The University of Alaska Anchorage Faculty Handbook states:
"A course syllabus will be given to each student at the first class meeting. The syllabus
shall explain the teacher's expectations of students, the grading criteria that will
be followed, the extent of the material to be covered, the class objectives and student
learning outcomes, the attendance policy, and a bibliography."
With the syllabus, you set the tone and introduce your students to the purpose and
structure of the course. Your syllabus is an evolving document that represents the
way you expect your students to interface with you, each other, and the course content. That is, it reflects your educational philosophy and pedagogy. It also states the
course learning objectives and how they align with program learning outcomes, institutional goals and outcomes, and/or professional standards.
Because you and your students will refer to this document repeatedly throughout the
term, it deserves careful consideration and deliberate design.
How can I be sure my students read and understand the syllabus?
The time and effort you’ve put into the development of an effective syllabus doesn’t
matter if the syllabus isn’t read or integrated into the class. An effective, well-developed,
detailed syllabus not only helps students see that you’re organized and are there
to support their learning (Saville, et al, 2010). There is also evidence to suggest
that students’ academic success may, to a certain extent, depend on their understanding
of this cornerstone document (Raymark, et al, 2002). Here are some strategies that
may help ensure students are connecting with the syllabus in a way that will support
their performance in your course.
- Incentivize reading and comprehension of the syllabus
It’s fairly common for faculty to offer a quiz or another small assignment based on
the syllabus, but be sure that you’re doing so in a way that makes it worth your students’
time and effort by giving it a reasonable point value. Becker and Calhoun (1991) noted
“the potential benefits of a syllabus quiz are limited to those who take the quiz
seriously,” and they recommended faculty make syllabus quizzes part of the regular
course work, not extra credit. In addition, they recommended making the points contingent upon accurate
responses. You may want to go beyond mere completion of a quiz (and earning points
for the number of responses they get right) to completion and correction to earn points.
- Emphasize elements of the syllabus you want students to see as important.
Becker and Calhoon’s (1999) study of students at four different Midwestern universities
revealed substantial differences in student and faculty perceptions of what was “important”
in a syllabus. In fact, there were even differences among student perceptions depending
on age and experience in college. In short, you might believe your statement about
plagiarism is important, a masterpiece that reflects your teaching philosophy and
the sanctity of academic work, but students may fly right past it as they look for
information about exams, the attendance policy, and whether you accept late work.
If academic integrity is a foundational principle of your course, emphasize this with
students. Place it in a prominent position in the syllabus and, if you’re using a
syllabus quiz, ask a question about it. Better still, refer back to your academic
integrity statement and to the syllabus periodically throughout the term, emphasizing
elements that are important. Doing so will remind students of the centrality of the
syllabus and that items related to their academic success can be found in that document.
- Use your syllabus to reinforce course, program, or general education learning outcomes.
Do you want our graduates to be able to read critically, interpret information, or
analyze implications of various directives and policies? In English classes at Mercy
College, Charlotte Kent uses a netiquette exercise designed to help students develop writing skills and work on synthesizing and interpreting
information. Kent’s students must read the syllabus, as well as a piece on net-based
communication. They submit responses to key questions, doing so in a way that demonstrates
competency in important net-based communication skills. If such an assignment was
integrated into a course at UAA, it could be used to connect to and reinforce the
General Education learning outcome in written communication, helping students develop
their skills at writing in clear, effective ways that are adapted to a particular
audience’s needs and expectations.
What elements are included in a well-designed syllabus?
A well-designed syllabus includes the course learning outcomes and activities, all
materials required for the course, and clear expectations to ensure student success.
