UMM Course Syllabus Requirements and Guidelines
Click here to download a PDF version of the guidelines to print.
The University policy on syllabi is located at http://www.fpd.finop.umn.edu/groups/senate/documents/policy/syllabipol.html.
In short, the guidelines state:
The provision of syllabi for courses is a professional obligation:
- The syllabus should be provided at the first meeting of class, electronically or on paper.
- The syllabus is to include the name of the instructor of record and specify how grades will be computed, what the students are required to do during the semester, and the purposes of the course.
- Changing readings or sequences of topics is not problematic so long as students have adequate notice of the modifications and are not penalized financially by the changes.
- Directed study courses do not require syllabi. If there is no syllabus, there must be a written agreement between the student and the instructor that stipulates what will be accomplished during the semester and how it will be evaluated.
The Senate Committee on Educational Policy (SCEP) sees this as a requirement that many people assume is already in place; a requirement that supports effective instruction; and a requirement that diminished the potential for problems between faculty and students ranging from misunderstandings to unfairness.
University policy requires a syllabus in every course. (Please remember to turn a copy in to the Division Office.)
Here are the University of Minnesota guidelines for what should be in a syllabus: (largely taken from http://www.fpd.finop.umn.edu/groups/senate/documents/policy/classexpectguide.html.)
Preferred method of contact (phone, email, fax, etc.)
Number of credits
Day, time, and place of class meetings
Brief description of the course
Required and recommended materials and the location of the materials
Course goals, objectives, and expectations
Schedule of assignments, papers, projects, etc.
Criteria for grading
Grading standards (definition of grades)
- A Represents achievement that is outstanding relative to the level necessary to meet course requirements.
- B Represents achievement that is significantly above the level necessary to meet course requirements.
- C Represents achievement that meets the course requirements in every respect.
- D Represents achievement that is worthy of credit even though it fails to meet fully the course requirements.
- S Represents achievement that is satisfactory, which is equivalent to a C- or better.
- F (or N) Represents failure (or no credit) and signifies that the work was either (1) completed but at a level of achievement that is not worthy of credit or (2) was not completed and there was no agreement between the instructor and the student that the student would be awarded an I (see also I)
- I (Incomplete) Assigned at the discretion of the instructor when, due to extraordinary circumstances, e.g., hospitalization, a student is prevented from completing the work of the course on time. Requires a written agreement between instructor and student.
Make-up exam policy
Example: Make-up quizzes and exams are available only when a student has a good reason for missing the regular quiz or exam and arrangements are made either before the missed quiz or exam or as quickly as humanly possible thereafter. Make-up exams will all be oral exams.
Senate student academic workload policy
Example: For undergraduate courses, one credit is defined as equivalent to an average of three hours of learning effort per week (over a full semester) necessary for an average student to achieve an average grade in the course. For example, a student taking a four credit course that meets for four hours a week should expect to spend an additional eight hours a week on course work outside the classroom.
Statement on accommodations for students with disabilities
Example: It is University policy to provide reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities. This publication/material is available in alternative formats to persons with disabilities upon request. Please contact the Disability Services office, 589-6163, Room 362 Briggs Library to discuss accommodation needs.
Statement on classroom conduct
Example: Students are expected to interact with the instructor and other students with respect and courtesy. Students should attend every class session prepared to learn and work. Participation in class is expected, which includes both speaking up and listening. Give class your full attention while here. Complete all assignments including the reading -- in a timely fashion. Do not bring cell phones or recording equipment to class without the instructor's consent. Students whose behavior is disruptive either to the instructor or to other students will be asked to leave. Students whose behavior suggests the need for counseling or other assistance may be referred to counseling services. Students whose behavior violates the University Student Conduct Code will be subject to disciplinary action.
Statement on academic misconduct
Example: Scholastic dishonesty means plagiarizing; cheating on assignments or examinations; engaging in unauthorized collaboration on academic work; taking, acquiring, or using test materials without faculty permission; submitting false or incomplete records of academic achievement; acting alone or in cooperation with another to falsify records or to obtain dishonestly grades, honors, awards, or professional endorsement; altering forging, or misusing a University academic record; or fabricating or falsifying data, research procedures, or data analysis. In this course, a student responsible for scholastic dishonesty can be assigned a penalty up to and including an "F" or "N" for the course. If you have any questions regarding the expectations for a specific assignment or exam, ask.
Statement regarding sexual harassment
Example: University policy prohibits sexual harassment as defined by the University of Minnesota Regents' policy: http://www1.umn.edu/regents/policies/humanresources/SexHarassment.pdf.
You can also look at http://www1.umn.edu/ohr/teachlearn/syllabus/checklist.html or http://www.idea.ksu.edu/papers/Idea_Paper_27.pdf for more on syllabus design.