SIPA Teaching Guide

2017-18 Academic Calendar and Important Dates for Faculty

Fall 2017

Aug. 21 - 25 Registration open to continuing SIPA students only
Aug. 28-Sept. 1 New Student Orientation
Aug. 30-31 Registration open to new SIPA students only
Sept. 1 - 15 Registration open to all SIPA students
Sept. 4  Labor Day - University Holiday (no classes)
Sept. 5 First day of classes
Sept. 15 Last day of registration for all SIPA students
  Last day to add a class (excludes short courses)
  Last day to drop a class without receiving the mark of W and incurring financial responsibility for a class
  Last day to change grading option to "R Credit"
Oct. 10 Last day to withdraw from a course (with ‘W’ posted). Students may not officially withdraw from full semester courses after this date.
Oct. 19 Deadline to submit the Application for Individual Research (1.5 credit only)
Nov. 6-7 Academic Holiday (no classes)
Nov. 16 Last day for students to change grading option to pass/fail for eligible courses
Nov. 22-24 Academic Holiday (no classes)
Dec. 11 Last day of classes
Dec. 12-14 Study Days (during this time there are to be no exams, make-up classes, or assignments due
Dec. 15-22 Final exams
Jan. 2, 2018 Final grades due by 9:30pm in SSOL

Spring 2018

Jan. 4-10 Registration open to continuing SIPA students only
Jan. 10-11 New Student Orientation
Jan. 11-12 Registration open to new SIPA students only
Jan. 15 Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Observed -- University Holiday
Jan. 16 First Day of Classes
Jan. 16-26 Registration Open to All SIPA Students
January 26 Last day of registration for all SIPA students
  Last day to add a class (excludes short courses)
  Last day to drop a class without receiving the mark of W and incurring financial responsibility for a class
  Last day to change grading option to "R Credit"
Feb. 20 Last day to withdraw from a course (with ‘W’ posted). Students may not officially withdraw from full semester courses after this date.
March 5 Deadline to submit the Application for Individual Research (1.5 credit only)
March 12-16 Spring Recess (no classes)
March 22 Last day for students to change grading option to pass/fail for eligible courses
April 30 Last Day of Classes
May 1-3 Study Days (during this time there are to be no exams, make-up classes, or assignments due
May 4-11 Final exams
May 11 Grades due by 9:30pm in SSOL for graduating students
May 16 University Commencement
May 17 SIPA Graduation
May 17 Grades due by 9:30pm in SSOL for non-graduating students

Human Resources Paperwork

After receiving your appointment letter, you must set up an appointment with SIPA’s Human Resources Manager Kristine Barrera ( to complete all hire paperwork. This appointment must be in person and should be scheduled as soon as possible. 

Employment is contingent upon completion of receipt of proof of eligibility to work in the United States. The latter requires that you complete an I-9 Form in compliance with the Immigration Reform and Control Act. As part of this compliance, you must complete Section 1 of the form on or before your first day of employment. Please go to the following website, and follow the instructions provided.  Within three business days of your start date, you must go to the I-9 Processing Center located in 205 Kent Hall to complete the I-9 process and present original documents, as listed in Section 1 of the I-9 online, which identify you and indicate that you are eligible to work in the United States.

In addition to the I-9, you will need to complete some other paperwork before your appointment can be activated.  These include the Notice and Acknowledgement of Wage Rate and Designated Payday form, among others.  Please contact Kristine Barrera, SIPA Human Resources Manager, at to discuss which forms will be required and to schedule an appointment to complete these requirements. 

You cannot be appointed or paid until the paperwork has been completed


If you are not a US citizen or permanent resident, you must contact Joe Chartier, SIPA Departmental Administrator at, to begin the visa application process so you are eligible to teach

Paycheck Distribution and Direct Deposit

Once you have completed the required HR appointment paperwork, you will be paid on a semi-monthly payroll.  Paychecks are issued semi-monthly for the period of your appointment on the approximately the 15th and last business day of the month (please consult the University’s payroll schedule for actual payment dates).  When the checks are ready to be picked-up you will receive an email from Karine LaFargue to either pick-up your check or request that it be mailed. You are strongly encouraged to enroll in direct deposit online through MyColumbia (

After your appointment paperwork has been completed and your appointment is active, you will have access to MyColumbia (  This site allows you to view information about your personnel and payroll information including: 

  • View Your Paystubs
  • Sign-up for Direct Deposit
  • Update Your Personal Information: update home and offices address and phone numbers.  A note of caution—if you update your information using the portal, please send an e-mail to the Departmental Administrator to ensure that the internal database is updated in the event we need to send you correspondence or paychecks. 
  • Print your W2
  • Columbia News and Columbia Events Calendar. 

UNI (University Network ID) & E-mail

The key to accessing email and online resources at Columbia is your University Network ID (UNI). Every student, faculty member, and staff member is assigned one of these unique identifiers, consisting of your initials plus an arbitrary number. Once you receive an e-mail from the Office of Academic Affairs with your UNI, go to to activate your UNI. We encourage all adjunct faculty members to have their email forwarded to an alternative e-mail account if they do not think they will check their email regularly, even after the semester ends.  You may do this by going to and following instructions for UNI Mail Forwarding.

As a faculty member, you are required to activate your Columbia UNI in order to be able to access your class rosters, put your syllabus on CourseWorks and to enter the students' grades at the end of the semester.

If you have forgotten your UNI password, or if your password has expired, go to and follow instructions for Forgot Password, or call CUIT at 212-854-1919. You will be asked to provide the number on the back of your Columbia University ID. Your UNI and Columbia email is active during the period of your appointment and expires upon termination.  For adjunct faculty the University’s policy is to keep the UNI (and email) active for up to 12 months from the beginning of the most recent appointment.

