Components Required for all Syllabi at UWF
Guidelines outlined to align with UWF policies and to include all required components.
The syllabus provides basic information about course content, activities and assignments planned for the term, and information about how to contact the instructor. The syllabus establishes the instructor’s expectations, policies, and procedures for the course. It identifies what content will be taught and when it will be taught, what assignments and exams students must complete, how assignments and exams will be used to compute grades, the instructor’s specific rules regarding management of the class, including expectations about attendance and participation in class, and the consequences for students who turn in late assignments, miss exams, or show evidence of cheating and other forms of academic misconduct.
A well-crafted syllabus sends students the message that the instructor is organized, cares about student learning, and will create effective learning experiences. A syllabus should provide clear and explicit expectations for student learning and establish procedures and guidelines for typical problems and requests posed by students. In the absence of a clear syllabus, instructors must continuously negotiate decisions about deadlines, make-up work, extra credit, and other special requests from students. When an instructor simply applies rules described in the syllabus to a current request or problem, the actions taken are clearly justified and students are unlikely to believe that decisions were driven by personal characteristics of the student. In contrast, an instructor who makes these decisions on an as-needed basis risks treating students inconsistently or appearing to act in an arbitrary or capricious manner. Faculty can avoid many conflicts by communicating policies in their syllabus and following these policies consistently. A well-documented syllabus does not preclude exceptions for unusual circumstances that justify adjustments to policies. But a well-documented syllabus helps faculty respond to student requests in a consistent and fair manner that minimizes complaints and grievances.
The Faculty Senate and University policies establish expectations about the content of course syllabi at the University of West Florida. These guidelines describe these expected components and additional components associated with “best practices” in course design and syllabus construction. Although some best practice components will not be relevant to or appropriate for some courses, faculty should include all components identified as expected elements.
UWF Course Identification
Course prefix and number (e.g., CHM 2045) and course title
Semester and year the course was offered using this syllabus (e.g., Spring 2014)
Class Meeting Time and Location
Identify the room number and building where the class will meet. Identify the scheduled times and days of the week when the class will meet.
Instructor Name(s) and Contact Information
Describe where and how students can contact all instructors involved in teaching the course. If possible, provide contact information for Teaching Assistants.
Office phone number
URL for web site with course materials (if located on a faculty site) or URL for the eLearning log-in page if course materials are posted in eLearning
List of Required and Recommended Readings
Provide complete bibliographic information for all required textbooks, including the title, author(s), publisher, edition number, publication date, and other information needed to identify the specific textbook or textbooks required for each course. Model the preferred citation style used by your discipline by formatting citations for course textbooks and readings in this publication style.
Catalog Description for the Course
Include the full description for the course included in the UWF academic catalog. Identify course numbers and titles of any pre-requisite or co-requisite courses.
List of Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) for the Course
Student learning outcomes (SLOs) should be written in active language and describe student behaviors or quality of student work using language that suggests a direct measure of the learning. Direct measures based on what students say (make a classroom presentation, participate in discussions) or do (answer exam questions, write a paper, solve homework problems, design a research project, produce a creative work) can assess what students know, understand, think, or feel. The CUTLA resource page, Writing Student Learning Outcomes for Course Syllabi, describes how to write course- and program-level SLOs and includes a list of Action Words for Blooms Taxonomy (PDF) that will assist you in writing measurable SLOs.
Instructors tend to focus on the content of a course and neglect important disciplinary skills and attitudes when writing student learning outcomes for a syllabus. Make these implicit goals explicit by writing SLOs related to disciplinary skills (use of a specific disciplinary style for writing or other professional communication, authorship practices, laboratory procedures, studio techniques) and attitudes (professional conduct in the discipline, disciplinary habits of thinking and using evidence, values associated with disciplinary work).
Every course that is required for completion of a specific degree program should include one or more course student learning outcomes that are meaningfully related to one or more of the program-level SLOs identified for the degree program. Program-level SLOs are described in the Academic Learning Compact (ALC) for undergraduate programs and Academic Learning Plan (ALP) for graduate programs. Instructors can also consult the curriculum map for a degree program to determine the contribution a specific course makes to the achievement of program-level SLOs for that degree program. Links to repositories for program curriculum maps are found on the ALC and ALP pages on the CUTLA web site.
Description of Topics Covered
Catalog descriptions for courses are frequently short and sometimes cryptic. Use this section of the syllabus to provide a more complete description of the course content.
Information About Exams and Grading Procedures
Describe how the instructor will evaluate student work and compute the final grade. Describe the required exams and assignments. Describe how these will be evaluated and weighted to compute a final grade in the course.
