Welcome to University of Wisconsin Law School! This web page has been designed to help adjunct faculty become familiar with the administrative rules and processes relevant to teaching. If you have questions, concerns, or exigencies not covered in the information below, please contact Associate Dean Kevin Kelly in Room 5105 (phone 608-262-4041).
This web page contains information divided into seven main sections:
- Administrative Matters. Information on Appointment Letters; Honorarium; University I.D. Card; Biography; Parking; Bus Pass; Mailboxes; Faculty Lounge; Emailing your Students; Student Mailboxes; Posting Initial Assignments; Course Descriptions; Course Syllabi; Student Course Evaluations; Rescheduling and Canceling Classes; Text Books & Related Materials; Duplicated Materials.
- Instructional Technology. Information on Network User Names; Your NetID; Email Class List; A/V & Computer Equipment for your Class; Course Material Copied or Posted to Web; “Online Course” Options.
- Law Library. Information on: Circulation Privileges; Copy Privileges; Course Reserve; Journal Routing; Runner Privileges; LexisNexis & Westlaw.
- Academic Matters. Information on Syllabus Requirement; First Day of Class; Grading System; Attendance: General Requirement; Penalty for Absence; Seating Assignments; Students with Disabilities; Upper-level Writing Requirement.
- Examinations. Information on: Exam Form and Content; Scheduling and Exam Length; Exam Accommodations for Students with Disabilities; Penalty for Failure to Complete Course; Rescheduling Examinations; Rules for Conducting Examinations; Examinations to be Kept on File.
- Grades & Grading Procedures. Information on Grading System; Law School Grading Rules excerpts; General Rules; Pass-Fail Option; Grade Table; Grading Consistency in Multi-Sectioned Courses; Average Grades; Anonymous Grading System; Decoding Exam Numbers - Extra Credit; Grade Distributions; Reporting of Grades; Finality of Grades – Appeals; Grading Grievances; Temporary Grades for Graduating Students; Final Grade Reporting.
- Student Affairs. Information on: Nonacademic Misconduct; Illness during the Semester; Law School Rules; Student Handbook.
Your official Appointment Letter from the Dean's Office will be mailed to you before the semester begins. If you are a new adjunct or it has been several years since you last taught at the Law School, you may be required to fill out certain forms for payroll or other administrative purposes (an I-9, W-4 and direct deposit forms) and authorize the University to conduct a criminal background check. If you will be co-teaching a course or seminar and dividing the honorarium, both instructors must fill out the relevant forms. Please be prompt in completing any requested paperwork, and return it to Kelly Hallmark, Payroll and Benefits Specialist, whose office is in Room 5106 of the Law School (608-262-3138; Kelly.email@example.com).
Your appointment letter will describe your honorarium.
University I.D. Card (Wiscard)
Once your adjunct appointment has been entered into the UW system, you may receive a University I.D. card, which carries with it certain University library, athletic facilities, and other privileges. ID cards are available at the Wiscard office in Union South, Room 149, 1308 W. Dayton Street. Please call the Wiscard Office at 262-3258 prior to heading to the office to ensure your information appears in the system. If your card is more than five years old, it will have to be replaced, which will require a visit to the Union South. Here's a link that explains the process: http://www.wiscard.wisc.edu/get-your-wiscard.html
For information about the location of the Wiscard office at the Union South, and their hours of operation, see http://www.wiscard.wisc.edu/contact.html
The Law School is proud of its adjunct faculty and wishes to post a biography of all adjuncts on its website. If you have not recently submitted a biography (and, if possible, a digital photo) please do so. Please email your biography and photo to Jane Heymann at firstname.lastname@example.org. Adjunct biographies are posted at the following web-page: http://law.wisc.edu/faculty/directory.php?iListing=Adjunct&iType=group.
The most convenient lots with public parking nearest the Law School are listed below. Unfortunately, the Law School is not able to provide reimbursement for parking expenses.
- Lake Street/Frances Street Ramp (City of Madison) The city sometimes calls this the "State Street Campus Ramp;" entrances to this ramp are on both Lake Street and Frances Street, north of University Avenue. Parking attendant at booth: hundreds of spots available.
