mary gates

Faculty Academic Support Resources

HAS Can Serve as a First Line Resource

As part of the Dean’s Office, our position within the College of Arts & Sciences means that we have the ability to work quickly and efficiently as a a facilitator or intermediary for faculty in certain situations, and as liaison and a neutral advocate for students in others. While we continue to put out this messaging to our students, departments and faculty in the Humanities should know that if students in their courses have concerns or disputes that arise, HAS can serve as a resource that keeps students informed of their rights and limitations, provide connections to specialist help across campus, and provide insight into best next steps in situations like grading disputes or conduct concerns.


For clarity on how HAS helps in situations involving add code management, drops for non-attendance, student concerns, and grade disputes, please see our FAQ section below.

  • One of the most common questions we get in our office is about accessing classes and getting add codes. The Time Schedule notes provide the most helpful tool that informs both our students and other staff on campus about registration restrictions and instructions for our Humanities courses.

    Humanities Academic Services does not manage or distribute add codes at any point in the 3 registration periods for a given quarter. If a student cannot get into a course because it is full, we instruct them to sign up for notify.UW to receive a text message letting them know that a space has opened up for them to claim. If a faculty member would like a student to have overload permission to add their full course, our office is happy to register the student, but we always request written permission (i.e., a confirmation email) from the instructor before we will do so.

    If a student is having technical trouble registering, HAS can help them troubleshoot those issues. If a student mentions they have had technical issues registering for a class with space available where they meet the prerequisites, please refer them to us via Our advising team's access to the Student Database means we do not require add codes to provide this kind of assistance.

    Once the quarter has begun, please be assured that as a firm office policy, HAS will not manually register students or give them an add code to access a course without the instructor’s explicit written permission.

    Some departments may have a course or two that needs special enrollment monitoring - we are happy to help in that process. To make that request, please reach out to your department's HAS Center liaison, or email

  • We are happy to assist in dropping students from your course for non-attendance during the first 10 days of a quarter. After that point, we cannot drop students for you - in that situation, the student will be directed to drop the course on their own via the Current Quarter Drop request process managed by the Office of the Registrar. Some may never drop, which means you will give them a failing grade, if they haven't attended or turned in work.

    Our policy on requests to drop students for non-attendance centers around having the 10th day of the quarter as a deadline for an important reason: after that point, it becomes increasingly difficult for students to find a replacement class and avoid change fees at short notice. For students who are required to be enrolled full time for financial aid or student visa reasons, a sudden change in their registration that takes them below full time enrollment can have significant and immediate negative consequences on that student's ability to continue working towards their degree.

    Before you request that we drop non-attending students on your roster, we would ask that faculty consider reaching out to the students and giving them advance warning before drops are processed. Letting students know that they will be dropped if you don't hear from them within a time frame that you set is considered a best practice that will allow students to seek help and make effective contingency plans.

    If you do not hear from the students after you email them, you are welcome send (or your HAS departmental liaison) a list of the students that will need to be dropped. Please include their student ID numbers or net IDs from your course's Canvas page if possible - it will help us to ensure that the correct students are processed. We will drop those students and offer them support in finding another class, if they want.

  • What are HAS liaisons?

    To ensure that departments have clear, accessible lines of communication with HAS when questions arise, each department in the Humanities division will have an assigned liaison within HAS that serves as a primary point of contact for procedural questions. This means faculty and administrators will have a clear, recognisable point of contact for questions instead of having to reach out to a central inbox. 


    What can liaisons help with? 

    If departments have specific concerns about process, policy, or data, liaisons are there. Liaisons are going to be in touch with quarterly census reports for chairs, and will help departments with student outreach and nomination submissions for annual awards like the Dean’s Medal or Humanities scholarships. If faculty have questions about student pain points or opportunities for updates with their major or minor curricula, liaisons can provide that feedback and insight.  


    That said, liaison work is separate from the advising and program coordination work HAS does. 

    If faculty need to refer students who need help to the HAS team, they should refer them to our advising team by starting here, rather sending them to their departmental liaison. 


    Why doesn’t HAS use an assigned advising model? I want my students to get help from the same person. 

    Liaison duties are separated from advising caseloads for two clear reasons: 


    1. 1. If a single team member needs to take time away, students from that department will still have full-time access to  multiple advising staff to get help with their questions. During time-sensitive periods like registration, maintaining this coverage can be critical.   
    3. 2. Departmental populations and student needs vary from unit to unit - using liaisons as assigned advisers would make it difficult to distribute workloads equitably.  


    All HAS advisers coordinate closely and share detailed advising notes through the EARS (Electronic Academic Records System) system, weekly advising roundtables, and case study collaboration so we work hard to make sure there is continuity with the service and relationship management students receive. 

    Liaisons are not intended to be coordinators for departmental events or marketing efforts. 

