors include a statement of policy on laptops in their course syllabi.