A Syllabus Check-list

Information About You

  • Phone numbers (Whether you include your home and/or cell numbers is up to you.)
  • E-mail address
  • Office building and room number
  • Office hours (There is no “required” or even standard number of weekly office hours among Kalamazoo faculty, but four to six hours a week is about right for those teaching full-time. Try to make yourself available at least three days per week. Expect to make individual appointments outside of office hours; students have many genuine conflicts.)

Information About the Course

  • Course description—not a reiteration of the catalog, but rather your own sense of what the course is about, in terms students will understand and appreciate.
  • Goals of the course. It’s sometimes helpful to think in three categories: knowledge, skills, and values/understanding you want students to acquire or develop. Consult with appropriate people about departmental, programmatic, or institutional goals as well.
  • Texts and other required materials
  • Requirements: papers, tests, and/or projects, including proportion of final grade.
  • Any dates outside of regular class time when students must be present–i.e., for film screenings, trips, speakers on campus, etc. (Make way for inescapable, College-sponsored evening and weekend conflicts—other courses, theater productions, athletic events etc.)
  • Methodology: If the course depends heavily on student participation or collaboration, you may wish to say so.
  • A weekly course schedule with major dates highlighted for tests and other assignments

Course/College Policies

  • Attendance and tardiness policy–optional but imperative to include. You might cite a particular number of absences/late arrivals that you will tolerate, or you might simply reserve the right to adjust grades for excessive absences or lateness. Be sure to be clear about attendance requirements at labs and discussion sessions as well as “regular” class meetings.
  • Policy on absence for major religious holidays
  • Late-work policy. Do you offer extensions? Under what circumstances? Is there a grade penalty?
  • Make-up policy: Do you offer make-up tests? Under what conditions? (Think about religious holidays in this context.)
  • “Finals”policy: Make deadline clear on work submitted during exam week.
  • Academic Integrity statement. It is increasingly important that we articulate, in writing, up front, our values concerning plagiarism, honesty, and source attribution. You needn’t go into tremendous detail in this statement, but you should draw students’ attention to it.
  • Disabilities. Include a simple statement to the effect that you will do everything you can to accommodate verified physical and learning disabilities in order to ensure that all students can do their best in your course. You will be notified by the Dean of Students’ Office about students who have registered learning or other disabilities and informed about necessary accommodations.
  • A grading rubric
  • Attachments concerning important terms, citation form, use of sources, quotation, or other formal/disciplinary matters that students will need to know for your course (optional).