- Fluno Center (University Lot 83) (located on the south side of University Avenue at Frances Street; enter from Frances Street) Parking attendant at booth: 188 visitor spots available
- Southeast Campus Ramp (University Lot 46) (located just south of the Fluno Center on the north side of Johnson Street between Lake and Frances Streets; numerous entrances). Long-term meter parking: 184 ten-hour metered spots available.
- Grainger Hall (University Lot 7) (located at University Avenue & Brooks Street; enter from Brooks Street.) NOTE: For visitors, the new parking system is 'pay on exit' -- similar to City of Madison parking structures, airports, and most modern parking ramps and garages. Visitors pull a ticket on entry and then pay by credit card at one of the pay stations located in or near elevator lobbies. Visitors may also pay by credit card in the exit lane.
If you have a valid UW ID card (Wiscard) you may get a Madison Metro bus pass, good for the entire academic year, for a fee of $48. Distribution for the fall term begins August 1. Please see http://transportation.wisc.edu/transportation/bus_pass.aspx
All lecturers are assigned the use of a mailbox outside the Main Office on the fifth floor of the faculty tower. Please note that because mailboxes are scarce, lecturers are typically required to share with other lecturers. You should therefore make sure to check the mailbox carefully to find all mail addressed to you. We ask that you make a point of checking your mailbox at least once per week.
Emailing Your Students
Please see the Instructional Technology section below.
Student Hang Files
As of fall 2018, the student hang files have been removed. If you have hard-copy materials to be delivered to a student in your class outside of normal class meeting times, you may leave them at the Main Office, with Adam Bushcott (Room 5110), and tell the student to pick up the materials from the Main Office.
Posting Initial Assignments
If you are interested in having your initial course assignments posted on the Law School's website, please email them to Jane Heymann at email@example.com. Assignments may also be faxed (262-5485) to the Main Office, to Jane Heymann's attention, for posting on the website.
To enable us to advise students effectively about your course, an up-to-date description should be submitted to Jane Heymann (608-262-6413; Room 5103; email firstname.lastname@example.org). Course descriptions should be no more than one page in length, and can be as short as one or two paragraphs.
A syllabus for the course should be made available to students on the first day of class. It should contain all of the information mentioned in the first section of the "Academic Matters" section of this Manual, below.
Student Course Evaluations
Toward the end of the semester, students will receive an email advising them that they may go online to provide comments with respect to their courses. (This replaces the former system wherein instructors passed out course evaluations for students to fill out.) Once you have submitted your final grades, the completed evaluation forms will be mailed to you for your consideration. Instructors who set aside time to conduct in-class evaluations tend to secure higher percentage participation, which provides a more accurate view of student opinion. Instructors should leave the room while students are completing the evaluation.
Rescheduling and Cancelling Classes
If it becomes necessary to cancel and/or reschedule a class, please contact the Main Office (262-2240) or Jane Heymann (262-6413). We will help arrange for a classroom for a rescheduled class and/or post a notice on the classroom door informing students that class has been cancelled.
Textbooks & Related Materials
The Law School's Bookmart was closed permanently as of the end of May 2013. As soon as you have decided which books and related materials your students need to purchase for your course, please send that information to Jane Heymann, email@example.com. She will post the information so that students, and the University Bookstore, will know what materials you are requiring and/or recommending, so that required texts and materials arrive in time for the start of the term. Legal publishing houses will often provide instructors, on a complimentary basis, a copy of the available text for the subject you teach. If you wish to review available texts, please contact Kevin Kelly (firstname.lastname@example.org; 608-262-4041) for further information. Also, if you teach a subject that is also taught by some of the Law School’s regular faculty, please feel free to contact them to get their ideas on the relative merits of various texts.
Questions sometime arise regarding copyright issues and materials you may want to reproduce for your course. The UW-Madison Administrative Legal Services website has information on Copyright Laws and how to use them.
If you will be using duplicated materials, those materials should be taken or emailed to the Law School Copy Shop as soon as possible, and well before the start of the semester. The Copy Shop can be reached at 608-262-0668 or at email@example.com.
Mandatory Preventing Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence training
All persons receiving a paycheck from the University of Wisconsin-Madison are required to complete mandatory training in preventing sexual harassment and sexual violence. Please go to the link Preventing Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence at UW Madison to complete the training within 30 days of receiving your appointment letter.
