Starter Syllabus

 

 

Winter 2024 Syllabus 'Starter'

All undergraduate courses with five or more students are required by UO policy to have a syllabus. This "Syllabus Starter” resource provides framing and student-facing policy language for many of the required elements as well as other sections that you may wish to consider in crafting and communicating your distinctive course policies. Required sections are noted with an asterisk (*).

Download as an accessible Word document

We know that traditional syllabi tend to be complex documents. When the complexity of a syllabus increases, students' ability to—and interest in—engaging with it can decrease. We appreciate approaches we’ve heard from UO instructors to help students engage with the syllabus and have listed several at the end of the page. We also believe there are a number of ways to design an effective syllabus that go beyond a text-dense document, and have linked to several excellent resources that can support more accessible syllabus design at the end of the page as well.

Introduction of Course and Instructor

 

Instructor Information* 

Include instructor(s) name, office/room number, uoregon e-mail address, and any other means of contact desired. 

 

Office Hours* 

Include office hours, room location (and, if providing remote office hours, a link) and a statement indicating how to contact the instructor for an appointment outside of office hours. Please note guidance from the University Senate that all instructors, regardless of course modality, should “provide live, synchronous options for students to meet with them (e.g. office hours) for a minimum total of two hours per week during their teaching terms. This should be a mix with both scheduled times and by-appointment times."

 

Course Description

Consider updating your student-facing course description to include a personal, in-your-voice welcome, including a statement about the course values, broad goals, or important questions you will address together.

Sample Language

Welcome! I am committed to the success of all students in this course, and I look forward to the learning, questioning, and growing that we will do together this term. The goals of this course are to

  • Be moved and challenged by X, Y, Z (in course materials and big issues/questions);   
  • Practice A & B skills, which you will use across other courses and in your careers;  
  • Affirm our hopefulness about the future by continuing to learn and answer questions/practice skills/examine X subjects. 

 

Course Objectives* 

Provide students with a list of the course objectives. Objectives should be written as statements that specify student actions that are observable through the activities of the course. “By the end of the course, students should be able to...[verb] + [object].” For more information about writing learning objectives and aligning them to class activities and assessments, check out our Aligned Design page.  . 

Sample Learning Objectives

By the end of the course, students should be able to: 

  • Describe the history of American immigration policy.  
  • Create a marketing plan for a non-profit organization.  
  • Compose an essay using a deliberate writing process with emphasis on inquiry, audience, research, and revision. 
  • Describe the cultural forces (history, social values, economic practices, and politics) that shape the professional practices in a target culture. 
  • Predict and explain the electronic and molecular structure of common substances using models.  
  • Design and carry out scientific experiments as well as accurately record and analyze the results of such experiments.  

 

Core Education Fulfillment (if applicable)* 

In addition to the learning objectives, if a course meets any Core Education Requirements, include a statement about which requirements it meets and why. You can find guidance on the Required Syllabus Content page. 

 

Course Modality 

Over the past several terms students reported confusion about whether face-to-face courses have a remote option. If you are teaching an in-person course, consider raising this directly to calibrate student expectations.

Sample Language

This is an in-person course: that means that, unlike asynchronous online/ASYNC WEB courses, we will meet during scheduled class meeting times in (class location). I will accommodate absences as described in the Absences policy. If you need additional flexibility, UO encourages you to consider ASYNC WEB courses. If you need accommodation related to disability, you can request those by working with the Accessible Education Center. (https://aec.uoregon.edu).

 

Technical Requirements

Inform students of the main platforms you will use and how to access support. 

Sample Language

Canvas is the place to go for course information and engagement outside of class time.   

To access our course Canvas site, log into canvas.uoregon.edu using your DuckID. If you have questions about using Canvas, visit the Canvas support page. Canvas and Technology Support also is available by phone (541-346-4357) or by live chat on the Live Help webpage.  

Course Policies

 

Communicating with Me: How and Why 

UO students report being confused by the variety of ways instructors set up course sites in Canvas and the many notifications and emails they receive. Many instructors report having to answer numerous communication-related questions. To establish clear means of communication, try summarizing: 

  1. how you will communicate with the class (and possible response times to individual emails or submissions) 

  1. how students can communicate with you and 

  1. why they might want to communicate with you.  

While #3 may feel self-evident, giving all students a sense of what you can support them with is particularly important for students who do not yet have experience with posing questions to or getting support from instructors, or students who may be hesitant to ask.

Sample Language

How will I communicate with you? 

Our class will communicate through our Canvas site. Announcements and emails are archived there, automatically forwarded to your UO email, and can even reach you by text. Check and adjust your settings under Account > Notifications.   

Every Monday I will post an Announcement that previews critical concepts we’ll work on that week and a checklist of the week’s due dates. You can also find this information in the overview page in each Canvas module.  

When I need to get in touch with individual students, I do so through email.   

