SCA Instructor Handbook


I wish you a hearty welcome to the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University.

We have assembled this online handbook to help make your time here as productive, rewarding and enjoyable as possible. Each year we rely on Sessional and Term Instructors in virtually every area of the School to enrich our curriculum and expand the experiences of our students. We are deeply appreciative of the passion and expertise that you bring to the School. For those of you who are teaching here for the first time, it can be a bit confusing and overwhelming to figure out the nitty gritty of day-to-day working life in the School, and this handbook will hopefully ease those challenges so you can focus on the work that you want to do in the studio and the classroom.

If, during the semester, you have any suggestions for how this handbook might be improved to help other Sessional and Term Instructors in the future, please do let me know.

And if the handbook does not answer a question or concern you might have, please feel free to contact me or seek out the appropriate person to help. A good first point of contact concerning instructional issues or curricular issues will be your area coordinator; for general sorts of question, the Undergraduate Assistant in the main office is a good place to start; for questions concerning particular students, enrollment issues and so on, the Undergraduate Advisor, Barbara Ringham is a good first point of contact; and for issues of perhaps more significant concern, please feel free to contact me. In addition, see the Administration contact list below to help guide you if you have other questions.

Again, we very much appreciate the work you will be doing for the School and our students this semester. I wish you a smooth start to the semester and a rewarding time in your months here.

Christopher Pavsek
Associate Professor of Film

Important Dates

To view the current SFU Academic Calendar, please click HERE.

Spring Term 2022

January 10 – Classes Start
February 21 – Family Day: All Classes Cancelled
February 22-27 – Reading Break: All Classes Cancelled
April 11 – Last Day of Classes
April 15-18 – Good Friday and Easter Monday: All Classes Cancelled
April 12-26 – Exams                                  

Summer Term 2022 (May-August)

May 9 – Welcome Day
May 10 – Classes start for intersession and summer term
May 23 – Victoria Day- All Classes Cancelled
June 7-10 – Convocation
June 20 – Intersession classes end
June 21-27 – Exams for intersession
June 28 – Summer session starts
July 1 – Canada Day: All Classes Cancelled
August 8 – BC Day: All Classes Cancelled
August 10-20 – Exam period for summer session and summer term

Fall Term 2022

September 5 – Labour Day: All Classes Cancelled
September 6 – Welcome Day
September 7 – Classes start
September 30 – National Day for Truth and Reconciliation – All classes cancelled and offices closed
October 6-7 – Convocation
October 10 – Thanksgiving Day: All Classes Cancelled
November 11 – Remembrance Day: All Classes Cancelled
December 6 – Last Day of Classes
December 7-19 – Exams

Spring Term 2023 (January to April)

January 2 – In lieu of New Year’s Day – All classes cancelled and offices closed
January 3 – Welcome Day
January 4 – Classes Start
February 20 – Family Day: All Classes Cancelled
February 21-26 – Reading Break: Classes Cancelled
April 7 & 10 – Good Friday and Easter Monday: All Classes Cancelled
April 11 – Last Day of Classes
April 13-24 – Exams

Academic Dishonesty

Academic Dishonesty has become an increasing problem at SFU. As a School we are committed to following University policy in dealing with cases of academic dishonesty. Please, if you have any questions or concerns about the matter or a particular instance of academic dishonesty, discuss it with the School. Your first point of contact should be the current Academic Integrity Advisor in the School or the Associate Director of the School. It is imperative that all cases of academic dishonesty be dealt with through proper procedures. Do not handle them through informal means. Any questions about how to properly deal with academic dishonesty should be directed to the current School Academic Integrity Advisor or the Associate Director.

The current School Academic Integrity Advisor is: Henry Daniel, Professor, Dance:
The form you will need to file a report is available from the Undergraduate Advisor, Alex Brzezinski:

For information about how to deal with academic dishonesty, see the following links: &

Of particular importance is the link to the Code of Academic Integrity and Good Conduct, Policy S10_01 and all of its appendices:


The SCA office is where you will find all the administration offices for the School.

Click HERE for the address and hours of the office and click HERE for a full list of staff and their contact information.

Area Coordinators

Some instructors may have questions specific to their area of teaching (i.e. how do I book rehearsal space, where are the changing rooms, etc.). Some areas hold orientation sessions for their new instructors and will cover those types of questions. If you have an area-specific question, you should contact the area coordinator to assist you. Please contact the SCA main office at to find out who the current area coordinators are.

