Working Conditions

The Academic Year

The academic year consists of full- or part-time teaching during any three of the four quarters, followed by a vacation quarter off. Most academic year appointments consist of the fall, winter, and spring quarters.

Campus Administrative Policy requires that faculty provide students a syllabus (pdf) during the first class meeting and spend time discussing the syllabus during the first class.  The syllabus should include the instructor’s contact information, office hours and location, required texts and supplementary material, assessment and grading methods and expectations, attendance and make-up policy and any other information needed to assure student understanding of the nature, requirements, and expectations of the course.

Canvas Learning Management

Canvas, a cloud-based learning management system (LMS) connects students and faculty to their Cal Poly coursework on both desktop and mobile devices. Canvas support is provided by the Center for Teaching Learning and Technology.

Office Hours

Each faculty member must schedule and conduct office hours each week for consultation with students. One-on-one, direct, personal engagement between students and their instructors and faculty advisors in regularly scheduled office hours is a vital means of contributing to the student-centered mission of Cal Poly. For more information, please visit the Academic Programs website.

University Hour

Classes are not ordinarily scheduled on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 12 noon in order to provide an opportunity for campus-wide events.

Room Changes

Faculty members should notify their department head/chair if there are any assigned room changes. A good way to make sure your correct contact and location information is available is to look up your own name through Cal Poly portal’s Directory Information Channel. If it does not show the correct information, let your Department know so that they can help you get it corrected. Having this information correct allows students and faculty members to be reached quickly in the event of an emergency.

Off-Campus Instructional Activities

While activities are vital to the mission of the University, faculty members are reminded to consider the liability risks when scheduling off-campus events. Advanced approvals from the department head/chair and dean are necessary when scheduling any off-campus instructional activity. Pre-travel authorization forms are required for official off-campus events, including field trips, course-related activities, and conferences. Please contact the ASI Business Office if you are planning to sponsor a club event (756-1281).

Summer Term Teaching Assignments

Summer Term teaching assignments are voluntary and offered under self-support through Extended Education. Normally, a faculty member is not permitted to teach more than the equivalent of 7 consecutive quarters and no more than the equivalent of 10 full-time quarters during any triad or three-year period (a triad is a period of 36 months or 12 quarters beginning with the date of the first fall quarter appointment to an academic rank position at Cal Poly.) Note that faculty on sabbatical and difference in pay leaves are considered in work status and these terms count as full-time quarters. Credit for tenure, retirement, sabbatical leave, sick leave, or seniority is not earned for teaching or non-teaching assignments during Summer Term. Complete information regarding Summer Term teaching is posted on the Academic Personnel web site under Policies and Procedures.

Maximum Workload Limits (Additional Employment within the University)

Additional Employment Policy

Faculty members are limited to CSU employment equivalent to one full-time position in their primary or normal assignment and limited to a 25% overage if such an overage:

  • is of a substantially different nature than the primary or normal assignment;
  • is funded from non-General Fund sources, or
  • is the result of the accumulation of part-time faculty employment on more than one campus.

Under certain conditions, honoraria, salary, or fees for faculty members participating in University sponsored workshops, conferences, or in connection with a special educational program or research may be accepted for additional work up to 25% above a full-time appointment. Exceptions to this policy are authorized by the Provost.

Private Consulting

Faculty members are allowed to be private consultants outside the University provided such activity does not conflict with the faculty member’s normal work assignments, satisfactory performance of duties, or obligations to the University. Normally, consulting should not average more than one day a week. If a faculty member misses classes or other University obligations, he/she should use personal holiday, vacation (for 12-month faculty), or a dock in pay. As a private consultant, a faculty member cannot use state facilities, equipment, or supplies normally not available to the community. Also, faculty members should make it clear that they do not represent the University or the Corporation. The University's name may not be used in any way that would imply University endorsement of the activity. The faculty member may be required to provide a written statement which details the amount and distribution of time devoted to outside employment.

Expenses for University Assignments

A faculty member may act as a consultant to a governmental or private agency and have access to University facilities provided the funds are received by either the Cal Poly Corporation or the University. Although expense fees may be accepted, faculty members are not permitted to accept compensation from any outside source for time spent in performing CSU officially assigned duties. Individuals filing expense claims against another agency should submit their claims in duplicate through their dean. Claims may not be filed for the same expense against any funds administered by the University and another agency. Employees must consult with their department head/chair to avoid possible conflict with state and University regulations. This policy does not apply to employment outside of Cal Poly or private consulting.

Personnel Files

The University protects the rights of employees to access their personnel files. Except for pre-employment materials, every employee at Cal Poly has the right to access, review, and have reproduced materials contained in their personnel files. A faculty member’s personnel file (Personnel Action File) is located in the college dean’s office.

The term Personnel Action File refers to the one official personnel file containing employment information and information that may be relevant to personnel recommendations or personnel actions affecting the employee. Academic employees must be provided with a copy of any material to be placed in their Personnel Action File at least five days prior to such placement. Faculty members are encouraged to review their personnel files on a regular basis. The term Working Personnel Action File refers to that portion of the Personnel Action File used during the time of periodic evaluation or performance review.

