The Syllabus Checklist is a comprehensive collection of information that will help you create or revise your syllabus as you prepare for the upcoming semester.
We recommend that faculty consider including the information below.
- Course title, number, section
- Date (semester and year)
- Course meeting days and times, room and building
- Instructor’s name and title
- Instructor’s office location and office hours
- Instructor’s telephone number, email address, web page
- Course prerequisites
- Description of the course: While this may be the course description from the registrar’s office, you may put it into your own
- Course rationale: Explain why the course is being offered, why it is relevant, how it fits within the curriculum/program
- Learning objectives: Describe what students should know or do as a result of completing this course
- Required resources: Include the textbook
- Identify where students can find classroom readings. University Store on Fifth? University Library System? Online?
- Brief description of each major graded requirement and corresponding percentage or point value
- Due dates for assignments, projects, quizzes, exams (this could also be placed in the course schedule)
- Grading scale
- Expectations for class attendance and participation (if applicable)
- Assignment submission/late work
- Classroom conduct
- Required Statements [text below]
- Academic integrity
- Disabilities Services
- Suggested Statements [text below]
- Homework with date/week
- Assessments with date/week
- Learning objectives or objective numbers (optional)
- School or department-specific syllabus requirements or guidelines
Additional (Optional) Information
Required Syllabus Statements
Include repercussions for academic integrity violations.
Students in this course will be expected to comply with the University of Pittsburgh’s Policy on Academic Integrity. Any student suspected of violating this obligation for any reason during the semester will be required to participate in the procedural process, initiated at the instructor level, as outlined in the University Guidelines on Academic Integrity. This may include, but is not limited to, the confiscation of the examination of any individual suspected of violating University Policy. Furthermore, no student may bring any unauthorized materials to an exam, including dictionaries and programmable calculators.
If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting an accommodation, you are encouraged to contact both your instructor and Disability Resources and Services (DRS), 140 William Pitt Union, (412) 648-7890, email@example.com, (412) 228-5347 for P3 ASL users, as early as possible in the term. DRS will verify your disability and determine reasonable accommodations for this course.
Suggested Syllabus Statements
Academic Integrity and Disability Services statements are required. Additional statements listed here are optional.
- Content Warning and Class Climate Statement
- Copyright Notice
- Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
- Email Communication
- Gender Inclusive Language Statement
- Health and Safety Statement
- Regional Campus Policies
- Religious Observances
- Remote Instruction Statements
- Statement on Classroom Recording
- Statement on Scholarly Discourse
- Your Well-being Matters
Content Warning and Class Climate Statement
Our course readings and classroom discussions will often focus on mature, difficult, and potentially challenging topics. As with any course in the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program, course topics are often political and personal. Readings and discussions might trigger strong feelings—anger, discomfort, anxiety, confusion, excitement, humor, and even boredom. Some of us will have emotional responses to the readings; some of us will have emotional responses to our peers’ understanding of the readings; all of us should feel responsible for creating a space that is both intellectually rigorous and respectful. Above all, be respectful (even when you strongly disagree) and be mindful of the ways that our identities position us in the classroom.
I expect everyone to come to class prepared to discuss the readings in a mature and respectful way. If you are struggling with the course materials, here are some tips: read the syllabus so that you are prepared in advance. You can approach your instructor ahead of time if you’d like more information about a topic or reading. If you think a particular reading or topic might be especially challenging or unsettling, you can arrive to class early and take a seat by the door so that you can easily exit the classroom as needed. If you need to leave or miss class, you are still responsible for the work you miss. If you are struggling to keep up with the work because of the course content, you should speak with me and/or seek help from the counseling center.
These materials may be protected by copyright. United States copyright law, 17 USC section 101, et seq., in addition to University policy and procedures, prohibit unauthorized duplication or retransmission of course materials.
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
The University of Pittsburgh does not tolerate any form of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation based on disability, race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, genetic information, marital status, familial status, sex, age, sexual orientation, veteran status or gender identity or other factors as stated in the University’s Title IX policy. The University is committed to taking prompt action to end a hostile environment that interferes with the University’s mission. For more information about policies, procedures, and practices, visit the Civil Rights & Title IX Compliance web page.
I ask that everyone in the class strive to help ensure that other members of this class can learn in a supportive and respectful environment. If there are instances of the aforementioned issues, please contact the Title IX Coordinator, by calling 412-648-7860, or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Reports can also be filed online. You may also choose to report this to a faculty/staff member; they are required to communicate this to the University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. If you wish to maintain complete confidentiality, you may also contact the University Counseling Center (412-648-7930).
