Skip to main content

MESALC Department Handbook

Expand content
Expand content

I. Department Organization

The Department is governed by a set of Bylaws (See Appendix A). The Chair is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day activities of the department. The Chair is assisted by the Director of Undergraduate Programs, and the Director of Graduate Studies. Each faculty member is assigned to one of the following Language Programs: Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi/Urdu, Persian, and Sanskrit. There are no formal requirements for this organization, as many faculty overlap areas in their research and teaching interests. Program Coordinators, appointed by the Chair, oversee and coordinate the activities of program faculty, in consultation with the Chair.

Expand content

II. Faculty Responsibilities

A. Teaching Load and Policy

The departmental teaching load is four courses per year (two courses per semester) for tenure-track and tenured faculty. For General Faculty (i.e., lecturers) the teaching load is 12-15 weekly contact hours, involving no more than three different preparations per semester. (Independent study courses are not counted as part of the teaching load, and requests to direct such courses may be either accepted or refused at the instructor’s discretion.) Teaching assignments are made by the department Chair, in consultation with the Language Program Coordinators.

Faculty are expected to teach at least one service course each year. Service courses include 1000- and 2000-level core language courses, gateway courses (MESA 1010, MEST 1100, or SAST 1100), and senior seminars (MEST 4960 or SAST 4960). Large-enrollment courses (60 students or more) that make use of a Teaching Assistant may also count as service courses, upon approval of the Chair. 

B. Faculty Meetings

The Department holds Faculty Meetings on Thursday afternoons, 3:30-5:00 p.m., as the need arises. (This time period will also be devoted to departmental seminars.) Faculty should keep this time period free. Classes and office hours may not be scheduled for this time period. 

All teaching faculty in MESALC (including tenured, tenure-track, general, and adjunct faculty) are expected to attend faculty meetings. Meetings are usually called by the Chair, who also sets the agenda, but anyone who needs to bring business before the faculty can notify the Chair so that a meeting can be scheduled. MESALC graduate students may select a representative to attend faculty meetings and participate in discussions and votes.

See the Department Bylaws (Appendix A) for details.

C. Office Hours

All teaching faculty are required to establish three office hours during regular work weeks (unless they are on leave). Hours must be posted on the faculty member’s office door and turned in to the department office by the beginning of classes each semester. When it is necessary to cancel office hours, a note should be posted on the door and alternate hours should be made available, and the department office should be notified. Office hours may not be scheduled during times reserved for faculty meetings and colloquia (i.e., Thursdays 3:30-5:00). 

D. Committees

Faculty members are expected to provide conscientious service on these committees when asked, as they are the primary vehicle for departmental function. Departmental Committees are appointed by the Chair. The department tries to minimize the committee responsibilities of Assistant Professors and new Lecturers. Graduate students and staff may be asked to serve on these committees as well, at the discretion of the Chair. Committee meetings are scheduled by the respective committee chairs.

Several committees are appointed routinely every year, and, as such, may be considered "Standing Committees". These include:

Curriculum Committee: Oversees the undergraduate program, including the design of department majors and minors and the scheduling of classes. Selects outstanding students to the Distinguished Majors Program and evaluates their senior honors theses. This committee is chaired by the Director of Undergraduate Programs.

Graduate Studies Committee: Oversees the establishment and maintenance of the graduate program. In the spring, the committee serves as the department-wide Graduate Admissions Committee, and in May the committee oversees annual evaluations of the graduate students. This committee is also responsible for allocating departmental resources (e.g., teaching assistantships) among incoming and continuing graduate students.

Colloquium Committee: Fosters department-wide academic exchange through departmental colloquia, interest-group workshops, and related activities.

Mentoring Committee: Oversees the integration of new faculty, staff, and graduate students into the department by advising on the mentoring process. This committee will assist with the arrival of newly hired faculty, assign individual mentors to new faculty, and assess the effectiveness of departmental mentoring.

Technology Committee: Oversees the use of technology in the department, including the design of websites associated with the department.

Other Departmental Offices: Other departmental positions, which are appointed by the Department Chair, include: Language Program Coordinators; the Equal Opportunity Coordinator; the Faculty Senate Representative; and the Shea House Coordinator.

Language Program Coordinators: Each language program (Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi/Urdu, Persian, and Sanskrit) is coordinated by a Language Program Coordinator. The Coordinator’s primary duties include: assisting the Director of Undergraduate Programs to schedule the program’s core language classes (i.e., 1000- and 2000-level classes); overseeing the testing of students for placement into, and exemption from the core language classes; determining credit granted for transfer and study-abroad courses; and integrating pedagogical strategies and materials for the program’s core language classes. In addition, the Language Program Coordinator is responsible for managing the arrival of newly hired lecturers who teach in his/her language program.


Language Program Language | Program Coordinator

Arabic | Bilal Humeidan

Hebrew | Zvi Gilboa

Hindi/Urdu | Griffith Chaussee

Persian | Mahshad Mohit

Sanskrit | Robert Hueckstedt


Equal Opportunity Coordinator: The Chair appoints one person to serve as Equal Opportunity Coordinator for the entire department. The Coordinator acts as a liaison between the Department and the University’s Office of Equal Opportunity Programs (EOP) and helps ensure departmental compliance with EOP rules and procedures. In particular, the Coordinator works with search committees and their members to keep certifications current and to answer any questions that arise during faculty hiring procedures.

Currently, MESALC’s Equal Opportunity Coordinator is Bob Hueckstedt.