Sexual Harassment Prevention

Cal Poly is committed to creating and maintaining an environment in which faculty, staff, and students work together in an atmosphere of mutual respect and unconstrained academic interchange. All individuals are entitled to be treated on the basis of their qualifications, competence, and accomplishments without regard to gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Sexual harassment violates University policy, seriously threatens the academic environment, and is contrary to law. All faculty, staff, and administrators are held accountable to maintain a working and learning environment free from sexual harassment for students, employees, and those who apply for student or employee status. Employee concerns may be addressed to an appropriate administrator (i.e. deans or vice presidents), or to the DHR Administrator, who can be contacted at 805-756-6770 or For more information please visit the Civil Rights and Compliance Office web site.

CSU Policy on Consensual Relationships

A CSU Employee shall not enter into a consensual relationship with a Student or Employee over whom s/he exercises or influences direct or otherwise significant academic, administrative, supervisory, evaluative, counseling, or extracurricular authority. In the event such a relationship already exists, each Campus shall develop a procedure to reassign such authority to avoid violations of this policy.

Consensual relationship means a sexual or romantic relationship between two persons who voluntarily enter into such a relationship. While sexual and/or romantic relationships between members of the University community may begin as consensual, they may evolve into situations that lead to Discrimination, Harassment, Retaliation, Sexual Misconduct, Dating or Domestic Violence, or Stalking subject to this policy.

The CSU Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Exploitation, Dating & Domestic Violence, Stalking, and Retaliation (replaces Executive Orders 1095, 1096, and 1097) can be found here.  Questions concerning the policy may be addressed to the Civil Rights and Compliance Office (805-756-6770).

Non-Discrimination Policy

It is the policy of the CSU to prohibit discrimination against faculty members on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, martial status, pregnancy, age, disability, or veteran status. Cal Poly will not tolerate acts of racism or discrimination of any type. The University is committed to being a community enriched by individual differences, in which diversity is valued and respected and in which all members live and work free from harassment, abuse, mockery, and discrimination.

Drug-Free Environment

Cal Poly is fully committed to achieving an alcohol and drug-free environment for its students and employees. Federal law requires that Cal Poly create and maintain a drug-free environment and implement a prevention program for students and employees.

The University recognizes that alcohol and other drug dependencies are treatable conditions. Employees who suffer from a substance abuse problem are encouraged to get help immediately. Employee health insurance plans often defray part of the cost of rehabilitation programs. Cal Poly will also accommodate employees by allowing the use of sick leave or unpaid time off to participate in such programs.

A list of organizations which provide alcohol and other drug dependency treatment services may be obtained through the Employee Assistance Program anytime by visiting You will be asked to either create a confidential personal login (which gives you access to all of the site's capabilities) or log in using the Access Code "calpolyslo" to be completely anonymous. They can also be reached at 1-800-234-5465.

The federal Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act requires employers to conduct alcohol and controlled substance testing of individuals assigned to positions requiring either a Commercial Driver’s License or an Endorsement to a Class C License. In accordance with these regulations, Cal Poly conducts pre-employment, post-accident, random, reasonable suspicion, and return-to-duty alcohol and controlled substance testing for covered employees. In addition, Human Resources provide training and education to supervisors relating to the testing program. Contact Human resources for additional information on this training (756-2236). For additional information on CSU policies and procedures regarding a drug-free workplace visit their web site at:

Modification of Campus Facilities

Due to potential asbestos-containing materials on campus, employees are requested not to make any modifications to campus facilities. The EPA requires that facilities be inspected by a qualified inspector prior to conducting any modifications, including drilling, cutting, sanding, grinding, puncturing, nailing, or installing screws. Installation of modular furniture, wall mounted shelves, removal of carpet or other floor coverings, installation of electrical or communications lines and outlets can all disturb asbestos or lead containing materials and may initiate enforcement action against the University, including fines for violations assessed against the entity responsible for the disturbance, and/or civil and/or criminal sanctions against individual campus employees. Please contact the Facilities Work Control Center at 756-5555 regarding any potential modification to campus facilities.

Responsible Use Policy

Information technology resources are provided to support the University's mission of education, research and service. To ensure that these shared and finite resources are used effectively to further the University's mission, each user has the responsibility to:

  1. use the resources appropriately and efficiently
  2. respect the freedom and privacy of others
  3. protect the stability and security of the resources
  4. understand and fully abide by established University policies and applicable public laws

It describes consequences of non-compliance and procedures for reporting and responding to complaints. It includes definitions and examples of responsible and irresponsible use. Information Technology Services (ITS) is responsible for policy oversight and compliance. This section highlights a few key concepts from the overall policy.

