Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching at Minnesota State Mankato

Who, what, where? Get answers to the most common questions asked by new and experienced faculty alike.


Teaching & Learning

What information must be in my syllabus?

At a minimum, your syllabus must contain the following information:

  • Course title
  • Course number
  • Number of credits
  • Semester offered
  • Instructor name and contact information
  • Course description
  • Course learning outcomes
  • Required materials
  • The accessibility accommodations statement

To make it easy, we've created a syllabus template . Enter your information, customize it as needed, and you're ready to go.

If you still find yourself stuck, CETL has a sample syllabus.

Where do I find the roster for my class?

If you're using the D2L Brightspace learning management system, the students will be automatically populated into your course website. Find the list in the Communication menu under "Classlist."

You can also check the roster of your courses at the eServices website. eServices also gives you access to the list of your advisees, the online grade entry form, and a form to change grades after the semester ends.

Where is my classroom?

The University Maps and Directions page contains floor plans for all university buildings.

How many office hours must I schedule each week?

In general, faculty are expected to hold 10 office hours each week. Talk to your department chair or dean to find out the expectations for your position.

How do I request a course website in D2L Brightspace?

  1. Go to D2L Brightspace
  2. Sign in with your StarID and password.
  3. Scroll past the system announcements to "Instructor Resources."
  4. Click "Add a course" under Course Resources.
  5. Enter the course information. If you want to combine courses (e.g. a 400/500 cross-listed course or multiple sections of the same course), you can do that at the time of your request.
  6. The course will usually be available within 24-48 hours.

How do I design activities and assessments that match my course learning outcomes?

Backward design is the instructional design practice of setting goals (learning outcomes) before assessments and learning activities activities. That might sound logical, but we often get so excited about a topic, a reading, or a project that we start there and develop the course around it.

Learn more about backward design and then schedule an appointment with one of the University's instructional designers to map your assessments, assignments, and learning activities to your course outcomes.

How do I differentiate graduate and undergraduate work in a 400/500 level cross listed course?

The HLC, our accreditation body, says that graduate courses must contain more depth and rigor than undergraduate courses. Consider creating a graduate syllabus that explains how that depth and rigor are present through separate learning outcomes and assignments. For more information, visit this page.

I have a concern about a student in class (excessive absences, inappropriate or threatening behavior, concerns about mental health/suicide). Who do I contact?

The University has two systems to help you express your concerns about your students.

MavConnect is an online advising site that allows faculty to post notes, concerns, or kudos about the academic performance of advisees and students in their courses. Your advising notes are private, but comments on kudos and flags (concerns) become part of the student's permanent educational record and are visible to the student, their academic advisor, and the student's success team. If you would rather the student not see your comments, just post a short note with a request to be contacted for more information.

MavCares is a referral system that can give faculty, staff, students and/or parents the ability to refer students with health or safety concerns or who need extra support or an intentional check in. The referral will go to the Office of New Student and Family Programs who will assess the situation, offer support and provide referrals to the appropriate resources on campus. The submission is private. To allow us to serve students effectively, share as much information as you can about the situation via the online form, and understand that you may receive follow up questions about your submission.

I suspect one of my students is cheating or plagiarizing. What do I do?

The first step is to talk to the student and present your evidence of cheating or plagiarism. From there, what does your syllabus say you will do? Enforce the policy that you set for your course. Consult with your department chair for advice, because the student may appeal the decision and you want your chair to know what's happening.

The Office of Student Affairs provides a resource page for faculty who encounter academic dishonesty or disruptive behavior.

Who do I contact if there is a medical emergency or safety concern in my class?

Call Campus Security immediately at 389-2111. (All campus classrooms have telephones.)

I'm having problems with my computer. Where do I get help?

Submit a ticket to IT Solutions.

Who do I call when I have computer problems in a classroom?

All classrooms should have a phone. Call the IT Solutions Center at 507-389-6654 or email

I'm having problems with D2L. Where do I get help?

You can access the Teaching and Technology Training Calendar. This is 20+ hours a week of drop-in and training sessions to help with course design and D2L Brightspace.

How do I schedule library instruction sessions?

The Library Instruction Program connects you with a librarian who can teach your class how to use library services, locate items in the collection, evaluate the quality of online materials, and more.

What are class guides of Library Resrouces? 

The librarians can compile a list of electronic resources for your course. We strongly encourage using lib guides with hyperlinks to academic journals and e-books rather than uploading a file into D2L Brightspace because it helps Library Services track usage, and that data is used to negotiate rates when contracts are renewed. More clicks = potentially lower contract rates.

How else can the librarians help me?

  • Interlibrary loan.
  • Educational resources, including DVDs and board games.
  • University archives.
  • The Cornerstone Repository.

All that and more are services available to faculty.

Professional Development & the IFO Contract

What is Article 22? What is a professional development plan?

Article 22 of the IFO Contract defines five evaluation criteria for faculty:

  1. Teaching and other assigned duties
  2. Research, scholarship, and creative activity
  3. Continuing preparation
  4. Contributions to student development
  5. Service to the university and community

Your professional development plan, or PDP, outlines your objectives, assessment criteria, and expected outcomes for activities within each criterion. You will meet with your dean before you write your plan, and your department, department chair, and dean will offer feedback on what you submit. For due dates, see the University Calendars on the Academic Affairs website.

What types of activities or materials are suitable evidence for my professional development plan?

Appendix G of the IFO Contract lists examples of activities within each criterion.

What is a professional development report?

At the end of the academic year (for fixed term and probationary faculty) or four-year term (for tenured faculty), you write a report of your progress toward the objectives you listed in your PDP. We call this the PDR, or professional development report. For due dates, see the University Calendars on the Academic Affairs website.

What Do the Acronyms Mean

University documents and conversations can seem like an alphabet soup of acronyms. We have compiled a list of the most commonly used acronyms to help you learn the lingo.

Working at Minnesota State Mankato

Academic life happens outside the classroom, too. We've compiled some FAQs to help you settle in to the campus so you can focus on what you do best: teaching, scholarship or creative activity, and yes, even service.