Faculty Senate Representative: The Chair appoints one person to serve as the department’s representative on the Faculty Senate. The Representative attends Faculty Senate meetings, (optionally) sits on Faculty Senate committees and sub-committees, and reports to the department on decisions and discussions in the Senate, thereby voicing the interests and concerns of MESALC to the University at large.

Shea House Coordinator: The Chair appoints one person to serve as MESALC’s Shea House Coordinator. This Coordinator works with the Director of Shea House, the Shea House Programs Coordinator, and the DEALLC Shea House Coordinator to assist MESALC-language students who live in Shea House. A primary responsibility of this Coordinator is to assign student applicants to living space in the house each year.

In addition, the chair, in consultation with the Language Coordinators of participating language programs (Arabic, Hindi/Urdu, and Persian), appoints one Contact Person for each Shea House Language Group. The contact person’s responsibilities include:

  1. Promote Shea House to the respective language courses and related groups;
  2. Select residents and inform the result to all applicants by email
  3. Select language assistant
  4. To be a contact person for the selected LA, and also oversees LA (and residents) performance and activities
  5. To be a contact person for me to inform vacancy updates, and any other issues associated with Shea house and the respective language

A list of the current Contact People for MESALC Shea House Language Groups follows:


Shea House Language Group | Contact Person

Arabic | Suad Mohamed

Hebrew | Zvi Gilboa

Hindi/Urdu | Abdul Nasir

Persian | Mahshad Mohit


Ad-hoc Committees: The Chair appoints ad-hoc search and promotion and tenure committees on a year-to year basis, and may seat other committees as needed.

E. Hiring

Faculty vacancies are filled by the University based on departmental recommendations. Search Committees are appointed by the Chair. It is the responsibility of the committees to review all applicants carefully and to choose the very best candidates to interview with the department. In general, the Dean’s Office supports inviting two candidates per position to on-grounds interviews. 

Files on candidates to be interviewed will be made available for department faculty to read. All faculty members are encouraged to review these files prior to or during each invited candidate's visit to the Department.

The itineraries of the interviewees are scheduled by the department office via email solicitations and/or sign-ups. It is expected that nearly all faculty will volunteer to spend time (personal interview and/or meal) with nearly all candidates, in order to ensure they are well informed when the decision process occurs. All reimbursements resulting from visits are subject to the rules outlined in the Reimbursement section of this handbook.

Once all candidates have visited the department, the department chair will schedule a faculty meeting for discussion of, and voting on the hire. The Search Committee presents its recommendations, and the faculty may discuss the candidates and the committee’s recommendations. When a vote is called, eligible faculty submit confidential ballots, and the department chair collects and tallies the votes. Results of the vote are announced as soon as the votes are tallied, and before the end of the meeting. The Department's recommendation on each candidate is forwarded to the Dean of Arts & Sciences and the Provost through appropriate channels for final action.

Details of the hiring process are provided in Appendix B.

F. Colloquia

The Department sponsors a colloquium series of distinguished guest speakers and MESALC faculty. The colloquia are generally held on Friday afternoons at 3:00 p.m., in the department conference room (144 New Cabell Hall), followed by a reception. The colloquia form a key means by which people in different areas of the department can interact with each other and keep abreast of recent work. In order to foster this intellectual atmosphere, it is important for faculty to attend regularly and participate actively.

G. Graduate Students

1. Graduate Admissions


2. Graduate Advising


3. Financial Support of Graduate Students


4. Office Space for Graduate Students


5. Graders and Graduate Teaching Assistants


H. Undergraduate Advising

Helping young students find their way through the complicated world at UVa is an important task that all must participate in. All faculty are expected to be involved in undergraduate advising in one way or another.

Lower-Division Advising (for students who have not yet declared a major): Each department is required by the Dean’s office to identify faculty members who will serve as advisors for first- and second-year students. The chair appoints advisors, usually selected from the senior faculty (i.e., tenured professors and lecturers who have passed their Sixth-Year Review). These advisors receive training from the College and meet with their advisees at least twice per year.

Major Advising (for students who have declared one of the MESALC majors or minors): The Director of Undergraduate Programs (DUP) is the advisor for all department majors, though he/she can delegate this advising to other department faculty. It is the responsibility of the Director of Undergraduate Programs to develop declaration and advising procedures, assign advisors (if necessary), and make advising information available prior to the weeks set aside for major advising. 

I. Graduation

A departmental diploma ceremony is held following the University-wide commencement exercises to distribute diplomas to graduate and undergraduate degree recipients. All faculty are strongly encouraged to attend the departmental ceremony.

J. Emergency Plans for New Cabell Hall

Detailed instructions are available in Appendix E.

Expand content

III. Office Services

A. Office Staff

The main office of the Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures is located in 142 New Cabell Hall. Office hours are Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The office staff consists of an Administrative Coordinator and an Administrative Supervisor. The supervisor serves two departments (MESALC and DEALLC), as well as the Asia Institute and its component centers, so please be considerate of their time.

Administrative Supervisor: Responsible for financial and budgetary procedures, hiring and search procedures, processing visa requests (related to faculty searches), and interactions with the Deans, and other College and University offices.

Administrative Coordinator: Responsible for reception, copying, ordering office supplies, handling course administration tasks (collecting syllabi, submitting course action forms, processing grade sheets, etc.), making arrangements for visits by colloquium speakers and job candidates, maintaining department directories, bulletin boards, websites, and contact lists, issuing office keys, etc.