Audio Visual/Computer Services

The provision of A/V and computer services varies a bit depending on the campus where your course is taught, the type of course you teach, and, in Vancouver, which building and room you teach in.

If you're teaching in SFU's Goldcorp Centre for the Arts (GCA), the SCA's main building, please use this online form to book equipment for classroom use, both for semester long and standalone requests. Please note: some spaces in the GCA already have equipment pre-installed. Email to find out what equipment is already available in your teaching space.  

Access the online Equipment Booking form HERE (requires SFU email account).

Please allow a minimum three business days to process your request. Please also note: this is for SCA Faculty, Term Lecturer, Sessional Instructor, and Teaching Assistant use only.

If you need further, non-urgent technical assistance in the GCA, please email However, if you need urgent technical assistance at the GCA, please text (604) 330-4326‬.

For non-standard software or equipment needs, please contact one of two tech support staff in the School:

  • Stefan Smulovitz, the SCA's Manager, Technology & Resources (, for things like special software, video and digital cameras, audio recording and playback equipment, teaching labs, etc.
  • Ben Rogalsky, the SCA Technical Director (, for other non-standard equipment needs, especially those particular to performance spaces.

For general info about SFU's A/V services and links to online booking procedures, etc., for other buildings, please visit:

To book equipment for classes at Burnaby and Harbour Centre (Vancouver campus), please use the above link. Please note: all classrooms at Harbour Centre have overhead projectors and a screen; all other equipment (computer, dvd player, etc.) must be booked. The hotline for emergency A/V assistance at Burnaby and Harbour Centre (Vancouver campus) is 778.782.5017.

Book Orders and Custom Courseware (coursepacks)

Please email with the following information for the textbooks needed for your course. Please do this, if possible, at least 10 weeks before the start of the semester or as soon as possible after being hired:

1. Correct ISBN, title, author, and edition information is crucial in accurately submitting your requisition.
2. The status you would like to give to the book:

Required – This status indicates that the book is required and essential, and that the student must have it to successfully complete the course. You support your choice when you assign readings, test and refer to the book in class. (On average, 70% of students buy required books.)

Recommended – This status indicates that the book may be used as a resource for further study but it is optional for the student to have it. (Less than 5% of students buy recommended books.)

If you are putting together a Custom Courseware, please check out for information on how to order. If you have questions, contact the Custom Courseware Clerk: 778.782.5533.

Cancelling a Class

If you must cancel a scheduled class, please contact the School Office (778.782.3363 or as early as possible so that we can post appropriate signs to advise students. In general, it is best to try to schedule a makeup class for any cancelled classes.

Canvas (course management software)

Many faculty use Canvas ( in conjunction with their courses. It can be a convenient method for providing readings, syllabi, and other materials to your students. It is quite simple to request a new course by going to the Canvas website and following the basic prompts. Links to help contacts are available there as well.

Please make sure that any use of Canvas complies with SFU copyright policy:   

Course Changes


1st Week – Students can add “open entry” courses (i.e. registration does not require explicit permission from the instructor or Area) on the online registration system; consequently, there may be considerable fluctuation of your course enrollment in the first week of classes. Students cannot add courses which require “prior approval” unless they have already received approval or obtain from you, your signature on an course change form. 

2nd Week and on – Students who wish to add a course must complete an course change form, obtain your signature, and return the form to the general office. If you are asked to approve an ‘add’ in the second week or later, you should not approve the request unless you are confident that the student can “catch up”. You may wish to check with the Undergraduate Advisor to ensure that you do not inadvertently over-enroll the course.


1st – 5th Week – Students can drop a course freely on the on-line registration system.
6th – 12th Week – Students can drop only under extenuating circumstances, see below.

Withdrawal Under Extenuating Circumstances

Extenuating circumstances are determined by Registrar’s office with appropriate documentation. For more information on Withdrawals Under Extenuating Circumstances, go to:

Course Outlines

A basic course outline must be submitted approximately 10 weeks before the start of the semester in which you will teach. This outline goes on the web for student references. A more detailed outline (syllabus) should be given to students in the first week of classes. You will be contacted by the Undergraduate Program Assistant with a request for your course outline well in advance of this deadline.