Columbia ID Card

To obtain your Columbia University ID card please go to the ID Center located at 204 Kent Hall (on the main campus).  The hours of operation are 9-5 Monday to Friday.  To access the International Affairs Building after hours you must meet with the Academic Departmental Administrator, Joe Chartier, to obtain a letter stating that you are eligible for this access and take it with your ID card to 11A Low Library.  This office is open from 9-5 Monday-Friday.  Important: new faculty members must complete paperwork with Human Resources (see preceding section) BEFORE they request University ID.


The Office of Academic Affairs (OAA) annually requests updated versions of your CV and profile (about 250 words). CVs must include your educational information and the years degrees were received. CVs are kept for our office records. Profiles are posted on the SIPA website. CVs and profiles should be submitted via email in MS Word to Marianna Breytman,, OAA Administrative Assistant, one month before the beginning of the semester. 

Grading Guidelines

Submitting Grades

Faculty members submit grades for their courses online through Student Services Online (SSOL). To use this site, you will need to log in with your UNI and password.

About two weeks before the end of the semester, the University Registrar’s Office and Andrew Johnson will email instructions on using this site and notify you of dates during which web grading opens and closes and the deadlines for grade submission. It is important to submit grades by the established deadline. Delays in grade submission result in delayed graduation for graduating students.  To determine whether or not your grades have been submitted, check the grade roster which will state the date, time and UNI of the individual who submitted the grades.  For assistance using Web Grading, please email

Changing Grades

Instructors are responsible for initiating grade changes.  Students should not be given the option to re-do work they have already completed (unless all students are afforded the same opportunity and the opportunity is publicized via CourseWorks or the course syllabus).  Students should not be allowed to do extra work after the end of the semester in order to raise their grade. All grade changes must be approved by the Curriculum and Faculty Affairs Director. In the School of International and Public Affairs grade changes must be initiated by the end of the semester following that in which the initial grade is issued and must be initiated by the instructor through Student Services Online (SSOL) Grade Change function, or by contacting Andrew Johnson (

Grading Notations

The Professorial Faculty of the School of International and Public Affairs have adopted the following grading guidelines to ensure consistency and provide guidance to instructors new to SIPA:  Grades submitted for SIPA core courses must have an average GPA between 3.2 and 3.4, with the goal being 3.3. Courses with enrollments over 35 are recommended to also follow this rule. Workshop courses will be exceptions to this rule. 

These guidelines do not need to be interpreted as a strict curve, and faculty are free to reach this goal in a variety of ways.  Faculty may treat "B+" as the mode for their classes and distribute grades above and below B+ at their discretion.  Another option is to use the registrar's grade point system (below) to produce a firm 3.3 average for the class.  

When the faculty voted to adopt these guidelines, they intended to preserve some faculty flexibility and discretion, but also wanted to create some structure and norms.  

Grade GPA Equivalent
A+ 4.33 (Only to be awarded rarely - for extraordinary performance)
A (Excellent) 4.00
A- 3.67
B+ 3.33
B (Good) 3.00 (A cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required to remain in good academic standing and to graduate)
B- 2.67
C+ 2.33
C (Fair) 2.00
C- 1.67
D (Poor) 1.00
F (Failure) 0.00
P (Pass) N/A

SIPA uses a standard A-F grading scale.


Core, concentration, and specialization courses cannot be taken pass/fail.  Students can only opt to take elective courses on a pass/fail basis. There is no limit to the number of elective courses that can be taken pass/fail.1 Please note the regulations below regarding taking a course pass/fail:

  • Instructor's permission is not required to change the grading option to P/F (pass/fail). However instructors can opt to have a course blocked from pass/fail registration.
  • Students can change the grading option to P/F (pass/fail) online during the Add/Drop period (first two weeks of classes) and at any time via a Registration Add/Drop Form until the "last day to change grading option" on the Academic Calendar (the ninth week of classes every semester).
  • Once a grading option of pass/fail is selected, it cannot be reverted to letter grade.
  • A grade of Pass is not calculated into a student's grade point average. Certain courses, such as one-point short-courses or Professional Development are offered only on a Pass/Fail basis.

 Students in the MPA-DP program may take a course P/F if it is an elective, however the MPA-DP program only allows for P/F courses to count towards the 54 required credits IF the course does not offer a letter-grade option

Auditing/R credit (registered for the course; no qualitative grade assigned):

SIPA does not officially allow students to ‘sit-in’ on courses (i.e., attend classes without being registered for the course). Students who audit (receive R-credit) a course must be registered for the course in SSOL and appear on the grade roster. If students are not officially registered, they will not have access to CourseWorks.  Students who wish to be receive R-credit for a course must request permission from the instructor during the registration period. Registration priority in SIPA courses should be given to students who wish to take the course for full-credit. Instructors are not obligated to grant R-credit; however, if permission is granted, the student must meet course requirements established at the discretion of the instructor. Upon successful completion of the course, the instructor will submit the grade of R for these students. Should students not meet course requirements or fail to attend class, instructors have the option of submitting a grade of UW or F. 

The mark of W (Withdrawal):

Given to a student who drops a course between the end of add/drop and the fifth week of classes. Students cannot drop/withdraw from a course after the date noted on the SIPA academic calendar

The mark of UW (Unofficial Withdrawal): 

  • Given to a student who discontinues attendance in a course, without submitting an official request to withdraw prior to the stated deadline on the SIPA Academic Calendar (fifth week of classes).
  • A “UW” is a permanent grade and will remain on the transcript even if the student repeats the course.

The mark of CP (Credit Pending):

A CP should be posted when a short extension (less than two or three weeks) has been approved for submission of coursework.  Once the work has been submitted, you can change the CP to a letter grade using the web grading system. The mark of CP indicates that the student has made satisfactory progress and that the final mark will be submitted very soon.

