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iSchool Policies and Procedures

The iSchool policies and procedure outline major academic and non-academic policies of the iSchool. This is not an exhaustive list of policies; for example, policies on awards, internships, admissions, and other topics are dispersed throughout the iSchool website where appropriate. Policy revisions are voted on by the faculty. Procedures are updated by iSchool administration as needed.

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Date: 4/18/86; Revised: 4/15/16; 3/29/24

If any difference should arise between the School’s policies and procedures and University policies and procedures (except where expressly allowed), University policies and procedures will take precedence.

 iSchool policies will be formulated to ensure compliance with University policy and be revised to conform to University policy whenever a conflict is identified.

Date: 5/6/86; Revised: 12/8/2017; 2/9/2024

Adjunct faculty appointments are made to fill needs in the iSchool when existing faculty are not available, or to teach unique areas of interest to students where existing faculty expertise is limited. Adjunct faculty appointments include doctoral students currently in the iSchool staff working within the University who teach a class outside of their normal duties, professionals currently working in the subject areas, and faculty from other institutions who fill unique needs. 

The Director determines when there is a need for an adjunct. Required courses are usually taught by full-time faculty; exceptions will be determined by the Director. Doctoral student adjuncts hold the title of Graduate Teaching Assistant, while all other adjuncts hold the title of Part-time Teaching Faculty. An individual appointed as an Adjunct Faculty member serves as an honorary member of the faculty of the school. 

Adjunct faculty are selected by the Director from a pool of existing applicants. If a teaching need arises that cannot be filled by the current pool, the director may appoint someone after review by the chair of the Committee on Instructional Quality (CIQ). Adjunct faculty should have a demonstrable capacity for teaching or a record of successful teaching at the postsecondary level. Qualifications include expertise in and/or experience with the subject matter they are selected to teach. Potential adjuncts will go through an application process. Salary and compensation issues will be addressed between the Director and the adjunct. 

Upon assignment to a course, all new adjunct faculty will be required to complete an orientation program, and the CIQ will provide a support structure to promote continued excellence in teaching. The primary points of contact for adjunct faculty include the Director and CIQ chair.  Adjunct faculty will undergo peer review of teaching in their first year, and reappointment is contingent upon successful peer review and student evaluations. 

The CIQ is responsible for designing, reviewing, and updating the procedures and documentation related to this policy: adjunct faculty appointment, onboarding and orientation, sustained support for quality instruction, evaluation, and reappointment. 


Adjunct Hiring

  • Anyone interested in adjunct teaching in the school should complete an “Adjunct Instructor Application Form,” a letter of interest, a resume or CV, and 2 professional letters of recommendation [a letter of support from an iSchool faculty member can be accepted in lieu of references].  
  • Completed application materials are initially reviewed by the CIQ to determine an applicant's general qualifications. 
  • Applicants approved by the CIQ are added to an “Adjunct Pool” of all potential adjuncts qualified to teach in the school. 
  • The director—in consultation with program chairs—determines if there is a need for adjunct instructors. If an adjunct from the pool matches a determined need, the director initiates the hiring process. 

Adjunct Responsibilities & Evaluation

  • At the start of each semester, all new adjuncts in the school meet with CIQ to address expectations, best practices, and answer questions. Adjuncts without teaching experience will be directed to the CTE for a consult with an instructional designer prior to the start of their first class.   
  • Ongoing adjuncts are evaluated yearly, based primarily on student course evaluations, by the CIQ. Instructors in their first year of adjunct teaching will also undergo a peer review during their first semester. Adjuncts will meet with the CIQ to discuss the evaluation report, and the report will be shared with the director. The director uses this to inform their own evaluation and determine potential reappointment. 

Date: 8/25/81; Reviewed: 4/15/16; 3/29/24

 All students enrolled in an iSchool graduate program, including a certificate program, will be assigned an academic advisor from the Graduate Student Services office.  Even though advisors are assigned to help students with course planning, the final responsibility of meeting degree requirements will rest with the student.

Upon acceptance of the student into the program, the Graduate Student Services Office will assign each student an academic advisor. A student may request a change of advisor by contacting the Graduate Student Services manager, though a change may not always be possible.

Through interactions with the advisor, students will:

  • Create a Program of Study and be able to clearly articulate how course selection relates to professional and career goals;
  • Make effective decisions concerning their degree and career goals;
  • Utilize the resources and services on campus to assist them in achieving their academic, personal, and career goals;
  • Make use of referrals to campus resources as needed;
  • Create an end-of-program portfolio relevant to professional objectives;
  • Graduate in a timely manner based on their educational plan.

Advisor Responsibilities

  • Understand and effectively communicate the curriculum, graduation requirements, and USC and iSchool policies and procedures;
  • Encourage and guide students as they define and develop realistic goals;
  • Encourage and support students as they gain the skills to develop clear and attainable educational plans;
  • Monitor students’ progress toward meeting their goals;
  • Be accessible for meeting with advisees via telephone, e-mail, web access, or in person;
  • Assist students in gaining decision making skills and skills in assuming responsibility for their educational plans and achievements;
  • Maintain confidentiality;
  • Contact advisees who have earned 12-21 hours to check on academic progress, career goals, areas of concern, and graduation/portfolio information;
  • Coordinate End-of-Program Portfolio process with faculty reviewers

Advisee Responsibilities

  • Schedule appointments or contact advisor during each semester;
  • Be prepared for each appointment with questions or material for discussion;
  • Be an active learner by participating fully in the advising experience;
  • Ask questions if you do not understand an issue or have a specific concern;
  • Keep a personal record of your progress toward meeting your goals;
  • Organize official documents in a way that enables you to access them when needed;
  • Gather all relevant decision-making information;
  • Clarify personal values and goals and provide advisor with accurate information regarding your interests and abilities;
  • Become knowledgeable about USC and iSchool programs, requirements, policies, and procedures;
  • Accept responsibility for decisions and degree requirements.

Date: 4/18/86; Revised: 4/15/16

Tenure and Promotion Committee members will review all faculty members annually. Note that The Faculty Manual of the University of South Carolina Columbia and the UCTP Guidelines take precedence over SLIS Policy A1.05


A. Annual Review of untenured faculty

a. Members of the SLIS Tenure and Promotion Committee will by each April review a summary of research, teaching, and service activities as “Tenure and promotion decisions require a record of accomplishment indicative of continuing development of the faculty member in research, teaching, and service, and appropriate progress toward
development of a national or international reputation in a field."
b. The faculty member who is being reviewed will submit materials using the Provost Office’s Primary File template.
c. The Committee will forward a written evaluation of the file to the Director for use by the Director in preparing the Director’s annual review of the faculty member. Note that there will not be a separate annual review of a faculty member during the year of a tenure and promotion action.
d. The written evaluation will address the unit criteria for promotion and tenure, which are contained in the SLIS Tenure and Promotion Criteria and Procedures. Note that it is within the scope of responsibility of the Tenure and Promotion Committee to make recommendations with regard to, for example, advancing a tenure and promotion file.
e. The annual review correspondence of the SLIS Tenure and Promotion Committee and the SLIS Director will be incorporated into Third Year and Tenure and Promotion Packages.
f. Copies of the annual review correspondence will be provided to the person being reviewed and incorporated into that person’s personnel file.