When giving feedback on assignments, I do so in Canvas, and turnaround time for feedback is generally one week. 


How can you communicate with me? 

If your question (or comment) is  

  • a practical, yes/no one about an assignment, reading, or other component of our class, please post your question on the Discussion thread titled “Class Questions and Answers,” which I respond to daily, and where your peers can also pose questions and share answers.  
  • about a technical challenge with Canvas or another technology, please contact the UO Service Portal.  
  • about course content or activities, about something personal, time sensitive, or something else that doesn’t feel like it fits above, please reach out to me by email or by attending office hours!  

I try to respond to questions within one business day.  


Why should you reach out to me?

I enjoy talking with students about our course material! Are you confused or excited about something? Wondering how what we’re learning relates to current events, career choices, or other classes you can take at UO? Please be in touch! Please also be in touch to tell me how you are doing in the course. If you are having trouble with some aspect of it, I would like to strategize with you. I believe every student can succeed in this course, and I care about your success.  


Office hours details: 

When & where: I will host office hours each week on [day/time] in [location]. I welcome meetings outside my regular office hours as well. Just email me or call me at [office number] to set a time.  

What: During office hours, students bring in a wide range of concerns, questions, and successes. We might talk through a specific concept or problem to clarify it, might think together about an issue a student is curious about that relates to the class, might discuss a student's post-graduation goals, might identify more effective ways to study for a future exam or to begin a project, or any number of other topics. Some students have never been to an instructor’s office hours—if that is you, please change that this term by attending! Feel free to come with a peer if that is useful for you.    

Regardless of the format, I look forward to connecting! 

 

Classroom Community Expectations (or "Classroom behaviors)* 

The Senate has noted that syllabi should include policy on “classroom behavior.” We encourage thinking about the "classroom" as all sites where students are engaged with each other, whether face to face in a physical classroom or in an online space (like Canvas Discussion).

It is useful to be transparent about expectations you hold for students (and that they can hold for one another) and about expectations your students can hold for you. 

Sample Language

All members of the class (both students and instructor) can expect to: 

Participate and Contribute: All students are expected to participate by sharing ideas and contributing to the learning environment. This entails preparing, following instructions, and engaging respectfully and thoughtfully with others.  

While all students should participate, participation is not limited to talking, and a range of participation activities support learning. Participation could include speaking aloud in the full class and in small groups, submitting questions prior to class, or engaging with Discussion posts. 

We will establish more specific participation guidelines and criteria for contributions in our first weeks of the term.      

Expect and Respect Diversity: All classes at the University of Oregon welcome and respect diverse experiences, perspectives, and approaches. What is not welcome are behaviors or contributions that undermine, demean, or marginalize others based on race, ethnicity, gender, sex, age, sexual orientation, religion, ability, or socioeconomic status. We will value differences and communicate disagreements with respect. We may establish more specific guidelines and protocols to ensure inclusion and equity for all members of our learning community.      

Help Everyone Learn: Part of how we learn together is by learning from one another. To do this effectively, we need to be patient with each other, identify ways we can assist others, and be open-minded to receiving help and feedback from others. Don’t hesitate to contact me to ask for assistance or offer suggestions that might help us learn better.  


Guidelines for using Canvas Discussion: 

  1. Use subject lines that clearly communicate the content of your post.    
  2. Write concisely, and be aware that humor or sarcasm doesn’t always translate in writing.    
  3. Be supportive and considerate when replying to others’ posts. This means avoiding use of jargon or inappropriate language, and it means disagreeing with respect and providing clear rationale or evidence to support your different view.    
  4. Keep focused on the topic and reference readings and other class materials to support your points (as applicable).    
  5. Try to use correct spelling and grammar and proofread your submissions. After submitting, use the edit feature to make corrections and resubmit (don’t create a new or duplicate post that corrects your error).    
  6. Contribute and interact often!    

 

Class Materials* 

Let students know what materials are required and how they can access materials for your class. 

Consider using free or low-cost materials if you do not already; recent Student Experience Survey responses (as summarized in the Practitioner Guide: Accessibility) indicate that free or affordable materials are among the most common recommendations students have to increase access to your course. Find out more about how to find or adapt free or low-cost course materials (and the support that is available to do this) by visiting UO Libraries’ Open Educational Resources and Textbook Affordability webpage.