PLEASE FULLY REVIEW THIS SECTION PRIOR TO THE START OF CLASSES. Some services should be set up or activated by you as far in advance of the first day of classes as possible. The following information (and much, much more) is also available at tech services (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Free Email Account and Access to Web Portal and Grade Entry
If you have an appointment with the Law School, you are eligible for a "NetID." Your NetID gets you a free "@wisc.edu" email account and access to the My UW-Madison web portal, where you can view your current course information and other campus resources in a personalized web environment. It also gives you access to the Law School's Intranet Grading Website (http://law.wisc.edu/grades/), and allows you to create online courses in Canvas. Please be sure to forward the information about your NetID to Jane Heymann (email@example.com) once you obtain it, so that she can ensure that you have access to enter your grades at the end of the semester.
To activate your NetID, go to https://www.mynetid.wisc.edu/activate and enter your 11-digit photo ID number and your birthdate. If you have not already obtained a University I.D. Card (Wiscard), please contact Jane Heymann to ensure that you have a valid, active appointment, and to obtain your ten-digit Campus ID number, which you will need in order to activate your NetID. Jane may be reached at 608-262-6413 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. All technical questions related to your NetID, your @wisc.edu email account and the web portal should be directed to the DoIT Help Desk at 264-HELP.
Your @wisc.edu email may be forwarded to a personal account, if desired. If you wish to use your @wisc.edu account for Law School email instead of the address we currently have on file for you, please notify Jane Heymann.
Email Class List
Your class lists are available online using your NetID. See https://kb.wisc.edu/page.php?id=28621 for help getting started.
A/V and computer equipment for your class
All classrooms are wired with built-in computers/projectors. To request any other audio-visual equipment or service, email email@example.com, and include badger in the subject line. You may request equipment and services for individual classes or for the entire semester.
Course Materials Copied or Posted on the Web
This has been simplified from previous years.
The Copy Shop is responsible for printing course materials. To give students the greatest flexibility, the Copy Shop can upload all course packs received to a class Canvas page upon your request, which will make the electronic version freely available to students enrolled in your class. If a student wants a hard copy, the Copy Shop is happy to print it for him or her, and the student can simply stop by the Copy Shop or go to https://law.wisc.edu/copyshop/course_packet_request.html to purchase the paper copy.
** NOTICE ** ALL duplicated and/or distributed course materials must abide by copyright law. Anything submitted for duplication or posting on reserve MUST be in the public domain or be covered by Fair Use guidelines, or you must obtain permission from the copyright holder to duplicate and distribute the material. There are no exceptions. The Copy Shop staff will submit materials they feel violate copyright law to the Ad Hoc Copyright Compliance Committee for review. Materials may be returned to you so that you may obtain the necessary permissions. See http://law.wisc.edu/copyshop/copyright.htm for details.
If desired, you have three different ways to set up an online course:
- Canvas. This is the campus supported learning management system used for creating online course pages. More info at https://kb.wisc.edu/uwmadcanvas/. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org (include badger in the subject line) for in-house assistance on setting up a page.
- LexisNexis. You can host one or more threaded discussion groups with your students, post your syllabus and class materials, and include links to the LexisNexis research system. Contact the Law School's Lexis Representative, Loryn Limoges, at email@example.com, for more information and assistance.
- Westlaw's TWEN. http://lawschool.westlaw.com/twen/ The West Education Network (TWEN) is an electronic extension of the classroom, integrating academic tools, Westlaw research, and other resources in an online environment. Contact the Law School's Westlaw Representative, Tami Carson, firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information and assistance.
Locating Library Materials
With a collection of over 640,000 volume equivalents and hundreds of databases, the UW Law Library ranks among the top academic law libraries nationally. The library provides print and electronic access to a full range of state and federal law, international law, and the law of certain foreign jurisdictions.
As a member of the campus library system, Law Library users may also draw upon the over six million resources of the UW-Madison campus libraries. To search the library catalog, go to http://search.library.wisc.edu/.
During teaching semesters, adjuncts may have law faculty/staff check out privileges. Present your Wiscard at the Circulation Desk to check out items from any UW Madison Library. You may also request items to be delivered to the Law Library Circulation Desk from other UW Madison and UW system libraries using the UW Madison library catalog.