B. Annual Review of tenured faculty at the Associate Professor Rank

a. Members of the SLIS Tenure and Promotion Committee who are at the professor rank will each April review a summary of research, teaching, and service activities of faculty members at the associate professor rank. In the event that there are
less than four SLIS faculty at the professor rank, persons holding the rank of professor in another unit of the university, who have a general understanding of the information field  and the particular area of contribution of the faculty member being evaluated, will be invited to contribute to the annual review.
b. The faculty member who is being reviewed will submit materials using The Provost Office’s Primary File template.
c. The reviewers will forward a written evaluation of the file to the Director for use by the Director in preparing the Director’s annual review of the faculty member. Note that there will not be a separate annual review of a faculty member during the year of a promotion action.
d. The written evaluation will address the unit criteria for promotion and tenure, which are contained in the SLIS Tenure and Promotion Criteria and Procedures. Note that it is within the scope of responsibility of the reviewers to make recommendations with regard to, for example, advancing a promotion file.
e. The annual review correspondence of the reviewers and the SLIS Director will be incorporated into future Promotion Packages.
f. Copies of the annual review correspondence will be provided to the person being reviewed and incorporated into that person’s personnel file.
g. A faculty member who is within three years of retirement may ask for a waiver from the annual review process.

C. Annual Review of Tenured Faculty at Professor Rank
As faculty at the Professor rank have high achievement in research, teaching, and /or service as well as national and international reputation, and as the faculty member will be subject to university’s post tenure review requirement, an annual review will be waived unless such is requested by either the Director or the faculty member.


Date: 5/7/96; Reviewed: 4/16/16; Revised 2/1/2024

At the discretion of the faculty, people not registered for a course may attend selected class activities.

Anyone who wishes to attend a class for which they are not registered may do so by obtaining prior approval from the instructor. Faculty may decline a request for visitor attendance for any reason.

Date: 5/7/96; Reviewed: 4/15/16; Revised 1/19/2024

Classes will meet at the time and place as published by the Office of the University Registrar.

Exceptions to this policy require the approval of the iSchool Director.

Date: 4/18/86; Reviewed: 4/15/16; Revised 1/19/2024

Any outside consulting work performed by faculty of the iSchool must have the prior approval of the Director. Faculty will not use University resources to support outside consulting work. Faculty must abide by all applicable University policies as stated in the Consultant Activity (Research) section of the Faculty Manual.

Faculty will follow procedure concerning consultant Activity as outlined in Faculty Manual.

Date: 8/22/96; Revised: 11/17/17

The School has standing committees based on the needs or priorities of the School per the Director’s discretion. The Director as necessary will appoint ad hoc committees. The faculty may recommend the creation of other ad hoc committees as the need arises. Students participate on committees as specified in Policy A1.30. The Director will make appointments for each academic year subject to faculty review.

In August of each year the Director will appoint members to each standing committee. Faculty will be given the opportunity to express preference for committee service. Student involvement will be solicited by committee chairs by the second committee meeting of the academic year. Minutes of committee meetings will be placed on the shared drive/Community Blackboard site for review.

Date: 4/18/86; Revised: 4/15/16; Updated 3/29/2024

 The Graduate Student Services Office will maintain a system in which faculty and staff may view or obtain copies of University records pertaining to iSchool students. Current students and alumni may also request access to their student records. Such records include both Graduate School and departmental files on students.

 Faculty and staff may examine student files for certification of grades, admission information or any other legitimate educational purpose. Following FERPA guidelines, student education records may not be disclosed to anyone unless the student has given written consent. A faculty member, staff member, or school official has a legitimate educational interest in accessing or reviewing a student’s educational records without the student’s written consent if he or she needs to review an educational record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.

Electronic files may be viewed via a secure, shared drive from the faculty or staff member’s university issued computer within Davis College or remotely via a secured VPN.  Files are not to be copied and/or saved to any other computer or storage device. Any changes, additions, or deletions to files must be done by the Student Services Office.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These are:

  • The right to inspect and to review their education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a written request for access.
  • The right to request amendment of student education records that the student believes is inaccurate or misleading.
  • The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.

Date: 5/7/96; Reviewed: 4/15/16; 3/29/24

In accordance with the School's Goals and Objectives, the School will strive to provide for the continuing education (CE) and staff development needs of the employees of libraries and information centers through a flexible program consisting of short-term academic and non-academic workshops and seminars. The iSchool will maintain contact with the field to identify, plan, and implement needed continuing education programs.

The CE activities may be initiated by: individual faculty members; the faculty as a whole;  the Director; or groups or individuals outside the School. The Director will approve all iSchool-sponsored CE activities.

Date 8/20/04; Revised: 4/15/16; 11/22/19;  3/27/20

Course Instructors may request course assistants who will be readers or mentors (non-teaching) in courses that exceed 30 students. The ratio of students to Course Assistants may vary from one course to another based on the unique nature of instruction requirements; however, the general allocation will be 30 students per Course Assistant. Course Assistants for undergraduate and master’s level courses must have at least an MLIS or other master’s level completion or comparable level of expertise and cannot be current students in the program in which they are assisting. Course Instructors will evaluate their allotted course assistant/s each semester that they are employed. Each semester Course Assistants will provide feedback related to their experience, indicating whether or not they want to continue to be considered for future Course Assistant roles .


The Assistant director identifies and assigns course assistants (CAs) in consultation with the instructor for courses needing CAs. CAs are chosen from a pool of applicants who fill out a CA application form and meet eligibility requirements. Preferably, a CA is in place and begins training one week prior to course start.

CAs are trained out of the Assistant Director’s office. Training covers the most common CA duties, e.g. pre-marking, discussion monitoring, attendance.

The assistant director evaluates CAs for potential reappointment, with input from instructor.

Date: 5/7/96; Revised: 4/15/16; 3/29/24

Students enrolled in each course offered by the iSchool, including special topics courses, independent studies, and internships, will be provided an opportunity to evaluate the course at its end. Evaluations are deployed by the University of South Carolina through Blackboard prior to the end of the semester. Evaluations are anonymous. The results of evaluations will be provided to instructors following submission of final grades each semester. Full data will be provided to the Director. Aggregate data will be provided to the Dean. The director will reach out as appropriate to discuss any concerns with individual faculty. Faculty should retain the evaluation results for each course for inclusion in their tenure and promotion files.

Date: 2/21/20; Revised 2/1/2024


Synchronous meetings cannot be required in any course offered in a fully asynchronous program.  Faculty may have live sessions in these courses and require students to view recordings of them, but students are not required to attend.  

Faculty may provide options for synchronous meetings with students individually or in groups as part of the course, such as for one-on-one meetings to review course materials. Asynchronous options must be provided.

