Course Proposal - Syllabus
The syllabus must include:
• Proposed course number (not an existing temporary number)
• Proposed course title
• An indication of the time devoted to individual topics together with the hours of instructor-student instruction and/or discussion
• Learning outcomes - Learning goals at the undergraduate and/or graduate level as appropriate. For courses numbered 300-699 which carry the
graduate attribute, both undergraduate and graduate learning goals must be included.
• Text(s) or reference(s) to be used
• Representative list of readings
• Any other requirements for the course
• How students will be evaluated:
- Specify all assignments, papers, exams, presentations, etc., as well as the nature of and weight assigned to these requirements.
- Explain clearly how students are to be evaluated on all graded course components. A grading rubric or equivalent is recommended for transparency regarding expectations for successful completion of assignments, papers, presentations, discussions, group work, etc. Explicit expectations are especially important for course components that are not associated with documented student work.
- Attendance and Participation
- According to (Faculty Legislation II-108): ``Because courses are designed and conducted in diverse ways, faculty and instructors should inform students in writing at the beginning of each course if there are specific expectations for attendance/participation, including whether any component of the grade is based on such attendance/participation.”
- For clarity, it is recommended that expectations for attendance and participation be stated separately.
- Attendance: If there are penalties for failure to attend, these penalties should be stated on the syllabus, which should also inform students about how attendance will be measured.
- Participation and /or Discussion: When a significant percentage (more than 10%) of the grade is tied to participation and/or discussion, how this percentage is assessed must be clearly defined for the students (see example of guidelines for evaluating participation (see example of guidelines for evaluating participation).
- Additionally, whenever attendance/participation/discussion, either separately or in combination, will be counted in the final grade for more than 10%, it is recommended that instructors explain how each of these components contributes to course and helps students to achieve the learning goals.
A grading rubric is recommended to clarify expectations for students. When a significant percentage (10% or more) of the grade is tied to participation, attendance, and/or discussion, how this percentage is assessed must be clearly defined. Here is an example of how to evaluate participation and here is another. How the letter grades of A, AB, B, BC, C, D and F will be assigned to final grade calculations. Examples of this include: Including the grading scale (e.g., A=93%-100%, etc); articulating how each letter grade will be assigned to the cumulative number of points that can be earned in the course; or, a description of the standards upon which a curve is set and how each letter grade will apply to the curve. If some of the valid letter grades will not be used by the instructor (e.g., AB or BC), this should be noted on the syllabus.
Department Responsibility for Maintaining Course Syllabus Files
The Higher Learning Commission’s assumed practice states that instructors communicate course requirements to students through syllabi. In addition the Higher Learning Commission’s Credit Hour Policies, developed to enforce the U.S. Department of Education’s requirement related to credit hour definition, necessitates that a syllabus be available for review for each course taught. Criterion 2B in the HLC Criteria for Accreditation requires that clear and complete information be provided to students including the details of their academic programs.
To meet these accreditation requirements, instructors of record are required to develop a course syllabus for each offering of a course and communicate the syllabus to students.
Departments must also keep syllabus records of courses taught in their department. FPP 5.31(D) Departmental Chair: Duties states “The chair of the department has the following duties: ... Determines that all necessary records of teaching, research, and public service of the department are properly kept and are always accessible to the proper authorities.” Given that access to syllabi is a requirement for the university’s accreditation, departments are responsible for keeping syllabi on file.