B. Office Supplies

Office supplies are available in the mailroom (156 New Cabell Hall). Prudent use is appreciated. Requests for office supplies should be recorded on the supply request sheet, which is located on a clipboard above the incoming mailbox. Orders are placed every Wednesday morning. Supplies are usually delivered within one or two days. If you have an urgent request, please contact the Admin Coordinator directly. (You may need the approval of the Chair to purchase expensive items.)

C. Telephone Calls

Incoming Calls: You may configure your phone to work in many different ways. Those whose phones do not have voicemail may opt to have the phone ring only in your office, or “roll over” to other numbers. One option, for example, is to have your office phone ring four times in the office, and then roll over to the department’s number. The Admin Coordinator will send a brief email message to notify you of your call. It would be helpful to let the Admin Coordinator know if you will be working regularly in an area other than your office, or if you will be out of town, so they can properly advise your callers. Be sure to check your email daily, at the very least: morning, noon and evening is even better.

Outgoing Calls: The University has an ROLM telephone system. This system provides easy access to all University lines and utilizes a long distance charge code system for accurate billing. The system also provides a number of useful features, including conference calling and call forwarding. There are classes available twice a year from Carruthers Hall, which teach you the system in a couple of hours. See the instruction card in the telephone directory, or contact the Admin Coordinator for more complete instructions.

Long Distance Calls: Dial 8, 7-digit FAC account code, 1 + area code + phone number. Faculty members are assigned a 7-digit FAC account code for use in making work-related long distance calls. Personal calls are not to be made using this account. When the Departmental monthly bill is received, you will receive a list of all calls charged to your account. Charge sheets should be returned to the Admin Coordinator promptly. It is possible to charge work-related calls to your University phone by using a University Calling Card. See the Admin Coordinator for details.

University Calls: For calls from the University to other University numbers, dial only the last five digits. University exchanges include: 924-, 982-, and 243-. For local calls, dial 9, then the local 7-digit number.

Fax Machine: The department FAX, located in 156 New Cabell Hall, is 434-243-1528. To fax work-related documents long distance, you use the same FAC numbers as for long distance telephone calls.

D. Copies and Reprints

The department covers the cost of copies made on the departmental Xerox machine that are course-related and department-related. Each faculty member is assigned to a Language-Program access code for these copies. If requesting staff assistance with a copy job, please place your request in advance (using the Copy Request Forms available in the department office) and allow two working days for the copies to be made. (Please plan even further ahead for large jobs, such as copying exams and syllabi for large classes.)

In addition, faculty may use the department Xerox machine – on a limited basis – for their own research (i.e., duplication of journal articles, book excerpts, etc.). Each faculty member is assigned an individual access code for such “personal” copying. The department will pay for 50 “personal” copies per month.

Please give priority on the Xerox machine to those doing class-related copying.

Please note: The University library provides quick and easy scanning services. Faculty can request scanned (or paper) copies of journal articles, book excerpts, etc, and the materials are usually delivered within a day or so. See LEO.

The department has a limited budget, and copying is one of our biggest line-items, so please be conservative.

E. Mail and Postage

Two department mailboxes in room 156 are designated for outgoing US and Messenger Mail.

U.S. Mail is delivered to New Cabell Hall around 12 PM. Outgoing mail will be picked up at 12 PM daily. The Department has a daily package pick up service with *** (*** pm). Forms for FEDEX (Federal Express) and UPS (United Parcel Service) overnight service and 2nd-day air are available from the Admin Coordinator.

Note: When shipping by FEDEX from the department office, please make sure mark the date of your shipment on the top slip and leave that top slip in the Admin Coordinator's mailbox so that all FEDEX charges can be reconciled.

Messenger Mail—the University’s internal mail service—picks up and delivers at 12 PM, daily during the fall and spring terms. For other times it is somewhat earlier. 

We urge you to recycle envelopes for use in messenger mail. Labels are available for covering up old addresses. The Department will pay for postal costs incurred for Departmental business only.

F. Keys

All faculty are issued keys to their own offices, as well as to the mailroom/lounge in 156, and to the departmental conference room, 144. All office doors should be kept locked when the room is not occupied. Faculty should exercise caution about leaving doors ajar, valuables in view, and computer screens unlocked even when leaving the office only momentarily. The Admin Coordinator keeps the supply of keys to all rooms. (A $5.00 fee may be charged for each lost or unreturned key.)

G. Reimbursement of Faculty for Departmental Expenses

Faculty Travel

The following travel guidelines are formulated to provide support to as many faculty as possible on an equitable basis. The Dean of Arts & Sciences provides limited funding for one trip per year for full-time faculty members holding at least a one year appointment. Qualified faculty members may be reimbursed for up to $1,500 per fiscal year (July 31-June 30) for one trip made for the following purposes:

  • Presenting a paper;
  • Presiding as chair of a major committee or scholarly society;
  • Performing the duties of an important, elected officer of a scholarly society;
  • Chairing a panel or session at a meeting of a scholarly society; or
  • Representing the University in an organization in which the University holds an institutional membership.

Other professional travel may be reimbursed at the discretion of the Chair, subject to the availability of funds.

Approval for reimbursement of travel expenses must be requested from the Chair in writing (or email) before the trip is taken (and, as a practical matter, as early in the fiscal year as possible, since early submission helps the Chair estimate the commitment of funds). It is the responsibility of the faculty member to include an estimate of total travel costs and the length of stay in this letter of request. Please make these estimates as accurate as possible. The Dean of Arts & Sciences and the Chair reserve the right to limit expense reimbursement should it prove necessary.

