SyllabusThe course syllabus is often treated as a contract by both faculty and students. As such, syllabi should not be altered after the semester has begun to ensure fairness for the students. One suggestion to allow flexibility for instructors is to decouple the schedule on the syllabus, perhaps even keeping the two documents entirely separate.
All syllabi at USF should include the following items:
- Instructor name
- Office hours and location
- Contact information
- Course name and number
- Credit hours
- Course description
- Course objectives (what instructors will cover)
- Student learning outcomes (what students can perform; action verbs)
- Required texts and materials
- Grading scale
- Grade breakdown by course deliverables
- Classroom policies, including attendance policy
- Calendar of major events, including final exam date and time
- Information about or links to university information about academic deadlines, religious holidays, attendance, academic honesty and disability services
In addition, you may wish to use the following USF-specific syllabus template to help craft your syllabus. Note that our syllabus template may not contain every field required for some specialized purposes, such as approval for General Education. You may freely copy the boilerplate policies for your own syllabi.
Below is a document that has important semester dates (holidays, drop dates, etc.) along with possible class dates that you can readily use to build your own class schedule:
Syllabi should be provided to students in Canvas (and not only handed out on paper).
As you build your syllabus, consider mapping your course results onto the national career readiness standards (NACE), which provide a common language for discussing how your course addresses critical soft skills for the workplace, like critical thinking,
Here is an example from one Religion Studies syllabus:
In the interest of career readiness, I am supplying these connections between the
course objectives and the seven competencies identified by the National Association
of Colleges and Employers (NACE) as most desirable to potential employers. The numbers
here correspond with the numbering in Course Objectives, and further information on
these categories can be found in section XVI of this syllabus:
- By analyzing the nature of a field of study, students develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. In this analysis, students are frequently asked to explain their conclusions verbally in class time which builds oral communication skills. The instructor will frequently challenge their interpretation, asking for clarification and presenting opposing sides of the argument. Overcoming this challenge will require leadership skills – by assessing and managing one's emotions under stressful circumstances – and further refinement of critical thinking and problem solving skills.
- The ready knowledge that students develop about different cultures, races, ages, genders, religions, lifestyles and viewpoints through their study in this course further develops their teamwork and collaboration skills and will also aid in the empathic abilities required for leadership skills.
- While we will focus on comparing different religious traditions, the tools of comparison that we develop can be broadly applied to any comparative act. This more rigorous comparative ability is another development of a student's critical thinking and problem solving ability. In addition, the instructor will frequently ask students to furnish their own information for these comparisons, something which adds to information technology application.
- By becoming more aware of how religion affects their own thought, students develop a greater metacognitive ability, that is, the ability to think about thinking. This not only increases critical thinking again, but is also an important aspect of negotiating diversity in teamwork/collaborative activities, the interpersonal skills and emotion managing aspects that are part of leadership, and the ability to think ethically and contemplate one's own integrity which contributes to professionalism/work ethic.