An assistant who is an enrolled student or current employee of the UW-Madison can be authorized to check out campus items for you, however, you will be responsible for any overdue fees or replacement costs. To designate a faculty proxy, you can fill out the proxy form on the UW Madison Libraries website or contact Circulation Staff at 265-6649 or email@example.com.
A copy card for course related copying or printing can be checked out at the Circulation Desk. Scanners are available for free.
The Course Reserve collection is located at the Circulation Desk. Required readings and audio-visual materials can be placed on Course Reserve each semester. Adjuncts may supply the item to place on Course Reserve or ask that the Law Library provide it, if possible. Personal copies submitted by adjuncts will be barcoded and labeled to indicate the course, and returned at the end of the semester. To place materials on Course Reserve, stop at the Circulation Desk or contact Circulation Staff at 265-9546 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Electronic Course Reserves
The UW has designated Canvas for use in creating electronic course reserves. If you would like assistance in setting up a course, please contact the Help Department at 608-262-5242 or email@example.com.
LexisNexis / Westlaw/ Bloomberg Law
Access to LexisNexis, Westlaw and Bloomberg Law is available for adjunct faculty of the UW Law School engaged in teaching courses, giving lectures, or conducting seminars for law students. These IDs are provided at the discretion of each vendor and must be used for educational purposes only. Access may be granted up to four weeks before the beginning of the semester in which an individual will teach and ceases upon the close of the semester. To obtain passwords for LexisNexis, Westlaw or Bloomberg Law, contact Emma Babler, Reference & Technology Law Librarian at 608-261-1159 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Research and Instructional Support
The Law Library offers a full range of services to support faculty and student research. Reference librarians are available in person, or by phone, email or online chat to provide guidance on resources best suited to your research needs. For more information, see https://library.law.wisc.edu/services/faculty/.
Librarians also offer instruction on the use of many legal databases and applications. If you would like to meet with a librarian or schedule an instructional session for your class, please contact Jenny Zook, Reference & Instructional Services Librarian, at 608-262-7761 or email@example.com.
In addition, the reference staff has compiled Research Guides on a variety of legal topics which might be included on your course syllabus: http://law.wisc.libguides.com/browse.php. We will be glad to tailor a Research Guide for your class. For more information contact Kris Turner, Assistant Director of Public Services, at 608-262-7238 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every Law course must have a syllabus --and each syllabus must have particular content to meet certain federal and/or accreditation requirements. A “Syllabus Template” has been prepared that is specifically designed for Law courses. The template is available on the Law School's Faculty & Staff Resources webpage here: http://law.wisc.edu/facstaff/
The template, an editable Word document, is the first item under "Additional Resources"; the template contains required items (denoted in red) as well as other suggested content. The template also links to a second document dealing with "Credit-Hour Expectations" with suggestions on pertinent language for your syllabus re credit hours. Please note that specifying how credit hours are met by your course is one of the required items for your syllabus. (This even includes the suggested language on the minimum time students are expected to put in outside of class.) If you have any questions or if you need assistance as you prepare your syllabus, please let Assoc. Dean Kelly know.
First Day of Class
We recommend that you collect students’ school addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses the first day of class. Generally, email is the most expeditious way to communicate with students throughout the semester. See the section above on Instructional Technology regarding accessing an email class list.
We advise that you settle all student questions with respect to grading (including the existence of the Pass-Fail option) very early in the semester. Grading is done on a 4.3-scale letter-grading system unique to the Law School. The letter grades are as follows: A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, F. Chapter 2 of the Law School Rules governs the grading system. This chapter is found online at: http://law.wisc.edu/current/rules/chap2.htm .
Instructors in upper-level courses may have the discretion to determine whether to grade courses and seminars on a Pass-Fail basis. (Pass-Fail can sometimes be “mandatory” -- that is, each member of the class will receive either a Pass or Fail -– more commonly, you can allow your students an individual option to elect to take the course on a Pass-Fail basis or receive a letter grade.) Pass-Fail grading is explained in Law School Rule 2.01 (3)-(4) and Rule 2.03. (Note: Trial Advocacy courses are exclusively graded by Pass-Fail; thus, Trial Advocacy is a “mandatory” Pass/Fail course.) If you need advice regarding the selection of a grading system, you may contact Associate Dean Kevin Kelly at 608-262-4041.
Excerpts from the relevant Law School Rules:
5.01 General Requirement
All students must attend classes regularly to the satisfaction of the instructor.