The mark of IN (Incomplete):

  • Incompletes are granted or denied at the discretion of course Instructors. Incompletes can be granted in cases of incapacitating illness, serious family emergency, or in circumstances of comparable gravity. Permission can also be granted in order to allow a student to consult research materials not obtainable in the course of the semester.

    Any student who believes that his/her situation warrants the granting of "IN" must complete the Application for Incomplete Form ( and submit it to the Office of Student Affairs by the last day of the final exam period.

  • A student applying for an "IN" should first obtain the approval signature of the instructor before submitting the form.
  • If you are requesting an "IN" in more than one course, you must speak with one of the Deans in the Student Affairs Office.
  • If an instructor grants an incomplete for a course, the instructor and student must agree on a date in which the coursework will be completed. This date must be within three months of the end of the semester. It is the student’s responsibility to make sure a grade is submitted by the agreed upon date. The instructor is not required to submit a grade for the course after the agreed upon date. If a grade is not submitted by this date, the grade will revert to a UW (Unofficial Withdrawal). This means the credits in the course will be forfeited.

    SIPA policy states that if the outstanding coursework is not completed within three months, the grade will automatically revert to Unofficial Withdrawal (UW), defined as "student did not complete attendance and/or assignments, but failed to withdraw." The UW is a permanent grade that cannot be changed. Students with two or more grades of Incomplete “IN” will have a registration hold placed on their account. Students cannot be approved to graduate with a mark of incomplete on their transcript. All grades must be final in order for a student to graduate.

The mark of AB (Absent from the Final Examination):

Granted by the instructor, not later than the day of the examination, to a student whose attendance and progress have been satisfactory and who cannot be present because of sickness or some other extreme emergency, which must be substantiated. The student must make arrangements with the instructor to remove the AB.

The mark of YC (Year Course):

A temporary mark given at the end of the first term of a course in which the full year's work must be completed before a qualitative grade is assigned. The grade given at the end of the second term is the grade for the entire course.

Academic Progress:

Students must maintain a 3.0 minimum cumulative grade point average for all courses applicable to the MIA or MPA degree.  A student whose performance does not meet these standards may not be permitted to continue to enroll in the degree program and appropriate action will be taken by the School. If at the end of a semester a graduate student fails to meet the GPA requirement, or accumulates 2 or more INC grades, or in other ways fails to meet the standards for progress, the student will receive a written warning concerning the lack of academic progress. The student must remedy the problem within one semester. Failure to re-establish satisfactory academic standing may result in dismissal from SIPA, subject to review by the Associate Dean of Student Affairs. A student who is dismissed must wait a minimum of one calendar year from the date of dismissal before applying for readmission to the graduate program.

Satisfactory academic progress for a full-time student is defined as a minimum GPA of 3.00 and completing a minimum of 9 credits per term toward the degree. Full-time students who do not earn this minimum number of credits will have a Dean's Hold placed on their registration.

A Dean's Hold prevents a student from registering for classes and from receiving the degree. Students with two or more IN or UW or one or more grades of F will have their registration placed on Dean's Hold. In serious cases of unsatisfactory performance, a Dean's Hold may lead to dismissal from the School upon recommendation by the Committee of Deans. Students who are placed on Dean's Hold must be granted permission to register by the Associate Dean.

Effective Fall 2011: Students are required to complete all of the MIA or MPA degree requirements within five years of the first semester of matriculation at SIPA. 

The total number of attempted credits toward the degree should not exceed 90 credits.

Advanced Standing/Transfer credits do not impact the cumulative GPA, but count as both attempted and completed credits.

*Note – students enrolled in the part-time Executive MPA Program (EMPA) are required to complete an average of 6 credits per term instead of the 9 required for full-time students.

Mid-term, Final Exam and Final Paper Schedule

Mid-term exams are generally held in-class. The final exam schedule is set by the University Registrar. The final exam for your course may not coincide with your scheduled class time or room. Exam schedules are posted on the university registrar site shortly after mid-semester (

If you would like to have a final exam scheduled for your course during finals week, please notify Andrew Johnson, Curriculum Director. If and when you contact Andrew Johnson, please be sure to provide him with the number and section of your course. 

Access to your scheduled classroom at the scheduled time will end on the last day of classed. If you wish to hold a review session during the “reading” period, please make your request via the room reservation request form at least three business days in advance.  Please note that make-up classes must be held during the regular semester, and may NOT be scheduled during the “reading” period.

Deadline for submission of final papers

If you assign a research paper in lieu of a final exam, please set the deadline for submission during the early portion of the final exam period - not on the last day of class and definitely not during study days.  If professors set the deadline for papers on the final day of classes, it can create unintended problems for students who have multiple final papers due on the last day of class.  We leave it to each faculty member to decide what deadline works best for her/his particular course, but we encourage you to be aware of this potential problem for students.

When you schedule your deadline for submission, please leave enough time for grading. It is essential that grades for all students be submitted by the grading deadline and that grades for graduating students be submitted on or before the deadline. The grading period typically ends on the last day of the exam period to ensure that students who are graduating are not delayed. 

Proctoring exams

Faculty members are required to proctor their own in-class exams. If your course has a Teaching Assistant, Departmental Research Assistant, or Reader, that person may assist you in proctoring exams if their class schedules permit, but may not substitute for the faculty member. Faculty members may not ask students who are not officially assigned as student officers to assist in proctoring exams or to perform other administrative work associated with the course.

Please note that students with disabilities may require special accommodations for exams and in-class work. Please see the “Students with Disabilities” section at the end of this guide for further information.

Returning assignments

The SIPA faculty offices are not able to distribute or handle final exams or assignments.  The best way to return final exams to students is to request them to submit a self-addressed stamped envelope to you during class if they would like papers or exams returned.  Alternately, faculty can distribute papers and assignments during office hours.  It is not acceptable to leave any assignments or exams in mailboxes or in common spaces.