Date: 8/23/96; Revised: 4/15/16; Revised: 4/15/22


The Curriculum Committee is an iSchool faculty committee that coordinates the development of the iSchool curricula in all degrees and receives new permanent course proposals, new special topics course proposals, and proposals for course/bulletin revision (University Policy ACAF 2.00). The membership of the Committee includes all iSchool Program Chairs or their designates (e.g., BSIS, MLIS, MDC, PhD, etc.) as well as an iSchool student representative. Additional committee members may be assigned by the Director as appropriate and the CIC ADAA sits on the committee ex officio. The student representative is a regular committee member and has the right to vote on any curriculum-related proposal (iSchool Policy A1.30).


The Committee 

  1. reviews all proposals, communicates with the proposers for changes, and makes recommendations to the iSchool faculty; 
  2. examines degree requirements, course prerequisites, and curriculum-related issues; 
  3. reviews whether there are any other programs (e.g., Palmetto College, etc.) affected by any changes or new offerings; and 
  4. considers the relationships between and among the School’s curricula, students’ needs, and the requirements of the professional community as they affect the iSchool programs and courses of study.

Procedures for developing New Courses & Course Changes are found in iSchool Policy A3.60.

The Chair of the Curriculum Committee will direct the activities of the Committee and appoint one member to record the minutes of each meeting. All minutes will be posted in the appropriate iSchool archive.




Date: 8/19/2005: Revised: 4/15/16; Revised 2/1/2024

The iSchool will have a faculty meeting at least once a month during the academic year.  Special faculty meetings, held in person or virtually, may be called by the Director or by a request of at least three tenure-track faculty members; all meetings of the faculty are open. The faculty may go into executive session for the discussion of personnel or student matters pertaining to confidential student information. Discussions in executive sessions are not recorded.

Dates for the regular faculty meetings will be established at the beginning of each academic year. Agenda items will be solicited by the Director’s office at least one week prior to the meeting. An agenda for the meeting will be distributed from the Director’s office prior to the meeting. Minutes of all faculty meetings will be recorded and will be complete and available to all faculty and staff via SharePoint within 10 days following meeting date.

Voting: Faculty do not have to be present to vote on faculty matters and may send a proxy or provide their vote electronically to the Office Coordinator prior to the meeting. Final votes for each semester will take place at the penultimate meeting of the semester.

Date: 8/25/81; Revised: 4/15/16; Revised 2/1/2024

The iSchool has two faculty representatives on the Faculty Senate. Each spring semester, the Faculty Senate office calculates the appropriate senate representation for each college and school. The person(s) will serve for a three-year term.

The faculty of the iSchool will elect the appropriate number of members to represent the School as Faculty Senator. If the person elected cannot serve the full term, another election will be held to select a replacement. The person(s) serving as Faculty Senator will make a report to the faculty at each faculty meeting and may make such other reports as appropriate.


Date: 8/26/11; Revised: 4/15/16; Updated 11/17/2023

This policy and the procedures herein shall not extend to matters of grading student work where the substance of a complaint is simply the student’s disagreement with the grade or evaluation of their work. Such matters will be discussed by a student and their instructor; final authority shall remain with the instructor.

Students have the right to be graded in an equitable manner, free from arbitrary bias or
capriciousness on the part of faculty members. The basis of a student grievance shall be a violation of Teaching Responsibility policies contained in the Faculty Manual; or a violation of the policies on Protection of Freedom of Expression or Protection against Improper Disclosure (see STAF 6.28),as stated in USC Policies and Procedures.

Students who believe they have the right to grieve under this policy should contact the iSchool Student Services Manager to review the appeals process. Appeals must be made within 30 calendar days of the notification of the grade.


Initiating an Appeal

Students must submit their appeal to the iSchool Director. The written appeal must clearly state the grievance as it relates to the documents listed above. Students must initiate an appeal within 30 calendar days of notification of the grade or evaluation.

First Appeal

The first level of appeal of a course grade is to the iSchool Director. The Director may speak with the faculty member or the student regarding the appeal. The student and faculty member will receive notification of the Director’s decision within ten working days of receiving the student’s written appeal.

The appeal should include graded work that supports the appeal. It is the student’s responsibility to maintain and produce all graded work to support review for settlement of disputed grades. 

The faculty will return graded work to students except final examinations. Copies of work graded "C+" or lower will be retained by faculty for at least six months. In the case of an incomplete grade, the work should be maintained for two years. Faculty are to retain copies of exams for one semester after a course is offered.

Final Appeal

If the Director’s decision is not favorable to the student, students may appeal the decision via an Ad Hoc committee. Students must contact the Director in writing within ten working days of the notification of the Director’s decision requesting a committee be formed to review the appeal. The committee will be appointed by the Director and will include the Student Services Manager and two iSchool faculty members. The faculty who assigned the grade will not be part of the Ad Hoc committee.

The Committee’s decision will be final. The student and faculty member will receive notification of the Committee’s decision within fifteen working days of receiving the student’s second written appeal.

Grade requirements for degree credit

Date: 3/7/91; Revised: 4/15/16 (For students who began their program Fall 2014 or later); Updated 11/17/2023


A graduate student who receives grades of C+ or below on more than six hours of coursework, or a grade of D, F, WF, or U in any course, may not continue in a School of Information Science (iSchool) graduate program. The student will be suspended from the iSchool and will not be allowed to enroll in any further iSchool courses for at least one year. A student's cumulative grade point average on all courses attempted for graduate credit must be at least 3.00 (B) in order for the student to graduate from the iSchool program.

Courses approved for graduate degree credit must have a grade of C or better. A student must complete all courses listed on the approved Program of Study with an average of at least B (3.0). The average on all graduate-level courses must also be B or above. All courses taken for graduate credit at USC within the time period for the degree, whether listed on the Program of Study or not, must average B or above. Graduate credits approved for transfer from other institutions are not included in calculating USC GPA.


When a student earns grades of C+ or below on more than six hours of coursework, or a grade of D, F, WF, or U in any course, a reclassification action sheet will be sent to the Graduate School requesting that the student's admission to the iSchool graduate program be canceled. A letter explaining the reasons for the request will accompany the action sheet.

A student who is dismissed for academic reasons may request reinstatement to the program after one year. If three or more years have passed since dismissal, the student must re-apply through the Graduate School and go through the iSchool reinstatement process (see [policy #] ). The student is disqualified from enrolling in any iSchool courses for a minimum of one year from the date of dismissal from the iSchool program regardless of the student's status in another degree program of the University.

Students who receive grades of C+ or below in a course will be sent a letter from the Graduate Student Services Manager advising the student of their academic eligibility. These letters will be sent via email at the end of each semester and each session of summer school.

Students who receive a grade below C in a course cannot apply the course toward graduation.

Students who receive a grade of D+ or D in a required course must retake the course if they are reinstated and must earn a grade of at least B. A course may be retaken only once.

Date: 4/18/86; Revised: 4/15/16; 2/9/2024

The School has a grievance procedure to provide a means for the adjudication and resolution of student grievances. A grievable matter is defined as an allegation of failure of a faculty member to carry out teaching responsibilities as established in the Regulations and Policies section of the Faculty Manual. (Grievances about the assignment of grades are excluded from this policy.) 