  1. Reimbursable expenses are subject to the following limitations:
  2. Reimbursement for subsistence and lodging is limited to 4 days;
  3. Total meal expense reimbursement cannot exceed the “per diem” rate for the travel destination (i.e., a set maximum amount per day; not necessarily the sum of your outlays);
  4. Total travel expenses reimbursed for any trip may not exceed $1,500.00 from Department funds, although faculty may choose to request additional reimbursement from their own research funds, if available;
  5. Airline tickets may be purchased through a travel agency that is under contract with the University, and charged to the Departmental P-card (credit card) for your convenience. Alternatively, you may purchase your own airfare and request reimbursement. Reimbursements cannot be made until your travel has been completed.

Contact the Admin Supervisor before making travel arrangements. They can provide more detailed information about reimbursement procedures, including deadlines for the submission of receipts and boarding passes. ORIGINAL receipts or paid bills must be submitted along with a signed travel reimbursement request form (Xerox copies of receipts and boarding passes can not be accepted).

Reimbursement for Entertaining Faculty Candidates

Faculty members who entertain a candidate must present detailed original receipts listing all items purchased, accompanied by a signed Business Meal form in order to be reimbursed. The following restrictions apply to reimbursement requests for expenses stemming from entertainment of candidates for faculty positions:

  • The department will pay for meals with the candidate and up to three faculty members for each occasion (with a maximum of 3 meals a day for each candidate).
  • Reimbursement for alcohol is limited to $18 per person at dinner only. Alcohol consumed during lunch will not be reimbursed.
  • Please limit meal expenditures to approximately $12 for breakfast (per person), $15 for lunch (per person), and $60 for dinner (per person), including alcohol.

Reimbursement for Entertaining Colloquium Speakers

Rules for colloquium speakers are similar to those for faculty candidates:

  • The department will reimburse breakfast expenses for the speaker and up to three faculty members, with a limit of $12 per person ($48 total), including tax and tips. 
  • The department will reimburse lunch expenses for the speaker and up to three faculty members, with a limit of $15 per person ($60 total), including tax and tips. 
  • The department will reimburse dinner expenses for the speaker and up to three faculty members, with a limit of $60 per person ($240 total), including tax and tips.
  • Only alcohol consumed during dinner will be reimbursed.
  • Original (itemized) receipts must be presented for all reimbursements.

Please download the Business Meal Certification Form and fill it out before presenting receipts to the Administrative Supervisor.

Reimbursement for Entertaining Undergraduate Students

Special funds are available to reimburse faculty members for expenses involved with hosting students who are currently either enrolled in their courses or academic advisees. Information is sent to Department Chairs at the beginning of every academic year in which funds are available. Reimbursement Request Forms may be obtained in the copy room or from the Office of the Dean of Students (924-7133).

Full-time faculty members are eligible to be reimbursed in an amount up to $100 per occasion, with a maximum of one occasion per course per semester during the fall and spring semesters. For classes with forty or more students, up to three sub-groups may be hosted for one occasion. The event must be hosted in the faculty residence, in a University Dining Service location, in a University location, or attendance at a University-sponsored play or musical performance. Reimbursements will not be made for alcohol. Forms must be submitted by May 31st.

Expand content

IV. Other Departmental Services

A. Computers

Computing support is provided by the Arts & Sciences Computing Service (ASCS) group. Each department is assigned an LSP (Local Support Partner) who works with University owned equipment, software problems, and connecting to UVa IT resources like email or the wireless network.

Hardware Support

Full support is provided for both PC and Apple computers, as well as limited support for peripherals such as printers and scanners.   The Dean’s office of Arts & Sciences provides computers for full time faculty.  These computers are under warranty and replaced every four years.  Other faculty receive capable computers with newly installed software.  Every effort is made for these computers to be as close as possible to the department’s standard computers.  Warranty hardware service for department computers is provided by certified technicians based at Cavalier computers in Newcomb Hall.

Software Support

The following software is installed on all computers:

  • Microsoft Office Professional, including Word, Excel, Power Point, and Outlook. Access comes only in the Windows suite.
  • Antivirus software licensed by UVa.

University Utilities:

  • Home Directory Login - application for connecting to ITS provided file storage space.
  • Network Setup Tool - to acquire a digital certificate and automatically configure a connection to the secure wireless network "cavalier"
  • Alertus - Desktop Alert client for public safety personnel to relay important emergency alert information.

Additional software may be installed.  If a license must be purchased, the department may pay for it.  Requests should be sent to the Chair for approval.  You may install the software yourself or contact Susan for assistance.

University IT Resources

ITS (Information Technology Services) provides many services to the University community.  A catalog of these services is available at

B. Office Space

Space in New Cabell Hall is very, very scarce. The office and common spaces controlled by MESALC are allotted, as much as possible, on the basis of need and optimal use. Use of departmental space is regulated by the department Chair.

Use of the MESALC Conference Room (144 New Cabell Hall)

Room 144 is a seminar, conference, and library space that is available for many kinds of departmental functions.

MESALC will hold faculty meetings here, as well as some departmental colloquia. Committees are welcome to request the space for their meetings, subject to its availability (see prioritization and reservation procedures below). Personal journal collections of interest to Middle East and South Asian faculty and majors are also housed in the conference room, and made available to faculty, majors, and graduate students who would like to read them in place (no check-out of these materials). Use of room 144 is prioritized, as follows:

  1. Large, regularly scheduled classes that could not be assigned to classrooms;
  2. Faculty meetings and departmental seminars (i.e., speaker series);
  3. Small, regularly scheduled classes that the registrar bounces from assigned classrooms due to low enrollments. If room 144 is not available for these classes, faculty must use their own offices for class meetings;
  4. Independent study or advanced readings courses; etc. If room 144 is not available for these classes, faculty must use their own offices for class meetings;
  5. Meetings between faculty and students (including for language-testing purposes), with priority given to those faculty who share office space;
  6. Committee meetings and other departmental functions, such as meetings of the pedagogy group or translation group;
  7. Reading and study.