If a student fails to comply with the foregoing provision, his or her final grade in the course may be lowered at the discretion of the instructor, or if attendance at a seminar for which no grade is given is unsatisfactory, the student may be denied credit.
5.03 Seating Assignments
Students must take the seats assigned to them. An instructor is entitled to consider a student absent if the student does not occupy the seat assigned to him or her.
Students with Disabilities
Because of blind grading and the need to protect the confidentiality of students with disabilities, instructors have almost no role in providing accommodations for students with disabilities at this law school. Below is an explanation of how our system works. Basically, instructors should send students seeking any accommodations to Assistant Dean Emily Kite. In very rare situations, such as a student with severe hearing or visual disabilities, Emily Kite will come to professors for help in accommodating a student in the classroom. Please contact Emily Kite any time that you have questions about students with disabilities. Emily Kite contact information: email@example.com or 890-0115.
Identifying Students with Qualifying Disabilities
The McBurney Center for Disabilities handles assessments of students with disabilities for all departments on campus. The McBurney Center issues a set of accommodations for those students that it determines qualify for accommodations. Accommodations may include extended time for exams, note-taking services, or use of adaptive technology, among other things.
Assistant Dean Emily Kite is responsible for implementing accommodations. Students who ask instructors for accommodations should be referred to Emily Kite. Because of blind-grading practices at the Law School and the need to protect confidentiality for the students, instructors usually have no role in implementing accommodations.
Exam accommodations may include a longer time for the exam, use of voice-activated software, or a private room. Instructors will not get notice regarding students who take an exam at a different time or with an accommodation, in order to protect blind-grading. (The same is true for students without disabilities who have exams rescheduled due to having two exams on the same day, medical emergencies or the like.)
The McBurney Center, with support from Assistant Dean Emily Kite, is responsible for finding students to serve as note takers. The McBurney Center pays students $125 per course for note-taking.
The McBurney Center provides case managers for students with disabilities. Case managers have expertise related to the disability and can counsel the student about a variety of instructional and non-instructional issues. Case managers also help determine when a student has asked for accommodations that go beyond what his or her disability requires.
Upper-Level Writing Requirement
Should your course involve a significant amount of writing, students may ask if they may meet the Upper-Level Writing Requirement in your course. This is what is entailed:
To meet the Upper-Level Writing Requirement in your or any other course, a student needs to submit draft written work to the instructor that is cumulatively at least 20 pages in length (can be one paper or several papers). The instructor then gives feedback to the student on the legal writing aspect (as opposed to, or in addition to, substantive law content) of the draft and returns the draft, with comments/feedback to the student in time for the student to incorporate the instructor's legal writing suggestions/guidance via a re-write before submitting the final paper.
You do not need to follow the draft submission process for all students writing papers for your course--only those who may still need to meet the Upper-Level Writing Requirement (some will have already done so in another course) and wish to do so in your course. For students not wishing to meet the Upper-Level Writing Requirement in your course, they can simply submit final papers as usual, as opposed to also submitting a preliminary draft.
One IMPORTANT note: students attempting to meet the Upper-Level Writing Requirement in your course should not have their final grade in the course enhanced or lessened by the draft-submission/writing feedback process. The Upper-Level Writing Requirement is meant to be a separate skills-building exercise and students fulfilling it in one course or another should not be advantaged or disadvantaged, grade-wise, from other students in the course who are not meeting the requirement in that same course.
As far as timing, the drafts just need to be submitted to you early enough in the semester to enable you to evaluate them and return them, with comments, in sufficient time so that students can incorporate your suggestions in a rewrite for the final paper. Precise deadlines with regard to draft submission and final paper submission are up to the instructor, who will communicate same to the students (hopefully early-on in the course).
As far as the legal writing guidance you give, we allow all of our instructors (Faculty, Academic Staff, Adjuncts) to use their own best judgment re what constitutes effective legal writing. This is typically a subjective business, to be sure, but many of our adjunct faculty doubtless have to write quite often (and also see examples of bad writing from other attorneys)—so you will be in an excellent position to evaluate the students' legal writing and offer suggestions for improvement when necessary.
Exam Form and Content
While lecturers do their best to guard exam content, the reality is that students can acquire copies of old exams -- especially because their circulation is highly valued. For this reason, no exam, whether on file in the library or not, should be considered protected. Both lecturers and regular faculty should compose new examinations each semester in the interest of fairness and accuracy in evaluating a student’s mastery of the course material.