Course Policy Regarding Proctored Exams
For online courses and any course in which a major exam (e.g., midterm or final exams) is administered in eLearning, describe course policy regarding proctored exams. The Faculty Senate Proctoring Policy for Exams in Online Courses describes procedures that should be followed for the administration of significant exams in online courses. The policy requests that faculty include information on the course syllabus to identify specific exam dates, times, and procedures for taking the exams and the projected costs to the student associated with arranging for proctored exams (e.g., costs associated with using ProctorU for secure exam proctoring). Instructors must also post information about technology needs associated with the use of proctored exams for students in Classmate, the online course registration system. Select a technology level that reflects the technology required to use ProctorU or other proctoring software. To post information in Classmate, log into MyUWF, select the Classmate App and then click on the Syllabus/Tech Codes link under Action to open an interface for uploading your syllabus. This interface also includes drop-down menus that allow instructors to set technology codes for their course, including a code to explain the level of technology required for online proctoring.
Attendance Policy for the Course
Faculty may establish policies regarding attendance for their classes, but they must describe these policies on syllabus. Class attendance policies must be consistent with the University Attendance Policy (quoted below). Attendance polices for General Education courses are also constrained by the General Studies Courses Attendance Policy for First Time in College (FTIC) Students, which states that “student attendance in General Studies Courses is mandatory” (AC-33.01-12/14).
Describe the procedures a student must follow to document that an absence qualifies as an “excused absence.” For example, describe when the student (or the student’s representative) must notify you and when the student must make arrangements to make up a missed exam or other assignment. Describe any documentation you require from students who request an excused absence. The Student Handbook requires students to make arrangements with their instructors for any assignments or tests that may be missed because of an excused absence before any scheduled absence for a University-sponsored event (p. 8, UWF Student Planner and Handbook PDF).
The University expects students to take full responsibility for their academic work and academic progress. To progress satisfactorily, students must meet the requirements of each course for which they are registered. Successful work depends to a large extent on regular class attendance.
Class attendance is regarded as an academic matter. Each faculty member will provide a written attendance policy to each class within the first week of classes. It is the responsibility of students to know the attendance policy of each course they are taking. Students must inform their instructor(s) of absences from classes prior to or as soon as possible after the absence. Instructors have the right to request verification for all excused absences. Students are held accountable for all assignments in each course, whether or not the assignments were announced during an absence. Faculty members must allow each student who is absent due to a reason recognized or accepted as an "excused absence," as set forth below, the opportunity to make up work missed without any reduction in the student’s final course grade as a direct result of such absence. The use of attendance records in grading and handling of any excuses for absences is left to the discretion of the faculty member responsible for the course, subject to the guidelines given below:
- Students will be excused from class to observe religious holidays of their faith. No major test, major class event, or major University activity will be scheduled on a major religious holiday.
- Absences for imposed legal responsibilities (e.g., jury duty, court appearance) and military obligations will be recognized as excused absences.
- Absences resulting from participation in extracurricular activities in which students are official representatives of the University will be recognized as excused absences.
- Absences for serious illness, death or serious illness within the student's immediate family or other sound reasons offered by the student may be accepted as excused absences.
(Faculty Handbook (updated 4/2015), pp. 34-35)
The Attendance Policy for First Time in College (FTIC) Students (AC-33.01-12/14) takes effect for General Education courses in the Fall 2015 term. See the FAQ on this policy (link below) for suggested attendance policy statements for General Education courses.
Statement About Academic Conduct and Plagiarism
Recommended statement to include in syllabus:
The Student Code of Conduct (pdf) sets forth the rules, regulations, and expected behavior of students enrolled at the University of West Florida. Violations of any rules, regulations, or behavioral expectations may result in a charge of violating the Student Code of Conduct. It is the student’s responsibility to read the Student Code of Conduct and comply with these expectations. The Academic Misconduct Policy (2009) defines various forms of academic misconduct and describes the procedures an instructor should follow when he or she suspects that a student has violated the Academic Misconduct Policy.
Recommended Statement for Academic Misconduct and Plagiarism
(word doc for easy copy and paste)
The University of Delaware, Office of Student Conduct, has a useful resource page on academic honesty and disruptive classroom behavior. This page includes useful suggestions for language that might be used on a course syllabus to describe the University policy on academic misconduct.
Statement About Assistance for Students with Special Needs
The Student Accessibility Resources (SDRC) requests that all instructors include the following statement on their syllabus to inform students with special needs about how to request appropriate accommodations.
Recommended statement to include in syllabus:
The University of West Florida supports an inclusive learning environment for all students. If there are aspects of the instruction or design of this course that hinder your full participation, such as time-limited exams, inaccessible web content, or the use of non-captioned videos and podcasts, reasonable accommodations can be arranged. Prior to receiving accommodations, you must register with the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC). Appropriate academic accommodations will be determined based on the documented needs of the individual. For information regarding the registration process, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 850.474.2387.