Use of the MESALC Conference Room for a class, a meeting, or other multi-person event must be pre-arranged by requesting a reservation from the Admin Coordinator. Office staff will maintain a current schedule of Conference Room reservations on the MESALC web calendar.

Expand content

V. Teaching Information

A. Curriculum

The Undergraduate and Graduate curricula are the responsibility of the Curriculum Committee and Graduate Studies Committee, respectively. Questions or changes regarding the curriculum should be submitted to the Director of Undergraduate Programs or the Director of Graduate Studies, as appropriate.

The official curriculum each year is recorded in the Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record. Copies of each are available on-line at the University Registrar. Instructors may offer courses that are not listed in the Undergraduate or Graduate Record on a one-time trial basis. After that, the course must be added to the appropriate Record. Instructions for adding new courses or changing courses can be obtained from the Director of Undergraduate Programs. Courses that are approved at the departmental level are reviewed by the Committee on Educational Policy and the Curriculum (CEPC), and then finally voted on by the Faculty of Arts & Sciences.

B. Course Scheduling

Course scheduling for an academic semester is initiated by the Director of Undergraduate Programs toward the beginning of the preceding semester. The DUP consults with Language Program Coordinators in order to ensure coverage each semester of departmental service courses and core language classes, as well as equitable distribution of teaching loads. Teaching assignments are ultimately the decision of the Chair. (See Teaching Load and Policies for details.)

Once the schedule has been finalized, the Director of Undergraduate Programs distributes preference sheets to allow faculty to specify their course time/day preferences for courses for the following semester. The DUP compiles this information and constructs a schedule that tries to minimize conflicts, while accommodating as many requests as possible. The Chair calls a faculty meeting to give all faculty an opportunity to view the entire schedule and to anticipate conflicts. Conflicts identified after this viewing period are almost impossible to resolve; therefore, faculty are strongly encouraged to check the schedules carefully at this time. It is the DUP’s responsibility to request classrooms for department courses.

C. Managing Course Enrollments

Online Waitlist. MESALC encourages instructors to make use of the online waitlist system to manage enrollments in their courses. Suggested priorities for offering waitlisted students space in filled courses include: seniority and major/minor status.

Pre-Requisites. Students sign up for courses through SIS, but the system cannot check for course prerequisites. Instructors are therefore reminded to check for prerequisites during the first class meeting. Students who do not meet the course prerequisites may be dropped from the course. (Students who meet stated prerequisites and enroll in the course through SIS may not be dropped.)

Language Course Placement. A special case of the pre-requisite policy obtains for placement into the sequenced language courses. Language Program Coordinators are responsible for the placement of students into core language classes; students are not entitled to take a course for which they are ill-suited (either too advanced or too basic).

D. Teaching Resources

All faculty are encouraged to ask questions of, and discuss teaching strategies or share ideas with their colleagues teaching similar courses, the Directors of Undergraduate Programs or Graduate Studies, or the department Chair.

The Teaching Resource Center (located in Hotel D, on the Range) is also a great resource. They offer a variety of workshops, consultations (including videotaping your class and teaching analysis polls), Teaching + Technology Initiative, University Teaching Fellows Program (for junior faculty), Teaching Awards, and books, articles, and videotapes. 

E. Teaching Assistants and Graders

Teaching assistants and graders are assigned on the basis of class size, use of discussion sections, and other considerations.

F. Toolkit (course web pages)

Toolkit is an easy-to-use course web page system developed by Information, Technology and Communication (ITC). Without knowledge of html, instructors may create a course web page that includes the syllabus and course materials. Options are also available to obtain a class list, send email messages to the class, order textbooks, provide a mechanism for anonymous feedback, submit course grades electronically, and provide scanned copies of readings through electronic reserve. ITC offers optional courses on how to use Toolkit.

G. Reserve Readings

Reserve readings are usually provided electronically, through Toolkit. In order to establish electronic reserve readings, you must have a Toolkit course web page set up for your class. We recommend that the materials section of the web page have a password for copyright purposes if there are electronic reserve readings.

H. Audiovisual Equipment

Many of the classrooms in New Cabell Hall are "technology classrooms" (ITC Classrooms), equipped with computers, video players, and overhead projectors. If you use technology (such as Power Point presentations) regularly in your teaching, you may want to request an ITC Classroom for your class. If you only occasionally use audiovisual aids in your teaching, the Learning Design & Technology (LDT) devision has a huge inventory of readily available and easy-to-use equipment that you can reserve online or in person.

I. Ordering Textbooks

Textbooks are ordered through the University of Virginia Bookstore at Newcomb Hall either through Toolkit, or by calling 924-1066 or emailing Textbook orders should be placed at least six weeks before the start of classes to ensure availability by the time classes begin. Orders should be placed before final exams (when buyback begins) if a textbook will be reused, in order to enable students to sell back their textbooks.