Access to Cal Poly's information technology (IT) resources is a privilege granted to faculty, staff and students in support of their studies, instruction, duties as employees, official business with the university, and other university-sanctioned activities. The privilege of using IT resources may not be transferred or extended by members of the university community to outside individuals or groups without prior approval of the Vice Provost/Chief Information Officer for Information Technology Services. The University reserves the right to limit, restrict, remove or extend access to and privileges within, material posted on, or communications via its IT resources.

Cal Poly users are responsible for ensuring the confidentiality and appropriate use of university data to which they are given access, and abiding by privacy rights of students, faculty and staff concerning the use and release of personal information.  Disclosure of confidential information to unauthorized persons or entities, or the use of such information for self-interest or advantage, is prohibited. Access to institutional data by unauthorized persons or entities is prohibited. Cal Poly users are expected to comply with CSU and campus standards for securing network-connected devices to protect university data and resources from threats.

Users must become familiar with the responsible use and other applicable policies when agreeing to use campus resources (see All faculty employees granted access to institutional data must print and sign a statement that they have received a copy of the University's Confidentiality-Security Agreement. Refusal to sign will result in loss of access and may result in demotion or dismissal if such access is an inherent part of their assigned duties. Users with access to student information further agree to abide by the university's Policy on the Use and Release of Student Information (see When modifying university access, e.g., changing passwords, users may be required to reaffirm that they understand and agree to abide by campus IT policies. Suspected infractions of campus IT policies should be reported to ITS at

Electronic Information Resource Accessibility

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides that no qualified individual with a disability be denied access to or participation in services, programs, and activities at Cal Poly. This act applies to virtually all aspects of campus activities, including employment, teaching and learning, and services provided to the campus community.

It is the policy of the California State University to make information technology resources and services accessible to all CSU students, faculty, staff, and the general public regardless of disability status. Cal Poly is committed to ensuring that university information and services delivered electronically are made accessible and the needs of individual students and employees with disabilities are accommodated.

The CSU Accessible Technology Initiative (ATI) established specific timelines and goals for incorporating accessibility in university web sites, instructional materials, and any electronic and information technology products and services used by the campus. As of Fall 2008, new courses and new course content must be designed and authored in a manner that incorporates accessibility. Existing course content will be made accessible at the point of course redesign or when a student with a disability enrolls in the course. By Fall 2012, instructional materials and web sites for all course offerings must be accessible.

Cal Poly faculty are expected to become familiar with the accessibility requirements and to use available resources to ensure that instructional materials are delivered in a manner that is equally effective for persons with disabilities. Here are 10 specific steps faculty can take to meet these requirements:

  1. Order textbooks and course readers at least six weeks before classes begin.
  2. Provide syllabi in electronic format before the first day of class. Ask students to let you know privately if they require alternative methods.
  3. Post documents in electronic form that are clean and easily readable.
  4. Use only captioned videos.
  5. Provide transcripts for audio-only materials.
  6. Post your instructional materials online in accessible formats whenever possible. Consider using Blackboard to post syllabi and other course documents.
  7. Make sure all pictures, tables and graphs in electronic format have associated text.
  8. Purchase hardware and software that complies with accessibility standards.
  9. Make materials available as soon as possible to facilitate student learning.
  10. Learn how to make course materials and web sites accessible. Doing it right the first time is much easier than trying to fix it later.

For more information about campus support, resources, plans, policies, standards and practices, visit, especially the Instructional Materials link. If you are interested in attending a workshop or learning more about this topic, contact the Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology at

Intellectual Property Protection and Commercialization Policy

Cal Poly's Intellectual Property Protection and Commercialization Policy addresses the rights to, interest in, and protection and transfer of intellectual property created by University faculty, staff or students. The purpose of this policy is to encourage, support, and reward research and scholarship, and to recognize the rights and interests of the inventor or creator, the public, the external sponsor, and the University. The Vice President of Research and Economic Development implements and administers this policy, including the evaluation of patentability or other forms of intellectual property protection, filing for patents, negotiation of use rights, and the pursuit of infringement actions. To see the Intellectual Property Protection and Commercialization Policy in its entirety please visit the Research and Economic Development web site.


Out of courtesy and in consideration of their department's scheduling needs, academic employees desiring to resign or retire should give written notification to their department head/chair with a copy to their dean:

  • not less than three months prior to desired resignation/retirement date if Instructor or Assistant Professor (or equivalent)
  • not less than four months prior to desired resignation/retirement date if their rank is higher than Assistant Professor (or equivalent).

For planning purposes and for assistance with the retirement process, employees intending to retire should meet with the Human Resources Retirement Analyst (756-2236) at least three months prior to their anticipated retirement date. An application for retirement must be submitted to CalPERS no earlier than 90 days prior to anticipated retirement date. Additional information on the resignation and retirement process and timelines, including a video on navigating the retirement process, is available on the Cal Poly HR website:

Prior to termination of employment for any reason, academic employees must complete a Payroll Form 300 (Separation Form) certifying that keys, identification card, computers and other equipment, etc. have been returned to the appropriate offices and to document action to be taken regarding the employee's retirement contributions.  Forms are available in Payroll Services, Human Resources, and online at

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