It is also important to list all technologies used in the course -- both hardware
Check to see if your department, college, or campus has a preferred or required syllabus
- About the Course
- Course number, name, section, CRN, # of credits, grade basis, semester and year
- Faculty contact information
- Faculty preferred communication method and office hours
- Turn around time on email and correspondence
- Course meeting dates, time and location
- Course design/delivery (e.g. Blackboard Learn & Collaborate usage)
- Course description and prerequisites from the academic catalog
- Everything your students need to be successful
- Texts and materials, required and optional
- Technology requirements, hardware and/or software (e.g. computer, headset with mic,
clicker system, any course specific technology)
- Online testing and/or proctored testing requirements
- Other expectations (e.g. service learning components, field trips)
- Instructor goals (from course content guide)
- Student learning outcomes and course objectives (from course content guide)
- Recommended: alignment with program outcomes, state standards, national standards,
- Explanation of pedagogical approach and/or teaching philosophy
- List of course activities and assignments
- Grading criteria and grading scale
- Syllabus disclaimer
- The instructor reserves the right to make adjustments to the syllabus as needed. It
is the responsibility of the student to keep up with any changes. All changes will
be posted in Blackboard.
- Course calendar document that can be modified as needed
- Attendance policy and late & make up assignments/tests policy
- Communication (e.g. email, netiquette)
- Student behavior (e.g. cell phone use, behavior expectations)
- Writing standards and etiquette (e.g. for papers, email and online discussion boards)
- Class cancellation and back-up plans
- Military students, called to active duty or deployment
- Religious holidays
- College/Department Specific Information
- Mission and core values
- College writing style requirements
- College/program resources available (e.g. labs, tutors, clubs, etc.)
- University Policies
- Student Code of Conduct & Academic Integrity
- Academic policies and processes
- University email account
- Smoke-free campus
- Title IX
- Student Support Services
- UAA/APU Consortium Library (UAA campus and web resources)
- Disability Support Services
- Emergency Support: Food Cache and More
- UAA Care Team
- UAA Learning Commons
- Student Health and Counseling
- UAA Information Technology Services
- eLearning & Distance Student Services (online student support)
- Emergency notifications (e.g. weather closures)
- Ensuring a Climate of Equity, Respect & Safety
- After hours safety on campus
- Campus police/Call team (campus specific)
- Building evacuations
- Safety in online environments
- Password/email safety
- Other Items
- Syllabus Example Text
Copy and paste any of the information below to add to or update your course syllabi;
please check website links each semester to ensure they have not changed. Accessibility
guidelines differ for online and print documents. Check for the proper formatting
of hyperlinks depending on whether your syllabus is primarily a printed or online
Academic Policies and Procedures
It is the responsibility of the individual student to become familiar with the policies
and regulations of the University of Alaska Anchorage in this catalog. Select the
following link for more information: https://catalog.uaa.alaska.edu/academicpoliciesprocesses/.
UAA Student Code of Conduct, Ethical Behavior & Academic Integrity
Students are expected to know and follow the Student Code of Conduct (https://www.uaa.alaska.edu/
student-conduct/code.cshtml). If an instructor has reason to believe that plagiarism, cheating, or academicdishonesty, as defined in the Student Code of Conduct, has occurred, the matter will be referred to the Office of the Dean of Students.
If there is a finding from the Dean of Students that plagiarism, cheating, or academic dishonesty has occurred, academic sanctions imposed by the instructor may include substantial reduction of the grade
for the assignment, 0 (no credit) for the assignment, or a failing grade for the course.
UAA Care Team
If you or someone you know needs support, is distressed, or exhibits concerning behavior,
make a referral to the Care team. The UAA Care Team's purpose is to promote a safe
and productive learning, living and working environment by addressing the needs of
students. As your faculty, I may contact the Care Team to seek support for you. I
encourage you to fill out a referral if you or a classmate may be in need of help.
Select the following link for more information: https://www.uaa.alaska.edu/students/care-team
The University of Alaska is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and educational
institution. The University of Alaska does not discriminate on the basis of race,
religion, color, national origin, citizenship, age, sex, physical or mental disability,
status as a protected veteran, marital status, changes in marital status, pregnancy,
childbirth or related medical conditions, parenthood, sexual orientation, gender identity,
political affiliation or belief, genetic information, or other legally protected status.
