GTA/GRA Syllabus Guidelines
- Article II, Section 1.1
- Article II, Section 1.2
- Specific Suggestions
- Specific List of Course Requirements and Policies
- Clear Statement of Grading System
- Course Schedule
- General Observations
- Additional Information You Should Know
- Academic Misconduct
Prepared by the University Ombudsman Office, The University of Kansas, rev. 2002 The following from the University Senate Rules and Regulations are relevant to the preparation of course information:
Article II, Section 1.1
The evaluation of student performance shall be based upon examinations, written papers, class participation and such other requirements as the instructor in each course may determine.
Article II, Section 1.2
Information about the basis for evaluating students' performance and about the requirements that students must fulfill should be made available to students, preferably in writing, within the first two weeks of class. Students who are not in class when such information is provided are responsible for knowing it. Students are also responsible for subsequent announcements about course content and grading policies. This information should not be considered a contract; the information may be revised as the courses progresses, provided students are given timely notice of such revisions.
- Full number and title of course
- Full name and title of instructor
- Office and phone contact information
- Name and contact information of any others involved in the course (i.e., TA's, discussion leaders, guest instructors)
- Course description in clear language*
- Arrangements for persons with disabilities
- Arrangements concerning religious holidays
*Note: if the description varies from the catalog or previously distributed department or school information, the fact of the change should be emphasized.
Specific List of Course Requirements and Policies
- Reading - text and other: Give complete information on reading required and recommended.
- State class attendance and participation expectations.
Be as specific as possible regarding any absence and excuse policy. If "class participation" is expected, be specific about what it means:
- student asking instructor questions
- student answering instructor's questions
- student responding to other students' questions
- student initiating discussion
Be clear as to how "participation" is graded.
- Describe seating requirements, if any, especially as they affect taking examinations
- Lab participation
- External requirements: field trips, lecture/concert attendance, etc.
- Discussion group participation
- Policy regarding make-up examinations
- Time limits on scheduled examinations
- Indicate any flexibility in the above requirements, and how the changes are negotiated.
Clear Statement of Grading System
- Explanation of grading system
- Points? Letter grades with numerical values?
If points on an exam or project are then translated into a letter grade by the instructor, then worked through a percentage application at the end of the semester, the method for doing so must be made very clear.
- Clarify any curve applied and how it works
- Make clear any provision for a student "dropping" or substituting any portion of the requirements, and how such changes relate to grading
- If any adjustments are made at the end of the semester, how are they done? What is the rationale? When, where and how are grades announced?
- Opportunities for discussing grades
- Grade consequences for missing deadlines
- Any portion of the course that is required to pass the course (i.e., taking final exam) must be specified
- The University grade appeal policy should be noted
Policy Regarding Student Academic Misconduct, With Specific Reference To Cheating And Plagiarism, Including Consequences
You may wish to quote the university statements on academic integrity and misconduct. Interpretations of plagiarism especially relevant to your discipline can be helpful.
- Provide as much specific detail as feasible, including dates of examinations and due dates of assignments
- Identify the relationship of readings to lectures/class activities
- regarding classroom procedure, if relevant
- regarding use of materials in class, in labs, or during examinations
- related to writing assignments:
acceptability of handwritten work
requirements of grammar and style, including punctuation and spelling, and any grading implications
- requirements of supporting materials for answers or solutions to quizzes, homework, lab reports or exams
- how are these related to grades?
- If students are to be held responsible for knowing about oral announcements or requirements during the progress of the course (a risky procedure!), they should be forewarned in writing.
- If changes are made in the syllabus, especially related to requirements, grading or deadlines, these should be distributed in printed form, with effort made to reach all students in the course in sufficient time for them to make necessary adjustments.
- If you, or your department, have a system for catching up with students who do not meet prerequisites or other requirements for the course, it is well to warn them in writing that this can happen, and that it may require their disenrollment at a potentially inconvenient time.
- In scheduling exams or other written material (and their return to students), keep in mind that students should have an opportunity to receive some grade evaluation in the course before the withdrawal deadline.