Each student is issued a University e-mail address (email@example.com) upon admittance. This e-mail address may be used by the University for official communication with students. Students are expected to read e-mail sent to this account on a regular basis. Failure to read and react to University communications in a timely manner does not absolve the student from knowing and complying with the content of the communications. The University provides an e-mail forwarding service that allows students to read their e-mail via other service providers (e.g., Hotmail, AOL, Yahoo). Students that choose to forward their e-mail from their pitt.edu address to another address do so at their own risk. If e-mail is lost as a result of forwarding, it does not absolve the student from responding to official communications sent to their University e-mail address.
Gender Inclusive Language Statement
Language is gender-inclusive and non-sexist when we use words that affirm and respect how people describe, express, and experience their gender. Just as sexist language excludes women’s experiences, non-gender-inclusive language excludes the experiences of individuals whose identities may not fit the gender binary, and/or who may not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth. Identities including trans, intersex, and genderqueer reflect personal descriptions, expressions, and experiences. Gender-inclusive/non-sexist language acknowledges people of any gender (for example, first year student versus freshman, chair versus chairman, humankind versus mankind, etc.). It also affirms non-binary gender identifications, and recognizes the difference between biological sex and gender expression. Students, faculty, and staff may share their preferred pronouns and names, and these gender identities and gender expressions should be honored.
Health and Safety Statement
In the midst of this pandemic, it is extremely important that you abide by public health regulations and University of Pittsburgh health standards and guidelines. While in class, at a minimum this means that you must wear a face covering and comply with physical distancing requirements; other requirements may be added by the University during the semester. These rules have been developed to protect the health and safety of all community members.
Failure to comply with these requirements will result in you not being permitted to attend class in person and could result in a Student Conduct violation. For the most up-to-date information and guidance, please visit coronavirus.pitt.edu and check your Pitt email for updates before each class.
Regional Campus Policies
Information will be updated soon.
The observance of religious holidays (activities observed by a religious group of which a student is a member) and cultural practices are an important reflection of diversity. As your instructor, I am committed to providing equivalent educational opportunities to students of all belief systems. At the beginning of the semester, you should review the course requirements to identify foreseeable conflicts with assignments, exams, or other required attendance. If at all possible, please contact me (your course coordinator/s) within the first two weeks of the first class meeting to allow time for us to discuss and make fair and reasonable adjustments to the schedule and/or tasks.
From Faculty Assembly, December 2020
Remote Instruction Statements
The following sentence starters may help you inform your students of any course actions specific to remote instruction.
- Due to a need to manage my risk of contracting the novel coronavirus, I will not be teaching face-to-face this
- Face-to-face learning opportunities will be provided on x dates in x ways. Announcements about any changes to the face-to-face plan will be made via
- There will be no in-person instruction during the week of [insert date]
- The number of students in the classroom will be
- Masks or face coverings secured over mouths and noses will be
- Stay engaged in the course by communicating and interacting with me and your
- We will all be as flexible and adaptive as
Statement on Classroom Recording
To ensure the free and open discussion of ideas, students may not record classroom lectures, discussion and/or activities without the advance written permission of the instructor, and any such recording properly approved in advance can be used solely for the student’s own private use.
From SEPC, May 2010
Statement on Scholarly Discourse
In this course we will be discussing very complex issues of which all of us have strong feelings and, in most cases, unfounded attitudes. It is essential that we approach this endeavor with our minds open to evidence that may conflict with our presuppositions. Moreover, it is vital that we treat each other’s opinions and comments with courtesy even when they diverge and conflict with our own. We must avoid personal attacks and the use of ad hominem arguments to invalidate each other’s positions. Instead, we must develop a culture of civil argumentation, wherein all positions have the right to be defended and argued against in intellectually reasoned ways. It is this standard that everyone must accept in order to stay in this class; a standard that applies to all inquiry in the university, but whose observance is especially important in a course whose subject matter is so emotionally charged.
Your Well-being Matters
College/Graduate school can be an exciting and challenging time for students. Taking time to care for yourself and seeking appropriate support can help you achieve your academic and professional goals. You are encouraged to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, avoiding drugs and alcohol, getting enough sleep, and taking time to relax.