Any student feeling that a grievance exists shall first address the grievance to the faculty member involved and seek solution of the problem. If, after conferring with the faculty member, the student feels that the grievance still exists, it shall be stated in an email to the Director containing the following: 

  • nature of the problem or complaint;
  • reasonable evidence to support the case and background material;
  • a description of what has been done to resolve the grievance.

The Director may confer with the involved faculty member to seek resolution or appoint an ad hoc grievance committee to investigate the matter, or take both of these actions. 

If the Director appoints a grievance committee, the committee will: 

  • conduct a full inquiry into the grievance.
  • invite the student and the faculty member to appear before them to present evidence to be accompanied by a reasonable number of advisors of their choosing. The investigation shall be conducted under such rules and procedures as the committee may adopt, the intent being to conduct a full and impartial inquiry into the matter.
  • to hear any witnesses requested by the student and the faculty member. Both parties shall have the right to cross-examine witnesses.
  • to submit to the Director as promptly as possible, but in no case later than five days after the hearing, a report of the committee's investigations and a recommendation with respect to the grievances.

The Director will make a final decision in the case within  five days of the receipt of the Grievance Committee's report unless that falls during a University break and campus is closed. The Director  will inform the student, the faculty member, and the members of the Grievance Committee (if applicable) of the decision in the case.  The student may initiate further action through the administrative channels of the University. (See STAF630 0504). 

See also: Grade Appeal Policy 

Date: 8/23/96; Reviewed: 4/15/16; 2/9/2024

Faculty may utilize guest speakers in their classes at any time. The faculty will make the arrangements for the speaker. At the faculty member's discretion, notices may be posted to invite those interested in the speaker's topic to attend. Unless prior approval is obtained from the Director, any costs involved in having a guest speaker will be paid by the faculty. 


Date: 9/18/2009 Revised: 4/15/16; Revised 1/19/2024


The grade of I (incomplete) is a temporary grade assigned at the discretion of the instructor when, in the instructor’s judgment, a student is prevented from completing a portion of the assigned work in a course because of an illness, accident, verified disability, family emergency, or some other unforeseen circumstance. 

It is the responsibility of the student to notify the instructor and request an extension of time to complete the course work. The request for a grade of incomplete must be made to the instructor before final grades are posted. Final grades will not be changed from a letter grade to an I. 

An incomplete is not guaranteed and is at the discretion of the instructor. If granted, the instructor will determine, according to the nature of the circumstance and the uncompleted requirements, how much additional time will be allowed for completing the work before a permanent grade is assigned. The iSchool requires all Incomplete work to be submitted by the end of the following consecutive semester. No extensions on Incomplete work will be granted. If the coursework is not completed by the deadline the I will revert to a letter grade. 


Once approved, the instructor will provide a justification for the I, the conditions for make-up, a deadline for completion, and a back-up grade if the course work is not completed by the deadline. This information must be communicated by the faculty to the student via email with a copy to the Graduate Student Services Manager for the student’s file. 

An Assignment of Incomplete Grade form (pdf) must be submitted to the registrar’s office. A grade of I should be submitted through the usual grade submission process.  

Re-enrolling in a course will not make up or replace an incomplete grade and students should not re-register for the course. A grade of I is not computed in the calculation of a student’s cumulative grade point average until the permanent grade is posted. After the deadline an I grade that has not been replaced with a permanent grade is changed permanently to a grade of F or to the backup grade indicated by the faculty member on the Assignment of Incomplete Grade form. The Graduate School does not approve the make-up of I (incomplete) grades in courses which are already out-of-date for use on a student’s program of study or grant extensions of time without sufficient justification and/or supporting documentation.

iSchool students should have no more than two outstanding Incompletes at any time. Students are ineligible to enroll following a semester where all grades received were an I. That time should be used to complete the work and students will not be able to register again until the I’s have been replaced with a letter grade. Students may not graduate from the iSchool with a grade of I on their records, even if that course is not included on the Program of Study.


Date: 3 /10/17

The School of Information Science (SLIS) uses email lists (listservs) to communicate regularly with current faculty and staff, students and alumni. The school uses

  • SLISFS-L – a closed list that consists of current SLIS faculty and staff and CIC staff;
  • BSIS – a closed list that consists of current undergraduate major and minor students;
  • SLISMLIS – a closed list that consists of current MLIS, Certificate, and Specialist students;
  •  SLISPHD – a closed list that consists of current doctoral students;
  • COCKYREADS – a closed list of Cocky’s Reading Express volunteers;
  • SLISALUM – an open list that consists of alumni;
  • SLISJOBS – an open list that consists of interested subscribers; and
  • SLM_NEWS – an open list for students seeking school library certification (new students are directed to self-enroll).

SLIS faculty and staff, CIC staff, and doctoral students may request to be added to a closed student list based on their interests or needs.

All students must be enrolled in their corresponding student list. USC email is used to add the students to the closed lists and to communicate with them.

One of the list managers adds faculty and staff to the closed lists when they are hired, and removes them when they resign or retire.

Each semester, the SLIS Student Services Office adds new students and removes students (due to graduation or dismissal) from the three students’ lists. Recent graduates are invited to subscribe to the SLISALUM list.

Requests by doctoral students to be added to a closed student list are sent to one of the list managers.
Any USC student, graduate, faculty or staff member who has given an e-mail address to the CRE Coordinator may join the COCKYREADS list.


Date: 8/25/81; Reviewed: 4/15/16; 2/9/2024

Every effort will be made to ensure that the building is in good repair and that problems are resolved. 

When faculty or staff observes maintenance problem areas (e.g., inoperable heat or air conditioning) in the building, the nature of the problem should be reported immediately to the iSchool Office Coordinator. This person will notify the maintenance department and will follow up on the call to try to ensure correction of the problem. 

Faculty and staff must remember that the maintenance department is not under the jurisdiction of the School and operates according to its own priorities. 


Date: 5/7/96; Revised: 4/15/16; Revised 4/15/22

Any change to the curriculum, either in the form of a new course proposal or as a change to existing courses, may be originated by faculty or staff (e.g., ISCI 700) of the School.

Disclaimer: Please note that the approval process may take more than one year to complete.

Preliminary procedure: The initiator contacts the CIC ADAA to verify the timeline for proposal processing 

  1. In consultation with the appropriate program coordinator/chair and program committee (BSIS, MLIS, MDC, PhD, etc.), the initiator creates a syllabus in compliance with university syllabus guidelines and completes the necessary CIC forms for processing. 
  2. The iSchool Curriculum Committee reviews the proposal and presents a recommendation to the entire faculty at the next scheduled faculty meeting. Special faculty meetings (in person or virtual) may be called for the purpose of an expedited vote when university due dates are incompatible with regularly scheduled Faculty Meetings.
  3. Faculty may approve the proposal in which case it will move forward to the appropriate Faculty Senate (undergraduate) or Graduate Council (graduate) committee. Faculty may also disapprove the proposal and refer it back to the initiator for revision.

