P16-03 Syllabi Policy

Applies To:

Month/Year Posted: 
February, 2016
Policy Number: 

Effective Date:  August 17, 2016 (Start of Fall 2016 Semester)


Definition: A syllabus helps enable students to better understand and fulfill their responsibilities as learners in a course. It is a necessary tool in higher education to enable students to take part in the learning process through knowing what is expected of them and what they can expect from the course. Student success may be enhanced when students know in advance as much as possible about the course requirements so that they can plan their study time and coordinate work on assignments from multiple courses. In addition, student success may be aided by encouraging students to contact their professors, by providing information about key University policies to which they are subject, and by presenting information in a format that is accessible to all students.

Scope: Faculty and Staff

Approved by the University Senate on this date: February 9, 2016

Approved by the Provost of Humboldt State University on this date: February 29, 2016

I. General Syllabus procedures

A. Applicability
Each member of the faculty at Humboldt State University shall create a syllabus meeting the requirements of this policy for every course that they teach with a C-classification, this includes any course taught for academic credit leading toward a degree at Humboldt State University, including face-to-face, online and hybrid courses. This syllabus must be made available to each student no later than the first class meeting. Fully online courses do not need to provide the Emergency Evacuation statement. Continuing education courses, for example certification courses, or Osher Lifelong Learning Institute courses, do not need to meet the syllabus requirements. The syllabi may be presented to the students as information on the course’s home page, but a document version should be prepared so that it can be shared with others that are not enrolled in the course.

B. Syllabi Website
The Office of Academic Affairs will maintain a website with information about syllabus requirements, accessible templates, links to relevant campus policies and other resources. The office will keep links updated and remind Deans and Department chairs of this policy before the start of each semester. Syllabi information will be incorporated into new faculty orientation and added to the faculty, administrative, and Department Chair handbooks. Informing faculty (including lecturers) of this policy and other relevant policies will be a responsibility of department chairs.

C. Changes to syllabi
The syllabus is an agreement to provide certain classroom experiences to students. While it may be changed as the semester develops, any changes must be communicated to the students appropriately in advance, preferably in writing. Changes to the syllabus are not allowed after the semester ends.

D. Compliance
The faculty member shall provide an electronic and/or hard copy of the syllabus to the department office for department files, by the end of the first week of instruction. As part of the program review process, all departments and programs will be required to provide evidence of the department’s compliance with syllabus policy. Information about the syllabus policy will be appended to all Program Review policies.

E. Co-listed Courses
Course syllabi for courses listed for both undergraduate and graduate credit must be different. The general expectation is that a student receiving graduate credit should be required to perform at a higher level than an undergraduate student. As such, the graduate syllabi should reflect specific learning outcomes appropriate for graduate level students.

F. Accessibility
Faculty are required to provide all syllabi and other class materials in a format that is accessible to individuals with disabilities. All new course/curricular proposals and program reviews shall explicitly discuss the accessibility of syllabi for individuals with disabilities.

G. Third Party Software
Faculty should be aware that storage of grades, enrollment, or other protected data with third party or public software may be a violation of student rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99). Furthermore, third party software might not be accessible to students with disabilities. It is recommended that if faculty wish to use third party software they confer with the Office of Academic Affairs and the Chief Information Officer regarding correct procedures until such time as an HSU policy regarding third party software is in place.

H. Public Internet Posting
If faculty will require students to post course assignments publicly on the internet outside of official campus learning systems requiring an HSU login, they should inform the students in the syllabus and provide alternate arrangements (for example use of an alias, or an alternate assignment) for students that are uncomfortable with public posting. Students should be cautioned to consider the long-term personal professional ramifications of any information they post on the internet. Please note that publicly viewable faculty review of student work may constitute a FERPA violation, and should not be undertaken without careful consultation with the Registrar.

II. Each syllabus shall include, at a minimum, the following items

A. Basic Course Information
1. Course title, number, and section; days and times taught, location of class
2. Semester and year course is being taught
3. Professor’s name, office number and location
4. Professor’s contact information: including office phone and email address
5. Identification of any University Curricular Requirement (Institutions, DCG, specific area of GE, etc.) that the course fulfills

B. Course calendar
1. Include assignment due dates, exam dates, and date of final exam
2. Faculty may want to include a “subject to change with fair notice” statement

C. Course or section information
1. Description of the course consistent with the description in the University Catalog
2. Description of the format of the course – lecture, lab, activity, discussion, etc.
3. Pre- and co-requisites
4. If relevant, minimum grades needed for this course to count towards major or minor requirements
5. Required and recommended texts, tutorials, readers, or other reading materials and how to access them
6. Any other necessary equipment/materials/fees

D. Grading information
1. A statement of how you will determine the letter grades for the course, including +/- grades if you use them
2. Extra credit options, if available
3. List of the percentage weight assigned to various class assignments
4. Policies on late or missed work, including exams
5. Policies on attendance, tardiness, and class participation, including an explicit statement of terms and/or penalties which pertain to student participation in co- and extracurricular activities

E. Office hours and days
1. Include a statement if additional time is available by appointment
2. If the professor’s schedule contains too many TBA activities to make scheduling office hours possible prior to the first class meeting, this section of the syllabus should have a blank space to be filled in by students
3. Professors will announce their office hours to the class as soon as regular times are established

F. Student learning outcomes
1. Course, GEAR, program and HSU student learning outcomes that are relevant for the course

G. Course requirements
1. Papers, projects, exams, quizzes, homework, laboratory work, fieldwork, fieldtrips, class participation, etc.
2. Faculty may want to include a statement about the expected time that students will need to spend studying/doing coursework outside of class
3. Include specific information regarding academic integrity relevant to your course, as well as information about whether collaboration is allowed and in what form
4. Faculty may want to include a statement regarding classroom and online conduct and professional etiquette

H. Emergency Procedures
1. Review the evacuation plan and emergency procedures for the classroom

I. Referral to relevant policies and resources
Students may not be aware of their rights and responsibilities and students and the many campus resources available to help them succeed. The Syllabus Addendum website (current URL listed below) has been created to house information about campus policies and procedures and resources for students centrally in one place. The site includes links such as Add/Drop Policy, Resources for Students with Disabilities, Academic Honesty Policy, Attendance and Disruptive Behavior Policy, Financial Aid, Emergency Procedures, and Counseling and Psychological Services. Faculty are required to include a link to the website in their syllabi, and are encouraged to list what is found there and describe why it might be useful.