Resources for Instructors

Practical Information for New Instructors

   IDs and Email Accounts
   Putting together your syllabus: Practical Information
   Teaching Your Course: Electronic Resources and Support
   Your Students
   Exams and Grading
   Special Instructions for Lecturers
   Special Instructions for LPS Instructors
   Plagiarism Prevention
   Research Requirement  for History Majors

IDs and Email Accounts


Your PennCard is your official University of Pennsylvania identification. It is needed for access to University facilities and to take books out of the library. Your PennCard can also be used as a declining balance debit account at library copiers and printers and a variety of other places on campus.


PennKey is an identity verification system used to limit access to a wide range of electronic services to eligible members of the Penn community. Your PennKey consists of a username and password selected by you. Because much of what you do at Penn will require a PennKey, you should select and register it as soon as possible.


To establish an email account, click the "Account Registration" link on the Faculty-Staff Service Center homepage.

Please note: You must have successfully established and registered your PennKey as described above.

Putting Together Your Syllabus: Practical Information



The University keeps no official list of religious holidays. Keeping Penn's policy on secular and religious holidays in mind, however, you may wish to consult one of the following websites for information on the dates of religious holidays:


There are three bookstores on or near campus used by Penn faculty to order course books:

Penn Bookstore

The official bookstore of the University of Pennsylvania; run by Barnes and Noble.
3601 Walnut Street/3895 at University Square
FacultyEnlight (including textbook requests)
Phone: 215 898.7595
Fax: 215 898.6997

House of Our Own

An independent academic bookstore located in a Victorian house on the edge of campus.
3920 Spruce Street
Phone: 215 222.1576

Penn Book Center

An independent academic bookstore serving the University community since 1962.
130 S. 34th Street
Phone: 215 222.7600


Van Pelt Library will help you make print and electronic reserve materials available to your students. For details, read the course reserve information.


Canvas provides secure and user friendly tools for publishing course content to the Web and for facilitating communication among course participants. For more information, read the library's courseware information.


Some faculty choose to put their articles and other documents into coursepacks. These can be supplied by:

Study.Net (link under construction; formerly Wharton Reprographics)
3620 Locust Walk , Suite 400 (Steinberg-Dietrich Hall)
Justin Agnew:   215-898-2945

Campus Copy Center
3907 Walnut Street
Phone: 215 386.6410


Communication within the Curriculum (CWiC) provides opportunities for students to develop their oral communication abilities by providing instructional and advising support to courses requiring oral presentations.

Teaching Your Course: Electronic Resources and Support Services


SAS Computing supports the instructional needs of School of Arts and Sciences faculty and is a university-wide advocate for incorporating emerging technologies into the classroom. Social Science Computing (SSC) provides computing support for the History Department. They also provide distributed staff for the Department of History.

For help, please e-mail or call 215 573.8397.


Penn offers a wide variety of technology equipped classrooms; at the time courses are rostered, the History Undergraduate Advisor normally sends an email via the History teaching listserv asking you to specify technology needs or other preferences. Individual classrooms normally have instructions posted for use of installed equipment and also the phone number of a person to contact for technical assistance.

For a searchable database of classrooms and equipment, see Classroom Technology Services.


The mission of the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is to help standing faculty, adjunct faculty, and teaching assistants achieve excellence in the classroom and in other venues where teaching takes place. Their regular events include Faculty-to-Faculty Lunches, Junior Faculty, and Graduate Student Workshops.


"Talk About Teaching" is a continuing series of essays in Almanac (a weekly publication for Penn faculty and staff).


Guidelines for Responsible Behavior by Standing Faculty in the School of Arts and Sciences. Prepared by the Dean's Task Force on Faculty Responsibility.


The College's official teaching evaluations are available online to students at the end of the semester. 

Instructors who wish to compose and conduct a custom evaluation for their own use at any time during the semester may do so through the Center for Teaching and Learning. Midterm evaluations may be especially useful in order to make adjustments during the semester. CTL has a number of alternate formats available. These CTL evaluations remain private.


Your Students


Courses InTouch is your interface with course and student data. Access requires a PennKey ID and password and you must be listed as the instructor of record for your course. Go to Class List for your students' names, email, academic advisor, and photo. It will also generate an email list (listserv) for your class. Courses InTouch will allow you to send a Course Problem Notice to a student who is having difficulties or is failing to attend class.

Grades and grade changes are filed via Courses InTouch as well.

For guides to using Courses InTouch, visit the Registrar website.


The History Undergraduate Advisor, Yvonne Fabella, manages the declaration of majors as well as final certification of degrees. She also handles many routine advising questions. Each member of the standing faculty has an advisee load of majors in their department. Students will meet with you for general advice about the courses they choose, and to find out which courses they may use toward their major and/or concentration; only the faculty advisor may approve major-related courses and similar issues. Advisor InTouch allows you to approve courses and monitor progress online. For more information, see the Advisor InTouch overview. The department will arrange for you to receive training, if you wish.


The College of Arts and Sciences is the undergraduate division of the School of Arts and Sciences. Consult their website for policies on grading, exams, attendance, incompletes, and other issues.


Weingarten Learning Resources Center

The Weingarten Learning Resources Center provides academic support and accommodations for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. The center is composed of two offices: the Office of Learning Resources and the Office of Student Disabilities Services.

The Office of Learning Resources provides individual and group instruction in academic reading, writing, study strategies, and time management.

The Office of Student Disabilities Services provides consultation and accommodations for students with physical and/or learning disabilities.

The WHEEL Academic Services

The WHEEL is the name given to a group of support programs in math, writing, technology, library, languages, CSE, chemistry, career services and more provided where students need it most—at home, in the College Houses.