 

Absences* 

In June 2022, the University Senate legislated a “Course Attendance and Engagement” policy with the goal of increasing transparency and equity in how course policies are applied at UO. Instructors can find information on implementing this policy on the "Enacting the Senate’s ‘Course Attendance and Engagement’ Policy" page. Instructors have the discretion to decide what attendance policy best supports their courses (including a no-penalty policy), but all syllabi should:    

  • Make attendance and make-up policies and their impact on grades explicit. The policy states instructors should “Outline any requirements for attendance, how absences affect grades and the conditions under which coursework can be made up.”   
  • Have a “reason-neutral” policy. Instructors who require attendance and/or penalize absences "[...] shall not ask for reasons for absences and shall not distinguish between ‘excused’ and ‘unexcused’ absences since there is no equitable way to confirm the veracity of student-provided reasons or documentation outside the university context.” This means a course with an absence penalty policy would treat X number of absences for any student in the same manner. **There are exceptions to this reason-neutral provision: disability-related accommodations, religious observances, if you are contacted by the Dean of Students with an Emergency Academic Notification, and university-sponsored events. In those cases, it is up to the student to ask for accommodations and provide the necessary documentation prior to missing class or turning in late work, usually at the beginning of the term.**   
  • Advise students who experience extensive absences. "Course attendance and engagement policies are meant to address common student absences or late work over the course of a term. Instructors should know how to advise students with extraordinary circumstances which might cause extensive absences or late work about their options. Advising students about their options might take the form of including them in your syllabus and noting them to individual students. For instance, instructors may wish to let students know that the units or processes below may be options:    
    • Withdrawal and Grade Change dates and processes. In some cases, the best option is for a student to withdraw or change their grading option while they manage their situation. See  Academic Advising’s Registration Decisions page on options for students in terms of withdrawal and grade changes.  
    • Incomplete. If an unexpected situation happens toward the end of the term and a minor but essential requirement hasn’t been completed, an Incomplete may be appropriate.  
    • Student Petitions. students also have petition options after the term if they were unable to make changes during the term due to their situation.  

For courses that have an engagement policy instead of an attendance policy (such as asynchronous online courses), "syllabi shall outline requirements for engagement, what constitutes lack of engagement, and if and how missed engagement opportunities can be made up."  

We encourage instructors’ reason-neutral absence policies to account for the need some students may have to be absent for five consecutive days, the CDC isolation period that begins the day after the onset of symptoms or a COVID-19 positive test.     

Sample Language A (with grade penalty)

In-class work is central to meeting our learning objectives. Students may miss four classes this term, regardless of the reason, not including exam days. This means we do not have “excused” or “unexcused” absences except—as is the case for all UO classes—in the cases of religious observances, AEC accommodations, and University-sponsored events with signed documentation presented as early in the term as possible but at least a week ahead of the planned absence or need for accommodation.    

Difficult or complex situations that may impact attendance occur for many of us during a term. This policy means that absences are available both for students who do want to reach out about their experiences and students who do not.  

We know our UO community will still be navigating COVID-19 and other illnesses, and some students will need to use some of their four absences to isolate and rest. I made my absence policy with this in mind, so please use your absences with care so they're there for you if you need them. 

Because in-class work is central to meeting our learning objectives, students who miss six or more classes may fail the course.       

Your success is genuinely important to me. If challenges come up for you this term around attendance please contact me as soon as you can. Together we can identify what resources or strategies might be available to support you and your learning.       

Sample Language B (no grade penalty)  

This is a face-to-face course. Attendance is important because we will develop our knowledge through in-class activities that require your active engagement. We’ll have discussions, small-group activities, and do other work during class that will be richer for your presence, and that you won’t be able to benefit from if you are not there. Excessive absences make it impossible to learn well and succeed in the course. While there is not an automatic grade deduction for missing classes, it is unlikely that students who miss X or more classes will be able pass this course.    

We know our UO community will still be navigating COVID-19 and other illnesses, and some students will need to isolate and rest. Please take absences only when necessary, so when they are necessary, your prior attendance will have positioned you for success. 

If you must miss a class please fill out the absence report form.  

Sample Language C (from Dr. Betsy Wheeler) 

Attendance

Attendance counts as 7% of your grade. In addition, five Reading Reponses written during class sessions count as 15% of your grade. I appreciate your steady, well-read presence, especially if it’s an effort for you. Discussion is a key method of learning in this class. Getting to know you is one of my favorite parts of teaching. I also like knowing whether or not you’re okay. For all these reasons, I’m not a fan of mysterious disappearances.

Zoom Attendance

Please come to class in person if you can. However, you have the option of attending on Zoom for all sessions or some sessions due to disability, immune status, or caregiving responsibilities. For Zoom attendance to count, you must have your screen on except for bathroom breaks and participate in all class activities, via Chat or conversation.

If you can come in person on [date] and [date], it would be especially appreciated. On [date], you will bring your artwork and statement about your art to class in hard copy to submit it. On [date], we will turn the classroom into a gallery and view each other’s work.  

Making Up An Absence

If you are unable to attend class due to anxiety, illness, or emergency, you can make up that day’s attendance grade by doing the following:

Email or call in before class, or in the event of emergency, within 24 hours after class. Read the lesson plan on Canvas and the assigned course materials for that day, and watch the class recording if there is one. Email me a four-sentence response to the materials within one week of the absence. If your absence falls on a Reading Response day, make sure your four sentences are on a different topic from the Reading Response prompt. If you miss class on a Reading Response day ([notes dates]):

  1. Email me a request to send you the prompt and to reopen the submission portal for one hour on a specific day at a specific time when you are free.
  2. This make-up date should take place within one week of your absence.
  3. Write and submit your Reading Response during that hour.