- If it is known that the university final examination schedule has your exam scheduled for an evening hour at the same time as another course in which some of your students could be enrolled, it is helpful to call that to their attention, as well as the page in the Timetable regarding priorities in such cases, and state what your arrangements are in the event of such a conflict.
- Be as specific as possible.
- If you or a colleague have recently been engaged in a time-consuming dispute with a student over an "I didn't know that" issue, it is probably worth paying attention to the content of that issue in preparation of your syllabus.
Additional Information You Should Know
University Senate Rules and Regulations pertaining to:
Article II, Section 2.3.1-220.127.116.11
- 2.3.1 Unless the provisions of 2.3.2 obtain, no change in a grade shall be made after it is filed with the University Registrar except upon the written request of the faculty member in charge of the course with the approval of the chairperson of the department in which the course is given. Such a change may be made only if (1) the original grade resulted from an error, or (2) the original letter was I or P. In either case this change of letter shall not include the change to a W.
- 2.3.2 In the following exceptional cases a committee of at least three faculty members appointed by the chairperson of the department in which the course is given may review a student's work and assign the course grade:
- 18.104.22.168 When a faculty member who has been charged with and found guilty of sexual harassment or academic misconduct has assigned a grade to the student who has pressed charges.
- 22.214.171.124 When a clerical error is suspected in a course grade assigned by a faculty member who has become seriously ill and incapacitated or has died or whom the chairperson of the department in which the course is given cannot locate with due diligence.
- 126.96.36.199 When a student is found guilty of academic misconduct after the course grade has been assigned by a faculty member who has become seriously ill and incapacitated or has died or whom the chairperson of the department in which the course is given cannot locate with due diligence.
- 188.8.131.52 When there is procedural irregularity in the assignment of the course grade. However, in such a case, the grade shall be assigned in accordance with section 184.108.40.206 of the University Senate Rules and Regulations.
- 2.3.3 In the most extreme and unusual circumstances a student may petition to either a) withdraw from all the courses in which he/she was enrolled. In this case a properly constituted committee from the school or College in which he/she was enrolled may assign the letter W in all courses of that semester. The faculty members (s) in charge of the course(s) need not be consulted. Or b) if the student is asking for selective relief in a course in which he/she was enrolled, a properly constituted committee from the school or College in which the course was taken may assign, after consultation/concurrence with the faculty member in charge of the course, the letter I, incomplete, or W, withdrawal. If the incomplete is assigned, it is to be completed in the next semester in which the student is enrolled at the University in accordance with University Senate Rule 220.127.116.11. The work necessary to complete the course and remove the incomplete is to be determined by the faculty member in charge of the course. If the faculty member in charge of the course is unavailable or otherwise unable to provide a regime of work to complete the course, the department will take responsibility to determine the required work. Each course is to be considered separately but the same committee may consider more than one course at the discretion of the dean of the school responsible for the course.
- 2.3.4. To insure uniform implementation of these procedures a) each school and the College will develop a written policy for the guidance of the committee and b) each school or College will adopt a uniform policy as to whether concurrence or only consultation is required. The policies are to be made available to faculty and student.
- 2.3.5 A student may initiate a grade appeal of a final course grade if he or she believes that there has been an improper application of the grading procedure announced for the course by the instructor.
- 18.104.22.168 Each academic unit within the University shall provide its members access to an exclusive procedure for appeal of a final course grade, which shall be the sole procedure available to such members at the unit level.
- 22.214.171.124 Such an appeal shall be made in accord with the procedures established by the unit under Article V, section 2 of the University Senate Rules and Regulations. To the extent that a grade appeal involves charges of improper application of grading procedures, the dispute shall be resolved under the applicable procedures for disputes involving improper application of grading procedure, and appeal to the Judicial Board shall be available in accordance with those procedures. To the extent that a grade appeal involves charges of academic misconduct, the dispute shall be resolved under the applicable procedures for disputes involving academic misconduct, and appeal to the Judicial Board shall be available in accordance with those procedures.
- 126.96.36.199 If the Judicial Board sustains the student's appeal, the grade shall be assigned in accordance with Section 2.3.2 of the University Senate Rules and Regulations.