If students do not request their exams or papers, the Office of Academic Affairs recommends faculty members keep the exams for at least 120 days, preferably for one year, in the event that a student files a grievance related to the class.

Plagiarism or Cheating

The School of International & Public Affairs does not tolerate cheating and/or plagiarism. Those students who violate the Code of Academic & Professional Conduct will be subject to the Dean’s Disciplinary Procedures. The School provides useful resources online related to plagiarism; we strongly encourage students to familiarize themselves with various attribution styles before conducting their research:The Code of Academic and Professional Conduct and the Dean’s Discipline Policy and Procedures can be found at  

If you believe a student(s) has committed plagiarism, please contact Cory Way, Associate Dean for Student Affairs (, 854-8690).

University Policies and Student Grievance Procedures

The University Statutes and the general policies of the University describe the roles and responsibilities of faculty in their teaching and research. The rights, duties and obligations of the faculty can be found in the Faculty Handbook at

For a further description of university policies please see FACETS appendices at

For a description of student grievance procedures at SIPA, please visit

Canceling and Rescheduling Classes

Faculty are expected to hold classes at their regularly scheduled times, in their regularly scheduled locations.

Should class be canceled, we leave it to the individual faculty member to decide how to cover the material from the missed class. There are three main options:

  1. The faculty member can compress the missed lecture into other weeks, to cover the missed material in the remaining sessions,
  2. Poll the students to find a time that works for both students and the instructor, and then submit a classroom reservation request with SIPA Academic Affairs, or
    (note: If you schedule a make-up class outside of regular class time, students should not be penalized if they are unable to attend. They can, however, be expected to learn the material covered.)
  3. Adjust your syllabus to skip the missed lecture. Scheduling make-up classes can be difficult, and it’s almost never possible to find a time that works for all students. 

Please note that make-up classes must be held during the regular semester, and may NOT be scheduled during the “reading/study” period.

If you must cancel class suddenly due to illness or emergency, please contact the SIPA Academic Affairs ( and email your students as soon as possible via the Mailtool in CourseWorks to inform them of the cancellation. SIPA staff will post a sign on the door of your classroom notifying students of the cancellation. If you cannot notify staff during operating hours, please request a student from your class to post a sign. 

Student Absences

While SIPA has no official policy on student absences, we provide the following as a guideline for our faculty: Students are expected to attend all classes unless they have an excused absence: a serious medical issue, family emergency/death or, depending upon faculty member’s discretion, significant career-related activity.  For serious medical issues or family emergencies, students should obtain a dean’s note from the Office of Student Affairs. For career related activity, students should request to be absent in advance and make arrangements when possible to attend another section of the class, secure notes from another student, and/or complete an additional assignment related to the topic for the missed session.

Because MIA and MPA students are expected to complete an internship and because some internships require students to attend informational activities or interviews, many faculty will excuse students from one class in order to participate in such activities or to interview for a job.

Faculty should indicate their expectations regarding unexcused and excused absences in their syllabi, articulating clearly how absences will affect a final grade.  The following paragraph may serve as a model: “Students are expected to attend all classes unless they have an excused absence. Students who have one or more unexcused absences can expect to lose XX% of their grade for each absence. Students who have more than one excused absence should consult with the instructor about if or how these absences will affect their final grade.”

Independent Study Policy

Independent Studies are voluntary agreements between individual faculty members and individual students, in which students complete a course of study and assignment.  The course of study and assignment for a three-point independent study typically consist of a reading list comparable to that required for a regular three-point course, which can range from 75-150 pages per week, and a research paper (at least 20 pages).  Independent study courses also can be taken for 1.5 points; in this case, the reading and research paper are customarily half the length of those for a three-point course.  Because independent studies (particularly for three-points) are intensive activities, faculty members regard them as a significant commitment.  Faculty members are not obligated to undertake the supervision of independent studies, and they typically do so with students who have completed a class or other educational/research activity under their supervision. If a SIPA faculty member is willing to supervise an independent study, the student should ask the faculty member to sign an “Application for Individual Research Course” [] and then submit the signed application to the Office of Student Affairs no later than the change of program deadline.  Full-time faculty members who are not appointed at SIPA, but are appointed in other schools, also are eligible to supervise independent studies with SIPA students; non-SIPA faculty follow the policies and procedures established by their schools, not SIPA.

SIPA students typically ask SIPA faculty members or other faculty from whom they have taken a class to serve as their independent study faculty supervisor.  On occasion, adjunct faculty members currently teaching at SIPA supervise independent studies.  Since adjunct faculty receive no additional compensation for supervising independent studies, and are generally engaged in full-time activities outside of SIPA, many adjunct faculty are reluctant to undertake this obligation.  If an adjunct faculty member is approached by a student about supervising an independent study and is interested in learning more, she/he should contact the SIPA Office of Academic Affairs.  

Course Evaluations

The Office of Academic Affairs regularly conducts two sets of course evaluations per semester. A “course implementation evaluation” is distributed online through CourseWorks during the third week of classes and contains questions regarding the syllabus, start and end times for classes, and course materials. This short evaluation consists of approximately 10 yes or no questions and is designed to alert the Academic Affairs Office of any problems that should be immediately addressed regarding course implementation.

At the end of the semester, the Office of Academic Affairs conducts a second set of evaluations designed to give faculty members constructive feedback on the course structure, content, and teaching. A typical evaluation form consists of 20 questions and a comments section for the course in general, the Instructor and the Teaching Assistant as applicable. The CourseWorks evaluation system produces a report of aggregate responses, and students’ responses are not tied to any identifying information. Every evaluation is examined by the staff of the Office of Academic Affairs, who discuss any outstanding themes with instructors and/or concentration directors.