 

Course Deadlines and late work

Communicate transparently about assignment deadlines and (if applicable) any available flexibility. In addition, you may wish to remind students what the UO deadlines are for term, such as deadlines to add or withdraw from a class. If you do remind students of these, we recommend reminding students that you believe all of them can succeed in the course.

Sample Language A

Course assignment deadlines: 

Assignments in this course are always due on Sundays at 8:00pm. Although deadlines are firm, I have built flexibility into the course in two ways: 

  • All students have up to two “oops tokens”—opportunities to turn in an assignment up to one week late for any reason, no questions asked (except for final papers or projects due in week 10 or finals week).  
  • Your lowest assignment score will be dropped. 

I hope both the regular deadline and some built-in flexibility supports your work in the course.  

Sample Language B

Course assignment deadlines: 

In this course you will see “best by” due dates. This kind of deadline does not prescribe penalties for lateness, but does communicate to you when you should strive to have your work completed to succeed in this class. While you may turn your assignments in at any time, you will find that a pattern of late submissions will not support your learning, as we will have moved on to additional concepts. Feedback for assignments submitted after the “best by” date may receive delayed feedback. For best learning results, submit assignments within the “best by” window, and get my feedback within the week! 

 

Grade Policies* 

Describe your grading scheme and any related policies (find more information at the Registrar's University of Oregon Grading System page). Include or link to grading criteria and expectations, such as grading rubrics. 

 

Content warnings

Some instructors use or are considering using content warnings in their course. The University of Michigan defines content warnings on their Inclusive Teaching website as “verbal or written notices that precede potentially sensitive content. These notices flag the contents of the material that follows, so readers, listeners, or viewers can prepare themselves to adequately engage or, if necessary, disengage for their own wellbeing.”   

In situations where content may be unexpected or particularly graphic, we have heard from some students, such as those with PTSD, that they benefit from a content warning to remain present in their learning experience.   

Below are two examples of content warnings: one from Dean Jennifer Espinola (School of Law), and one from the University of Michigan’s set of examples in “Introduction to Content Warnings and Trigger Warnings,” (which includes a variety of additional examples).

Sample Language A (from Dean Espinola)

We deal with several topics in this class that could elicit a strong emotional response based on your history, experiences, identities, and other factors. Those topics include sexual violence, harassment, and discrimination. Please take care of yourself as you engage with this material and be sure to seek out support as needed, which may include campus resources such as the UO Counseling Center.

Sample Language B (from University of Michigan faculty)

The content and discussion in this course will necessarily engage with racism every week. Much of it will be emotionally and intellectually challenging to engage with. I will flag especially graphic or intense content that discusses or represents racism and will do my best to make this classroom a space where we can engage bravely, empathetically, and thoughtfully with difficult content every week. 

Sample Language C (from Dr. Betsy Wheeler)

Dr. Wheeler offers both 1) guidance to students for "responding productively to discomfort" as well as 2) concise content warnings listed just after the specific reading/video/etc. students are engaging with each week (ex: "Content Warning. Depiction of unwanted sexual touching on page 57 of eBook and 53 of print book."). 

Responding Productively to Discomfort

Disability studies reflects on the tragic and angering results of oppression, now and in the past. Here are ideas for responding to your encounters with disturbing materials.

  • Note the content warnings in the syllabus. Feel free to skip materials that might activate your history of trauma.
  • Notice what’s happening in your body.
  • Name your experience.
  • Express your experience through words or nonverbal means.
  • Recover using means of self-care that work for you: breathing, rest, distraction, exercise, ordering things within your control, enjoying familiar pleasures.
  • Use this experience to understand larger ethical and political systems. How does oppression affect its principal targets? What are your own subject positions? Who do you want to be in this context? What do you want to create?
  • Transform your discomfort into art, activism, dialogue, worldbuilding, research, and critical thinking.

Generative Artificial intelligence use

 

We strongly encourage instructors to have an explicit policy about GenAI in their course syllabus, including any relevant distinctions between GenAI use (as process) and GenAI content (as product). We also encourage instructors to reinforce their expectations in assignment instructions and in conversation with students. Based on helpful considerations articulated by Josef Brandauer and Melissa Forbes at Gettysburg College, the sample course policies below indicate a range of options that instructors can adapt depending on their specific course context and student learning goals.

Sample Course Policies
  • Require GenAI use for certain tasks or assignments: Learning to use GenAI tools [such as ChatGPT or whichever the course requires….], and recognize their pluses and minuses, are important emerging skills. Students in this class will thus be required to use specific GenAI tools to complete certain assignments. Instructions and guidelines for required GenAI use will be provided in class, and we will thoroughly discuss and debrief our class engagement with GenAI.