If at all possible, when choosing your texts, check with the publisher to ensure the texts you are using are still in print. This will alleviate problems and last minute substitutions. Please telephone the SFU Bookstore (778.782.3656) to obtain the names and telephone numbers of publishers or the name and telephone number of a publisher's local representative.

Basic information in course outlines includes:

Course Title
Course Details
Course-level details
Materials & Supplies
Required texts
Recommended texts

Evaluation of Instructors

Evaluation of Instructors is mandatory within the School for the Contemporary Arts. Student Evaluation forms are given out at the end of each semester and are to be completed during class time without the instructor present. A student volunteer from the class is required to return the completed evaluation forms to the SCA office. The Undergraduate Assistant will provide you with copies of evaluation forms in advance.

If you have a TA/TM assigned to your course, it is required that students complete evaluations of them as well.

In addition to the student evaluations, the SI is evaluated by the Area Coordinator or a designate who may attend one or more of your classes, and/or request a copy of your weekly outline, Custom Courseware, or other course-related materials. Student evaluations as described above will be taken into consideration when evaluating Instructors. 


University policies regarding grading practices and responsibilities are outlined at

Please note: final exams are scheduled at the time that courses are scheduled. Please confirm ASAP with Undergraduate Programs whether or not you will be holding a final exam.

Please note: In-class final examinations are not to be held before the beginning of the examination period and take-home examinations cannot be due until the commencement of the official examination period. 

Final Exam Conflicts

On occasion, a student might have an exam conflict or "exam hardship" and request that his/her final exam be rescheduled. Exam hardship/conflict is defined in policy like this:

Three or more end-of-term examinations scheduled within a 24 hour period.

An examination at one location (e.g., the main Burnaby campus) followed immediately by an exam at another location (e.g., the Surrey campus).

It is the student's responsibility to notify you or the School of such a conflict at least one month prior to the exam date. If a student does report a conflict, please have him/her contact the undergraduate advisor ( in the School to arrange for accommodation, which the School will arrange.

Such accommodation is made only in cases of hardship/conflict as defined in the policy and does not apply to students who wish to miss an exam for personal reasons such as family obligations, travel plans, work schedules, etc.

If you have any questions about a case involving exam hardship, please contact the undergraduate advisor as well at

General Office and Services


The SCA office is Room 2860 in the GCA and is open to instructors and staff Monday to Friday 8:30am – 4:30pm, and to undergraduate students and the public 9:30am – 12:30pm and 1:30 – 4:00pm. The SCA office is closed between 12:30 – 1:30pm, Monday through Friday, for lunch.

SCA Instructor Office

Instructors have access to a shared office in Room 2815 in the GCA, which is next to the SCA office. You can get the code for this office from the Undergraduate Program Assistant in the SCA office. Because this is a shared office, we ask all Instructors to schedule office hours on the sign up sheet on the door of the office at the beginning of the semester and be respectful to other Instructors during their allotted office hours throughout the semester.

Teaching Supplies

Instructors and continuing faculty members may be provided with teaching-related supplies (notebooks, pens, envelopes, etc.) that can be found in the general office, along with a paper cutter, heavy-duty stapler, and hole punches.

Printing & Coping

The SCA office photocopier is available for use by instructors. The copier operates on a coded counter system. To use the copier: enter 00 and your course number. The computers in the Instructor office print directly to the printer in the SCA office. Please be mindful when printing large documents.


The fax number for SCA is 778.782.5907. 


Each Instructor is assigned a mailbox that divided in half and shared with another Instructor. Please check your mailbox frequently for School notices and other important information. If you wish to send personal mail through University channels, please ensure that the appropriate postage has been affixed - outgoing personal mail with insufficient postage will not be picked up. If you have mail to send within the University, please use the appropriate Intercampus Mail Envelope and put it in the Outgoing Intercampus mail tray. Mail is dropped off and picked up every afternoon.

Room access

For those of you teaching during the day, the general office is open from 9:30am – 12:30pm and 1:30 – 4:00pm. There is usually a staff member in the office from 8:30am – 4:30pm. You will not need a key to the building or to the general office. If you are in a classroom with a code lock on the door, please come to the SCA office as codes do change every semester and can be accessed from the SCA office. If you feel you should have a key because you are unable to access the office during regular work hours, please contact Kristen Schiefke (Manager Administrative and Academic Services). 


