Your Continued Commitment to Our Mission and Students: For Faculty

December 12, 2023

Dear Faculty:

The fall semester has been particularly challenging as our community has grappled with the crisis in Israel and Gaza. Whether on a personal or professional level, members of our faculty have been impacted by these events. Thank you for everything you have done during this crisis to keep our academic enterprise moving forward, including maintaining your commitment to delivering upon our teaching and research mission so that our students may engage and grow intellectually in the face of these obstacles. As an institution of higher education, it is critical that we continue to encourage healthy, rigorous debate, convene thought leadership, and model the appropriate behavior for how universities should tackle complex issues. You have continually demonstrated your dedication to GW, our students, and the values we uphold.

We have heard that students are struggling this year. As faculty with close connections to our students, you remain an invaluable source of guidance and support, and I thank you for all you continue to do on behalf of our students’ education and well-being. As a reminder, the CARE Team allows all members of the community to submit a care referral for any student who may need additional support beyond assistance with classwork, so I ask you all to keep this valuable resource in mind. Counseling and Psychological Services staff are also available to speak with our students.

Of course, I also encourage you to take care of yourself and look out for your colleagues during this busy time. The Human Resources website and Faculty Affairs website have resources that will help you navigate potential challenges.

There are several pieces of important information at the bottom of this message to keep in mind as you finish the semester. Once again, thank you for your tireless efforts, and I hope you enjoy the winter break.


Christopher Alan Bracey
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Professor of Law


Submitting Grades

Faculty are required to submit final grades within five (5) business days after the final examination, after the submission of a final project, or after the final class meeting if no exam or project is given. Final grades should be submitted no later than December 24.

Updated instructions on final grade entry can be found here. With the update to the Incomplete Policy in the University Bulletin, you will now be asked for additional information when entering an incomplete grade. Detailed information and instructions can be found here.


Generative AI

Please remind your students about guidelines around the use of Generative AI at GW. Work submitted for evaluation is represented as the student’s own intellectual product. Students may not submit content (e.g., ideas, text, code, images) for evaluation that was generated, in whole or in part, by Generative Artificial Intelligence tools (such as ChatGPT and other large language models). Doing so without the instructor’s explicit permission constitutes cheating under the Code of Academic Integrity and is therefore prohibited.

If you suspect cheating, the matter should be addressed under the Code of Academic Integrity. You can learn more about reporting through Student Rights & Responsibilities (SRR), including the option to simply document a warning through SRR, which may be especially appropriate for first-time violations.

Please review the Guidelines and Additional Guidance distributed earlier this year for more information.


Testing Accommodations

During finals season, please note resources available to support our students and ensure an inclusive testing environment. The Disability Support Services (DSS) office on campus provides accommodations to students with disabilities, and one crucial aspect of this support involves test proctoring services. By collaborating with DSS, you can help ensure that all our students have a fair and accessible testing experience. You can review the DSS test accommodations guidance for additional information.

Here’s how you can work with DSS to provide these services: 

1. Early Communication: Encourage students to register with DSS as early as possible if they require testing accommodations. This allows DSS and faculty to plan effectively. 

2. Review Accommodation Letters: DSS will provide you with official accommodation letters also known as the Reasonable Accommodation Letter/ Letter to Professors. Review these letters carefully to understand the specific DSS approved accommodations required for each student. 

3. Coordination: Collaborate with DSS to schedule and coordinate the logistics of proctored exams. This may include sharing exam details, providing copies of the test, proctoring, and  discussing any specific requirements. 

4. Secure Testing Environment: Test proctoring is a shared responsibility of the university's DSS office and university faculty. This means that you may be required to proctor exams when the resources and capacity of the university's Disability Support Services office are fully utilized. In such cases, it's essential to ensure that the testing environment aligns with the approved accommodations. DSS can provide guidance on creating a quiet, distraction-free, and accessible environment.

5. Accommodation Implementation: During the exam, implement the approved accommodations as specified by DSS on the Reasonable Accommodation Letter/ Letter to Professors. This may involve extended time, a separate testing space, or other accommodations. 

6. Confidentiality: Maintain the confidentiality of students receiving accommodations. Do not discuss individual student accommodations with others or in the classroom setting. Avoid singling students out in class.

7. Feedback: Provide feedback to DSS if there are any issues or concerns related to the proctoring process, so improvements can be made. By working closely with DSS, we can ensure that all students, regardless of their individual needs, have an equal opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. 

Preparing for Final Exams

Because testing is a shared responsibility between faculty and DSS, and because the DSS office experiences a very high volume of testing requests, we ask that you make every effort to coordinate the implementation of extended time accommodations directly with the student within your department. This might mean starting students who have extended time in the classroom with the rest of the class and then bringing them back to a department space, or having students take the exam in a space like a departmental conference room where they can stay for the entire extended time. As noted above, it is critical to implement the approved accommodations as specified by DSS in the Letter to Professors. 

  • When students submit their requests, you will receive one email notification per request, informing you to approve or deny the request at hand via the DSS Faculty Admin Panel. Please approve or deny each request once received.
  • 48-Hour Requirement for Exam Delivery
    Please make every effort to provide DSS with the final copy of your exam at least 48 hours prior to your students' exam date and time. When it is ready, you may send it using one of the following options:
    • Email exam to [email protected] (preferred) 
    • Deliver exam to DSS Office in Rome Hall, Suite 102

You can also work with your scheduler to reserve a space though the Academic Scheduling Office to administer an exam in a distraction-reduced setting. Of course, it is important to remember that it is not always possible to get a space at the same time as your course, as our general purpose rooms are tightly scheduled at peak hours, so some flexibility may be needed.

This collaborative effort is a crucial step in promoting a fair and inclusive learning environment at our institution. If you have any questions or need assistance in coordinating proctored exams with DSS, please don’t hesitate to reach out to them directly. Your willingness to engage in this partnership is greatly appreciated and makes a meaningful difference in the academic journey of our students. Thank you for your continued dedication to our mission of providing quality education for all.