Proposal Components

  • All proposals require a completed syllabus aligning with InDev requirements and all other university policy items (learning outcomes, required textbook, student support, disability, academic integrity, etc.)
  • If the proposal is for a new permanent course, please contact the Chair of the Curriculum Committee for an appropriate new course number. 
  • Changes to courses must take into consideration any prerequisites/corequisites/cross listings, and other requirements of the course undergoing revision.

Once the Curriculum Committee approves the proposal packet, the proposal will be forwarded for iSchool faculty approval. After the iSchool faculty approves the proposal, the proposal will be forwarded to the CIC Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for submission via the U of SC App system.


Date: 8/25/81; Revised: 10/4/16; 2/9/2024

When space becomes available the director shall determine if the space shall be used for faculty offices or some other purpose (research space, staff functions, etc.) based on the needs of the School. When appropriate, the Director will consult with faculty on space decisions. Upon determining that a space is to be used for faculty offices, the director shall offer it first to the most senior member of the faculty by rank and time on faculty. This process continues, working down the list of eligible faculty, until all spaces are assigned. 

Note that a change in rank or seniority does not guarantee a choice of a new office. New office assignments come only upon availability through retirements, new space openings, etc. 

Date: 4/18/86; Reviewed: 4/15/09; 2/9/2024

Instructional staff members should post a reasonable number of convenient office hours, as determined administratively, with the option of appointments. Office hours may be held in person or virtually. Faculty will post office hours in Blackboard and on syllabi. Faculty should also be available by appointment to accommodate students’ schedules. 


Date: 1/22/99; Reviewed: 4/15/09

Peer review is a process mandated by the University as part of the requirements of performance funding. The purpose of peer review is to improve the quality of teaching in a department or college. Peer review is to be considered in the annual evaluation process conducted by the School Tenure and Promotion Committee and by the Director. Peer review will also be considered in the evaluation process that takes place at the time a faculty member submits her or her file for tenure or promotion.

A. All faculty, tenured and non-tenured, full-time, part-time, and adjunct will be reviewed, as follows:

1. Tenured: Once in the year before post-tenure review
2. Non-Tenured, Tenure-track: Once per year
3. Non-Tenure track, adjunct, & part-time: At least once every three years
4. Any faculty member may request an annual peer review

B. Each September the Director and the Chair of the School Tenure and Promotion Committee will:

1. Identify the faculty members to be reviewed that academic year
2. Appoint one or more reviewers for each identified faculty member to be reviewed. Reviewers must be members of the School Tenure and Promotion Committee.
3. The Director and the School Tenure and Promotion Committee Chair will notify reviewers and faculty to be reviewed of the appointments made.

C. Review Process

D. The instructor selects at least one typical class for review. This should include a normal, for that course, array of events. The reviewer(s)  should observe one or more standard classes, not one especially orchestrated for review.

E. The instructor and appointed reviewer(s) will agree upon the time for the visit and the time for the reviewer to deliver the critique.

F. Prior to the review, the instructor and reviewer(s) discuss goals and behaviors to be assessed. At least one week prior to the classroom visit, the instructor provides the reviewer(s) with the course syllabus and any other appropriate materials, including an outline of the materials and goals and objectives to be covered in the observed class or classes. The reviewer(s) thoroughly examines these materials prior to the classroom visit(s).

G. The instructor should notify students about the visit and its purpose.

H. Reviewers should adopt a warm, supportive and professional manner throughout the process of scheduling, observing, critiquing and reporting to the Director. In general:

1. their comments should be descriptive of behaviors associated with stated objectives;
2. they may identify areas for improvement;
3. reviewers take the initiative in planning pre and post-visit conferences;
4. reviewers should be present for an entire class; no partial observation may form the basis for the critique.

I. Within seven days of the classroom visit(s) the reviewer(s) and the instructor meet and discuss the review. This discussion should take place in a private, comfortable location.

J. When delivering the critique and issuing feedback, reviewer(s) should describe what they saw in relation to established goals and objectives for that class.

They should strive to issue clear and direct statements. Statements should be specific, concrete, and accompanied by examples. Both positive and negative critiques have  their place in peer review. The reviewer(s) should not feel compelled to find both positives and negatives in order to achieve some artificial or polite balance.

K. Instructors are advised to take an active role in the review process by accepting the review, performing self-evaluation, considering possibilities for change, resisting inclinations to act defensively, and by being open to describing problem areas in their teaching. This can be part of the discussion with the reviewer(s) prior to the visit.

L. Within two weeks of the visit, the reviewer(s) writes his/her observations and submits them to the Director. The observation report shall be based upon the specifics of the Classroom Visit Form (attached). In fact, the completed form may serve as the observation report.

M. Within two weeks of receipt of the written report of the reviewer(s), the Director synthesizes the comments of the reviewer(s) and presents them to the instructor. The instructor should place a copy of the reviewers’ comments and the Director’s synthesis in his/her annual review file.

O. A copy of the classroom visit form to be completed and signed by the reviewer(s) follows. This completed and signed form will be submitted to the Director.

Date: 5/6/86; Reviewed: 4/15/16; 2/9/2024 

The Director will ensure that faculty and staff adhere to all USC policies and procedures concerning personal work. Faculty and staff may, in accordance with University policy, may be involved in work outside the University for which pay is received. Additionally, employees may be engaged in work in which the benefit is principally to the individual (e.g., completion of a dissertation or publication of a book). The differentiation of activities which are personal from those which are part of the scholarly purposes of the University is provided in the University's policies concerning copyrights and consultant activity, as set forth in the Research section of the Faculty Manual. 

Work of a personal nature is not to be performed on University time or with the use of University resources or staff. 

Date: 12/4/98; Reviewed: 4/15/16; 2/9/2024 

The School will maintain a photocopy machine to support administrative, teaching and research activities. 

The photocopier may be used for materials related to teaching, research, and administration. Use of the photocopier is limited to administrative staff, faculty, and graduate assistants performing specific tasks for staff and faculty. No other students will be allowed to use the photocopier. The photocopier will not be used for personal tasks. 

The Office Coordinator will oversee the use of the photocopier, including correction of routine problems such as paper jams, toner replacement, etc. Faculty and graduate assistants will not attempt to correct these problems but will instead notify the Office Coordinator that maintenance is needed. The Office Coordinator will initiate service calls when necessary.

Date: 9/25/98; Reviewed: 4/15/16

The School of Information Science will review all tenured faculty as set forth in the regulations on post-tenure review established in the University Faculty Manual.

The primary function of post-tenure review, an internal SLIS process, is faculty development. Post-tenure review is not a process to reevaluate the award of tenure.Moreover, although the failure of a faculty member to make substantial progress toward meeting the goals of a development plan established through the post-tenure review process may be evidence of “incomplete and/or habitual neglect of duty,” the post-tenure review process may not be used to shift the burden of proof in a proceeding to terminate a tenured faculty member for cause.