During the evaluation period, students receive frequent email reminders and links to evaluation forms for each class in which they are enrolled. Students who do not complete an evaluation cannot access their grade or the evaluation results in CourseWorks; however, they can still access their grades in Student Services Online (SSOL).

The evaluations are activated and administered by the Office of Academic Affairs. The office requests the faculty’s assistance in encouraging their students to complete course evaluations. Faculty encouragement often results in a higher response rate. The office will notify you of the opening and closing dates of evaluations each semester. 

After all grades have been submitted, the Academic Affairs Office will release course evaluations for instructors to view in CourseWorks. You will receive further instructions on how to view your evaluation online at the end of each semester.

The quantitative and qualitative results of evaluations for each course are made available to SIPA students.

Laptop Policy for SIPA Students

SIPA students are required to have a laptop. SIPAIT will be provides remote access to applications used in the labs and data on the network to students so that they can work on their laptop, without requiring them to have all special applications loaded on each laptop. Microsoft Office, Operating system, Project and Visio along with Norton anti-virus and other software will be available to students, faculty and staff for download as before. For additional information on hardware or software requirements for students, please visit:

Study/Reading Days and Review Sessions

Following the last day of classes, there is a three-day study period, followed by the final exam period.  No make-up classes, exams, final presentations or deliverables may be scheduled or due during the study period.  Faculty or TAs may schedule review sessions during this period.  The regularly scheduled class-time and room are not available for faculty during study period.  Faculty or TAs must reserve a room for a review session through Marianna Breytman,  Please reserve rooms for review sessions at least two weeks before the end of classes.  You cannot reserve rooms for study sessions using the online room reservation system (it is only for non-class related activities). 

Students with Disabilities: The Office of Disabilities Services

Introduction to ODS:

The Office of Disability Services (ODS) coordinates reasonable accommodations, support services, and auxiliary aids for eligible students. In order to be eligible for these accommodations and resources, students first must register with ODS and provide current documentation that shows their accommodation needs and impact areas of their disability.  ODS provides a wide range of accommodations and services to students with disabilities according to documented need and prevailing academic standards. Examples of reasonable accommodations include sign-language interpreting services, note-taking services, assistive technology, extended time to complete in-class exams, and textbooks in alternate format, such as large print. ODS also provides a variety of support services, including individual consultation with our learning specialist, workshops that address academic and disability issues, and an AD/HD networking support group. 

Faculty Role

ODS values Columbia’s faculty input and its efforts to ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to University curricula. In particular, ODS relies on faculty’s guidance in striking the balance between accommodating students with disabilities and preserving academic standards. ODS collaborates with faculty to determine appropriate reasonable accommodations and to maintain the integrity of course standards and program requirements.


8th floor, Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway, Mail Code 2605
New York, NY 10027

Phone                    212 854 2388
TTY                        212 854 2378
Fax                         212 854 3448


For a full staff directory, please consult our website;

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a disability?
    A disability is any physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a person in a major life activity, compared to the average person. Examples of major life activities relevant to the academic setting include reading, writing, computation skills, cognitive processing, seeing, hearing, walking, and concentration. 
  • What are reasonable accommodations?
    Reasonable accommodations are adjustments to policies, practices, or procedures that facilitate equal access for individuals with disabilities. Reasonable accommodations do not provide advantages to people with disabilities, but rather create equal opportunity. Students with disabilities receiving reasonable accommodations are still required to meet all academic standards and to be evaluated in the same manner as other students.
  • What are the limits of reasonable accommodations? 
    Accommodations are not considered reasonable if they are unduly burdensome (i.e. prohibitively costly or disruptive – a very high legal standard) for the University as a whole to administer, if their provision poses a “direct threat” to the health and safety of the individual seeking accommodations or others, or if the accommodation undermines the integrity of academic and/or technical standards that the University deems essential to its programs.
  • Why do students with disabilities often need testing accommodations?
    Testing accommodations are designed to give the student equal access to the assessment and evaluation methods of the course. Testing accommodations do not alter the content of the exam or what the student is required to demonstrate on the exam, but rather alter the administration of the exam. Examples of testing accommodations include large print format, use of a computer to type the exam, use of assistive technology for the exam, and extended time to complete the exam. The intention of testing accommodations is to remove barriers that traditional exam administration presents to the student due to their disability.
  • How will I know if there is a student with a disability in my class? 
    The student will present an accommodation letter from the SIPA ODS liaison, an advising dean in Student Affairs. The letter will outline ODS’ recommendations for accommodations for your course. 
  • What should I do if a student approaches me about an accommodation that was not included in the Accommodation Letter from ODS?
    Faculty should refer students to ODS to evaluate the student’s new request. ODS will review their request along with their disability information and consult with the faculty member to determine if the student’s requested accommodation is appropriate for that course
  • What should I do if there is a student who is having academic difficulties and I suspect that the student might have a learning disability? 
    ODS advises that professors approach students sensitively and privately to speak to the student about their difficulties. Academic difficulties can be occurring for numerous reasons and the student may indicate such causes. If after discussing your concerns with the student, you still suspect a disability, refer the student to ODS. A program coordinator will meet with the student to determine the best plan of action, which can include referral for complete learning disability evaluation, consultation with learning specialist, or other appropriate provider. 
  • What does ODS not do? 
    • ODS does not provide accommodations for faculty and staff. Faculty and staff with disabilities should contact Human Resources/ Return to Work program for additional information at:
      Telephone: (212) 870-3464
      Fax: (212) 870-2810
    • ODS does not serve as the University’s compliance office for disability related complaints. For additional information, please contact:
      Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action
      103 Low Memorial Library
      Mail Code 4333
      535 West 116th Street
      New York, NY 10027
      Telephone: (212) 854-5511
      Fax: (212) 854-1368 


CourseWorks ( enables faculty members to publish and easily manage their course materials in a web-based publishing environment. Students rely heavily on CourseWorks, which serves as a single point of entry to all their courses, lectures, assignments, readings, bulletin board discussions, and grades, as well as links to digital library reserves. If you require more assistance or would like to attend a training workshop, please contact Andrew Flatgard, Learning Designer at Columbia Teaching and Learning (CTL), at 212-851-9861 (

Posting your syllabus on CourseWorks

Faculty are required to post their full syllabus to CourseWorks on the “Syllabus” section, and textbook information (even identifying no textbooks required) in the “Textbook” by August 1st for the fall semester and October 15th for the spring semester.  Please consult the SIPA syllabus template for guidelines for syllabus content – the template is available from the Curriculum Director Andrew Johnson.