In order for you to input the grades for your course, you will need to have activated your SFU Computing ID. If you haven’t already done this, please see the SFU Computing ID section of this handbook. Near the end of semester, Barbara Ringham, the Undergraduate Advisor, will send out a reminder of how to submit your grades online and what the deadline is for having this completed.

Please note: SFU does not use percentage grades, and percentage ranges do not exist for letter grades (i.e. there is no table which equates a percentage grade of 95% or above with an A+; 85% to 94% with an A, etc.) You should discuss grading standards with the area coordinator in your area.

"Unusual" Grades

Sometimes you will give a grade other than a standard letter grade. These might include:
FD: fail (Academic Discipline)
N: did not write final exam or otherwise complete the course
DE: deferred grade

Deferred Grades

If you allow a student to submit a final assignment beyond the date by which you must submit your grades, you can enter a ʻDEʼ on the grade sheet, however, the grade must be changed from ʻDEʼ to a final grade by the fifth day of classes of the new semester, or the grade will automatically convert to a ʻFʼ. Please set the extended deadline so that you have time to read and grade the assignment, and submit a grade change form, by the course grade change deadline.

Extended Deferrals

In exceptional circumstances, you may wish to permit a student to hand in a final assignment after the normal grade change deadline (5th day of classes of the semester following the current semester). Extended deferrals are unusual and should be granted only in exceptional circumstances. We encourage you to discuss the situation with the Undergraduate Advisor before agreeing to grant an extended deferral.

FD Grades

Only given if proper academic dishonesty procedures have been followed. Do not give such a grade without consulting with the Academic Integrity Advisor or the Undergraduate Advisor.

N Grades

Given when a student doesn't complete a class but has not withdrawn. Generally, this grade applies if a student has not written the final exam (if there is one assigned in the course) or has not completed another major assignment or assignments. An N is the numerical equivalent of an F.

Grade Changes

If you have granted a deferred grade (ʻDEʼ), or if you have reconsidered a grade and wish to change it, you must submit a grade change request online. This is done very easily by logging in to and selecting the "Grade Change" tab and following the straightforward instructions there. If you have any questions about grade changes, please contact the Associate Director or Undergraduate Advisor.

Grading more generally

The School makes every effort to be consistent in its grading standards while simultaneously acknowledging that each discipline and area must apply these standards in widely varying situations. It is best to have a frank discussion with the area coordinator in your area about grading expectations in various courses.

SFU does not have a universal set of grading standards, but the SCA has adopted a set of guidelines for grading which may be useful for you and we encourage you to use them in your grading. Many of our Faculty and Instructor use this scale. If you choose to use a different one, make sure to provide your scale to your class at the beginning of the semester. DOWNLOAD HERE.

Library Cards and Reserves

Faculty and staff may get a University ID card through the Registrar's Office, Burnaby Campus; the Information and Registration Desk, Harbour Centre; or the Student and Registrar Services Office, SFU Surrey. The ID card functions as your library card. Bring a copy of your contract when you go to Harbour Centre to get your ID/library card. If they have any questions regarding your eligibility please have them contact the SCA office.

Library Reserves: for information on placing material on reserve for your class, please review:

If you have questions about the library services available to instructors please contact: Sylvia Roberts, Liaison Librarian for Communication and Contemporary Arts  |  | 778.782.3681 

Religious Accommodations

For SFU's policy on Religious Accommodations:

Staff and Student Safety

In the event of an emergency on campus, many students will look to their instructors for guidance. For your safety [CP1] and theirs, please review SFU's emergency response procedures on the Safety and Risk Management website:

Safewalk: MORE INFO.

SFU Computing IDs

Your SFU Computing ID is automatically created for you when you appear in Payroll. You will receive an email at you non-SFU email address indicating that your SFU computing ID is ready for online activation. Once you receive this notification, have your 9-digit SFU ID# ready, go to the SFU Computing Account Online Activation form and follow the instructions to activate your SFU Computing ID.

It is very important that you set up your SFU Computing ID. Your SFU Computing ID will be used to access your SFU email and the teaching centre when you can access class lists, enter grades, etc.

Need help? Here is a list of contacts and 'how-to' guides: