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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.

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. For more details about the forms, see the Faculty Handbook. 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 If your NetID is no longer active, your faculty appointment has expired and you must complete a series of steps to reactivate it.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.

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.

Preparing for Your Course

Before your teaching assignment begins, please review the summary information below to ensure that you are prepared for your course. Details and a teaching checklist are found in the Faculty Handbook.

Syllabus: Instructors must make available to students and the School of Professional Studies a written description (syllabus) of each course they will teach. You are expected to post your syllabus on your Canvas course site at least two weeks before class begins, distribute in class, and email a copy to your program assistant director or manager.

Course Materials: Instructors are responsible for ordering books and other required materials for teaching in advance of the start of class. PDP faculty are responsible for communicating to the Office of Professional Development materials that are required for class via the Faculty Course Information Form. Faculty teaching online may be provided with online course materials; these may be customized as long as learning objectives are achieved.  

Student Communication: Instructors are expected to be available to communicate with and assist students outside of class time via email, office hours, or phone. All SPS instructors are required to activate and use their Northwestern University email account to communicate with students and program and University staff during the time they are teaching. 

Assessment and Grading: Instructors are responsible for informing students in their classes of the criteria and methods to be used in determining final course grades. Graded examinations and papers should be provided for student review and discussion with the instructor. During the academic term, assessments should be graded and returned to students within a reasonable time. All faculty are expected to submit final course grades through CAESAR by the announced deadline.

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.

Canvas / Teaching Online

Canvas is a cloud-hosted learning management system that is the platform for all online courses in SPS. Canvas also provides an easy way for instructors teaching any course to communicate, deliver course content, conduct class activities, and use assessment tools.

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 webpage.

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.

Instructors teaching online for the first time complete a required online training course titled "Facilitating an SPS Course" that is offered through the Office of Distance Education. Current distance learning instructors may several resources via the Distance Learning Website. Contact with any additional questions or concerns.

Classroom Needs

Room Assignments

Room assignments for on-campus courses are available at least one week prior to the start of the quarter.

Room assignments can also be viewed in CAESAR.

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 the SPS Help Desk with requests or with any questions about classrooms on both campuses. 

In-Class Technical Support

  • Chicago campus: open a helpdesk ticket or visit the computer lab (Wieboldt 415) 
  • Evanston campus: call 7-ROOM (847-467-7666); phone located in top drawer of podium

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

Evening/weekend rate parking for SPS faculty and students is available Monday through Friday 4:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. and weekends 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 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 permits are also available .

Parking: Evanston Campus

Free parking is available in most "F" Parking Lots on the Evanston campus after 4:00 p.m. Please refer to signs at the parking lot to be certain about availability. Do not park in a reserved space at any time.

Getting Help

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

Undergraduate Program Staff

  • Peter Kaye, Assistant Dean, Undergraduate & Post-baccalaureate Programs, 312-503-3007
  • Madeline Giger, Undergraduate Program Manager, 312-503-5937
  • Megan Powell, Undergraduate Program Manager, 312-503-1350

Graduate Staff

  • Doug Bakker, Director of Graduate Programs, 847-467-1546
  • MALit, MALS, MA in Writing/MFA Prose & Poetry, MSIS: Amy Danzer, Assistant Director, 847-491-3051
  • MPPA, MSRC: Nancy Ferguson, Assistant Director, 847-467-7854
  • MHI, MSGH, MSHA: 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 Registrar's Office 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. Do not leave blank grades in CAESAR. Your NetID must be active to submit grades. A letter grade should be assigned to each student. Please submit grades by the deadline.

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 and policies each quarter. If you encounter problems while trying to submit grades in CAESAR, please contact NUIT at 847-491-4357. 

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.

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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