Scheduling and Exam Length
The schedule of proctored final examinations to be given in the Law Building is set prior to the start of the semester. The length of the final examination usually coincides with the number of credits for the course (e.g., a two-credit course will generally conclude with a two-hour final exam, three-credit courses will have three-hour exams, and so on). Proctors for exams will be arranged by the Law School, although you are certainly welcome to proctor your own exam. Exams should be prepared and ready for duplication four working days prior to the exam date. Finally, you have the option of having “Take-home” examinations in lieu of a proctored exam. Take-home exams can generally be taken by students at a time of their choosing at any point throughout the entire examination period. Administration of take-home exams is typically handled by the Law School’s front office personnel. Take-home exams should be prepared and ready for duplication by the last day of classes of the semester.
Exam Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Consistent with Federal and State laws, the Law School provides academic and physical accommodations to qualified students with disabilities. Students with disabilities who request accommodations for examinations should be directed to Assistant Dean Emily Kite (Room 5101). Dean Kite will work with the McBurney Disability Resources Center to determine the proper accommodation upon receiving documentation of the disability. If the accommodation involves extended time or physical changes in the exam environment, Dean Kite's office will administer the examination. Dean Kite's office will endeavor to protect the identity of students receiving accommodations.
Penalty for Failure to Complete Course
In any cases where withdrawal is not authorized under Law School Rule 6.01(1) or (2), the student who fails to complete a course or to hand in an examination paper shall receive a grade of F for the course.
Pursuant to Law School Rule 6.03, the policy of the Law School is that all students must take examinations at the scheduled time unless there exist extraordinary and compelling circumstances. The policy outlined below is designed to handle most typical circumstances, and is usually administered by Assistant Dean Emily Kite. In the interest of consistency and fair treatment, and to protect blind grading, students who request to reschedule an examination should be directed to Asst. Dean Kite. Professors should not approve any exam reschedule prior to consulting Dean Kite.
- A student who is scheduled to take two examinations on the same day may postpone the second examination to the first day on which the student does not have a scheduled examination. A student who has four consecutive examinations may postpone one of the exams for one week.
- Except in extraordinary circumstances, an examination will not be rescheduled later than the end of the examination period in which the examination is scheduled. An exam will not be rescheduled for a date earlier than the scheduled date.
- An examination may be rescheduled subject to approval of the Assistant Dean in the following circumstances:
- Where illness or pregnancy of the student actually prevents the student from taking an exam, upon a physician’s written certification to the Assistant Dean's office. A student who becomes ill during an examination and is unable to complete it must take a new examination.
- Where a member of a student’s family or his or her “significant other” has died, and the student is attending the funeral or grieving.
- Where a Sabbath or other religious observance precludes a student from taking an examination.
- Where a student is attending the birth of his/her child.
- Other circumstances sufficiently similar in gravity to those above that equity requires comparable treatment.
- The following are examples of circumstances where examinations will not be rescheduled:
- Where a student is taking a bar review course in or within commuting distance of Madison. (Bar Review courses outside of Madison will be individually reviewed)
- Where a student has a professional opportunity that conflicts with a scheduled examination.
- Where a student is late, oversleeps, is caught in traffic, etc.
- Where a student wishes to leave early for the winter or summer break.
- Where a student has exams on 3 consecutive days.
- If a student takes a rescheduled examination, the instructor, with the advice of the Assistant Dean, has discretion to give the student a letter grade, or to grade the student on a satisfactory-unsatisfactory basis.
- Whenever possible, requests for postponements should be made to the office of the Assistant Dean no later than four weeks before examinations begin. Students should not request special arrangements for examinations from the instructor in a course. Questions about the meaning or application of these rules should be addressed to the Assistant Dean.
Rules for Conducting Examinations
Law School Rule 6.06 gives the following guidance regarding the administration of final exams:
- No books, paper, outlines or bluebooks shall be brought into the examination room except as authorized in advance by the individual instructor.
- Students will be permitted to sign out and leave the room for necessary purposes, and should return promptly.
- Space for outlining or the making of notes may be provided on the examination paper itself. Separate scratch paper will be furnished.