Please also forward an electronic copy of your syllabus for your course as a MS Word attachment or as an Adobe Acrobat file to the Office of Academic Affairs Administrative Assistant, Marianna Breytman, by the above listed dates, so the Academic Affairs Office has a copy available in its files. The Administrative Assistant does NOT post your syllabus to CourseWorks. Marianna’s email is

Access to current syllabi for all SIPA courses via CourseWorks is essential for many reasons.  They are important tools for student advising by SIPA deans, assistant deans, faculty advisors, and concentration and program directors. Faculty members of the Committee on Instruction sometimes refer to them in their deliberations on the curriculum. We often share certain syllabi with new adjunct faculty members in discussions about how their courses will best fit aspects of SIPA's curriculum. Prospective students often review online syllabi in the process of deciding to apply to SIPA. In addition, prior access to syllabi allows students to plan their courses more effectively. Each semester, many students register for classes only to drop them after receiving the syllabus in the first two weeks. Prior access to information about course content, assignments, and requirements also reduces email inquiries to faculty.

A helpful reference for navigating CourseWorks is located at this URL: Feel also free to contact Andrew Flatgard, Learning Designer at Columbia Teaching and Learning (CTL), at 212-851-9861 (, who can assist you with remaining questions you may have with CourseWorks technology.

Making course readings available to students

By August 1 for the fall semester and December 1 for the spring, faculty must identify the weekly readings for their course and how the students will access the readings. There are three common ways to make weekly course readings available to students: 1. When possible, faculty will provide copies of the readings by posting the reading, file, or web link to their CourseWorks site. 2. For those readings that a faculty member does not possess electronically, readings are either placed on electronic reserve or hard-copy in the Lehman Library, or 3. can be purchased through the University Bookstore.

Electronic Reserves

Lehman Library provides course reserves services for all SIPA courses.  Reserves services are provided for required readings and may include all formats: books, chapters of books, journal articles, videos, DVDs and others. 

Whenever possible the Lehman Library will link to online resources. When they can not to a resource, they will place the physical item on reserves.  The Library will also purchase books that are not already in their collections, when available.  If you have questions about this, please consult the guidelines on the Course Reserves webpage.

To request course reserves services:

Start by submitting a list of items that you want on reserves, or provide the Lehman Library a copy of your syllabus.  At this time there is no need to provide photocopies or copies of books.  If the Lehman Library is unable to link to an online resource and the item is not available in Lehman, they will ask you to submit a copy.

Provide full citations as they appear in your syllabus.  For journal articles include:  author, title, journal title, volume, date and pagination.  For book chapters include:  author, title of chapter, book title, publisher, date of publication and pagination.

Submit lists any of the following ways:

  • Start by submitting a list of items that you want on reserves, or give us a copy of your syllabus.  At this time there is no need to provide photocopies or copies of books.  If we are unable to link to an online resource and the item is not available in Lehman, we will ask you to submit a copy.
  • Provide full citations as they appear in your syllabus.  For journal articles include:  author, title, journal title, volume, date and pagination.  For book chapters include:  author, title of chapter, book title, publisher, date of publication and pagination.
  • Re-use a list from a previous semester by reviewing the list via your CourseWorks page, and using the online submission form (see URL below), to request reactivation.  Reserves lists are not reactivated automatically.  You must notify us if you wish to re-use a former list.
  • Submit lists any of the following ways:

If you have questions, please e-mail the Lehman Library Reserves Team at

Course textbooks

For textbooks required for teaching your class, please contact the publishers directly to obtain a free copy (“desk copy”), generally provided free of charge to course instructors. While each publishing company requests different information, typically they will need the name of the school, name of the class, course number, and student enrollment.

To order textbooks to be available for purchase by students at the Columbia University Bookstore:

  1. Go to the bookstore’s website:
  2. Click on Textbooks, then Faculty Resources (this will take you to the FacultyEnlight website)
  3. Click on Adopt, then Create New
  4. Complete the required fields.
    *When selecting “Find Your School,” Columbia is a 4-year private school.
    **When selecting Department and Course, your department is the four-letters at the start of your course number, and course is the letter U and the four numbers. (Example: if your course number is INAFU6000, INAF is your department, and U6000 is your course.)

Course Reader 

SIPA does not have the facilities to conduct copyright clearance for professor’s course packs.  They must be produced through the Columbia Bookstore or Village Copier (see below). Due to the time it takes to get copyright clearance on each item in the course pack, it is recommended that requests are submitted 4-6 weeks in advance. The contact at the Bookstore for course readers is Miguel Morales 854-1238 (

The Bookstore will need the following information:

  • Course name
  • Course number
  • Professor’s name
  • Expected enrollment 

Option 1:

Take the complete set of materials for course pack to the bookstore. They will forward it to the publishing company (Xanedu Custom Publishing) who will then produce it for sale at the Bookstore.