Article II, Section 2.6.1
Academic misconduct by a student shall include, but not be limited to, disruption of classes; threatening an instructor or fellow student in an academic setting; giving or receiving of unauthorized aid on examinations or in the preparation of notebooks, themes, reports or other assignments; knowingly misrepresenting the source of any academic work; unauthorized changing of grades; unauthorized use of University approvals or forging of signatures; falsification of research results; plagiarizing of another's work; violation of regulations or ethical codes for the treatment of human and animal subjects; or otherwise acting dishonestly in research.
Academic misconduct by an instructor shall include, but not be limited to, grading student work by criteria other than academic performance, willful neglect in the discharge of teaching duties, falsification of research results, plagiarizing of another's work, violation of regulations or ethical codes for the treatment of human and animal subjects, or otherwise acting dishonestly in research.
Article II, Section 2.6.2
2.6.2 An instructor may, with due notice to the student, treat as unsatisfactory any student work that is a product of academic misconduct. An instructor also may, with due notice to the student, treat a student's performance for a course as unsatisfactory when there are severe or repeated instances of academic misconduct as defined in Section 2.6.1. If an instructor deems other sanctions for academic misconduct by a student to be advisable, or if a student wishes to protest a grade based upon work judged by an instructor to be a product of academic misconduct, or if a faculty member is charged with academic misconduct in connection with the assignment of a grade or otherwise, the case shall be reported to the Dean of the College or School in which the course is offered and processed in accord with applicable procedures.
Every instructor shall make clear, at the beginning of each course, his or her rules for the preparation of classroom assignments, collateral reading, notebooks, or other outside work, in order that his or her students may not, through ignorance, subject themselves to the charge of academic misconduct. An instructor has the authority to set reasonable rules for classroom conduct. When an instructor judges that a student's behavior is disruptive or obstructive to learning, the instructor can request that the student leave the classroom. Refusal to comply with a request to leave a classroom can itself be grounds for a charge of academic misconduct.
1.3.2 No examination may be scheduled during the last week of regularly scheduled classes unless a comprehensive final examination is given during the regularly scheduled final examination period. If an examination is the last work submitted in a course, then that examination shall be given at its appointed time during the regularly scheduled final examination period. Any exceptions to the above paragraph must be approved by the Calendar Committee. Petitions to the committee must be submitted at least three weeks before the last scheduled day of classes. Students' academic best interests shall be the criteria for the Calendar Committee's decisions on petitions. Students should report violations of the above to the appropriate department head or dean, or to the Provost.
1.3.4 Except for those excused in advance by the instructor, all students are required to take final examinations when prescribed. No student shall be obligated to take more than two (2) examinations on the same day. In the event that a student has three (3) or more final examinations scheduled on the same day, and wishes to take no fewer than two (2) final examinations on the same day, the student shall notify the instructor(s) from the highest numbered course(s) no later than two weeks before the last day of class to provide a make-up examination to be administered at a mutually acceptable time.
Section 4. Examinations, Quizzes and Tests Other Than Final Examinations 1.4.1 Examinations and tests other than final examinations shall normally be given during regularly scheduled class or laboratory hours. 1.4.2 Examinations and tests other than final examinations may be given at times other than regular class hours when the time and place are approved by the Calendar Committee and published in advance in the Official Timetable of Classes. When such examinations conflict with a student's obligation to other regularly scheduled university classes the student shall be accorded the opportunity to take the examination or test at a time not in conflict with other regularly scheduled university classes. In the event of the cancellation of an examination due to an emergency, rescheduling of the examination shall be negotiated by the Associate Provost for Academic Services with the affected unit.
1.4.3 Examinations and tests other than final examinations should not be scheduled in conflict with mandated religious observances. In order to ascertain in a given class if a scheduled examination conflicts with a mandated religious observance, at the beginning of the semester the instructor shall ask students who may be affected to identify themselves privately so that a make-up examination may be scheduled at a mutually acceptable time. 1.4.4 Students with a verifiable medical crisis of a relative or friend may be excused from being present for scheduled examinations and tests. It is the responsibility of the student to initiate discussion with the instructor, prior to the examination/test if possible. The instructor and student shall come to a mutually agreeable method of making up the missed work.