  • Grade dispute

    If a student contacts our office about a grade complaint, we first ask them if they have spoken with the professor about that grade. If they haven’t, we encourage them to do so, if they feel comfortable. We encourage them to approach the professor with a respectful tone and provide as much evidence as they have to support their argument that the grade they received seems incorrect.

    We also gently encourage the student to think about the larger picture: are they disputing  the grade because they think they have been treated unfairly, or are they just looking to protect their GPA,  for example? Will this grade change be critical to satisfactory academic progress at the UW? Will it be critical to their ability to graduate? Have they fully considered their behavior in this course, their actions with the faculty member, the quality of their work? It’s important for students to consider all sides before approaching their faculty member. 

    If the student is not comfortable talking to a faculty member, we will typically ask them if they want a HAS team member to liaise on their behalf. We tell the student, in order for us to follow up, they will need to provide us with sufficient evidence that a faculty conversation is warranted.

    Often the situation is solved after the above steps, but sometimes the student is unsatisfied and the case needs to go to the next level. In smaller departments, we would take the issue to the Chair. In larger departments, there might be an Undergraduate Programs Director or faculty Language Program Coordinator to whom the issue could go before it passes to the Chair.  

    In some cases it can be best to take a case directly to the Chair or Undergraduate Director of a department, depending on the situation. These can be hard conversations that are sometimes better if they come from another faculty member and not a staff member or adviser. In certain departments, program coordinators or heads of programs may also provide a useful layer for consultation before going to a Chair.

    Our HAS office may be asked to be involved in these subsequent conversations and to help with the actual grade change in the system. Sometimes these meetings are face-to-face meetings; sometimes they happen entirely over e-mail.

    In the course of uncovering the reason for a grade dispute, we may occasionally discover that there are allegations of bias. We will outline how we handle those situations in the section below.

  • In cases of alleged bias or abuse, we first support the student, providing resources for their needs. We will refer the student to the Ombud’s office  for support, to their OMAD advisor, if they have one, to bias reporting office, the OMA & D office, the Q center, Counseling services at the UW, Health and wellness, or any other support unit on campus that is appropriate for that student in their particular situation.

    With the bias case, we ask them for as much information as they can provide (grades, actions in the classroom and outside the classroom, e-mails, correspondence, etc). Support from other students is very helpful in these circumstances, if it is available.  But, we will never put the student in question in the position to reach out to their peers if they are uncomfortable or afraid. In most cases, they usually do have corroborating evidence.

    We collect all of the information that we can get from the student and take a report to the departmental Chair. The student may want to talk with the Chair along with the written report, and  the student may also want an advocate at that meeting with the Chair. Our office will be available to provide whatever support  the student needs.

    1. Where possible, utilize a mulitfaceted class communications platform beyond email

    Some feedback that we received from students was that some course communications have in the past, relied on a single faculty-controlled mailing list sent through a basic email client. Students were unable to communicate with each other, access class materials, or communicate with faculty outside of what was sent through an email list. When the faculty member was unavailable, so too were student options for communication.

    Given that email outages and unpredictable events happen, HAS recommends investing in existing UW course management software like Canvas instead of relying solely on email. Chat-based discussion channels through MS Teams remains a strong alternative option, as they also accommodate file storage, announcements, and user access tiers.

    Relying on email alone has significant flaws; confirmed delivery to 100% of recipients isn’t always guaranteed, it has few security protocols to prevent communications and course materials being shared outside of class, and in the case of ageing listservs, it can even provide students with an accidental way to unsubscribe from further notices. Running communications for the class through email can make it difficult for students to collaborate or communicate with each other effectively – this functionality is an expectation among students in modern higher education.


    1. Provide and outline communications contingency plans for students in advance

    Both faculty and students deserve flexibility, compassion, and accommodations when exceptional circumstances interrupt learning plans. Life happens. That said, we recognise that sometimes it’s not always possible to hand over everything neatly in the event that something unpredictable happens.

    Many faculty may already be doing this, but one of the top sources of student stress we encounter with courses is being unable to submit assignments or communicate during email or systems outages. HAS recommends discussing communications contingencies with students in advance through something like a course syllabus; this can be very reassuring to students who worry what to do if they're unable to submit an assignment because of a system outage. A contingency outline could be as simple as listing a suggested alternative contact students can use to ask questions or raise concerns if a faculty member suddenly becomes unavailable, and also provides faculty with an added avenue of accountability if a student claims they tried to submit an assignment but were prevented from doing so.


    1. Remember that HAS can be a resource

    Connecting to point 2 above, departments and faculty in the Humanities division are always welcome to use the HAS team as a resource for students and communications contingencies if they feel it’s appropriate. We are happy to assist students in these courses when extraordinary circumstances arise, even if they aren’t majors or minors in the Humanities. In that event, HAS would work to connect students, departmental administrators, and campus resources to ensure that students know about the options and campus partners available to help them, whatever the situation may be.