Examinations to be Kept on File
Pursuant to Law School Rule 6.08, all examination bluebooks, final papers, etc., must be retained on file for one year.
The overriding concern of the Law School regarding grading is that students be treated fairly and consistently, particularly with respect to students in other sections of the same course. For that reason, the Law School has adopted the grading rules and guidelines that are outlined below. When assigning grades to your students, you should follow the stated guidelines.
We advise that you settle all student questions with respect to grading (including the existence of the Pass-Fail option) very early in the semester. The Law School discontinued using the 65-95 grading scale. All grading is now done on a 4.3-scale letter-grading system unique to the Law School. The letter grades are as follows: A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, F. The GPA equivalents of those grades are: A+ = 4.3; A = 4.0; A minus = 3.7; B+ = 3.3; B = 3.0; B minus = 2.7; C+ = 2.3; C = 2.0; C minus = 1.7; D = 1.0; D minus = 0.7. Chapter 2 of the Law School Rules governs the new grading system. This chapter is found online at: http://law.wisc.edu/current/rules/chap2.htm
Instructors in upper-level courses may have the discretion to determine whether to grade courses and seminars on a Pass-Fail basis. (Pass-Fail can sometimes be “mandatory” --that is, each member of the class will receive either a Pass or Fail –- or, more commonly, you can allow your students an individual option to elect to take the course on a Pass-Fail basis or receive a letter grade.) Pass-Fail grading is explained in Law School Rule 2.01 (3)-(4) and Rule 2.03. (Note: Trial Advocacy courses are exclusively graded by Pass-Fail; thus, Trial Advocacy is a “mandatory” Pass/Fail course.) If you need advice regarding the selection of a grading system, you may contact Associate Dean Kevin Kelly at 262-4041.
Excerpts From The Law School Grading Rules
2.06 Grading Consistency in Multi-Sectioned Courses
- Faculty teaching courses for which several sections are offered in the same semester are expected to consult in order to maintain a consistency in the grading patterns of the sections. Consistency can be maintained by agreement in advance to an approximate grading pattern, agreement to follow a pattern set by the first instructor to finish grading, or submission of all grades after all grading has been completed and post-grading consultation has occurred.
- Consistency does not require that there be no differences in the grading curves between sections. However, faculty should be convinced that any differences between sections reflect differences in student performance and not just differences in faculty grading patterns.
2.07 Average Grades
- For all first year courses, and for advanced classes with an enrollment exceeding 30, the mean grade shall normally fall between 2.85 and 3.1 on the 4.3 (A+ to F) scale. For advanced classes with an enrollment of 30 or less, the mean grade shall normally fall between 2.7 and 3.3 on the 4.3 (A+ to F) scale.
- An instructor submitting grades with a mean falling outside the limits prescribed in the preceding section shall provide the Associate Dean with a brief written explanation for the deviation from the prescribed means. The Associate Dean may prescribe a form for the submission of such explanations.
Anonymous Grading System
Pursuant to Law School Rule 6.10, all students taking examinations are identified by an anonymous exam number rather than by name. Prior to the end of the semester, all instructors who do not otherwise have access to the Law School's on-line grade-entry page (accessible by UW Net I.D.) are given specially prepared grading sheets listing their students' anonymous exam numbers. Besides the anonymous exam numbers, grading sheets contain the overall grade point average for the class. This number can be used as a reference in the grading process.
Adjusting Grades for Non-anonymous Graded Content:
For those adjunct faculty who do not have access to the Law School's on-line grade-entry page (accessible by UW Net I.D.), Associate Dean Kevin Kelly can assist you with any necessary adjustments to your final grades for any non-anonymous factors (e.g., attendance; class participation; non-anonymous papers/ assignments/ projects, etc.) Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 608-262-4041.
Excerpts From The Law School Grading Rules
2.08 Grade Distributions
The following table establishes target ranges for the distribution of grades in large and small sections. Large sections are courses or sections with an enrollment exceeding 30. Instructors should endeavor to fit within these ranges in assigning grades, unless circumstances peculiar to that course or the students enrolled in it justify a different pattern.