    Additions: In addition to a policy that requires GenAI use for certain tasks or assignments, instructors should determine to what extent additional GenAI use for other course activities or assignments is allowed, if at all. The policy ideas below provide a range of options that can be included for any GenAI uses allowed beyond those that are required.

 

  • Allow open GenAI use but require proper citation of GenAI content: Students may use GenAI tools in this class to help with course work and assignments. Helpful uses include brainstorming ideas, creating outlines, editing, and so forth. However, if you include in your assignment submissions any content that is generated by GenAI, such as text, images, graphics, etc., you must cite the GenAI tool that is your source, in the same way that you must cite any content you use from other sources, such as books, articles, videos, the internet, etc. In class and on Canvas, I will provide guidelines for how you need to cite GenAI as well as other sources. I will also provide helpful resources for how best to use GenAI to support your learning process and work. Although open use of GenAI is allowed in this class, be advised that GenAI suggestions or content can be inaccurate, incomplete or otherwise problematic; using GenAI can impact negatively the quality of your work and your grades.  I welcome questions and discussion about GenAI use in this course – let’s talk!

 

  • Allow open GenAI use but require documentation of use and proper citation of GenAI content: Students can use GenAI tools in this class to help with course work and assignments.  Helpful uses include brainstorming ideas, creating outlines, editing, and so forth. However, if you use a GenAI tool, you need to document your use, including the tool you use and when, where, and how in your work process you used it (for example: “I used ChatGPT to generate an outline for my paper, which I then revised before writing my first draft” or “I used slidesAI.io to create the slidedeck style for my presentation.” etc.). In certain cases, as part of your documentation, I may ask you to submit any GenAI results you obtained, so you need to keep GenAI-created drafts and logs of your interactions with GenAI tools; failure to provide such documentation may result in a grade reduction in certain instances. I will provide helpful resources for how best to use GenAI to support your learning process and work.

    Along with documentation of your GenAI use, you are also required to cite GenAI if you use any GenAI-created content in your work submissions, for example text or images or graphics generated by GenAI tools. That is, you need to treat GenAI just like other sources such as books, articles, videos, etc. I will provide guidelines for how you need to cite GenAI tools as sources.  

 

  • Allow certain GenAI uses but prohibit GenAI content: Students can use GenAI tools in this class to help with certain aspects of course work and assignments. This includes brainstorming ideas, creating a paper outline, or summarizing research findings of articles. However, you cannot use content such as text or graphics created by GenAI tools in your work; rather, you must be the author/creator of your work submissions. For example, you can use a GenAI tool to suggest a paper outline based on a draft you provide it, but you cannot submit a paper with text generated by GenAI as if the text is your own writing. Be advised, in accordance with UO policy, if I believe you’ve handed in work created whole or in part by GenAI tools, I may submit a report of suspected academic misconduct to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards for that office to make a determination of responsibility and, if warranted, assess a grade penalty. So, if you are in doubt or have questions about a particular GenAI tool and if its use is okay, check in with me and let’s discuss!

    Variation: Instructors allowing certain GenAI uses can also require documentation using the sample language above.  In addition, instructors can list explicitly which GenAI uses are allowed and which are not allowed.

 

  • Allow GenAI use only with explicit permission for very specific tasks or assignments: Students may use GenAI tools in this course only with explicit instructor permission for certain tasks or on certain assignments. I will clearly indicate when you can use GenAI and provide clear guidelines for which GenAI tools are allowed and in what ways you can use them. I will also indicate how you will document your use of GenAI. In accordance with UO policy, if I believe you’ve handed in work created in whole or in part by GenAI tools used without permission, I may submit a report of suspected academic misconduct to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards for that office to make a determination of responsibility and, if warranted, assess a grade penalty. The bottom line is, unless permission has been given, you should not use GenAI in this course. If in doubt, ask!

    Variation: Instructors can specify the exact uses allowed in the course policy statement, although it may be advantageous to communicate such uses in more detail in task or assignment instructions, in accordance with the course policy statement, as in the example here.

 

  • Do not allow GenAI use or content: Students may not use GenAI tools in this course to produce course materials or assignments in whole or in part. All work you submit for this course toward completion of course requirements must be your own original work done specifically for this course and without substantive assistance from others, including GenAI. Work you’ve completed for previous courses or are developing for other courses this term also should not be submitted for this course.  In accordance with UO policy, if I believe you’ve handed in work created all or in part by GenAI, I will submit a report of suspected academic misconduct to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards for that office to make a determination of responsibility and, if warranted, assess a grade penalty. If you have any questions or doubts, please ask!