Option 2 (a little faster):

Work directly with Xanedu Custom Publishing to produce the course pack. They will accept materials by phone, email or fax.  The Coursepack will still be sold at the Bookstore.  The contact is:

Xanedu Account Executive for SIPA:  Dick Stratton
Direct phone:  (856) 983-6255
Xanedu customer service: (800) 218-5971 Option 6 (for sales)
Xanedu fax: (888) 802-5734

If the course pack is comprised of articles from widely used sources (e.g., cases from the Harvard Business Review), Xanedu is likely to have copies in their database, in which case they would not need hard copies of the articles.   If you think this may be the case, contact Xanedu sales to confirm and then simply send them an email with the complete citations.

Another Option – The Village Copier 

The Village Copier (located on Broadway at 118th Street) can also produce course packs and will handle copyright clearance.  You must get a copyright clearance form from them, which should be filled out and submitted with the hard copy of the course pack.

If you want your own desk copy of the course pack, you must request it in person at the Bookstore.

Library Resources

Lehman Social Sciences Library, located on the 3rd floor of IAB, assists faculty with all aspects of research and teaching. Lehman contains electronic databases including, but not limited to, the following: AccessUN, Conference Proceedings/Working Papers (SSRN to World Bank), Country Profiles (Armed Conflict Database to Eurostat Country Profiles), Digital Dissertations, Journals (JSTOR, Lexis Nexis, PAIS International & Archive 1015-present), New Sources (Factiva to GenderWatch), Statistics (U.S. Govt, Catalogs, Almanacs), World Bank e-library. Lehman’s subject guide represents SIPA areas of inquiry and knowledge. Faculty may take advantage of Lehman’s Digital Social Science Center for advanced information/technology assistance (data, maps, government documents).

Instructors with questions about student registration process may contact Curriculum Director Andrew Johnson ( or Assistant Dean Alleyne Waysome ( Students with questions regarding registration should contact SIPA Student Affairs on the 6th floor of SIPA. During the registration period, which typically lasts through the first two weeks of the semester, it is common to see a daily fluctuation of students registered for your course.  It can take up to 24 hours for students to appear on your CourseWorks and SSOL roster once they have registered. 

Requests to register your course

  • From SIPA students: SIPA students are able to register your course online through Student Services Online (SSOL). If the course is full and they are unable to register, you should advise them to join the waitlist for your course in SSOL.
  • From non-SIPA students: SIPA students should receive priority registration in your course, and in most cases registration is not immediately available to other students. If at the start of the semester seats are still available in your course, SIPA will review your enrollment to determine if your course will be available for registration to non-SIPA students through SSOL.  

Accessing your waitlist

  • When the enrollment limit in your course is met, a waitlist will automatically be created in Student Services Online (SSOL). The system defaults to register students automatically from your waitlist as seats become available.
  • Instructors have the option to manage their waitlist and manually approve those students they would like to be registered. Managing your own waitlist will require you to actively check enrollment and add students to your course from the waitlist as seats become available. If you manage your waitlist and enrollment falls below the cap, no students will be added to the class -- unless you do so. It is very important that you do not exceed the enrollment limit in your course when adding students.
  • To view or manage your waitlist:
    1. Login to SSOL ( with your UNI and password
    2. Click the link entitled ‘Class List’
    3. From the Class List, click on the ‘Wait List’ link that corresponds with the course you want to view

Requests to audit your course (or in official terms, to receive R-credit)

SIPA does not officially allow students to ‘sit-in’ on courses (i.e., attend classes without being registered for the course). Students who audit (receive R-credit) a course must be registered for the course in SSOL and appear on the grade roster. If students are not officially registered, they will not have access to CourseWorks.  Students who wish to be receive R-credit for a course must request permission from the instructor during the registration period. Registration priority should be given to students who wish to take your course for full-credit. Instructors are not obligated to grant R-credit; however, if permission is granted, the student must meet course requirements established at the discretion of the instructor. Upon successful completion of the course, instructors will submit the grade of R for these students. Should students not meet course requirements or fail to attend class, instructors have the option of submitting a grade of UW or F. 

Course Scheduling and Room Reservations

The Curriculum Director, Andrew Johnson, will confirm your teaching availability with you prior to scheduling your class and will notify you of your scheduled course time and classroom. Access to your scheduled classroom at the scheduled time will conclude on the last day of your class. If you plan to hold a review or make-up session, please submit a room request form at least three business days in advance of the needed date via

A/V Support in Electronic Classrooms

If you need access to the electronic podium in your classroom and do not have a key, please go to: and follow instructions for e-room training and the key request. After you complete the form, you can work with SIPA A/V ( to coordinate a time to receive training and a key.

Computer support and audiovisual services by SIPA are limited to the International Affairs Building (IAB). SIPA IT supports SIPA computer labs for SIPA courses. SIPA audiovisual support is available to SIPA students, faculty, and administrators in the SIPA electronic classrooms (e-rooms). Audiovisual support is also available for SIPA courses in non-electronic classrooms in the IAB. Video conferencing for small groups is available with prior arrangements for a fee. Support is restricted to Windows-based operating systems. Any personal laptop setups require prior testing with the equipment present in the room. User must have appropriate video adapters for an Apple/Mac laptop.

SIPA’s electronic classrooms are 324, 402, 402B, 404, 405, 405A, 407, 409, 411, 413, 418, 501, 501A, 501B & 801 IAB. Users can also use their own laptops with projectors in self-service e-room, 823 IAB.  Faculty or Teaching Assistants must submit the SIPA Online AV Request form to request training if they plan to use the equipment in a SIPA e-room on a regular basis. All reservations must be made two business days in advance. User must notify SIPA AV of any cancellations. When your request is received, you will be contacted by SIPA computing staff via e-mail to confirm arrangements. Audiovisual training for the SIPA e-room is controlled by SIPA AV and is required to use the equipment in SIPA e-rooms. A key to the e-podium is issued to the user for the term after training. Please note that locks for the e-podium are changed every year. SIPA AV does not support any CUIT e-rooms in IAB. For CUIT electronic classrooms 403, 410, and 417 (Altschul Auditorium), please contact CUIT.

