Requirements and Recommendations: What are the nuts and bolts?
The Teaching and Learning Forum and Teaching and Learning Committee have gathered recommended language and syllabus sections that you may want to consider adding to your syllabus. This also includes language for the current situation of teaching online and virtually.
At Weber State University, we celebrate and value all individuals of any race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, marital or parental status, age, disability, veteran or military status, or other identifiers. We demonstrate our commitment by nurturing an inclusive campus and striving to honor a balance between freedom of expression and respect for others. Together, we will continually challenge ourselves and each other in an atmosphere of mutual concern, goodwill and respect.
The sense of human dignity and belonging of all members of the Weber State community is a necessary part of a healthy learning environment. Therefore, you should practice civil deportment, and avoid treating others in a manner that is demeaning or derisive in any respect. Diverse viewpoints and opinions are welcome in this class, and we will practice the mutual deference so important in the world of work when expressing them. Thus, while I encourage you to share your opinions, you will be expected to do so in a manner that is respectful towards others.
According to the student code (PPM 6-22), you are to determine before the last day to drop courses without penalty if any course requirements conflict with your core beliefs. If after reading the syllabus and class program you expect such a conflict, you should consider withdrawing from the class. If you find this solution unworkable, you may request a resolution from the instructor. This policy does not obligate the instructor to grant your request, except in those cases when a denial would be arbitrary and capricious or illegal. You need to make this request to the instructor in writing and with a copy to the department chair. Your request must explain the burden the class requirement would place on your beliefs. If you are not satisfied with the instructor’s resolution, you can voice a complaint, petition for a change, or make an appeal through the student petition, complaints & grievances process.
Weber State University is committed to providing an environment free from harassment and other forms of discrimination based upon race, color, national origin, pregnancy, and pregnancy-related conditions such as childbirth, false pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion, or related conditions, (including recovery), genetics, disability (see PPM 3-34), religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, veteran, active military status, age (over 40 in employment discrimination), and other classifications protected by law. If you have questions regarding the university’s policy against discrimination and harassment, or if you have questions about reporting discrimination or harassment, you may contact the university’s AA/EO office (801-626-6240) or visit its website: https://www.weber.edu/aaeo.
If you require accommodations or services due to a disability, please contact Disability Services (DS) in room 181 of the Student Services Center (Ogden campus) or room 262 Building D2 (Davis Campus). Disability Services can arrange to provide course materials (including this syllabus) in alternative formats upon request.
Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the federal law that governs the release of and access to student educational records, certain rights are given to students related to the management of their records. These rights include, 1) the right to inspect and review your educational record, 2) the right to request an amendment of your education record if you believe that it is inaccurate or misleading, and 3) the right to consent to the disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in your educational record, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
The following directory items may be available to the public, if requested, unless otherwise deemed confidential by the student:
As a student at Weber State University, you are expected to act responsibly and appropriately as you attend a public institution of higher education. When you enroll as a student at WSU, you agree to abide by the standards of appropriate and responsible behavior outlined in the student code (PPM 6-22). This applies to your behavior as an individual when participating in group settings on campus and if you represent Weber State University at an off-campus event. Choosing to ignore these important student responsibilities could result in university disciplinary actions.
Threatening behavior is deliberate, hostile conduct which would cause a person to fear injury or harm. It includes aggressive actions such as yelling, kicking, insulting, demeaning, bullying, intimidating, pounding on desks, slamming doors, blocking or cornering, and issuing threatening or disparaging voice-mails, e-mails, or other written intimidating remarks. Threatening behavior will not be tolerated in this class. If you’ve been exposed to threatening behavior, contact the office of the Dean of Students.
As part of the student code (PPM 6-22), you are expected to be academically honest and ethical. Academic dishonesty includes cheating, plagiarism, collusion, falsification, giving, selling, or receiving unauthorized course or test information, using an unlawful resource, or copyright infringement (PPM 6-18.104.22.168). Academic dishonesty can have serious consequences including a verbal or written warning, reprimand, probation, suspension, expulsion, and additional sanctions included in PPM 6-22.6.5.
The university prohibits students from recording class lectures unless the faculty member grants explicit permission (PPM 6-22.6.6). Any lectures recorded and posted on Canvas or shared to your Weber State University student email are for the exclusive use of students enrolled in the class and may not be shared without previous authorization. Violations will be referred to the Dean of Students for adjudication under the student code (PPM 6-22).
