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UC Merced's Instructor Starter Guide

About UC Merced

UC Merced is a dynamic University campus that opened in September 2005 as the tenth campus of the University of California system and the first American research university in the 21st century. In keeping with the mission of the University to provide teaching, research, and public service of the highest quality, UC Merced offers research-oriented and student-centered educational opportunities.

Who are our students?

UC Merced students are some of the best and brightest students from around the country, and they are integral to the university’s mission of education, research, and public service. In order to maximize engagement, it is important to consider their experience. 

The majority of UC Merced students are low-income, underrepresented (and underserved) minorities, and the first in their families to attend college.  We serve students who are undocumented and some who are battling mental and/or physical health challenges. Often, our students face multiple barriers to success including:

  • A general absence of family knowledge regarding  “how to succeed in college;"
  • Unfamiliarity with personal and academic resources available and how to access them;
  • Imposter syndrome: feeling like they don’t belong in college;
  • Financial burdens: they might need to work on or off-campus, and have trouble affording course materials.
  • Check out this video for perspectives on the first-generation experience.

Principles of Community

The University of California, Merced, is a public, land-grant institution created to serve the communities of the San Joaquin Valley, the State of California, the Nation and the World through excellence in education, research and public service. These principles reflect our ongoing efforts to increase access and inclusion and to create a community that nurtures lifelong learning and growth for all of its members. We encourage every member of the UC Merced community to join us in our collective pursuit of these principles.

  • We recognize and celebrate the identities, values, and beliefs of our community.
  • We affirm the inherent dignity and value of every person while cultivating a campus climate rooted in mutual respect and compassion.
  • We uphold the right to freedom of expression and encourage a culture of dialogue, understanding, and civility in all interactions. We seek to create a campus where a rich tapestry of ideas is shared, collaboration is embraced and innovation is promoted.
  • We pursue excellence in teaching and learning through contributions from all community members fostering a culture of open exchange.
  • We promote opportunities for active participation and leadership through our communities.
  • We champion civic engagement, environmental stewardship, research, and teaching that connect theory and practice to learning and doing.
  • We take pride in building, sustaining, and sharing a culture that is founded on these principles of unity and respect 

The UC Merced Principles of Community were developed by the Chancellor’s Advisory Council for Campus Climate, Culture, and Inclusion in collaboration with the campus community. These principles were issued on March 25, 2014. Download the Principles of Community.

UC Merced Instructor Policies and Expectations

As teachers, faculty, lecturers, and instructors:

  • encourage the free pursuit of learning in their students;
  • hold before their students the best scholarly and ethical standards;
  • demonstrate respect for students as individuals;
  • adhere to their roles as intellectual guides and counselors; and
  • protect their students’ academic freedom.

Faculty Code of Conduct

The Faculty Code of Conduct (APM-015) delineates the rights and responsibilities of all UC faculty. Please refer to it for information on the University’s commitment to academic freedom as well as for standards of professional conduct.

General Expectations and Teaching Load 

Instructors are to meet with classes regularly, post and keep regular office hours open to students without prior appointments, hold examinations as scheduled, evaluate student work in a timely manner and ensure that grades directly reflect course performance.

Faculty Teaching Load: The teaching load varies among schools. New appointees may wish to consult their Dean’s Offices regarding the specific course loads they will be expected to carry.

Lecturer Teaching Load: The instructional workload is established and maintained in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding for the NonSenate Instructional Unit (MOU). The full-time (100%) instructional workload standard for Lecturer appointments is six (6) instructional Workload Courses (IWCs) over two (2) semesters or the equivalent. A full-time course load for a Lecturer teaching writing and/or foreign language courses will not exceed five (5) instructional workload courses over two semesters. 

UC Office of the President Statement of Ethical Values

Members of the University of California community are committed to the highest ethical standards in furtherance of our mission of teaching, research, and public service. We recognize that we hold the University in trust for the people of the State of California. Our policies, procedures, and standards provide guidance for the application of the ethical values stated below in our daily life and work as members of this community. For more information, see the UCOP Statement of Ethics.

We are committed to:

  • Integrity: We will conduct ourselves with integrity in our dealings with and on behalf of the University.
  • Excellence: We will conscientiously strive for excellence in our work.
  • Accountability: We will be accountable as individuals and as members of this community for our ethical conduct and for compliance with applicable laws and University policies and directives.
  • Respect: We will respect the rights and dignity of others.

Campus Compliance, Advocacy, and Climate

Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

UC Merced's Diversity Statement

Local indigenous people, including the Yokuts and Miwuk who understand the earth as a place for everyone, first inhabited the land where UC Merced is located. When we address diversity on this campus, we do so boldly, daring to look forward and backward, imagining diversity’s demand for the 21st century and the importance of diversity in addressing past wrongs, reaffirming humanity, and ensuring a reconciliatory path of redress for the future. The most prominent path on our campus is called Scholars Lane. By day, you can see, hear and witness the embodiment of our diversity through campus community members making their way across campus framed by the slopes and peaks of the Sierra Nevada.

