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Northwestern University School of Professional Studies

Faculty Resources

Resources for Northwestern University School of Professional Studies Instructors

This page provides information for faculty teaching in Northwestern University School of Professional Studies: course preparation and management, resources, policies, and campus, systems access and contact information. The Faculty Handbook contains all of these resources in detail, along with University and SPS policies.

Scholarship awards are based on consideration of the following: need (as determined by the application for financial aid), merit, and program completion rate of progress, as well as scholarship specifications and available funds. Preference is given to students who have not previously received a scholarship or grant award. Applicants will be considered for all scholarships for which they are eligible (descriptions below).

Scholarship funds must be used at SPS during the academic year for which they are awarded, and toward courses that satisfy applicant's degree requirements.

Download the Faculty Handbook

Get Started: Faculty Access

Before you may access Northwestern systems, your teaching appointment must be processed by NU Human Resources. Access is usually available one month before the start of the quarter you'll be teaching. For new faculty, all hiring and payroll forms required for new employees of NU must be submitted to SPS for processing by NU Human Resources no later than one month before the start of the quarter you'll be teaching. Contact SPS HR Representative Claire Maurello with questions.

Forms for New Faculty

New faculty can learn more about getting started with access at NU from Northwestern University Information Technology.

Returning Faculty

Instructors are given network access and their WildCARD IDs are active for use at Northwestern University Libraries for the duration of the teaching assignment. Access will lapse once the appointment has concluded.

At any time returning instructors can check to see if their NetID is active. If your NetID is no longer active, your faculty appointment has expired and you must complete a series of steps to reactivate it. Please refer to “Accessing Northwestern Systems” in the Faculty Handbook for these steps.

Application Deadline

SPS Scholarship Applications and required supporting materials are due September 1 for full consideration. 

Please note: For undergraduate transfer students who are admitted to SPS after fall term and continuing students who satisfy their admission requirements after fall term, a second spring application cycle will be open for Spring and Summer scholarship consideration. Required materials are due March 1 for consideration. PLEASE NOTE: only new applicants who have not been reviewed for the current academic year are eligible for the spring application cycle.

NetID, Email and WildCARD


Faculty receive a NetID to access email, use learning management sites (Canvas), submit grades, view class rosters, and use online reference materials from the University libraries. Your NetID will be assigned after you are hired by SPS and NU Human Resources has received and processed your appointment paperwork. You will receive an email from SPS Finance and Administration with your NetID and instructions on how to self-activate it. 

Northwestern Email

The official communication tool for Northwestern University is email. As a condition of employment with SPS, you must maintain an active Northwestern email account. Visit Northwestern University Information Technology for more information about accessing and using your Northwestern email account.


The University's photo ID card is known as the WildCARD, which provides access to University library resources and to University shuttles, as well as discounts at local businesses. New faculty are eligible for the WildCARD once the hiring paperwork is processed by Human Resources. There are two WildCARD offices: one on the Chicago campus located in Abbott Hall, and the other in the Norris Center on the Evanston campus.

Pay Information

Payroll Schedule

Faculty salary is paid in equal monthly installments, via direct deposit, on the last business day of each month within a term. The scheduled monthly payments within each term are as follows:

Fall: last day of October, November and December
Winter: last day of January, February and March
Spring: last day of April, May and June
Summer: last day of July and August 

Please contact Peggy Pajak if you have any questions regarding salary payment.

Please refer to the Payroll section of the Faculty Handbook for additional information.

Using Canvas

Canvas is a cloud-hosted learning management system that provides an easy way for instructors and students to communicate, deliver/receive course materials, submit assignments and tests, view grades, and conduct class activities.

Training and support information is available at the Canvas Learning Center. You can register for Canvas training on-ground and virtual workshops for hands-on experience with the system. Learn more at the Canvas Workshop sign-up web page.

Canvas support for general questions relating to getting started, how to use Canvas features, and basic troubleshooting assistance is provided 24/7/365 for the Northwestern community. Learn more about Canvas Support.

For Distance Learning instructors, a required, four-week online training course titled "Facilitating an SPS Course" is offered through the Office of Distance Education. Current distance learning instructors may view several resources via the Distance Learning Website. Contact with any additional questions or concerns.

Classroom Needs

Room Assignments

Room assignments are available at least one week prior to the start of the quarter.

Instructors may not change classrooms without first obtaining SPS approval. After the quarter begins, it is the instructor's responsibility to notify students of approved room changes.

Requests for equipment or specific classrooms, including technology-equipped Smart Classrooms must be made six to eight weeks before the start of the quarter. Please contact SPS Facilities with requests or with any questions about classrooms on both campuses. To change a classroom after the quarter start, please call 312-503-2399.

In-Class Technical Support

  • Chicago campus: call 312-503-3333
  • Evanston campus: call 7-ROOM (847-467-7666)

Maps, Shuttles and Parking

Campus Maps

To find your way around the Evanston or Chicago campuses, use the University's interactive maps.

Campus Shuttles

The Intercampus Shuttle runs year-round, Monday through Friday, between the Evanston and Chicago campuses. The shuttle is free, but a WildCARD must be presented to board. All shuttles are wheelchair accessible. For schedules and stops, visit the Intercampus Shuttle website.

Parking: Chicago Campus

Reduced rate parking is available Monday through Friday 4 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. and weekends 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The discount will only be honored at Huron Superior (222 E. Huron Lot C) and the Erie-Ontario Garages (321 E. Erie Lot D). Park and obtain the ticket; to get reduced rate, validate at one of the machines at Wieboldt Hall in the 4th and 5th floor lounges and the computer lab, Room 415. Long-term Chicago campus parking permitsare available through the Parking Office in Abbott Hall, Room 100.