Tutoring Center

The Tutoring Center offers Penn students a variety of peer tutoring services to supplement the academic support provided by Penn faculty, teaching assistants and learning instructors. All Tutoring Center services are free for matriculating undergraduates. Tutorials are generally offered for the core introductory and intermediate undergraduate courses. Tutoring for upper level courses is available on a limited basis.

Counseling and Psychological Services

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provided include: individual and group counseling and therapy; crisis intervention; structured workshops; psychological testing; medical reviews; and consultations.

Office of International Programs

The Office of International Programs (OIP) provides services to students related to immigration and employment status, social and personal adjustments to a new culture, and practical matters related to your stay in Philadelphia.


Exams and Grading


Rules governing final exams.


Grades are filed online via Courses InTouch.

Grades are due from faculty as follows:

  • Fall term due the first working day in January after the winter break.
  • Spring term due by 12:00 noon 3 days from the last day of final exams.
  • Summer sessions due by 12:00 noon 3 days from the last day of the session class.


For instructors teaching a course with multiple sections planning to schedule a common midterm.


The Office of Student Conduct offers "Guidelines for Faculty on Academic Integrity," including what to do if you suspect cheating has occurred, how to report a case, and information on grading.

See also: Code of Academic Integrity

Special Instructions for Lecturers

The Department of History will provide you with a mailbox in the department office. Office space, telephones, and computers are provided to visiting lecturers only when they are available. If you are assigned an office, you must put down a $10 deposit for the key, which will be refunded to you when you return the key. You should follow the instructions about photocopying listed earlier in this document.

See the Department of History Handbook for office policies and other instructions.

Special Instructions for LPS Instructors

The Department cannot provide computer privileges to College of Liberal and Professional Studies (LPS) faculty and will offer office space only when available. If you are assigned an office, you must notify the department staff of your office hours for the semester and  return of the key within two weeks after the last day of classes. You will be allowed to photocopy a limited amount of essential material for your course, such as syllabi and exams. But you must not copy articles or any lengthy material. See a staff member to receive the appropriate code for the copier. We will try to provide you with a mailbox in the department office during the semester that you teach.

See the Department of History Handbook for office policies and other instructions.

LPS also has a Faculty Manual.

You should contact LPS Administrators with any questions.

Plagiarism Prevention


  • Contact Van Pelt (Nick Okrent) for class session on bibliographic searches.
  • Discuss sources, source use, peer reviewed sources
  • Be clear about whether students may or must use outside sources.
    • Ex: "No other sources should be needed; however, if you wish to consult other sources and use them in your essay, be sure to include references, and you must first receive approval from me."
  • Include on syllabus recommended texts that discuss use of sources. Ex: Gordon Harvey, Writing With Sources: A Guide for Students (Hackett, 1998), List Price: $5.45.


  • Include statement on syllabus and each assignment.
    • Ex: "Academic honesty is fundamental to our community. The Pennbook contains our Code of Academic Integrity. A violation of that Code in this course will result in failure for the course."


  • Assign specific topics.
  • Change topics and readings often.
  • For longer assignments: due dates during term for proposal; bibliography; draft.
  • Oral presentations for term papers.
  • References on syllabus and assignments prevent pleas of ignorance later and strengthen any case that you submit to the Office of Student Conduct.



  • Office of Student Conduct
  • If you discover plagiarism in your class:
    • Inform Dept Chair and/or Undergraduate Chair.
    • Make copies of both the paper and the source(s) used.
    • Contact OSC; submit file with all info: assignment, syllabus, paper, evidence.
    • Contact student for appointment in your office.
    • Listen to their explanation.
    • Inform student that the matter is in the hands of the OSC.
    • Allow student to attend class, turn in new assignments while case proceeds.
    • Enforce your pre-stated penalties after verdict.

Research Requirement for History Majors

Recommended Practices for Faculty


The major includes a historical research requirement. This requirement asks all majors to conduct significant research with primary sources and to write a substantial paper that interprets and analyzes the material uncovered in this research. The requirement ensures that all majors have become acquainted with the methodology of research, and that they can evaluate source material, interpret evidence, and construct a historical argument.

Majors will typically fulfill this requirement by completing a 15-20 page final paper in one of their required seminar courses, though specifics will vary from course to course. Majors may also opt to fulfill the requirement in an independent study or through other coursework with the permission of faculty. Majors completing the honors program will have fulfilled the requirement by researching and writing their thesis.

In undergraduate research courses in the Department of History, students learn both about the subject matter of the course topic, and about how to conduct historical research; they produce a paper that demonstrates those skills. Presentation of the historical subject matter may vary greatly from course to course given the range of regions and periods we cover. The basics of historical research vary less.

Break the stages of a research project into component parts; discuss each part in turn, allowing adequate class time; follow up with a practical exercise.

  • Components include most or all of the following:
  • Critical reading of sources
  • Searching for primary and secondary sources
  • Writing a proposal, including a thesis statement
  • Production of a working bibliography (plain or annotated)
  • Production of a draft
  • Critiques by fellow students in working groups
  • Oral presentation to class
  • Production of final draft

Identify these steps clearly on your syllabus, with clear and firm due dates for each.

You may wish to assign one of the many student guides to historical research.

For example: I.W. Mabbett, Writing History Essays: A Student's Guide (Palgrave, 2007).

We recommend highly that you schedule a class meeting in the library's electronic classroom with a reference librarian (Nick Okrent), who can tailor the presentation on primary and secondary source searching to your course, and can also produce an online research guide for it if you would like one.


Archived Resources