Note: If inclusion of content produced by GenAI is allowable under your course policy, here is possible language for indicating how to cite GenAI:

You may use content produced by a GenAI tool in your assignment submissions, but you must quote or cite it like any other source you use and reference in your work. Please use standard [APA or MLA] citation guidelines for GenAI, as indicated here: [MLA Style Center] [APA Style Blog].

We also encourage exploration of the Syllabus Resources from the Sentient Syllabus Project, which offers a variety of considerations and example policies that can be used or adapted. Instructors can also find dozens of sample course policies at this crowdsourced document, including an option to search by discipline and course topic.

University Policies

 

Access and accommodations *

Every syllabus needs to include a statement encouraging students with disabilities to make their needs known to the instructor early in the term and to inform students that AEC is a source of support. 

Sample Language A (from AEC)

The University of Oregon and I are dedicated to fostering inclusive, equitable, and accessible learning environments for all students. The Accessible Education Center (AEC) assists students with disabilities in reducing barriers in the educational experience. You may be eligible for accommodations for a variety of disabilities – apparent disabilities, such as a mobility or physical disability, or non apparent disabilities, such as chronic illnesses or psychological disabilities. If you have or think you have a disability and experience academic barriers, please contact the Accessible Education Center (Location: 360 Oregon Hall; 541-346-1155; uoaec@uoregon.edu) to discuss appropriate accommodations or support. The details of your disability will be kept confidential with the AEC and you are not expected to share this information with others. However, I invite you to discuss any approved accommodations or access needs at any time with me.

Sample Language B (from AEC, shorter version)

The University of Oregon and I are dedicated to fostering inclusive learning environments for all students and welcomes students with disabilities into all of the University's educational programs. The Accessible Education Center (AEC) assists students with disabilities in reducing campus-wide and classroom-related barriers. If you have or think you have a disability and experience academic barriers, please contact the AEC to discuss appropriate accommodations or support. Visit 360 Oregon Hall or aec.uoregon.edu for more information. You can contact AEC at 541-346-1155 or via email at uoaec@uoregon.edu.

 

Accommodation for religious observances*

UO makes reasonable accommodations, on request, for students who are unable to attend a class because of religious obligations or observance. Include syllabus language that lets students know how to request accommodation for religious observances. Instructors may also wish to review the Religious Observances webpage when scheduling deadlines for the term. 

Sample Language A (student-friendly language)

The University of Oregon respects the right of all students to observe their religious holidays, and will make reasonable accommodations, upon request, for these observances. If you need to be absent from a class period this term because of a religious obligation or observance, please fill out the Student Religious Accommodation Request fillable PDF form and send it to me within the first weeks of the course so we can make arrangements in advance. 

Sample Language B (Office of the Provost standard language)

The university makes reasonable accommodations, upon request, for students who are unable to attend a class for religious obligations or observance reasons, in accordance with the university discrimination policy which says “Any student who, because of religious beliefs, is unable to attend classes on a particular day shall be excused from attendance requirements and from any examination or other assignment on that day. The student shall make up the examination or other assignment missed because of the absence.” To request accommodations for this course for religious observance, visit the Office of the Registrar's website and complete and submit to the instructor the “Student Religious Accommodation Request” PDF form prior to the end of the second week of the term. 

 

Your Well-being

Well-being impacts learning. The UO Counseling Services reminds us that there are various ways to demonstrate your care towards students’ learning and wellbeing. One simple way to support the emotional wellbeing of students and campus mental health is to include the statement below on your course syllabus. Additionally, University Counseling Services welcomes you to consult with its clinical staff about any concerns you have regarding a student and how to reach out to the student in providing support (call 541-346-3227). See Reaching Out—Student Mental Health and the Student Well-being Toolkit to learn more.

Sample Language (written by UO Counseling Services):

Life at college can be very complicated. Students often feel overwhelmed or stressed, experience anxiety or depression, struggle with relationships, or just need help navigating challenges in their life. If you're facing such challenges, you don't need to handle them on your own--there's help and support on campus.  

As your instructor if I believe you may need additional support, I will express my concerns, the reasons for them, and refer you to resources that might be helpful. It is not my intention to know the details of what might be bothering you, but simply to let you know I care and that help is available. Getting help is a courageous thing to do—for yourself and those you care about. 

University Health Services helps students cope with difficult emotions and life stressors. If you need general resources on coping with stress or want to talk with another student who has been in the same place as you, visit the Duck Nest (located in the EMU on the ground floor) and get help from one of the specially trained Peer Wellness Advocates.  

University Counseling Services (UCS) has a team of dedicated staff members to support you with your concerns, many of whom can provide identity-based support. All clinical services are free and confidential. Find out more at counseling.uoregon.edu or by calling 541-346-3227 (anytime UCS is closed, the After-Hours Support and Crisis Line is available by calling this same number). 

 

Basic Needs  

As students continue to struggle at increased rates with meeting basic food, housing, economic and other needs that invariably impact learning, we encourage a "Basic Needs" statement so students can get connected to the support they need.