J. Teaching Policies

The web page of the College of Arts & Sciences contains a lot of information that is useful for instructors and students. General academic guidelines and policies are described in Chapter 6 of the Undergraduate Record. Course instructors do not have the authority to waive or modify the add, drop, withdrawal, grade option deadlines, final examination schedule or any other rules of the faculty. Dates and information for the current semester are available in the College Advising Newsletter. The Association Deans in Garrett Hall implement the policies approved by the faculty. When questions arise, you may call and talk to an Association Dean at 924-8863.

1. Grading Practices

There is no set grading standard at the University. It is up to each instructor to develop and announce his or her own grading system. Grades are monitored by the Dean and grade inflation is strongly discouraged.

It is MESALC Department policy that graded papers and test answers that are not returned to the student must be kept by the instructor for one year, to facilitate any corrections of scoring errors and to provide feedback to students.

2. Grade Sheets

Grade sheets for final grades are received in the main office and distributed to individual faculty members a few days before the final exam period starts. Memos with specific instructions accompany the grade sheets. Grades are due 24 hours after the final examination period for the course (stated in the Course Offering Directory), but they are accepted up to 24 hours after the last final examination period. Grades may be submitted manually or electronically. For manual submission, the original grade sheets must have grade bubbles filled with a number 2 pencil. A copy of the grade sheets should be submitted as the office copy. For electronic submission, the printed copy of grades from Toolkit must be signed and submitted along with the blank original grade sheets.

Special “early grade” sheets are distributed for students scheduled to graduate that semester in order to ensure timely graduation. Instructions are included with sheets. Grade sheets for students enrolled through Continuing Education are separate from the regular grade sheets and must be submitted manually.

3. Grade Changes

Instructors who need to change grades for a student must complete a Change of Grade form, available from Cameron. One copy must remain in the MESALC Office for departmental records.

4. Confidentiality of Grades, Records, Personal Data

Grades for tests or written assignments may not be posted using complete social security numbers and should not be posted in any format (e.g., alphabetical listings even without names and social security numbers included) which would allow students to identify the grades of other students. It is recommended that students be identified either by codes that they provide or by selected digits of the social security number that have been sorted in numerical order. Student information should only be released to students when you can verify their identity. Contact the Chair to find out what personal student data can legally be released.

Faculty records are available only to the Chair unless otherwise specified by the Chair. Faculty records do not leave the main office unless they are requested by the Dean of Arts & Sciences or other administrative officers.

5. Graduate Students Taking Language Classes

MESALC welcomes UVa graduate students who want training in MESALC languages to participate in our language classes. Graduate students needing special consideration for their participation in the language class must request permission from the course instructor. The instructor’s decision should be guided by the following principles:

  • Graduate students wanting training in a MESALC language should enroll in the appropriate course and take the course for a grade.
  • Any graduate student whose status prevents formal enrollment is asked to sign up (formally) as an auditor. It is our understanding that all graduate students, no matter what stage they are at in their program, can audit a class without incurring additional tuition charges
  • MESALC’s normal practice is to provide graduate-credit options for 3rd-year and higher language classes, but not for 1st- and 2nd-year language classes.
  • Graduate Students wanting graduate credit for 3rd-year and higher language classes sign up under the graduate-level number (usually in the 5000s). Instructors may choose to require additional, and/or different work for graduate credit. If a third-year or higher language course does not have a corresponding graduate-level number, a student may request that such a number be added.
  • If a graduate student wants graduate credit for 1st- and 2nd-year language classes, they must sign up for an 8110/8120 course in the relevant language program. Instructors may choose to require additional, and/or different work for graduate credit.Each language program will offer 8110 and 8120 (Fall/Spring) courses, such as ARAB 8110, “Graduate Credit for Undergraduate Arabic,” or HEBR 8120, “Graduate Credit for Undergraduate Hebrew.” These courses can be repeated as needed.The decision whether an undergraduate language course counts toward a student’s graduate degree rests primarily with the student’s director of graduate studies (in the student’s home department).
  • When a language class is full, instructors may give priority to undergraduate students over graduate students.
  • This priority to undergraduate education may include an instructor deciding that expanding a class beyond its stated limit detracts from the quality of undergraduate education.
  • Once admitted (either as enrolled student or auditor) to a language class, it is the graduate student’s responsibility to participate fully in all classroom activities to the satisfaction of the course instructor. Students who fail to do so may be asked by the course instructor to drop the course and/or to stop attending class meetings.

K. Course Syllabi

Copies of syllabi for all courses taught in the MESALC Department are kept on file in the department office. Instructors should submit either a paper or electronic copy of their syllabus for each course they teach by the beginning of classes each semester.

L. Course Evaluations

Course evaluations are required for all courses taught during regular semesters. Copies of course evaluations are kept in personnel files. MESALC now administers all course evaluations through Toolkit. Instructors may view, print or download the results of their evaluations using a password provided by the Admin Coordinator. Only the chair has access to all evaluations.

M. Teaching Awards

University teaching awards for faculty are administered through the Teaching Resources Center. Information about these awards is available on their web site. The chair determines who will be nominated from the department.

Expand content

VI: Research Information

A. Research Support

B. Undergraduate Research Assistants

C. Distinguished Majors Program

The Distinguished Majors Program (DMP) provides an opportunity for majors with exceptional records to prepare a thesis under the supervision of a department faculty member during the student's fourth year. The resulting thesis may be based on empirical research conducted by the student or a critical literature review. Upon successful completion of the program, a student's degree may be awarded with Distinction, High Distinction, or Highest Distinction.

Applications, available from the MESALC Office, must be submitted by March 1 of the year prior to entering the program for May graduates, or November 1 of the prior year for January graduates. Applicants must be MESALC majors with an overall grade point average of 3.40.

