Biology Department Policy

This policy is determined by consensus of the Biology Program Full-Time Permanent Faculty Committee (hereafter referred to as the Committee), with input from other departmental personnel and is reviewed annually in April or May.

Due to limitations in lab space, the Biology program does not add people to closed classes. 


The program syllabus for each section of a course must have the same core content. It must be made available or handed out in its entirety at the beginning of each semester to each student taking the course. Instructors can add his or her personal policies (cell phones, beverages, etc.)

The syllabus is the contract between the instructor of the course and each student enrolled in the course.


Major changes to a course must be submitted in writing to the Program Coordinator and Department Chair and approved by the committee prior to the beginning of the semester.

  1. There will be no open book exams, take-home exams, networking or cooperative or group exams without prior submission to the chair for approval by the committee.


·  1. The instructor or proctor is to remain in the scheduled room during test administration.

·  2.  If an exam is given during a multi hour class, the class will meet for the balance of the allotted time. 

On-line, hybrid and distance education classes: All quizzes and tests shall be allotted an acceptable window of access to allow all students’ accessibility to fulfill class requirements. Exceptions to this time period shall only be related to a disruption or failure of the course management or delivery system.

Instructors of on-line, hybrid and distance education classes will use those policies and procedures provided by the college to assure the integrity of the student’s work. Concerns or grievances related to this integrity shall be brought to the Committee for evaluation and/or review.



Anatomy and Physiology I and II.

In each of these courses, there is to be a minimum of four lecture exams and a minimum two lab practicals. In addition, there will be a mandatory comprehensive final exam. An instructor may give more than the minimum number of exams.

Microbiology, Biology I and II, Zoology, Botany  

In each of these courses, there is to be a minimum of four lecture exams and a minimum two lab grade components, or a combination of lecture/lab material to give a minimum of four exam grades. In addition, there will be a mandatory comprehensive final exam. An instructor may give more than the minimum number of exams.

Integrated Biology

In this course there is to be a minimum of two exams and four other assessment instruments or other combination to equal six major grades. A comprehensive final exam is also mandatory. An instructor may give more than the minimum number of exams.

Life Science I and II (Lecture and Lab), Environmental Science (Lecture and Lab)

In each of these courses there is to be a minimum of two exams and two other assessment instruments or other combinations to equal four major grades. A comprehensive final exam is at the discretion of the instructor. An instructor may give more than the minimum number of exams.

Other Courses

In courses not included in the list above, the instructor of record will determine the number of exams.


Instructors will not drop any students after the posted drop date, unless prior approval is given by the Committee. 


Microbiology, Biology I and II, Zoology, Botany, and Anatomy and Physiology I and II.

In these courses the lab will count as 1/4, the lecture will count as 1/2, and the final exam will count as 1/4 of the total course grade, unless an alternative method is approved by the Committee.

An instructor may drop up to 20% of the components of the lecture grade or have make-up exams, but not both.  If an exam is to be dropped, more than the minimum number of exams must be given.

Integrated Biology.

The lecture and lab will be integrated. Therefore, the grade determination is 4/5 lecture/lab and 1/5 final exam.

Other courses.

The grade determination is up to the instructor.

Bonus Points. 

The instructor has the option to award bonus points, but the possible points must not exceed 10% of the course grade, and may only be awarded for work relevant to the course content, i.e. off-topic questions or projects are not permitted.


All faculty will include outcomes assessment as determined by the Committee.


Evening, out of town and Saturday classes will be rotated among the staff unless one individual specifically requests to teach an evening or Saturday class.


In an effort to maintain a more viable teaching faculty, courses will be rotated from time to time so that at least two full-time faculty are qualified to teach each course offered by the program.


Every effort should be made to maintain adequate office hours. Office hours should be scattered over the week and at times convenient for students, such as prior to and after scheduled classes and labs. Office hours may include various faculty duties, such as working on projects, committee responsibilities, library research, etc.  Part-time faculty should be available at least 15 minutes before class and stay after class for as long as students are needing help.  Faculty office hours and class schedule should be posted near the faculty person’s office and a copy provided to the department secretary.  Office hours should also be provided to students at the beginning of the semester.

 For on-line/distance education classes the instructor shall respond to student’s e-mail correspondence with 24 hours. Faculty will post notification when they will not be available.


In an effort to fulfill Amarillo College's philosophy of the student coming first and to encourage students to ask for help, the instructor should strive to be the last one to leave the classroom.  The classroom should be left in order (boards erased, chairs pushed in, etc.)

Student Grievance. For traditional and on-line/distance education classes students will follow the appropriate sequence of the grievance procedure specified in the Amarillo College policy manual.

At no time shall abusive or threatening language or behavior be considered acceptable by program standards. Such behavior will not be tolerated and will result in the student’s grievance being evaluated by the entire Committee rather than the student’s instructor.


All instructors will utilize cat dissection for instruction in traditional Anatomy and Physiology classes.


The policies and procedures for teaching labs, including guidelines for student safety orientation and Laboratory Safety Contracts can be found on the Miscellaneous Links and Resources Page. They can also be found on the J drive in the Laboratory Safety Documents folder. A link to the student Safety video and quiz is to be placed in the Blackboard Content area of each course



The Biology Program number (401405) is to be put on all college business mail which is run through the postal meter.


All Part-time/Supplemental Biology Faculty are to turn in at the end of the semester to the Department Chair a grade-book that includes all grades and how the grade was calculated. If a computer grade book program is used, then a hard copy is to be turned in. At the end of the semester, the Department Chair is to also be given a photocopy of the grade sheet showing the student's final letter grade that was turned into the registrars office


College travel money is to be spent to send one faculty member to a professional conference. The rest of the money will be divided among faculty who are attending other conferences. Those desiring to attend a conference should submit a proposal to the appropriate Travel Committee and to the Department Chair for approval. The travel monies will be rotated among the full-time permanent faculty.


The Natural History Museum is to be used to enhance teaching as well as the promotion of Amarillo College.  Group tours must be scheduled through the appropriate faculty/staff person.  See the Natural History Museum web page for contact information.


Extra work is not to be given to an individual student for the purpose of grade improvement.

After grades are posted with the registrar’s office, no grades are to be changed except when an error in recording the grade is discovered. Requests for grade changes for other than recording error can only be approved by the Committee.

Fall 2013 revision