Sample Language A (student-friendly language)

Being able to meet your basic needs is foundational to your success as a student at the University of Oregon. If you are having difficulty affording food, don’t have a stable, safe place to live, or are struggling to meet another need, visit the UO Basic Needs Resource page for information on how to get support. They have information food, housing, healthcare, childcare, transportation, technology, finances (including emergency funds), and legal support. 

If your need is urgent, please contact the Care and Advocacy Program by calling 541-346-3216, filling out the Community Care and Support form, or by scheduling an appointment with an advocate. 

Sample Language B (Office of the Provost standard language)

Any student who has difficulty affording groceries or accessing sufficient food to eat every day, or who lacks a safe and stable place to live and believes this may affect their performance in the course is urged to contact the Dean of Students Office (346-3216, 164 Oregon Hall) for support.

The UO Basic Needs Resource Guide includes resources for food, housing, healthcare, childcare, transportation, technology, finances, and legal support.

 

Respect for Diversity 

Consider crafting a statement explicitly valuing diversity in identities, backgrounds, and beliefs. 

Sample Language

You can expect to be treated with respect in this course. Both students and your instructor(s) enter with many identities, backgrounds, and beliefs. Students of all racial identities, ethnicities, genders, gender identities, gender expressions, national origins, religious affiliations, sexual orientations, citizenship statuses, ability and other visible and non-visible differences belong in and contribute to this class and this discipline. All students are expected to contribute to a respectful, welcoming and inclusive environment for every other member of the class.  

Class rosters are provided to instructors with students’ legal names. Please let me know if the name or pronouns I have for you are not accurate. It is important to me to address you properly. 

Please let me know if aspects of the instruction, course design, or class activities undermine these principles in any way. You may also notify the [Home Department] at [contact information].  For additional assistance and resources, you may also consider contacting the Division of Equity and Inclusion through their website or by phone (at 541-346-3175), or the Center for Multicultural Academic Excellence through their website or by phone (at 541-346-3479).

 

Academic Integrity 

In addition to including the University’s standard misconduct statement in the syllabus, consider giving specific guidance about what this means in your course and why it matters in your discipline.  The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards and TEP recommend that instructors clearly identify:  

  • Whether collaboration between students is allowed (and any parameters around it)  
  • What, if any, resources students are permitted to use on assignments and assessments, including the use of AI tools such as Chat GPT  
  • That you will report all suspected cases of academic misconduct to the Dean of Students' Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards  
  • The consequence for students’ academic misconduct in your course (if the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards finds that the student violated the code)

    FALL 2023: Please note that updates to the Student Conduct Code now require all suspected academic misconduct cases that include a grade penalty be handled by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. In other words, instructors should not impose a grade penalty without a finding from that office. If you have a question or want to discuss something that's happening in your class, SCCS prioritizes contacts from instructors with questions: conduct@uoregon.edu or 541-346-1140. Use SCCS's Reporting Academic Misconduct Form to submit information and documentation about the alleged incident within five business days of discovery.
Sample Language A (student-friendly language)

The University Student Conduct Code defines academic misconduct, which includes using unauthorized help on assignments and examinations, the use of sources without acknowledgment, and recording class without “the express written permission of the instructor(s).” Academic misconduct is prohibited at UO. I will report all suspected misconduct to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. If the Office finds a student has committed misconduct, consequences can include failure of the relevant assignment or exam, or of the course.

While unauthorized help and use of sources without citation is prohibited, learning together and citing sources is crucial! Each assignment and assessment will have a note about whether and how you might work with others so that you can clearly act with academic integrity. All assignments will use [insert citation method], and you can find more support in using [citation method] at the UO Libraries' Citation Guides research guide.

If at any point in the term you are unsure about whether a behavior aligns with academic integrity in our course, please contact me. I view student questions about academic integrity as a desire to act with integrity, so I welcome your questions.

Sample Language B (Office of the Provost standard language)

The University Student Conduct Code (available on the Student Conduct Code and Procedures webpage) defines academic misconduct. Students are prohibited from committing or attempting to commit any act that constitutes academic misconduct. By way of example, students should not give or receive (or attempt to give or receive) unauthorized help on assignments or examinations without express permission from the instructor. Students should properly acknowledge and document all sources of information (e.g. quotations, paraphrases, ideas) and use only the sources and resources authorized by the instructor. If there is any question about whether an act constitutes academic misconduct, it is the students’ obligation to clarify the question with the instructor before committing or attempting to commit the act. Additional information about a common form of academic misconduct, plagiarism, is available at the Libraries' Citation and Plagiarism page

 

Student Experience Surveys 

The Senate’s teaching evaluation committee warmly encourages instructors to offer students 10 minutes of class time to complete their Student Experience Surveys. This is particularly important because the old, negative incentive of holding students’ grades until they interact with UO’s course feedback surveys has been removed: it’s now up to instructors and students to build a culture of reflection and feedback.  
 