If the class needs to be held virtually due to campus closure, sickness, or any other appropriate reason, you will receive a notification from your instructor via Canvas. Remember that attendance is just as important virtually as in the face-to-face option. During video conferencing, be present, avoid multitasking, and wait for your turn to speak and/or contribute to the class discussion. Be courteous and respectful of your classmates. As stated in the class recording policy, you may not record any segments and/or the full class unless you have authorization from the instructor. If you do not have the technology necessary for video conferencing, contact your instructor as soon as possible. This policy applies also to virtual office hours.
Purpose of a Syllabus: What's the big idea?
Syllabi have been called many things: contracts, permanent records, learning tools. They can also be like a handshake or a first impression. A syllabus is your students' first interaction with you as their instructor. What impression do you want to leave with them? Whether it is intended or not, the quality of the syllabus is a fairly reliable indicator of the quality of teaching and learning that will take place in a course (Woolcock, 2005). Therefore, it benefits instructors to make the effort to construct a high-quality syllabus. The results of that effort can benefit the instructor as well as his or her students. The first things you must decide before mindfully designing your syllabus are the purposes you want to achieve with this document. Integrating the information from each of the purposes will lead to a more robust and quality syllabus that will meet multiple needs, i.e. for department records, clarifying student expectations, etc.
Contract—Makes the Rules Clear
Sets forth what is expected to happen during the semester
Delineates responsibilities of students and instructor
Describes appropriate procedures and course policies
Content required for a syllabus to serve as a contract:
Delineates the responsibilities of students and of the instructor
Describes appropriate procedures and course policies
Provides a clear and accurate calendar
Extended Campus Closure
Accommodation of Disabilities
Withdrawal from Courses
List your department policies here
Grading (components and weights)
Assignments (late, incomplete, revisions)
Course Communication (respect for each other, guests, instructor)
Permanent Record—Provides Accountability and Documentation
Contains information useful for evaluation of instructors, courses, and programs.
Documents what will be covered in a course, at what level, and for what kind of credit (useful for equivalency transfer, accreditation, and articulation)
Content required for a syllabus to be useful as a permanent record:
Title and semester of course, department offering the course, credit hours earned, meeting time and place
Name, title, and rank of instructor(s)
Pre- or co-requisites
Required texts and other materials
Course objectives (linked to professional standards if appropriate)
Description of course content
Description of assessment procedures
Learning Tool—Helps Students Learn More Effectively
Informs students of the instructor's philosphy about teaching, learning, and the content area
Focuses on students and what they need to be effective learners
Places the course in context of overall curriculum and relation to students' lives
Content required for a syllabus to serve as a learning tool:
Instructor's philosophy about the course content, teaching, and learning
Relevance and importance of the course to students
How to plan for the semester (including self-management skills, time management, tips on how to be successful on assessments, common misconceptions or mistakes, specific study strategies)
Pre-requisite courses or skills
Availability of instructor(s) and teaching assistants
Campus resources for assistance and offices that aid students with disabilities
First Impression—Sets the Tone for the Course
Lets the students know
What the course is about
Why the course is taught
Where the course is going
What will be required for success
Reflects the instructor's feelings, attitudes, and beliefs about the subject matter, teaching, learning, and students
Acts as a guide to the instructor as much as a guide to the class
Leads the instructor and the students to reflection
Shares some of the instructor's personality with the students
Altman, H.B., and Cashin, W.E. (1992). Writing a syllabus. IDEA Paper No. 27. Retrieved from https://www.engr.cornell.edu/sites/default/files/departments/MTEI/ Writing_a_Syllabus_Altman_and_Cashin_Accessible.pdf
Davis, B.G. (1993). Tools for teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Eberly, M.B., Newton, S.E., and Wiggins, R. (2001). The syllabus as a tool for student-centered learning. Journal of General Education 50 (1), 56-74.
Grunert, J. (1997). The course syllabus: A learning-centered approach. Bolton, MA: Anker.
Parkes, J., and Harris, M.B. (2002). The purposes of a syllabus. College Teaching, 50 (2), 55-61.
Woolcock, M.J.V. (2005). Constructing a syllabus: A handbook for faculty, teaching assistance, and fellows: Brown University. Retrieved from https://www.brown.edu/sheridan/sites/sheridan/files/docs/constructing-a-syllabus.pdf.