At UC Merced we steadfastly uphold the concepts expressed in the University of California Diversity Statement including, “the variety of personal experiences, values, and worldviews that arise from differences of culture and circumstance. Such differences include race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, language, abilities/disabilities, neurodiversity, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, geographic region, and more.”

We affirm that a diverse campus furthers our mission to create, interpret, and disseminate knowledge and values. The manifold diversity of our community encourages each of us to reflect on intellectual and cultural orthodoxies, and thus stimulates the creativity at the heart of our academic mission as a research university. We take pride in serving a large population of first-generation college students, including the broad representation of background on our campus as a Hispanic (HSI), Minority (MSI) and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander (AANAPISI) serving institution. As a common goal, we will work together to ensure all members of our academic community reflect the multiplicity of identities in our region.

Our commitment to diversity will foster our ability to thrive in a complex world.

Approved March 15, 2019, by the Chancellor’s Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture and Inclusion (CCCI) at UC Merced.

Campus Advocacy, Resources, and Education (CARE) Office

We Educate: CARE provides prevention education for the UC Merced community to achieve an environment free from the threat of sexual violence, dating/domestic violence, and stalking.

We Advocate: We provide free, confidential, and knowledgeable support for those impacted by sexual violence, dating/domestic violence, and stalking.

We Empower: We encourage the UC Merced community to step in and speak up against a culture that allows sexual violence, dating/ domestic violence, and stalking to occur.

See our Website at: For training opportunities or other questions contact the CARE Director, Yesenia Curiel, at (209) 233-1746.

The Campus Advocate is a confidential resource and consultant from Valley Crisis Center. The Campus Advocate is available to meet on and off-campus with students, staff, and faculty. You may contact the Campus Advocate at (209) 386-2051 or the 24-hour crisis hotline through Valley Crisis Center at (209) 722-4357.

Ethics, Compliance, Audit, and Risk 

The Office of Ethics, Compliance, Audit, and Risk provides education, guidance, and resources to support the campus in creating, promoting, and maintaining an ethical, compliant, safe, and fair learning and working environment.

The Office is committed to protecting and preserving university resources and mitigating the institutional risk of adverse exposure by fostering collaboration, enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of cross-campus processes, and empowering the campus community to express ideas that provide opportunities for continuous improvement.

Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination

Monitors and oversees UC Merced’s compliance in these areas and related laws in the prevention of harassment and discrimination, including the coordination of education and training activities and the response to Title IX complaints. Students, faculty, administrators, staff, or others who participate in UC Merced’s education programs, employment opportunities, and activities who have questions, concerns, or complaints about discrimination, hostile work environment, sexual violence, or sexual harassment are encouraged to contact the Title IX Officer. The Title IX Officer has the primary responsibility of ensuring that UC Merced is in compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 which prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities. This includes issues involving sexual violence and sexual harassment as well as discrimination and a hostile work environment.

The Discrimination/Harassment Complaint Form can be used to file a complaint of harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender, gender expression, gender identity, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, medical condition (cancer-related or genetic characteristics), genetic information (including family medical history), ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, or service in the uniformed services. The Title IX Officer can be reached at (209) 285-9510.

For more information, please see the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination

Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect

The California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (“CANRA”), codified at California Penal Code §§ 11164-11174.3, requires that employers of Mandated Reporters (as defined in the Act) promote identification and reporting of child abuse or neglect. It is the policy of the University of California to comply with its obligations under the Act; to require that all University employees and administrators who are Mandated Reporters make required reports to child protection or law enforcement agencies; and more broadly to encourage all members of the University community who observe, have actual knowledge of, or reasonably suspect child abuse or neglect at a University facility or perpetrated by University personnel to promptly report the concern to appropriate external and University officials.

Academic Honesty, Conduct, and Reporting

Student Code of Conduct

Honesty, fairness, and respect are essential to learning, teaching, and research, and to maintain a productive and safe campus environment. As members of our academic community and of society at large, UC Merced students are held to the high standards of conduct set by the University of California and the campus, as well as to general requirements of law. UC Merced students are expected to uphold these standards in all their academic and extracurricular activities. UC Merced conducts procedures are intended to promote reasoned, fair, and impartial consideration of suspected student misconduct, with respect for the rights and interests of all concerned: the accused student, the reporting party, and the University. See UC Merced's full policy on student code of conduct for more information.  

Academic Honesty Policy

Academic integrity is the foundation of an academic community. Academic misconduct includes, but is not limited to cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, altering graded examinations for additional credit, having another person take an examination for you, or facilitating academic dishonesty or as further specified in this policy or other campus regulations. See UC Merced's full policy on Academic Honesty and Misconduct for more information. 