A new Canvas integration allows students and instructors to more easily access UO Student Experience Surveys. The integration provides a link titled “UO Course Surveys” from the Canvas course navigation menu and allows easier access to CollegeNET, the system that deploys Student Experience Surveys and Instructor Reflections. The “UO Course Surveys” link is automatically visible to students in each Canvas course. However, instructors can customize the visibility of this and other items in their course navigation menu in Settings under the Navigation tab.   

Sample language

The midway and end-of-term Student Experience Surveys will be conducted in class on [insert dates. Surveys are open during week four, then week nine and 10]. These are important opportunities to provide feedback about your learning experiences—I deeply value this feedback and am continually improving the course with students’ responses in mind. The key parts of the survey are the open-ended questions where you share concrete, actionable feedback and about the teaching practices that stand out to you. Thank you for your thoughtful reflections!

 

reportING OBLIGATIONS*

Below is the recommended minimum language to include on syllabi. See the Office of Investigations and Civil Rights Compliance’s webpage for additional recommended syllabus language. Most employees, including faculty, are assisting employees, who direct students who disclose prohibited discrimination and harassment to resources. Assisting employees only report the information shared to the university administration if the student requests that the information be reported, unless someone is in imminent risk of serious harm, or is a minor. 

Sample language (minimum recommended by UO Title IX Coordinator)

I am a [designated reporter/assisting employee]. For information about my reporting obligations as an employee, please see Employee Reporting Obligations on the Office of Investigations and Civil Rights Compliance (OICRC) website. Students experiencing sex or gender-based discrimination, harassment or violence should call the 24-7 hotline 541-346-SAFE [7244] or visit safe.uoregon.edu for help. Students experiencing all forms of prohibited discrimination or harassment may contact the Dean of Students Office at 5411-346-3216 or the non-confidential Title IX Coordinator/OICRC at 541-346-3123. Additional resources are available at UO’s How to Get Support webpage

I am also a mandatory reporter of child abuse. Please find more information at Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect.” 

 

academic disruption due to campus emergency*

Communicate to students what they should do if there is an academic disruption due to a campus emergency.

Sample Language

In the event of a campus emergency that disrupts academic activities, course requirements, deadlines, and grading percentages are subject to change. Information about changes in this course will be communicated as soon as possible by email, and on Canvas. If we are not able to meet face-to-face, students should immediately log onto Canvas and read any announcements and/or access alternative assignments. Students are also expected to continue coursework as outlined in this syllabus or other instructions on Canvas. 

 

inclement weather*

Communicate to students what they should do if there is an academic disruption due to inclement weather.

Sample Language

It is generally expected that class will meet unless the University is officially closed for inclement weather. If it becomes necessary to cancel class while the University remains open, this will be announced on Canvas and by email. Updates on inclement weather and closure are also communicated as described on the Inclement Weather webpage

 

General Syllabus Resources

Ideas UO instructors have shared to engage students in the syllabus include: 

  • Taking time for student annotation (in synchronous or asynchronous activity), especially in sections that feel most important. 

  • Using a “syllabus quiz.” These are low-stakes and repeatable, with questions only about the things most important for them to register about the course. Ideally a quiz can include one question for students to flag questions for the instructor and one question that asks them to connect their goals to goals of the course. 

  • Creating an abridged or “liquid” syllabus that students can reference for the most important parts of the document. These usually consider UDL principles in their design.  

If you are looking for additional resources for your syllabus design, we recommend: 

  • The “Accessible Syllabus” site. If you only look at one additional resource to increase accessibility, we recommend this as the one! 

  • This timely post by educator Matt Johnson on “10 Course Policies to Rethink on Your Course Syllabus” (from the Chronicle) 

  • Dr. Michelle Pacansky-Brock’s Liquid Syllabus resources, which guide instructors who are interested in open resources and UDL principles through using “a website tool rather than a tool for document creation to create a welcoming, supportive syllabus with visuals” 

Finally, we recommend having students engage with the syllabus through annotation. Dr. Remi Kalir (who researches social annotation and learning) has several brief, wonderful resources on his #Annotated Syllabus webpage sharing process he uses and teaches.

Winter 2024 Dates & Deadlines

  • January 13 is the last day to drop classes without a 'W.’  

  • January 15 is Martin Luther King, Jr holiday (classes are not in session), and the last day to add a class via DuckWeb.

  • February 25 is the last day to withdraw from a class and the last day to change grade options (Graded or P/N) .

  • March 6 through March 18 is when the End-of-Term Student Experience survey is available.

  • March 22 at 5pm is the last day/time for student to request an Incomplete (which UO policy states can only happen when "some minor yet essential requirement has not been completed" and with permission of the instructor”). Students must submit the request on the Incomplete Policy page.

  • March 25 is the deadline for instructors to submit Winter 2024 grades.