The procedures given below are in compliance with the regulations on post-tenure review established in the University Faculty Manual. If any question should arise between the procedures in this document and the regulations given in the University Faculty Manual, the University Faculty Manual will take precedence.

I. The School post-tenure review calendar will follow the calendar established for this purpose by the Office of the Provost.

II. Faculty Eligibility for Post-Tenure Review

Each tenured faculty member, regardless of rank and including those in departmental administrative positions (other than the Director), will be reviewed every six years unless, during the previous six-year period, the faculty member is reviewed and advanced to or retained in a higher position (e.g., Director or a chaired professorship). However, School-level post-tenure review will be waived for: any faculty member who notifies the unit chair in writing, prior to the next scheduled review, of plans for retirement within three years after the review would have been scheduled and any faculty member who has been successfully promoted to the rank of professor or associate professor within the previous five years. Post-tenure review will be conducted by tenured faculty members of equal or higher rank.

Tenured faculty members who hold joint appointments will undergo post-tenure review according to the criteria, and by the tenured faculty of equal or higher rank, of the primary unit. Input from appropriate evaluators (e.g. faculty, chair, dean) of the secondary unit including performance reviews, teaching evaluations, service and research evaluation must be solicited by the primary unit in reaching their determination.

III. The Post-Tenure Review Committee

The membership of the School Post-Tenure Review Committee (hereafter referred to as the Committee) will consist of all tenured full professors on the School Tenure and Promotion Committee, acting as a sub-committee of the School Tenure and Promotion Committee. Tenured full professors who are having a post-tenure review conducted will be excluded from Committee membership that year. The Chair of the Post-Tenure Review Committee will be the chair of the School Tenure and Promotion Committee. If the Chair of the School Tenure and Promotion Committee is being evaluated for posttenure review, then the Committee will elect a new chair for that year.

The Director is neither eligible to vote nor to serve on the Committee. In the event that there are fewer than five School faculty members eligible to serve on the Committee, the Director of the School will appoint a sufficient number of faculty members from other units within the University that do meet the eligibility requirements to make up a committee of five voting members.

IV. File Documentation

The faculty member who is being reviewed will submit a post-tenure review file to the Committee. While the faculty member being reviewed may include any documentation he/she believes pertinent, the faculty member must include at least the following material in the file:

A. Teaching

  1. A listing of all courses taught in the previous five years. Teaching is defined as in the SLIS Tenure and Promotion Criteria under the heading "Definition of Teaching."
  2. A numerical and descriptive summary of the student course evaluations for each of the courses listed (to be prepared by the Director’s Office);
  3. A copy of a peer evaluation of teaching, conducted in accordance with the School’s policy on peer evaluations.

B. Scholarship
A listing and relevant copies of all scholarly activities conducted during the previous five years. Scholarly activities are defined as those listed in the School’s Tenure and Promotion Criteria under the heading "Definition of Scholarship."

C. Service
A listing of all service activities conducted during the previous five years. Service activities are defined as those listed in the School’s Tenure and Promotion Criteria under the heading "Service."

D. Annual Evaluations
A copy of all annual performance evaluations conducted by the Director and/or the School Tenure and Promotion Committee accumulated since the initial tenure review or since the last post-tenure review.

E. Sabbatical Reports
A copy of the official report of sabbatical activities (if one was taken during the review period).

V. Committee Procedures

A. The chair of the Committee will ensure that peer reviews (from within the College) of the faculty member’s teaching, and peer reviews of scholarly activities are conducted in a timely manner. It should be noted that the publication of refereed scholarship is an example of the peer review of scholarly activities requirement.

B. After review of the faculty member’s file, each member of the Committee will complete a written evaluation form for the faculty member. The form will rate the faculty member’s performance in four areas: teaching, scholarship, service, and overall performance. In each of the four areas, the committee member will rate the faculty member’s performance as either: superior, satisfactory, or unsatisfactory.

C. For purposes of post-tenure review, the following performance rating terms will be defined as:

  1. ‘Superior performance’ means performance at the very highest level. Superior performance meets the definition of "superior" or "excellent" for any given evaluation area in the School’s Tenure and Promotion Criteria.
  2. ‘Satisfactory performance’ means performance that meets the expectations of the School. Satisfactory performance meets the definition of "good" or "fair" for any given evaluation area in the School’s Tenure and Promotion Criteria.
  3. ‘Unsatisfactory performance’ means performance, taken as a whole, that fails to meet relevant School standards. Unsatisfactory performance meets the definition of "unsatisfactory" for any given evaluation area in the School’s Tenure and Promotion Criteria.

D. In a meeting of the Committee, the Chair will collect the performance evaluation forms from the Committee members and tally the ratings in each evaluation areas defined in V.B. A majority evaluative rating is achieved when fifty-one percent of all eligible Committee members have cast a ballot with the same rating. In the event that a majority of Committee members do not rate the performance of a faculty member the same in a given performance evaluation area, the committee report will give a performance rating of "satisfactory, lacking majority opinion." A Committee member on leave may vote only upon written notification to the Director of a desire to do so before the beginning of the leave.

E. After the performance evaluation forms have been tallied and the results announced to the Committee, the chair of the Committee will draft a report of the post-tenure review, which will include at minimum the Committee’s rating of the performance for each of the four evaluation areas defined in V.B, and sufficient comments to aid the faculty member in his/her professional growth and development. Individual vote counts in each evaluation area will not be revealed, and individual written evaluations will be destroyed by the Committee chair after the report is approved by the Committee.

F. A copy of the Committee report must be sent to the faculty member and to the Director of the School for inclusion in the faculty member’s personnel file. In the event of an unsatisfactory review, a copy of the Committee report and development plan must also be sent to the Provost.

G. If the performance rating for each evaluation area defined in V.B of the faculty member is either "superior" or "satisfactory," the evaluation of the faculty member is concluded with the distribution of the report. If the Committee determines that the faculty member’s overall performance is satisfactory but that his/her performance in either teaching, scholarship, or service areas is unsatisfactory, the Committee must include recommendations in its report that could assist in restoring the faculty member’s performance to a satisfactory level in that area. A review that results in an overall performance rating of satisfactory but includes an unsatisfactory rating in one of the other areas does not require a development plan.

H. An Unsatisfactory Review

  1. If the Committee determines that the overall performance evaluation rating of the faculty member is "unsatisfactory," the Committee must include recommendations in its report that could assist in restoring the faculty member’s performance to a satisfactory level. The Committee will also act as the faculty member’s Development Committee. The Committee may recommend the inclusion of additional members to the Development Committee from outside the unit with a particular expertise that would assist the faculty member in reaching his/her development goals.
  2. The Director of the School, in consultation with the Committee and the faculty member, will produce a development plan including an improvement timetable for the faculty member.
  3. In accordance with the timetable established in the development plan, the Development Committee will review the faculty member’s updated file and will recommend to the Director of the School whether they believe the goals of the development plan have been met, in general or in any particular. The timetable is at the discretion of the Committee depending on the nature of the development plan, but in no case will the development plan timetable be less than one year or more than three years in duration.
  4. The Director of the School will make the final determination on the progress, or lack thereof, of the faculty member in meeting the goals of the development plan, and whether or not further measures may be necessary. The Director will conform to the timetable established in the development plan and will file periodic progress reports with the Provost.
  5. Failure to make substantial progress toward meeting the performance goals of a development plan established through the post-tenure review process may result in proceedings for termination of the faculty member.

