C&D Guidance for Faculty Submitting Syllabi A guide for undergraduate faculty

Our accreditors (SACS and others) require that we collect and scrutinize course syllabi. Some elements of a syllabus simply must be there:

  • Course number, title, professor contact info, office hours, etc.
  • Topical or extended course description, when different from catalog description.
  • Course-specific Student Learning Objectives.
  • Explanation of graded elements of course work (weights, percentages, points)
    • How do the graded components add up to a final grade? The Faculty Handbook says, "It is the responsibility of each faculty member to provide at the beginning of each course a tentative schedule of assignments and a description of how the final grade will be determined" (56). This should be clear to members of C&D, who act as a test audience for your syllabus.

Please note that the Committee on Courses and Degrees does not dictate the content of these required items.

Other desirable elements of a syllabus include:

  • Clear statement of your class policies, e.g., your attendance policy with explanation of penalties for missed class.
  • References to the Honor System and expectations of academic integrity
  • Schedule of class meetings, with assignments due. In general:
    • Committee members regard feature film screenings as the equivalent of reading, normally to be scheduled outside regular class meetings.
    • It is not an approved Washington and Lee practice to cancel weeks of class for completion of a final paper, while it is understood that occasional days of class meeting can be traded for intensive and extensive conferencing among students and professors.

Some courses, such as First-Year Seminars and Spring Term courses, have specific expectations about the nature of assignments or contact hours. Draft syllabi that accompany proposals for these courses should indicate the ways these expectations will be met.

If you include Disability Accommodations language on your course syllabus, please use the following approved boilerplate statement:

"I am committed to ensuring access to course content for all students. Reasonable accommodations are available for students with disabilities. Contact Lauren Kozak, Title IX Coordinator and Director of Disability Resources, to confidentially discuss your individual needs and the accommodation process. More information can be found at https://www.wlu.edu/disability-accommodations/undergraduate-accommodations.

If you have already been approved for accommodations, please meet with me within the first two weeks of the term so we can develop an implementation plan together. It is important to meet as early in the term as possible; this will ensure that your accommodations are implemented early on. If you have accommodations for test-taking, please remember that arrangements must be made at least a week before the date of the test or exam."

Courses and Degrees also needs the following information, to be indicated on the completed and submitted form:

  • Clear articulation of why a particular FDR designation is requested
  • Clear statement of the applicable guidelines (novel format, experiential, etc.) for Spring Term courses

Committee on Courses and Degrees
August 30, 2019