Undergraduate Student Instruction Policy (CURRENT)

Reference Number: S18-200
Senate Approval Date: Tuesday, May 01, 2018
Presidential Approval Date: 
Friday, May 11, 2018
  • Policy #:                     S18–200
  • Supersedes:             S97-200
  • Senate Approval:     05/01/2018
  • Presidential Approval:                  05/11/2018
    Effective:                   08/15/2018
  • Last Review:             Spring 2018
  •  Next Review:             Spring 2025


The purpose of this policy is to define the appropriate means and standards under which undergraduate students can participate in classroom instruction at San Francisco State University.


Key Words: (student instruction)



Revises in its entirety S97-200; Curriculum Review and Approval Committee


Responsible Unit

Academic Affairs is responsible for the implementation, evaluation, and monitoring of this policy.








Revisions Approved by CRAC



Approved by CRAC



Superseded 0riginal—S97-200: Undergraduate Instructional Aides





Table of Contents


Policy (headings:  purpose, rationale, definitions, purpose of undergraduate student instruction, program governance, duties and responsibilities of faculty of record, selection of student instructors, training of student instructors, status of student instructors, implementing undergraduate instruction, compliance, re-examination of policy)


  1. Purpose


The purpose of this policy is to define the appropriate means and standards under which undergraduate students can participate in classroom instruction at San Francisco State University.



  1. Rationale


Increasingly, undergraduates are actively participating in the SF State classroom in some kind of instructional role, functioning in 2018 in a variety of different ways (Instructional Aides, Student Peer Instructors, and Supplemental Instructors) that have developed from the campus grassroots (faculty and departments) up around campus.  Given the continued emergence of student engagement as a high impact practice in higher education, we expect the ways in which students want to engage in the undergraduate classroom to continue to grow in ways that cannot be predicted. Students should not be used to replace faculty (either tenure track or lecturers)—either while on sabbatical or for vacant positions.


To date, the various types of undergraduate student instruction operate on a continuum of increased responsibility: from no independent instruction / assisting the faculty member only (the current Instructional Aides) to increased independent instruction supplementing individual classroom instruction (the current Supplemental Instructors) to even more independent instruction within the context of Experimental College courses (Peer Instructors).


The Academic Senate fully supports increased undergraduate engagement in the classroom. This policy lays out minimum standards and requirements for students engaged in instruction in the undergraduate classroom, the faculty of record who mentor and supervise them, and the programs under which these activities take place. 



  1. “Instructional Aides” are undergraduate students who, as part of their academic

experience, are selected by faculty of record to participate in the teaching of a regular instructionally related class.


  1. “Supplemental Instructors” are undergraduate students who provide additional instruction in some courses to other undergraduate students, under the guidance of faculty of record, according to the needs of departments.


  1. “Peer instructors” are undergraduate students who work within the University’s revived Experimental College framework to develop and teach their fellow undergraduate students on topics of mutual interest in a duly organized course format.


  1.  “Faculty of record” are the official faculty supervisors for students engaged in undergraduate instruction.


  1. “The regular instructionally related class” is the course in which the students operating in positions like Instructional Aide and Student Supplemental Instructor is assisting.


IV.Purpose of Undergraduate Student Instruction


The primary purpose of undergraduate students engaged in undergraduate instruction is to provide the student with genuine learning experiences consistent with their overall educational and career goals.


V.Program Governance

Each initiative to engage undergraduate students in the classroom needs to develop a governance and accountability structure or choose to be governed by an individual department or college, if the program lies completely within that department or college.  An initiative not under a department or college would report directly to Academic Affairs. 


Outside of a department or college structure, the governing and accountability structure should have a board of directors or relevant administrative unit and rules for operating the program.  The initiative board of directors or relevant administrative unit would be responsible for creating and implementing the initiative and monitoring:  the achievement of its goals; the achievement of student learning outcomes; student feedback to undergraduate instructors; and, the adherence to University policies and procedures.


VI.Duties and Responsibilities of Faculty of Record


Faculty of record are employees of the University.  No matter the type of undergraduate student instruction, the faculty of record is ultimately responsible for the course: the achievement of its student learning goals and syllabi, selection of pedagogical methods and practices, the classroom environment, evaluation methods, and the submission of grades. 


The level of supervision of students in the various roles in the classroom is completely dependent upon the particular initiative and the amount / type of training received by the individual student.


  • Instructional Aides: For Instructional Aides, the faculty of record, who are employees of the university, must remain at all times in charge of the regular instructionally related classroom. The faculty of record is responsible for preparation of the syllabus and the learning objectives for the class in which the Instructional Aide is assisting, is ultimately responsible for the classroom and for achieving the student learning goals of the course, and for being present whenever the regular Instructional Aide is assisting. 


  • Supplemental Instructors. For Supplemental Instructors, the faculty of record are ultimately responsible for achieving the student learning outcomes of the supplemental course. Faculty of record supervise the supplemental instructional activities of the Supplemental Instructors and ensure their instructional activities add to the SLO goals. They ensure the Student Supplemental Instructors have completed the training course designed for Supplemental Instructors, completed any mandatory training necessary for all CSU employees, and have completed any other administrative tasks necessary to achieve / maintain their Supplemental Instructor University status.