VI. Appeal Procedures

A. A faculty member who receives an unsatisfactory review and disagrees with the evaluation or any aspect of the recommendations may appeal to the School Tenure and Promotion Committee, in general or in any particular. The findings of the School PostTenure Review Committee, together with its recommendations for action and a statement by the faculty member will be forwarded to the Director for final determination of the evaluation.

B. If the faculty member disagrees with the development plan produced by the Director of the School, he/she may appeal specific aspects of the development plan to the Provost. The Provost will make the final determination of the adequacy of an appealed development plan.

Date: 4/15/16; Revised: 3/29/24

All academic programs in the iSchool will be systematically evaluated in order to improve the programs and gather data to ensure that the program is meeting the student learning outcomes. Each program has its own learning outcomes and method of evaluation. The learning outcomes are reviewed regularly by the appropriate committee. The data gathered from the evaluations will be used to report annually to the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment for SACS accreditation.

Date: 4/18/86; Revised: 4/15/16; 3/29/24

The iSchool will purchase and maintain supplies, instructional lab materials, and equipment necessary to support teaching, research activities, and professional interactions of the faculty and to enhance the learning environment of the students. These items will not be for personal use.  Refunds for out-of-pocket purchases cannot be made unless approved by the Director.  

Purchasing requests should be made to the Director with a justification for the purchase. Priority will be given to equipment that will benefit the most people, enhance equipment already available, will not involve substantial added costs (supplies to use) and not duplicate what is available elsewhere. Anytime faculty recognizes a need for lab materials or supplies, the Director’s office should be notified.   A request must be on file with the College of Information and Communications via the CIC Expense Request Form before a purchase is made if iSchool funds are being request.

Payment of Invoices

iSchool faculty and staff with non-travel related reimbursement should complete the CIC Expense Request Form to begin the payment process. Upload the invoice to the form. No invoices should be sent via email to avoid losing payment requests.


Date: 5/6/86; Reviewed: 4/15/16

The School will recruit faculty with advanced degrees for vacant positions from diverse geographical and educational backgrounds. The School will adhere to all affirmative action guidelines of the University and to the University's policies and procedures regarding recruitment and appointment of academic personnel.

When there is a faculty vacancy, the Director will appoint an ad hoc search committee made up of at least three members of the faculty. The Director will designate one member of the Search Committee as the Chair. With the advice and consent of the Director, the Search Committee will seek qualified applicants for the vacancy through traditional means such as The Chronicle of Higher Education, professional journals, graduate schools, and professional societies. Additionally, the Search Committee and the Director will attempt to identify possible candidates by monitoring the professional literature and by personal contact. Throughout these proceedings, the policies and procedures of the University's Affirmative Action program will be followed.

The entire faculty will be invited to review and comment on the credentials of prospective candidates. Following the application deadline, the Search Committee and the Director will select two or three candidates who appear best suited for the position. The Search Committee and the Director will then determine if any of the candidates shall be invited for interviews. The Chair of the Search Committee will extend the invitation to the candidate(s). An appropriate schedule will be arranged by the Chair of the Search Committee to ensure that the faculty has an opportunity to see the candidate(s) in a variety of roles and that the candidate(s) have an opportunity to assess USC and Columbia from both a personal and professional position. A candidate's interviews will include individual and/or group meetings with faculty, a presentation to faculty and students, contact with others in the profession (e.g., personnel from the State Library, the State Department of Education, and the University Libraries), an individual conference with the Director to discuss appropriate personal considerations, contact with University administrators, social interaction with the faculty, and a chance to see Columbia (housing areas, schools, etc.). After the campus interviews, those who have interviewed the candidate(s) will be asked to provide evaluative comments.

The Search Committee will recommend to the faculty whether an appropriate candidate should be forwarded to the Director for appointment consideration. With the advice of the faculty, and the consent of the Director, the Search Committee may elect to reopen the search; or, the Search Committee may elect to recommend a candidate to the Director  for appointment. If a candidate is recommended to the Director for appointment, the Director will determine whether: (1) a formal offer should be extended to the candidate; or (2) that the Search Committee should continue the search process. If so determined by the Director, the Dean in accordance with the appropriate University policies and procedures regarding appointment of academic personnel will extend an offer to a candidate. Once an appointment has been successfully made, the Director will dissolve the Search Committee.

Date: 10/16/98; Reviewed: 4/15/09

Faculty may agree or decline to serve as an employment reference for students or alumni of the iSchool. Faculty may base this decision on any reason they deem appropriate. Faculty are under no obligation to continue to serve as a reference and may cease at any time.

Date: 11/8/13; Revised: 4/15/16; Updated 11/17/2023

A graduate student who is dismissed from an iSchool graduate program for academic reasons may request reinstatement to the program after one year. If three or more years have passed since dismissal, the student must also re-apply for admission through the Graduate School. The student is restricted from enrolling in any iSchool courses for a minimum of one year from the date of dismissal from the program regardless of the student's status in another degree program at the University.

Once a student is reinstated, they may receive no grade lower than a B in any course. If a student receives a grade below a B after being reinstated, they will be dismissed from the program.

Students who are dismissed from the iSchool a second time are not eligible for reinstatement.

To request reinstatement, a student must submit the Request for Reinstatement form. A student will respond to the following:

  • Why the student is seeking reinstatement into the program;
  • An explanation of what happened to cause the student to be academically dismissed;
  • A statement indicating the changes the student will make to ensure future success in the program;
  • An academic plan that outlines which courses will be taken and when.

Reinstatement requests will be reviewed by the Student Services Committee for a decision. The decision will be approved by the iSchool director and shared with the faculty. If the Student Services Committee cannot reach an agreement, the decision will be taken to the full faculty. Once a decision has been made, the Graduate School and the student will be notified in writing.

Date: 4/18/86; Reviewed: 4/15/16; Revised 2/1/2024

Released time will be granted to faculty for the purpose of conducting research funded by an outside agency. Since released time for this purpose involves budgetary and scheduling considerations, the proposer must confer with and gain approval from the Director for funded released time. Released time may be granted for other reasons related to a faculty member’s job. All released time must be approved at the college level.

Date: 5/8/92; Revised: 4/15/16; 3/29/24


The iSchool allows for revalidation of graduate courses per the graduate school policy. All required courses are eligible for revalidation and must be revalidated if they are 6 or more years old.

The following courses are not eligible for revalidation: Internship (ISCI 794), special project courses, special topics courses, or courses closely linked to practical experience (i.e. ISCI 720) are not eligible for revalidation and must be retaken. Courses older than 10 years old will not be revalidated.

