How do I manage my courses (teaching schedule, class roster, grades)?

UMass uses SPIRE, the University's secure online student information system, for all course management activities. The SPIRE Faculty Center provides you with access to your teaching schedule, student emails, class and grade rosters, and more. You may also request a Learning Management System (LMS) for your class(es) through SPIRE. You will need your IT Account NetID and password to access SPIRE. If you have any issues, you can contact SPIRE help & support.

What resources are available to support my teaching?

  • The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) provides faculty with programs and resources focused on course design, classroom instruction, curriculum development, and other forms of instructional support for faculty. CTL offers a rich array of teaching development workshops, talks, individual consultations, and the signature Midterm Assessment Process (MAP). CTL has an informative "How do I..." resource page  which answer common questions that faculty have about teaching. 

  • Instructional Design, Engagement, and Support (IDEAS) assists faculty with instructional technologies and design. From one-on-one consults to programs, webinars, and services like technology-enhanced course design and the Instructional Media Lab, IDEAS can help you present the best and most flexible versions of your educational programs to reach students everywhere. Reach out to instruct@umass.edu for help, to schedule an appointment, or join a drop-in Zoom session M-F, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

What teaching supports are available through the UMass Libraries?

The UMass Libraries staff are available to consult on finding library resources, developing tailored instruction sessions that enhance students’ research skills, providing instruction sessions on the use of library databases and effective academic research strategies, and placing material on course reserves. Resources include:

How do I know what to put in my syllabus?

Visit these resources on the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) website:

You can schedule a syllabus consultation through the Center for Teaching and Learning.

The “Instructor’s Roles and Responsibilities” section of Disability Services' Faculty Handbook also details how faculty should make their syllabus and course accessible to students.

What learning management systems are available for my course instruction?

UMass Amherst is going through a multi-year transition to Canvas as our single learning management system. While Moodle and Blackboard will be available during the transition, we would highly recommend instructors use Canvas for their courses. LMS requests are managed through SPIRE.

How do I order textbooks for my courses?

eCampus is the official university bookstore and provides support for faculty in accessing and ordering textbooks. Faculty are expected to enter their course material adoptions through eCampus prior to the beginning of the course registration period. All instructors/faculty should identify and list all text materials on SPIRE for their courses. This allows students to know which texts are needed so they can obtain materials in the format that is needed for the student.

What resources are available to support student learning?

  • The Learning Resource Center provides peer tutoring in both study skills and academic subjects.
  • The Writing Center offers one-on-one consultations to students on their writing projects, providing feedback and strategies at any stage of the writing process. The Writing Center also supports faculty in designing writing assignments and in-class writing activities.
  • Student Success offers resources and support for students across all departments and disciplines.
  • The Graduate School Office of Professional Development (OPD) organizes more than 400 programs per year to help graduate students with career preparation, communication, grants and fellowships, personal development, and teaching.

Why are students’ pronouns appearing in my class rosters and advisee lists?

UMass is committed to the inclusion of historically underrepresented groups and ensuring a respectful, safe, and inclusive campus. Students have the opportunity to indicate their pronouns so that instructors may use the appropriate pronoun (he/him, she/her, they/them, ze/hir, name only). The Stonewall Center has put together a collection of resources to help faculty respect the gender identities of their students.

What resources are available to support students emotional and behavioral concerns?

  • The Center for Counseling and Psychological Health (CCPH) offers a variety of mental health services, including crisis intervention, group and individual therapy, and workshops addressing common student concerns.
  • The Student Life Single Stop Resources highlights relevant campus and community resources that students may utilize during a challenging time or life event.
  • The Dean of Students Student Support Request and Referral is an online form where faculty may share concerns about students' wellbeing and request assistance from relevant campus resources. 
  • The Maroon Folder is a resource guide for recognizing and assisting students in distress. The UMatter team has developed this guide to help you recognize, respond to, refer, and report concerns about your students. Updated regularly, the Maroon Folder is a one-stop guide to supporting students in need.  

Where can my students go for assistance on multimedia projects and presentations?

The Digital Media Lab, on the third floor of the W.E.B. Du Bois Library, is a multimedia production space available to students working on course-related presentations, projects, and portfolios. The lab’s Innovation Center includes 50 3-D printers. Equipment and support services are also offered for 360 video, augmented, and virtual reality projects.

How can I gather student feedback on my teaching?

Faculty can request a Midterm Assessment Process (MAP) and an end of course survey instrument, Forward FOCUS, through the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) which is a confidential and voluntary service to gather student feedback. Participation in both programs is confidential and feedback goes only to the instructor.

What resources are available for addressing student accommodations in my course design?

Is there any funding available for the professional development of teaching?

Faculty can apply for a Flex Grant to support faculty professional development related to teaching. Flex Grants are funded by the campus through the MSP contract, and awarded by the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). 

What is the university’s policy on academic freedom for faculty?

UMass takes seriously the academic freedom of all members of the professional staff of the university who perform teaching or research, as outlined in the Academic Personnel Policy (Red Book).

What is the university’s policy on academic dishonesty?

If you suspect a student of academic dishonesty, contact the Ombuds Office within 10 days of your suspicion. For a more detailed overview of your options, see the Academic Honesty Policy

UMass has a subscription to Turnitin, a plagiarism prevention service that detects textual matches between student papers and other documents available in electronic form on the Internet, in subscription databases, and in databases of other student papers. Turnitin can be used within Learning Management Systems (LMS) or as a stand-alone application. Faculty using Turnitin outside of an LMS must contact the Library for account information.

How can I get involved with honors undergraduate education at UMass Amherst?

Commonwealth Honors College welcomes the involvement of faculty who are passionate about Honors undergraduate education on the UMass Amherst campus, and the college encourages new contributions to the high-impact educational practices used in their classes. Find out more about how to get involved in the Honors College.

How can I support student success?

The Student Success unit focuses on campus-wide approaches and programs that increase student retention, support timely progress toward degree completion, nurture student-centered teams, and enhance holistic student learning and development through the advancement of high-impact educational practices. Student Success offers specific resources for educators to help faculty best support their students.

What support is there for me to mentor graduate and undergraduate researchers?

The Graduate School offers Research Mentor Training, developed by the National Research Mentoring Network, to help faculty build their mentoring skills. The Graduate School also provides a Graduate Mentoring Handbook that provides guidance and resources for effective mentoring of your graduate students.