The Undergraduate Committee reviews the applications and offers conditional acceptance to those meeting the requirements. Students are then given until the end of the month to gain the agreement of a faculty member to serve as their primary reader. It is recommended that students accepted into the DMP program meet with their advisors prior to the end of the semester so that they may begin thesis work during the summer.

Click here for more information about the Distinguished Majors Program.

Expand content

VII. University Information

A. University Organization

For an overview, see the faculty webpage. The University faculty is presided over by the President. The faculty as a whole delegates its powers to the University Senate, an elected body. The Faculty of Arts & Sciences is administered by the Dean of Arts & Sciences. In addition, there are three associate deans, Associate Dean for Educational Affairs, Associate Dean for Administration, and Associate Dean for Personnel and Planning. Assistant Deans are appointed to direct undergraduate Associations. Each undergraduate in the College is a member of an Association; membership in a particular Association typically is determined by housing location in the student's first year. The Association Deans advise, discipline, and generally monitor the academic progress of undergraduates.

B. Faculty Handbook

Please refer to the University Faculty Handbook for additional information.

C. Inside UVA

All faculty members receive the semi-monthly publication, "Inside UVA," which provides a calendar of cultural events which run the gamut from theater, to chorus, to orchestra, to art exhibits, to athletic events. The publication also includes information about awards and honors received by faculty members and staff. If any faculty member receives an academic honor or award, please provide information about this to the Chair, who will ensure coverage in "Inside UVA."

D. The Honor System 

All students at the University of Virginia must abide by the Honor System that prohibits lying, stealing and cheating. The system is run entirely by students through the Honor Committee, and those who are found guilty are dismissed from the University permanently.

The web site for the Honor System contains contact information, descriptions of procedures, statistics for honor cases, and a section for faculty with frequently asked questions. 

An introduction to the honor system is presented to new faculty members at orientation and information is distributed to faculty periodically. Some relevant aspects of the honor system for faculty members include:

  • students are expected to sign a standard pledge on assignments and exams
  • the syllabus and/or instructor should clearly define situations in which what is considered an honor violation may be ambiguous
  • proctoring exams is not necessary, although proctoring is at the discretion of the instructor
  • honor violations may be reported by any member of the University community by calling an Honor Advisor at 924-7062
  • instructors are given sole authority to determine the grade on an exam or assignment in which an honor violation is suspected (this is called faculty grading option); instructors are cautioned not to base the entire course grade on an exam or assignment in which an honor violation is suspected
  • faculty are strongly encouraged to report suspected honor violations as a show of faith and support toward the Honor System

E. Library

Information on university library facilities, including procedures on how to reserve books and materials for courses, may be obtained from the Library's Web Home.

F. Computing Services (ITC)

See ITC's website for a large amount of information about computing at UVa -- or contact our LSP for help.

G. Faculty Benefits Office

See the Benefits@ web page.

H. Parking and Transportation

Parking and Transportation is located on Millmont Street, behind the Barracks Road Shopping Center. We highly recommend you obtain parking permits (stickers or hang tags) for your vehicles at the earliest possible time. Parking regulations, including towing for violations, are strictly enforced by the University Police. The telephone number for Parking and Transportation is: 924-7231. MESALC faculty have diverse preferences in where they choose to park -- especially now that the B-1 lot, across from New Cabell Hall, is under construction. See the Parking & Transportation web page for more information.

I. Athletic Facilities

Check out the Intramural-Recreational Sports web pages. A number of athletic facilities are available to all persons affiliated with the University. In order to use these facilities, full-time faculty members and staff must purchase a facilities use card. Family memberships and guest passes are also available, as are “PlusOne Memberships,” designed for a benefits-eligible employee plus one other member of their household.

J. Athletic Events

Check out the UVa Athletics web page. Both the men’s and women’s soccer games are highly recommended.

K. The Colonnade Club and Hotel

For ready reference, you should first know that the University is not called a campus, but "grounds." The original center of the University was the Rotunda with the West and East Lawn, and the West and East Ranges. With this vocabulary in mind, you can locate the Colonnade Club, in Pavilion VII on the West Lawn, and the Colonnade Hotel, on the south end of the West Range. The Colonnade Club is the equivalent of a faculty club at UVa. New faculty members will be or have already been invited to a reception in September. There they will be apprised of all the Club has to offer (including dining facilities, meeting rooms, game rooms, reading rooms, guest rooms, coffee served in the morning and tea in the afternoon.) There are about six major social events during the year. The annual resident dues are $117.

The Garden Room restaurant is located next to the Colonnade Hotel. It is open for sit-down dining during lunch hours. The facility is open to faculty, staff, graduate students, and recently undergraduate students. Tables may be reserved. This facility is intended as a place where faculty and students can dine together.

Expand content

VIII. Faculty Evaluation, Promotion and Leaves

A. Annual Evaluations

All faculty will prepare an Annual Report outlining their activities for the calendar year when requested during the first months of the subsequent year. These reports are very important: they are used by the department chair to determine raises, and are viewed by the Dean's and Provost's office. Periodic faculty raises are determined by the Dean of Arts & Sciences and the Board of Visitors upon the recommendation of the department chair, using criteria and funds provided by the Board of Visitors. New salaries go into effect on November 25th.