For a list of available resources and online forms, please visit Audiovisual use for non-course-related events is available for a fee. Please contact SIPA AV for details.

Faculty Offices

Adjunct faculty are expected to be available for at least one hour per week for office hours.  (Faculty can tell students that office hours will be by appointment – in other words, that faculty member will be available in office at designated time IF students make an appointment in advance.)  There are currently three offices available for adjunct use.  The School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) will contact adjunct faculty within the month before the start of the semester and invite them to request specific office hours (no more than two hours per week).  SIPA staff will notify faculty of hours and offices assigned. SIPA staff will also provide faculty with a computer log-in to access the computer in the shared office.  You will need to stop by the SIPA 13th floor suite to pick up your log-in information. If you are scheduled for office hours outside of the regular 9-5 schedule, please come to the SIPA 13th floor suite to sign out keys.  For more information, contact

Computer Log In/ Access

If you would like computer access because you are using an adjunct office you must contact the SIPA Departmental Administrator ( and fill out the application form.  This form can be circulated via e-mail.

If you are experiencing difficulties with your computer system, printer, software or any other IT device please call SIPA IT at 212-854-0112. 


Adjunct faculty will have a mail folder located in the 13th floor SIPA suite.  These folders are located in the black file cabinet directly in front and to your left as you walk into the suite.  Please check your mail on a regular basis.  If this arrangement is not convenient because you are on campus after regular office hours you may request a mailbox on the 6th floor.  Come to the 13th floor SIPA faculty suite to sign out keys for 6th floor mailboxes.

Business Cards

Adjunct faculty members should contact Associate Dean Dan McIntyre at for more information; business cards are available only on a case-by-case basis to adjunct faculty who have taught for SIPA during at least two consecutive academic years.

Classroom Supplies

Supplies and blue books can be requested from the SIPA Administrative Assistants. Basic supplies are kept on hand (pens, paper, paperclips, highlighters, and notepads).  The Administrative Assistants are Sacha Parchment (, 854-7375) and Karine Lafargue (, 854-3239)


Small print jobs in the SIPA suites are limited to no more than 75 pages at one time.  You must submit your copy job to the Administrative Assistants Sacha Parchment (, 854-7375) and Karine Lafargue (, 854-3239), and can expect to have it completed by the next business day.

Copy jobs submitted to Print Services in the Journalism building or Village Copier will be paid for by SIPA, however, these copies are limited only to those items that must be copied such as exams.  In most cases, materials should be posted to CourseWorks or compiled as a Course Reader through the Bookstore.  In order to send copy jobs to Print Services you must come to SIPA suite on the13th or 14th floor and get a form signed by the Departmental Administrator.  Print Services will not accept jobs without a signature and account information.

Blue Books

Blue books for exams can be picked up in the 13th floor SIPA faculty suite by the instructor or TA.  Any unused blue books should be returned to the SIPA office.

Computer Lab

If you require use of the SIPA computer lab for your course, please contact Andrew Johnson, Curriculum Director, as early as possible.  Reservations for the computer lab need to be made during June for fall semester, and during November for spring semester.  If you require special software for the lab, please email Harpreet Mahajan, Executive Director of SIPA IT, as early as possible.  There is a limited budget for acquiring additional software for the lab, and sufficient lead time is required to install it.

The SIPA computer lab accommodates a maximum of 44 students per session. All students taking classes or attending recitations in the computer lab must adhere to this limit. Additional students will not be allowed to share computer stations, sit on the floor, or sit in the back of the room. Instructors, TAs, and computer lab staff will enforce this policy.

Faculty using the computer lab should post the computer lab policy on their syllabi:

Non-SIPA students must secure guest IDs in order to gain access to the SIPA computer lab during class sessions. Guest IDs will not be available during the first week of classes, but shortly thereafter they will be provided to each registered non-SIPA student.  Guest ID’s will allow non-SIPA students to access the SIPA computer lab during class time only.  Non-SIPA students will obtain their guest IDs from the SIPA Consultant Desk in 510 IAB. 

Non-SIPA students who wish to use the SIPA computer lab outside of regular class/recitation time must pay $165 per semester (payable by check or cash in 510 IAB).  Non-SIPA students who choose not to pay this fee should consult their course instructor or TA and the IT office at their own school about any special software required for the course.  SIPA IT is not equipped to provide technical support to non-SIPA students who have not paid the $165 per semester fee.

(Dual Degree students are considered SIPA students and do not pay additional fees.)

Administration and Staff

Office of the Dean

Merit E. Janow, Dean of SIPA

Eric Verhooden, Vice Dean of SIPA

Ted Stieffel, Special Assistant to the Dean

Nancy Cieri, Senior Executive Assistant to the Dean

Office of Academic Affairs

Dan McIntyre, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Andrew Johnson, Curriculum and Faculty Affairs Director

Joe Chartier, Departmental Administrator

Marianna Breytman, Administrative Assistant

Karine Lafargue, Administrative Assistant

Sacha Parchment, Administrative Assistant

Office of Student Affairs

Cory Way, Associate Dean for Student Affairs

Stefan Brown, Senior Assistant Dean for Student Affairs

Urbano Garza, Senior Assistant Dean for Student Affairs

Alleyne Waysome, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs

Tan Nguyen, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs

Desmond Beirne, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs

Samira Abdul-Karim, Administrative Assistant

Office of General and Financial Administration

Patrick Bohan, Associate Dean for General and Financial Administration

Diya Bhattacharya, Executive Director of Human Resources and Finance

Kristine Barrera, Human Resources Manager