It can be helpful to remember that we all benefit from assistance and guidance at times, and there are many resources available to support your well-being while you are at Pitt. If you or anyone you know experiences overwhelming academic stress, persistent difficult feelings and/or challenging life events, you are strongly encouraged to seek support. In addition to reaching out to friends and loved ones, consider connecting with a faculty member you trust for assistance connecting to helpful resources. The University Counseling Center is also here for you. You can call 412-648-7930 at any time to connect with a clinician. You can also visit the Counseling Center website.
If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, please call the University Counseling Center at any time at 412-648-7930.
You can also contact Resolve Crisis Network at 888-796-8226. If the situation is life threatening, call Pitt Police at 412-624-2121 or dial 911.
If the situation is life threatening, call the Police:
- On-campus: Pitt Police: 412-268-2121
- Off-campus: 911
Syllabus Functions Checklist
Use this list to identify the functions you would like your syllabus to serve. Review your syllabus to determine whether it serves those functions.
Does Your Syllabus …
- Create the type of first impression you would like to convey?
- Set the tone for the course?
- Serve as a planning tool for you?
- Serve as a planning tool for students?
- Motivate students to set academic goals?
- Communicate important information about the course?
- Act as a contract between you and your students?
Flex@Pitt Syllabus Considerations
Use this list to help you think through revisions you may want to make to your syllabus while teaching during the pandemic using the Flex@Pitt model.
Here are some things to consider for your syllabus:
- A note on classroom recording: In order to facilitate the free exchange of ideas during lectures, if a faculty member intends to record their lecture with student participation, they must advise the students, via e-mail and at the beginning of the lecture, that the lecture, including their participation, is being recorded. Students should not be required to participate in the recorded conversation and should be encouraged to ask questions off-line. Further, the recorded lecture may be used by the faculty member and the registered students only for internal class purposes and only during the term in which the course is being offered.
University General Counsel, 2020
- A general statement acknowledging the unusual nature of the current semester. Explicitly acknowledge that the semester will involve a number of new and unfamiliar practices. The number of students in the classroom will be limited, class start times will be shifted, and masks will be required. In addition, some students may not be present in the classroom. Those students who participate from a remote location will need to put forth extra effort to engage in the course, communicate/interact with their instructors and classmates, and participate in course activities. Similarly, in-class students should make an extra effort to include and collaborate with remote Above all, students should try to be as flexible and adaptive as possible.
- A statement about course delivery. Will all students be in the classroom at the same time? Will they attend face-to-face in rotating cohorts? What are the instructions if they’d like to participate synchronously and remotely? How will you communicate updates to them if the university is forced to move to fully remote delivery again?
- Information about course materials and how to access them. Provide your students with descriptions of the formatting of your exams and links to Canvas tutorials on how to complete quizzes or submit assignments. If you use Canvas rubrics (which helps clarify your expectations and increase grading efficiency), refer students to Canvas to view
- A statement about attendance. Face-to-face attendance cannot be required this semester. Will you assess participation? If so, how? What should a student do if they or a family member become seriously ill?
- Technology requirements, including equipment (Recommended Devices and Configurations from Pitt IT) and recommended internet access
- A detailed course schedule. First, be mindful of academic calendar changes that have been instituted for the Second, be clear about what’s happening when and where. For example, list videos to watch before class and create a visual indicator for flipped videos (such as placing them in their own rows that fall before the corresponding class session or bolding them). It can also be helpful to include a statement indicating that the course schedule is subject to change, but that students will receive notice of any changes at least a week before they occur.
- Additional syllabus statement language, including institutional and departmental For instance, students will be required to wear masks properly in face-to-face classes. That should be indicated on the syllabus.
- A participation and/or class ground rules What does good participation look like in your class? How many times should students check your Canvas course shell or their email per week? What are your expectations for participation during synchronous face-to-face or remote class sessions? You may want to leave this section of your syllabus blank and collaborate with students to generate a participation statement or class ground rules. Working with students prompts them to think about what constitutes good participation and generates buy-in.
- Flexibility. In the spring, students indicated that they appreciated when faculty were flexible during spring without sacrificing too much rigor. Can you allow students to request extensions or give them a few grace periods per term while still meeting teaching and learning goals? If so, build flexibility into your participation and assignment submission guidelines.
- An updated student resources list. You will want to include current information on where students can seek physical and mental healthcare and what types of new support services are available to See the Student Affairs’ Health and Wellness website for additional information.