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Office of the Provost

Student Expectations and Course Syllabi

MEMORANDUM
TO: Faculty and Instructional Staff
FROM: Michael Tew, Assoc Provost and AVP Academic Programming & Services
DATE: August 22, 2017
SUBJECT: STUDENT EXPECTATIONS AND COURSE SYLLABI

As we begin the Academic Year, the Division of Academic and Student Affairs by policy and practice affirms certain rights students and faculty have with regard to course and other classroom-related matters. General student responsibilities are detailed in the Student Code of Conduct. ​Faculty may expect students to adhere to these standards and expectations an​d may refer to the Administrator's Guide to Classroom Management for further guidance about how to deal with concerns around these issues.

​It is important for instructors to explicitly establish their individual standards and expectations for their course sections with a written syllabus. The most effective syllabi contain the following core information. While all elements are strongly recommended, required elements are starred.

  1. A list of required and recommended course materials (*);
  2. A general outline of the course content and an approximate time schedule. It is also effective to add a statement indicating dates are subject to change;
  3. The type, number, date, and value of papers, assignments, quizzes, examinations and some explanation of the way in which grades are calculated and assigned (*);
  4. Office hours and other methods of contacting the instructor if such alternate methods are provided(*) ;
  5. Required rationale if course is approved for General Education Program (*);
  6. Inserting the following paragraph and link will inform your students as to University Course Policies (*):

​In addition to the articulated course specific policies and expectation, students are responsible for understanding all applicable university guidelines, policies, and procedures. The EMU Student Handbook is the primary resource provided to students to ensure that they have access to all university policies​, support resources, and student's rights and responsibilities. Changes may be made to the EMU Student Handbook whenever necessary, and shall be effective immediately, and/or as of the date on which a policy is formally adopted, and/or the date specified in the amendment. Electing not to access the link provided below does not absolve a student of responsibility. For questions about any university policy, procedure, practice, or resource, please contact the Office of the Ombuds: 248 Student Center, 734.487.0074, emu_ombuds@emich.edu, or visit the website.
University Course Policies​ can be accessed here.

Students may expect the following from instructors. Impartial, respectful treatment including:​

  1. ​Reasonable opportunities to ask questions and express ideas:​
  2. Respect for his or her right to privacy (FERPA) for certain educational, personal, and health related information;
  3. Knowledge of the grading system early in the semester and the absence of unfair, capricious or discriminatory grading categories. This should include explicit and early description of the instructor's policy for penalties regarding failure to attend and/or participate in class;
  4. Prompt return of examinations and other assignments with verbal and/or written explanations of deficiencies;
  5. Posted office hours, scheduled at times most beneficial to students and advance knowledge, when possible, of cancellation of class or office hours;
  6. Reasonable accommodations upon the provision of documentation provided by the Disability Resource Center.

F​or a more extensive discussion of syllabus content and best practices, visit the Faculty Development Center's syllabus resource pages.

Follow this link [PDF] for information on the University Writing Center.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Michael Tew (mtew@emich.edu, 7-3200).

​cc:
College Deans​
A​ssociate and Assistant Deans
Department Heads and School Directors
Faculty Senate
AAUP
Student Government President
AVP Student Affairs
AVP Academic Human Resources