Parking: Evanston Campus

Free parking is available in most "F" Parking Lots on the Evanston campus after 4 p.m. Please refer to signs at the parking lot to be certain about availability. Do not at any time park in a reserved space.

Getting Help

The following departmental contacts are available to assist you during your teaching appointment at SPS.

Undergraduate Program Staff

  • Peter Kaye, Assistant Dean for Undergraduate and Professional Programs, 312-503-3007
  • Lindsey Taylor, Undergraduate Program Manager, 312-503-3715
  • Megan Powell, Undergraduate Program Manager, 312-503-1350

Graduate Staff

  • Doug Bakker, Director of Graduate Programs, 847-467-1546
  • MALit, MALS, MCW, MSIS: Amy Danzer, Assistant Director, 847-491-3051
  • MPPA, MSRC: Nancy Ferguson, Assistant Director, 847-467-7854
  • MHI, MSGH: Mary Brennan, Assistant Director, 847-467-7498
  • IDS, Leadership, MSA: Shannon Castle, Assistant Director, 847-467-5411
  • MSDS: Beth Lair, Assistant Director, 847-467-3840

Distance Education Staff

Proctored Testing, Blue Jeans Training or Troubleshooting

Graduate Program Faculty Directors

Class Rosters and Attendance

Class rosters are accessed either through Canvas or in CAESAR, Northwestern's student enterprise system.

CAESAR is also used to monitor and view enrollment prior to the start of the quarter and to access class rosters. At the end of the quarter, instructors enter final grades in CAESAR. An active NetID is required to access CAESAR.

Each week, you should take attendance from the class roster. Noting attendance is crucial at the start of the quarter to ensure that all students sitting in class have registered. If a student has registered for the course but is not listed on the roster, he/she will be allowed to sit in the class for a maximum of two sessions. If the student's name does not appear on the class roster at the third session, the student cannot attend class until they register for the course or existing registration issues are resolved. Please advise the student that they must cease attending class and to contact the SPS Registration Team immediately.

For all other attendance-related questions, please see the Faculty Handbook.

Grading Policies

Grading policies are detailed in the Faculty Handbook. It is your responsibility to become familiar with these policies. In general, grading policies are:


Grades given for credit-bearing classes are A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C- and F (for failing work). Ds are not awarded for graduate work. Students may not take required courses pass (P)/no-pass (N), except for their 590 (capstone/thesis) course. Grades may not be changed except in cases of errors in calculating grades. If a student has not yet turned in all the required work, only a grade of Y (incomplete) or F may be given. An X grade is not applicable to graduate students. Please let SPS know immediately if you are pressured in any way to alter a grade.


Grades given for credit-bearing courses are: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D, F. As there are no fixed guidelines, computing of grades left to discretion of the instructor to formulate a fair grading scale. You are asked to retain graded papers and examinations that have not been returned to students for at least six months following the end of the quarter. 

Incomplete Grades

In rare circumstances, students may be granted an Authorized Incomplete, designated with a grade of Y. Students must get advance permission from you to receive an Authorized Incomplete if they are unable to complete course work to merit a final grade. Before you grant an incomplete, discuss the situation with the student to determine whether an incomplete grade is appropriate. Incompletes should not be given to allow more time to improve a grade, but may be allowed when a student's circumstances change and he/she is prevented from finishing a large portion of work for the course. Graduate students do not need to petition SPS for incompletes. Undergraduate students submit Student Affairs Committee petition

Submitting Grades

Final grades are submitted in CAESAR. SPS does not accept grades in any other form, including paper grade sheets or emails, or through the grade book feature in Canvas. Do not leave blank grades in CAESAR. Your NetID must be active to submit grades. A letter grade should be assigned to each student. 

Grading starts at the beginning of the final week of the quarter and concludes just after the end of the quarter. Your academic program will notify you of grading deadlines each quarter. If you encounter problems while trying to submit grades in CAESAR, please contact NUIT at 847-491-4357. Timely grade submission is a matter of chief importance to the SPS Dean and to our students.

Grading Resources

Academic Integrity

Any suspected instances of academic integrity violation should be reported immediately to the Assistant Dean of the program in which you are teaching. Please see the Faculty Handbook for policies and procedure.

Managing Thesis Research (Graduate Only)

You are expected to familiarize yourself with your role as a first or second reader. Complete details are included in the Faculty Handbook. In addition, please read over the section “Capstone Project Process” in the SPS Graduate Student Handbook. Students in all SPS graduate degree programs must complete either a capstone course (only available in a few programs) or an independent thesis / capstone project, which require that the student to secure two faculty members or other approved individuals to supervise and, eventually, approve their work. A specific procedure is in place for MFA/MA students in the Creative Writing program, details of which are also displayed in the Faculty Handbook.

Exam Proctoring (Undergraduate Only)

Exam proctoring at SPS may be available when instructors cannot give an exam to students who have missed it during the term due to unavoidable circumstances, or for students who are making up an exam or test after the quarter has ended due to receiving an authorized incomplete grade. Exam proctoring at SPS should not be used for the purpose of rescheduling exams in advance for individual students. Instructors who have approved a make-up exam for a student and who are not able to proctor the exam themselves should contact undergraduate program staff to inquire about availability. Please see the Faculty Handbook for more information.

Faculty Development Resources

Northwestern University School of Professional Studies is committed to assisting our faculty in providing the best possible learning experiences. We strive to identify helpful resources that address the specific needs of our adult students. These resources provide a range of support, offering consultations, videotaping of classes, workshops and lectures, and a library of books, articles, and online resources to increase success in the classroom.

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