The University's commitment to nondiscrimination, including against sex discrimination,
applies to students, employees, and applicants for admission and employment. Contact
information, applicable laws, and complaint procedures are included on UA's statement
of nondiscrimination available at www.alaska.edu/titleIXcompliance/nondiscrimination
Smoke Free Campus
Out of respect for others and the campus environment, tobacco use and smoking, including
the use of electronic cigarettes and similar products are prohibited on university
property. (UA BOR Policy P05.12.102).
Emergency Support: Food Cache and More
Any student who faces challenges securing adequate food or safe housing should be
assured that the University has resources that may be helpful. Not being able to meet
your most basic needs can adversely influence your ability to meet your academic goals.
If you experience food insecurity, please connect with the UAA Emergency Food Cache
via the Student Health and Counseling Center in Rasmuson 120 or by phone at 907-786-4040. For other types of situations, various resources may be investigated through the
Dean of Students Office in Rasmuson 122 or 907-786-1214. If you are comfortable doing so, don’t hesitate to connect with me as your professor.
This will enable me to help guide you to resources that may be appropriate depending
on the nature of the situation.
Student Support Services
UAA/APU Consortium Library
This library serves students, staff and faculty of UAA and APU. They provide in person
and online resources for all subjects taught at UAA. Take the virtual library tour
UAA Disability Support Services
If you experience a disability or suspect you experience a disability, please contact
Disability Support Services to arrange for disability related accommodation. UAA is
committed to providing equal access to learning opportunities to students with documented
disabilities. To ensure access to this class, and your program, please contact DSS
to engage in a confidential conversation about the process for requesting accommodations.
Accommodations are not provided retroactively. Students are encouraged to register with DSS as soon as they begin their program.
UAA encourages students to access all resources available through DSS for consistent
support and access to their programs. More information can be found online at www.uaa.alaska.edu/dss, or by contacting the office at 907-786-4530 (voice) or 907-227-9609 (text only).
UAA Learning Commons
The Learning Commons provides UAA students with resources to achieve academic success.
Located in the Sally Monsurad Hall (SMH) they house a writing center, math lab, tutoring
resources, the Academic Coaching Center, the Center for Language Learning, additional
computer labs and the Math Emporium. Select the following link for more information:
Student Health and Counseling
The mission of the Student Health and Counseling Center is to promote the optimal
health of our university community by providing access to high quality and affordable
primary outpatient health care, preventative health care, individual counseling, consulting,
outreach and health education.
It is through this pursuit that we support the mission of the University of Alaska
Anchorage and the growth of each individual. Select the following link for more information: https://www.uaa.alaska.edu/students/student-health-counseling-center/
UAA IT Services
IT Services Call Center is staffed 7 days a week, 363 days a year. They can assist
you with password and PIN reset, software understanding, technical requests, as well
as general questions about technology. In Anchorage: 907-786-4646, option 1, toll
free in Alaska: 1-877-633-3888, option 1. Select the following link for more information: https://www.uaa.alaska.edu/about/administrative-services/departments/information-technology-services/
University Email Accounts
UAA uses email to communicate with students on many important matters. The university
automatically assigns each student an official UAA email account at the time of admission
to the university for certificate/degree-seeking students and at the time of registration
for all other students. Students are responsible for knowing and, when appropriate,
acting on the contents of all university communications sent to their official UAA
email accounts. Select the following link for more information: https://www.uaa.alaska.edu/email.cshtml.
Safety is a priority at UAA. All members of the academic community are encouraged
to take responsibility for their own safety by taking the time to locate the nearest
exits and emergency telephones when they are in campus buildings. Safety concerns
may be brought to the attention of UAA faculty or staff, or the University Police
at 907-786-1120 (V/TTY). For more safety information and the most recent campus crime
report, visit the webpage at www.uaa.alaska.edu/safety.