The revalidation of elective courses is considered on a case-by-case basis. Electives removed from the program are not eligible for revalidation. A course that was required, but not required at the time revalidation is requested, is considered an elective and will not be revalidated.


Students wishing to revalidate a course must contact the Graduate Student Services Manager in the School of Information Science. The Manager will determine which courses can be revalidated.


Date: 4/18/86; Reviewed: 3/1/2024

Every effort will be made to keep the building and all space in it properly secured. Security measures will be taken to guard against fire and personal item theft. Electronic sensor security alarms will be provided in the Director's office, Student Services, conference room, computer classroom and the computer laboratory.

Faculty will lock office doors and windows when leaving the room. Faculty will be responsible for the security of University equipment made available to them, and will make sure the area where equipment is used is secure. Faculty and staff observing suspicious situations or persons in the building will report them to the Director's Office or to the University Police Department.

Date: 4/18/86; Reviewed 4/15/16; 3/29/24

Sick leave will be in compliance with University and State personnel regulations. Faculty will report illness whether scheduled for class or not since sick leave is accrued monthly. Per the Faculty Manual (2023, p. 50) faculty must report sick leave on any normal workday, even though not scheduled to teach a class on that particular day.

Staff will notify their direct supervisor if they will be taking sick leave. Faculty will notify the iSchool Office Coordinator if sick leave requires the faculty member to cancel class. Faculty and staff will document their sick leave hours for approval in the USC System.

Date: 5/7/96; Revised: 2/1/2019; Revised 1/19/2024


Special topics courses are courses which will be offered as a means of determining need and receptivity of students, or possibly as a one-time offering, covering topics of interest in the discipline. Only full-time faculty may propose a special topics course. The proposer may work with a subject expert or instructor outside of the iSchool to propose a course on their behalf. The numbers “380” and “480” will be used to designate an undergraduate emerging topics course. The numbers "529," “795,” and "797" will be used to designate graduate special topics courses. 529 can be taken by undergraduate and graduate students. 795 is reserved for the Information Security & Cyber Leadership program. 797 is reserved for the Master of Library & Information Science program.


A special topics course will emerge from a relevant program committee (BSIS, MLIS, School Libraries). Program committees will determine that it is needed and does not conflict with or duplicate existing courses. Committees will send the proposed course to the faculty for final approval.  Justification of the course and provision of necessary information to the faculty is the responsibility of the proposer. The proposer will provide the faculty with a complete syllabus for the course and a justification for the course.

If the faculty approve the course, the Office Coordinator will submit the special topics course to the graduate school for approval. A course approval expires after 3 years from the semester it is first taught. After this time, the approval process must be repeated. In general, the Graduate School does not approve the same special topics course to be taught more than three times. After a special topics course is offered three times, it must be put through the new course proposal process to be taught again.

Date: 7/6/98; Reviewed: 4/15/16; 3/29/24

 Departmental records of applicants, students, and alumni will be retained by the administrative offices of the iSchool according to a defined schedule and will be secured when offices are unattended. Some student files are retained by the USC Graduate School.

Retention periods for departmental student files are defined in the following schedule:

  • Complete application for which affirmative admission decisions have been made and the applicant failed to enroll will be retained for three (3) years from term of admission.
  • Files of admitted applicants who enroll but withdraw will be retained five (5) years from the date of last attendance.
  • Files of admitted applicants, who enroll but are academically dismissed, will be retained for five (5) years after dismissal.
  • Files for students who graduate will be moved to the Alumni file area and will be retained for five (5) years after graduation.
  • Once students have enrolled in degree programs, their records are retained permanently by the Graduate School.

The following are held by the USC Graduate School

  • Incomplete applications for admission will be kept for one (1) year from the term for which the potential student applied.
  • Transcripts, letters of recommendation, test score reports, School of Information Science Supplemental Applications, and other supporting documents for which no application has been received will be kept for one (1) year from date received.
  • Completed applications for which negative admission decisions (declined admission) have been made will be retained for three (3) years.

Date: 8/23/96; Revised: 11/17/17; 3/29/24

It is the policy of the iSchool to include student representation on all standing committees except those related to personnel or individual student matters. Students shall have full voting rights within the committees except regarding individual student issues.

Each fall or as often as necessary, the chairperson of the appropriate committees will recruit at least one student to serve on the committee. Student committee members will submit a Confidentiality Agreement to the Director’s Office when they join a committee. Students are responsible for reaching out to peers for input and reporting feedback.

Date: 5/7/96; Revised: 4/15/16; Revised 1/19/2024

The iSchool will maintain syllabi for each course taught each semester. . The syllabi will be available in SharePoint.

Course syllabi will include the following information:

  • Course title, course number, credit hours.
  • Prerequisites (if any)
  • Course description.
  • Course objectives and learning outcomes, written in terms of what is expected of student by end of course.
  • Course outline.

By the midpoint of each semester faculty members will load a copy of their course syllabi to SharePoint using the following naming convention: YEARSEMESTERCOURSENSTRUCTOR


Date: 8/23/96; Revised: 4/15/16; Revised 2/1/2024

The University requires that all book adoptions specified by any course instructor (including all tenure-track faculty, non-tenure-track contract faculty, and graduate teaching assistants) must be placed with the University Bookstore. Faculty are required to complete the Bookstore request even if no textbook is assigned to indicate material types such as Open Educational Resources. Upon request, the University Bookstore makes copies of all book adoptions available to all off-campus bookstores.   Individual faculty members are responsible for submitting textbook information to the bookstore.

Date: 8/23/96; Revised: 4/15/16; Revised 2/1/2024

The College of Information and Communications provides base travel funds for each faculty member each academic year. The iSchool Director may provide additional travel funds from the iSchool operating funds consistent with budgetary limitations for professional travel for faculty and staff, for representational travel, and for field and public service travel involving internships and services to libraries.

Travelers should submit a Travel Authorization form  as soon as possible to encumber travel funds to ensure effective budget management. The Travel Authorization should be submitted at least two weeks prior to university related travel in compliance with University policy. Even if the trip will involve no expense to the University, the authorization should be submitted for insurance purposes. No purchases should be made until travel is approved. Purchases made prior to travel approval may not be reimbursed.  To ensure effective budget management travelers should direct bill travel (registration, air/land travel) through the Office Coordinator whenever possible. 

Request for travel reimbursement will be submitted within two weeks of the trip. Receipts and/or ticket stubs must be uploaded for all expenses. Airline tickets may be ordered through a travel agent and charged against the travel authorization (TA) number, provided ample time has not elapsed for approval of the TA. This procedure will eliminate the need for cash outlay by the traveler.  


Date: 5/7/96; Reviewed: 4/15/16; Revised 1/19/2024

Waivers for iSchool undergraduate courses may be granted by the undergraduate coordinator and the director. No waivers for required courses in any iSchool graduate program will be granted. A waiver of prerequisites may be granted at the discretion of the instructor.


Students must obtain written authorization to waive a course prerequisite from the instructor. This authorization should be sent to the student’s academic advisor.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.