Grade Range Large Section Small Section F to C- 0-13% 0-15% C & C+ 7-17% 5-20% B- & B 35-45% 30-50% B+ & A- 28-38% 25-40% A & A+ 5-15% 0-20
The Associate Dean shall study the grading patterns of all instructors. If they deviate significantly from these ranges over several courses, the Associate Dean shall consult with the instructor in an effort to come to some agreement whether the deviations are appropriate, given the subject matter of the course and the type of students enrolled.
2.09 Reporting of Grades
- Instructors are responsible for reporting their grades in conformity with the deadline policies adopted by the faculty.
- Grade entry is accomplished by utilizing the Law School's online grade reporting system. The online grade reporting system may be modified from time to time, but should contain:
- a method for calculating the average and median grades for the course;
- a method for calculating the current combined cumulative average for all the students included on the grade sheet, to the extent that it is available;
- a method for generating a table depicting the number of times each individual grade was given; and
- a method for permitting instructors to include, along with their individual grades, a brief description of the method of testing or other basis for grades and any explanation desired by the instructor concerning special or unusual circumstances pertaining to the course.
Finality of Grades - Appeals
2.11 Grading Grievances
- There shall be no appeal from a grade on the allegation either that the grader misapplied the criteria for grading the exam, or that the criteria were themselves ill-chosen; faculty members should be scrupulously careful in constructing the exam, choosing grading criteria and applying those criteria. Once a grade has been turned in, that grade may be changed only if it is the result of an error in computation, or an error in transcription.
- Students who believe they have been the victim of discrimination based on race, sex, religion, national origin, or other similarly arbitrary grounds, may seek redress from the office of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, with a right of appeal to the Petitions Committee. Disputes concerning the right to, or extent of, any disability-related accommodations shall be resolved using the appeal process set forth as part of the ADA Campus Policies, and shall not be regarded as grading grievances under this section.
- A student who wishes to challenge the nature, quality, or fairness of an examination or other graded exercise for a particular course, rather than his or her particular grade on that examination or exercise, may bring a grievance to the attention of the office of the Associate Dean.
Temporary Grades for Graduating Students
Instructors teaching upper-level courses will often have students who will be graduating at the conclusion of the semester. Such students are instructed to notify their instructors on their exams or final papers that they expect to graduate that semester. To enable the Law School to ensure it only certifies degree-eligible students for bar admission, you are asked to inform the Law School of any graduating student in your course whom you feel either likely failed the course or has otherwise not completed the coursework requirements in full.
Final Grade Deadline
The deadline for turning in final grades is four weeks from the last day of the examination period. If you will need an extension to finish grading exams, you may contact Associate Dean Kevin Kelly (608-262-4041).
University rules prohibit conduct in the classroom that severely affects the physical and learning environment of students. Any such conduct should be reported to Assistant Dean Emily Kite, Room 5101, at 890-0115 or email@example.com.
Illness During the Semester
Students whose illnesses render them incapable of performing should be encouraged to report their condition to Assistant Dean Emily Kite. The University is well prepared to offer a full range of treatment and counseling options, and its policies are designed to accommodate the needs of students who cannot perform their academic work because of illness.
Student Health and Safety
Please contact Assistant Dean Emily Kite if you have concerns about any of your students. This would include if you notice that one of your students appears to be in distress, stops coming to class or demonstrates significant attendance issues, exhibits troubling behavior, or if you grow concerned for any other reason. Emily is available to meet with the student and to discuss available campus and community resources. As always, of course, please call 911 if you observe a student behaving in a dangerous or suicidal manner. We appreciate your continued assistance in fostering a safe and supportive Law School environment.
Please be aware of these DEFINITIONS AND RULES GOVERNING THE CONDUCT OF UW-MADISON FACULTY AND ACADEMIC STAFF: https://secfac.wisc.edu/governance/faculty-legislation/fpp_ch_3/#3.03. These rules are applicable to adjunct faculty. Additionally, the University's Office of Equity and Diversity publishes a very helpful online resource concerning sexual harassment, including pertinent information and references. Kindly review this resource.
Law School Rules
A complete version of the Law School Rules is available online at:http://law.wisc.edu/current/rules/
A complete version of the Law School’s student manual, parts of which you may find enlightening, is located at: http://law.wisc.edu/current/rtf.
Again, we hope your experience teaching at the Law School is both enjoyable and rewarding. If there are any problems or concerns, please contact Associate Dean Kevin Kelly at 608-262-4041 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you, again, for your invaluable contribution to our Law School community!