Ensuring a Climate of Equity, Respect & Safety
The UAA Office of Equity and Compliance affirms its commitment to a safe and healthy
educational and work environment in which educational programs, employment, and activities
are free of discrimination and harassment. Our staff administers and ensures compliance
with university policies, procedures, and programs on equal opportunity, discrimination,
affirmative action, discriminatory harassment, sexual misconduct, stalking, and retaliation.
For more information, see https://www.uaa.alaska.edu/about/equity-and-compliance/.
The UA Alerts Notification System makes every effort to release information about
emergencies (incidents) that may disrupt university operations. Select the following
link for more information: https://www.uaa.alaska.edu/about/administrative-services/departments/university-police-department/ua-alerts.cshtml
In the event of a building evacuation, we will reconvene at an announced location.
A building evacuation does not mean class is canceled.
Safety in Online Environments
UAA will never send you an unsolicited email asking you for your password or other
personal information. If you receive such a message, please delete it. If you have
any concerns, contact the IT Call Center at 907-786-4646, menu option 1, or via email
at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you experience cyber bullying, cyberstalking, or
other inappropriate conduct as part of your involvement in a UAA class, please notify
your instructor immediately.
After Hours Safety on Campus
Nighttime Safety. Students should use the buddy system when going in and out of buildings
at night. Walk in well-lit areas. Main campus: University phones can be used to reach
the Campus Police at 907-786-1120 or a cell phone at 907-786-1120. There are emergency
phones located by the entrances of each building.
How do I ensure my syllabus is accessible to all students?
In a nutshell, federal laws require that students with disabilities “must be afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information,
engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services” as students without
disabilities, with “substantially equivalent ease of use” within the same timeframe.
To ensure your syllabus or other course documents are accessible to all students you
can use the following guidelines using Microsoft Word 2013+ to save your documents
in the most universal accessible format. Go to Creating Accessible Documents for tutorial instructions.
You can find more information regarding accessible documents and ADA requirements
at: Accessibility: Creating Online Course Content
What resources are available to assess my syllabus?
The following resources can help you assess and improve your syllabus:
- Syllabus Rubric, Cornell University, Center for Teaching Excellence
This rubric provides a simple way to assess some of the basic elements that are helpful
to include in a syllabus. Another version, found here, has been adapted by SUNY Buffalo.
- University of Virginia Syllabus Rubric
This rubric assesses the degree to which a syllabus promotes a learning orientation
for students (i.e. the syllabus goes beyond "content orientation" to "learning orientation"). It involves both qualitative and quantitative measures and has been
tested extensively for validity and reliability.
Check with the Center for Advancing Faculty Excellence (CAFE) for workshops or consultations on creating a learner-centered syllabus.
Bart, M. (2015). A Learner-Centered Syllabus Helps Set the Tone for Learning. Retrieved
Becker, A. H. & Calhoon, S. K. (1999). What Introductory Psychology Students Attend
to on a Course Syllabus, Teaching of Psychology,
26:1, 6-11, DOI: 10.1207/ s15328023top2601_1.
Goldrick-Rab, S. (2017). Basic Needs Security and the Syllabus. Retrieved from
Kent, C. (2017). The Netiquette Solution to Teaching the Syllabus. Retrieved from www.insidehighered.com/advice/2017/01/31/getting-
Quality Matters Rubric Standards, Fifth Edition, (2014). Retrieved from https://www.qualitymatters.org, as a licensed QM Institution.
Raymark, P. H. & Connor-Greene, P. A. (2002). The Syllabus Quiz. Teaching of Psychology, 29:4, 286-288. Retrieved from
Riviere, J., Picard, D. R., & Coble, R. (2016) Syllabus Design Guide. Retrieved from http://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/syllabus-
Saville, B. K., Zinn, T. E., Brown, A. R., & Marchuk, K. A. (2010). Syllabus Detail
and Students’ Perceptions of Teacher Effectiveness,
Teaching of Psychology, 37: 3, 186-189. Retrieved from http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00986283.2010.488523.
United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights. Frequently Asked Questions
About the June 29, 2010, Dear Colleague Letter.
Retrieved from http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/dcl-ebook-faq-201105.pdf.