Instructor FAQs

If you're unable to find an answer to your question, please contact us at or 413-545-0530.

Planning My Course

How do I get access to SPIRE (secure online student information system)?

Instructors must establish and maintain an active IT account to access SPIRE. Once you are officially attached to a course in SPIRE, you should receive an IT password which will enable you to access class rosters, set up group emails and submit grades.

Note: CPE will communicate with you through your UMass email account. Please check for messages regularly or set your account to forward to your personal email account. Questions about email? Contact the IT help desk.

How will students know about my class?

Students find out about classes from the CPE website, UMassOnlineSPIRE, social media, class announcements, emails from the instructor or department, friends, and advisors.

Where do I send my students if they have trouble registering?

Students should be referred to our How to Enroll page or they can contact us at or call 413-545-3653 or 800-922-8211.

Is there a waitlist if my course fills to capacity?

Waitlists of up to 6 students are kept ONLY until the last business day before class begins (then students are removed from the waitlist).  To keep a record of waitlisted students who did not get into your class, copy and save the waitlist (from your class roster page in SPIRE) before the last business day before your class begins.'

For instructions on how, check your class roster.

How do I give permission for a student to enroll in my class?

Send an email to CPE Registration Office ( with the student’s name, class information, and reason for the permission (override of pre-req, capacity, etc..) Once permission is confirmed, student must enroll themselves in the class.

Can my course be cancelled?

Accepting a teaching assignment for a CPE course is not a guarantee of employment. CPE has a standard minimum enrollment number, and some schools or departments have their own specified minimum enrollment numbers, as well. Also, there are different policies depending on your instructor status at the university. Generally, courses are at risk of being cancelled if they have not met minimum enrollment 2 weeks prior to the start of the course. For more information, please contact your department or

When will my class be confirmed?

Most stand-alone classes will be confirmed when enrollment reaches 8 students. Program classes often have a higher minimum than stand-alone classes, however. For more information, contact your department or

Teaching My Course

What is expected of me as a CPE instructor? 

You are hired by an academic department and hence you are subject to the expectations of the university. Please contact your department with specific questions. UMass Amherst academic policies/procedures can be found here.

How will my class be evaluated?

All credit classes at UMass Amherst are surveyed by students using the Student Response to Instruction (SRTI) instrument. 

CPE is piloting the Open SUNY Center for Online Teaching Excellence (COTE) Quality Review (OSCQR) Process to evaluate instructional design and accessibility of online courses.   

What if I have a problem with a student?

If you have a conflict with a student or you suspect academic dishonesty, it is best to contact your Department Chair/Head for guidance, as well as the Ombuds Office. How you manage the issue can make a difference in the outcome, so we suggest you seek guidance early on.

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