  • Peer Instructors. For Peer Instructors, the faculty of record shall normally be the Director of the Experimental College. The faculty of record is responsible for monitoring and certifying the training of all Student Peer Instructors, normally occurring through feeder courses and peer mentorship groups maintained by the Experimental College. The faculty of record shall ensure the certification of Experimental College courses each semester by the Experimental College board and manage space and time requirements for these courses. The faculty of record will approve syllabi, materials, and assessment activities for Experimental College courses and, in consultation with the Experimental College board, monitor their delivery. Faculty of record also ensure Peer Instructors have completed the mandatory training necessary for all CSU employees and have completed any other administrative tasks necessary to achieve / maintain their status as a Peer Instructor with the University.


VII.Selection of Student Instructors


The governing body, or relevant administrative unit for each initiative shall set up a formal process for the selection of undergraduate student instruction participants, along with criteria for their selection.  Applications for the merit-based positions must be distributed widely among the student body to ensure equitable access to all potential eligible students.


To be eligible, students must be a currently matriculated student in good standing, with a minimum grade point average determined by the governing board or relevant administrative unit.  The non-Experimental College students working within a course-based environment must have successfully completed the relevant course with a minimum grade of B+.


VIII.Training of Student Instructors

The amount and type of training required differs with the type of undergraduate student instruction but all undergraduate students engaging in any type of undergraduate instruction must receive training designed to fully prepare them for the tasks in which they will be engaging. Together, governing bodies and faculty of record are responsible for defining the exact content of training deemed most appropriate, but guidelines are laid out below. In general, this training should take place within a credit-bearing course. All students working in any undergraduate classroom must participate in the set of trainings defined as mandatory for CSU employees.

Instructional Aides. Undergraduate students assisting in a classroom as an instructional aide should receive training on the specific tasks to be performed.  

All other Undergraduate Instructors. All other undergraduate students, more actively involved in the classroom, must have considerably more training. At a minimum, all those seeking to have a teaching or support role in undergraduate classrooms must have appropriate training in pedagogy, classroom management, the specific content for their specific tasks, and in the various subject areas mandated for all CSU employees, as indicated by Academic Affairs. 

·Supplemental Instructors. Supplemental instructors must also receive training in how to instruct the particular content they are supplementing, or in how to conduct the labs, group work, or other activities in which they are engaged.


  • Peer instructors. Peer Instructors in the Experimental College must complete an approved Experimental College “feeder” credit course, 3-unit courses established by academic units. These courses are disciplinary in approach but provide a common core of the history of the Experimental College and training in progressive pedagogy theory and practice, plus the elements of a successful course, including student learning outcome development, development of syllabi, and other elements.


  • All other Undergraduate instructors. Students engaged in other types of undergraduate instruction must have training appropriate for their assigned duties and tasks in the classroom. 


IX.Status of Student Instructors

With the exception of instructional aides, the University status of undergraduate students engaged in the undergraduate classroom is to be determined by the rules and regulations of the University operative at the time. This determination should be made by Academic Affairs.


X.Implementing Student Instruction


Students working within an undergraduate classroom either take a credit bearing course while they are doing the instruction, or they must be paid. The course number and credit units for these types of courses shall be determined by Academic Affairs, in consultation with the colleges and initiatives under which these students are working. When taking a course, the course must have an instructional component, in which students meet with their supervisory faculty of record, and a fieldwork component, in which students do their work in a classroom. The instructional component of these classes should focus on ensuring that the discipline-specific and general student learning objectives are being met. 


Students acting as any kind of instructor in an undergraduate course may not:


  • Be enrolled concurrently in the class
  • Have access to student records, including addresses, phone numbers, University ID numbers, or grades.


Students acting as aides in an undergraduate course may not:


  • Be enrolled concurrently in the class in which they are an aide
  • Design the course syllabus or learning objectives
  • Grade non-objective tests or papers
  • Write exams; or,
  • Have access to student records, including addresses, phone numbers, University ID numbers, or grades.



Depending upon the nature of their responsibilities, students teaching within the classroom work with the faculty of record to perform their assigned tasks.


  • Supplemental Instructors. Under the guidance of the Program Director and faculty of record / subject matter mentors, Supplemental Instructors provide a limited number of hours of instruction to students to supplement classroom instruction. The type of material to be supplemented is to be guided by the faculty of record, who are also responsible for achieving the learning outcomes of the supplemental instruction courses.


  • Peer Instructors.  Under the guidance of the Experimental College Director (faculty of record) and Board, Peer Instructors develop 1-unit courses on topics of their choice but approved by the Experimental College Board of Directors. After completing a feeder course from a department as their training, they develop the student learning goals, content, pedagogical structure, deliver the course content, and evaluate student progress. The Experimental College Program Director is responsible for ensuring each Experimental College course is evaluated by its students.



Academic Affairs is responsible for the implementation of this policy. College deans are responsible for seeing that this policy is followed in their respective units.


XII.Re-Examination of the Policy


This policy shall be re-examined by the Academic Senate three years after

its passage to evaluate its success and determine whether it shall continue in effect.