B. Review Procedures for Tenure-Track Faculty

1. Procedures for Renewal (Third Year Review) for Tenure-Track Faculty

The initial appointment for untenured faculty is normally for a period of four academic years. Departments will normally consider tenure-track candidates for renewal of term in the third year of their service. The Department notifies candidates of appropriate procedures during the end of their second year in residence. Throughout the process, the Chair serves to answer whatever questions the candidate might have about the renewal process. Complete details on processes can be found in Appendix C.

2. Procedures for Promotion to the Rank of Associate Professor Without Term

The process of consideration for tenure is automatically initiated by the department Chair at the end of the fifth year. It can also be initiated earlier by a request from a candidate. The Department notifies candidate of procedures to be followed before the end of classes of the academic year prior to one during which the tenure process occurs. The Chair will make an effort to answer whatever questions the candidate might have about the promotion and tenure process. Complete details about this process can be found in Appendix C.

3. Procedures for Promotion to the Rank of Full Professor

The process by which a candidate may be advanced for promotion from Associate to Full Professor may be initiated on two ways. First, any faculty member has the right to ask that he or she be considered. This route usually begins with several conversations with the Department Chair about the process and its likely outcome. Second, the full professors of the Department may initiate the process with the consent of any candidate. In general, both routes should be initiated near the end of the academic year prior to the one in which the promotion is to be considered. The Chair will be available throughout the process to answer any of the candidate’s questions. In every case, the Promotion and Tenure Committee, Dean, and Provost will be looking for strong departmental support for the candidate. Complete details on processes can be found in Appendix C.

C. Review Procedures for General Faculty

The initial appointment for general faculty is normally one year. MESALC will normally consider general faculty for renewal for up to two three-year terms and will conduct reviews-for-renewal in the final year of each appointment.

Renewal after the second three-year appointment entitles the candidate to further three-year appointments, but with the expectation of continuation. Throughout the process, the Chair serves to answer whatever questions the candidate might have about the renewal process. Complete details on these processes can be found in Appendix C.

D. Leaves and Sabbaticals

The University defines three kinds of leave: Leave for Educational Purposes, Leave for Personal (including family) Reasons, and Temporary Disability (i.e., Medical) Leave. The University of Virginia's policies on "leaves of absence" are detailed on the Provost's website.

Educational (Sabbatical) Leaves

Faculty requests for leaves and sabbaticals may be granted depending on the needs of the department. Tenure-track faculty may apply for internal leaves through the Sesquicentennial Program (described below).

Sesquicentennial Fellowships

Eligibility. The Sesquicentennial application process takes place in the fall of the academic year preceding the academic year during which the Sesqui will be taken. Groups eligible to apply for a Sesqui to be taken during the 2013-2014 academic year:

  • Tenured faculty members who, when the Sesqui leave begins, will have completed 10 full- time teaching/working semesters since their last Sesqui; and
  • Tenure-track faculty members who are completing their fifth and sixth semesters of teaching at UVa during the 2012-2013 academic year, and who wish to take Sesqui leave during their fourth year.

Application Procedures. Applicants should submit the following to the department Chair:

  • Curriculum vitae, including a list of courses taught in each semester since the last sesqui or, in the case of untenured faculty members, since arriving at UVa;
  • A narrative statement of research plans (not to exceed 5 pages, double spaced). It is important that those in technical fields make their applications accessible to people outside their discipline;
  • Copies of last two annual reports of the faculty member;
  • Brief sample of recently published research.

Privileges. Sesquicentennial Fellows have the following privileges:

  • Fellows will be assigned to full-time research at full pay for one semester, or to half-time research at half pay for an academic year;
  • In the latter case, the Dean will monitor the acceptability of any other partial salaries or stipends received by the Associate;
  • The site at which the research is to be carried out should be specified in the application, and any subsequent changes of site should have the approval of the Dean.

Selection Process. The Dean of Arts & Sciences will appoint a faculty committee or use an appropriate committee already in place to advise him/her on the choosing of Sesquicentennial Associates.

Responsibilities. Sesquicentennial Fellows have the following responsibilities:

  • Those selected as Fellows must, upon the completion of their term, send a final report to the Dean of Arts & Sciences which describes the work the candidate has done and copies or citations of published work done at least in part during the period. The final report is quite as important as the original application. 
  • Any faculty member who accepts a Sesqui will be expected to return to full-time work at the University for at least one year at the completion of the academic year in which the Sesqui was taken.

Personal (Family, Parental) Leaves

Please see the Provost's Faculty Leave Policy for information on all forms of faculty leave, or the College's description of its specific policies on Parental Leaves.

Temporary Disability Leaves

Please see the Provost's Temporary Disability Leave policy for information on the terms of medical leave.

Expand content

IX. Other

A. Visa Applications and Renewals

The MESALC Department and the University of Virginia offer many services to help non-citizen teaching employees obtain and renew their visas and apply for permanent residency (“Green Card”). These services are available to all teaching faculty (tenured, tenure-track, and general faculty) who have continuing appointments at the University.

Faculty who have questions about renewing or enhancing their residency status should consult first with the Admin Supervisor. Additional resources include the Human Resources Office, and the website on immigration services maintained by the HR department. MESALC provides financial assistance to its employees seeking new immigration status by covering costs for H1-B visas and green card applications.

H-1B Visas and Renewals. First-time applicants for an H-1B visa can expect to incur the charges detailed below. MESALC normally pays for all of these charges:

Employees wanting a Green Card must begin the application process no more than 18 months from the original date of appointment. Initiation of this process itself takes 60-90 days, so employees should begin the application as soon as possible – usually after completion of their first year of employment. Requests for departmental sponsorship should be sent to the chair.