Reporting Student Misconduct

To initiate a report on student misconduct, file an Information & Incident Report.

For tips on improving academic integrity, reducing plagiarism, or for more information on any of these policies and procedures see the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities (OSRR).

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The following information is provided to you from the UC Merced Office of the Registrar. 


To be allowed access to student records, you must carefully review the material presented here. Maintaining confidentiality of student records is everyone's responsibility, whether you are faculty, staff, or a student. Why? Because it's the right thing to do and, more importantly, it's federal law.

The tutorial is designed to give you base-level knowledge of the rules governing the release of student information. After you've carefully reviewed the tutorial, test your knowledge by taking the online FERPA quiz.

What Is FERPA?

FERPA stands for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (sometimes called the Buckley Amendment). Passed by Congress in 1974, the act grants four specific rights to the student. These rights begin as soon as the student enrolls or registers with an academic program of the university.

  1. The right to see the information that the institution is keeping on him/her.
  2. The right to seek an amendment to those records and in certain cases append a statement to the record.
  3. The right to consent to the disclosure of his/her records.
  4. The right to file a complaint with the FERPA Office in Washington, D.C.

The Basic Rules for Faculty/Staff

Student education records are considered confidential and may not be released without the written consent of the student.

As a faculty or staff member, you have a responsibility to protect education records in your possession.

Some information is considered public (sometimes called "Directory Information"). Under the terms of FERPA, UC Merced has established the following items as Directory Information, which may be released to those requesting it, unless the student specifically requests otherwise by completing a “nondisclosure form” with the Registrar.

  • The student’s name and telephone number(s)
  • UC Merced email address
  • Major field of study
  • Class (year in school)
  • Dates of attendance
  • Enrollment status (full-time, part-time)
  • Degrees and awards received
  • Participation in officially recognized activities
  • Photographs

Parental/guardian information is confidential. It is used by the university only for notification of events, ceremonies, awards, and development or in case of an emergency involving the student.

You have access to information only for legitimate use in the completion of your responsibilities as a university employee. "Need-to-know" is the basic principle.

If you are ever in doubt, do not release any information until you contact the Office of the Registrar at 209-228-7178 or The Office of the Registrar is responsible for student record information.

Special "Don'ts" for Faculty

To avoid violating FERPA rules, do not at any time:

  • Post grades using any part of a student's ID number. If you want to post grades outside of your office, assign individual numbers to students at random. Only the student and the faculty member who assigned the number should know the number. The order of posting should never be alphabetic by student name.
  • Leave stacked graded papers for students to pick up — not even in sealed envelopes (unless you have the students' permission to do so). Instead, mail graded papers/exams via campus or U.S. mail-in envelopes that students pre-address, pre-stamp, and provide for you.
  • Circulate a printed class list for attendance purposes if it shows names and social security numbers or IDs.
  • Allow students to view, read, or record another student's social security number while in your work area.
  • Discuss student progress with anyone other than the student without the student's consent (this includes the student's parents and spouse).
  • Provide anyone with a student's schedule or help anyone other than university employees find a student on campus (Students First Center will assist).

Special "Do's" for Faculty/Staff

  • Make sure you protect all education records in your possession. This includes paper documents in your office such as computer printouts, class lists, display screen data, and advising notes. These are practical tools that you need to do your job; however, they should be protected like you would protect a purse or wallet. You should not leave these items out in open areas, but store them out of sight, preferably in a locked cabinet or drawer when not in use.

FERPA and Parents

FERPA is a federal law intended to protect the privacy of student education records accumulated from early childhood through college. FERPA provides parents with certain rights with respect to children's education records up until entry to the university. When a student enters the university, the rights parents previously held transfer exclusively to the student. The university considers students as adults, regardless of age or financial dependence. Ordinarily, parents of UC Merced students obtain information about their students' records directly from their students. The payment of a student's tuition by the parent does not, by itself, give the parent the right of access to a student's education record.  Questions regarding these procedures may be directed to the Office of the Registrar at 209-228-7178. 

What Is a Student Education Record?

Just about any information provided by a student to the university for use in the educational process is considered a student education record, including:

  • Personal information
  • Enrollment records
  • Grades
  • Schedules

The storage media in which you find this information does not matter. Student education records may be contained in the following media:

  • Documents in the Registrar's office
  • Computer printouts in a faculty/staff office
  • Class lists on an instructor's desktop
  • Computer display screens
  • Notes advisors have taken during an advisement session

University of California Policy Related to the Disclosure of Information from Student Records

For UC systemwide FERPA policy related to student record information disclosure, please see section 130.


Questions about these rights should be referred to the Office of the Registrar at UC Merced at 209-228-7178 or by emailing