(word doc for easy copy and paste)
Veterans Services Statement
The following statement may be included on the syllabus to inform students about Military & Veterans Resource Center (MVRC).
Recommended statement to include in syllabus:
The UWF Military & Veterans Resource Center (MVRC) serves as a leading campus advocate for military and veterans students, working to ensure the needs of these individuals are met through coordinating with multiple university offices and services. The center provides assistance with the following: GI Bill ® education benefits, active duty tuition assistance, out of state fee waiver, tutoring, paper reading, counseling, disability accommodations, coordinating academic advising and referral to state /federal resources and services. The MVRC is located in bldg. 38. For more information on MVRC service, call 474-2550 or visit http://uwf.edu/militaryveterans
Calendar of Important Events
Provide a calendar of dates for scheduled exams and due dates for other graded assignments. Instructors can give themselves flexibility by identifying a range of dates as the tentative scheduling window for a major exam or indicate that specific dates are subject to change.
Components Required for General Education Courses
Because each course in General Education has been approved to meet specific learning outcomes associated with the General Education curriculum, the course student learning outcomes listed on the syllabus must include learning outcomes that align with the identified General Education learning outcomes and include assignments that will serve as embedded assessments for these learning outcomes. Courses must also include learning outcomes that align with the contribution the course makes to other program learning outcomes (e.g., if the course is a required course in the major). Instructors may include additional course learning outcomes that align with individual instructor learning goals.
All courses in General Education should include
the following statement on the course syllabus:
If you are interested in a major in [your academic program], you should contact the [your academic department] at [department main phone number]. If you are undecided about your major, you should contact your academic advisor or Career Services at 850-474-2254.
An instructor teaching a course in General Psychology, for example, would edit this paragraph as follows:
General Psychology is designated as a General Education course. The General Education curriculum at the University of West Florida is designed to provide a cohesive program of study that promotes the development of a broadly educated person and provides the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in university studies. This course has been approved as meeting your requirement in the Behavioral area. The major General Education learning outcomes for this course are Analysis/Evaluation and Ethical Reasoning.
If you are interested in a major in psychology, you should contact the Psychology Department at 850-474-2364. If you are undecided about your major, you should contact your academic advisor or Career Services at 850-474-2254..
The Attendance Policy for First Time in College (FTIC) Students (AC-33.01-12/14) takes effect for General Education courses in the Fall 2015 term. See the FAQ on this policy (link below) for suggested attendance policy statements for General Education courses. This attendance policy is available in the Word Document Download to copy and paste into your syllabus.
Sample Syllabus Download
Sample syllabus (PDF) for use as an example.
Link to a PDF document that describes components required for all syllabi at UWF.
Word Doc Download
Required Statements for UWF Syllabi (doc) in a word document for easy "copy and paste" into your syllabus.
Rubric for Self-Reflection and Evaluation of a course Syllabus
In the spirit of providing rubrics for self-evaluation of work, a rubric for evaluating your syllabus is available. The rubric identifies elements of a syllabus described on this resource page that are expected on all UWF syllabi. It also identifies additional elements that characterize best practices for learning-centered syllabi.
Post your Syllabus to the Faculty Academic Credential System (FACS)
The Faculty Academic Credential System (FACS) database holds faculty qualification information and syllabi. This database contains documentation for compliance with Florida Board of Governors (BoG) and accreditation reporting requirements. The FACS database is accessed by loading the FACS channel in MyUWF or by going to the FACS Homepage.
As soon as the course syllabus is completed, the document should be uploaded to the FACS database. Early posting is encouraged, but syllabi should be uploaded to the FACS system no later than the end of the first week of classes (the end of drop/add week). Once a syllabus is uploaded to FACS, it will be available to students in ClassMate. At the end of each semester, all syllabi are archived in the FACS system as part of UWF’s documentation of assessment strategies and learning outcomes as required for BoG and continued accreditation.
Quick facts about FACS (PDF) and information on how to access the system and upload vitae and syllabi.
Coping with the Unanticipated: Changing the Syllabus Mid-Term
Once you establish the structure and procedures for a course in your syllabus, you should avoid adding assignments or examinations or otherwise substantially changing the elements of the course that are critical for determining student grades. Minor adjustments such as when discussion of assigned readings begins and ends or minor alterations of exam dates or assignment due dates can be made as needed. Some instructors will note that dates described on the course calendar are approximate if they anticipate the need for flexible scheduling for the dates.
Substantial changes to the course structure such as revisions to the grading structure and major rescheduling of due dates for important exams and assignments should be made in writing and posted as an addendum to the syllabus. An example of a circumstance that required such substantive change in a syllabus occurred when the University was closed for 3 weeks.
Components expected for all Syllabi at UWFUWF Syllabi
Best Practices for designing a learning-centered syllabusSyllabi Best Practices
Updated: 04/14/2016 gb